An Unexpected Musician Brings Joy to Baptist Friendship House

By Natalie Sarrett

Tuesday mornings at Baptist Friendship House (BFH) are lively.

Volunteers hand out hot coffee and breakfast, families sort through hygiene kits and clothes, children pick out new backpacks for school and our BFH partners look for opportunities to share the joy of the gospel with those in need.

One BFH regular, Gio, has attended these Tuesday morning gatherings for several years. Before the pandemic, Gio made a living playing piano as a freelance musician, but once COVID lockdowns became a regular occurrence, Gio abruptly lost his livelihood.

“We love the time we get to spend in fellowship with our friends who do not have houses during Tuesday morning’s devotional and prayer group,” Center Director Kendall Wolz commented. “We knew the pandemic impacted Gio’s ability to work and provide for himself. New Orleans has always been an energetic town, full of music, but once COVID-19 hit, the city went quiet. Even so, Gio continued to show up grateful. He has the best attitude.”

Wolz and her co-workers saw a festive side of Gio at a recent Tuesday morning gathering when a 140-person choir from Dawson Memorial Baptist Church showed up.

Wolz shared, “We’d never taken instruments out before, but because the choir came, we decided to try something new. They invited Gio onstage to play piano with them and I have not seen that much joy since we met him three years ago. For several years, he hasn’t been able to do what lights him up and witnessing him play was such a gift.”

Gio did such an excellent job. The choir made him an honorary member at the end of their trip and presented him with a matching shirt. Now, every time Gio checks in on Tuesday, he reminds the BFH staff,  “that morning was the best day” of his life since the pandemic started.

“It was a clear reminder God is in control and He works things out. It was an incredible morning where joy shone on the faces of the people we serve—people who don’t always appear to feel joy. God knew what our friends and staff would need that Tuesday morning,” Wolz said.

Pray for our unhoused friends and pray for our partners at BFH to have wisdom as they seek to meet others’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs. If you want to volunteer at our ministry center in New Orleans, click here to get more information and sign up today.


Published July 13, 2022

Natalie Sarrett

Natalie Sarrett is a staff writer for Send Relief.