Dinner Time Family Time - Deep Dish Pizza Casserole

Deep Dish Pizza Casserole: Submitted By Nyla Ardoin

1 (12-oz.) pkg. Velveeta Shells and Cheese Dinner

1 lb. ground beef

1 green pepper, chopped (optional)

1 sm. onion, chopped (optional)

1 (8-oz.) can pizza sauce

1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare dinner as directed on pkg. While macaroni is cooking, brown meat with peppers and onions in large skillet; drain. Stir in pizza sauce. Spoon dinner into 8-inch square baking dish; top with meat mixture and mozzarella. Cover. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

Dinner Time Family Time - Hamburger Pie

Hamburger pie: Submitted By Andrea Brown

  • 1 c. chopped onion

  • 1 lb. ground beef

  • 2 T. butter

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 T. chili sauce

  • 2 T. flour

  • 1 unbaked pie shell

  • 1 c. cottage cheese

  • 1/2 c. sour cream

  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

  • paprika

Cook onion and meat in butter for 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper, Worcestershire, chili sauce, and flour. Turn meat mixture into pie shell. Blend cottage cheese, sour cream and eggs. Pour over meat. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle paprika on top.

Dinner Time Family Time - Supreme Pot Roast

Supreme Pot Roast: Submitted by Peggy Reeves

  • 3-4 lb. Beef Chuck Roast

  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

  • 1 Tablespoon Flour

  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Smashed

  • 1 Large Onion, Sliced

  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine

  • 2 Cup Beef Broth

  • 2 Bay Leaves

  • 1 Large Carrot, Sliced

  • Small Red Potatoes

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Sprinkle meat with flour and pat down. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven type pot with a lid over medium high heat. Sear the meat on both sides until a deep mahogany brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the meat and place on plate. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes paste, stirring to get all the bits of brown off the bottom of the pot. This should turn a rich red color. Add wine to completely deglaze the pot. Stir in the beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Nestle the meat into the liquid, cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours. Carrots can be added after 1 hour of cooking. Potatoes can be added 30 minutes after that to prevent overcooking. Remove the cover and allow to cook for 30 more minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Dinner Time Family Time - Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti: Submitted by Julia Dupree

  • 3 Chicken Breast

  • 1-2 Bullion Cubes

  • 1/2 lb. Spaghetti Noodles

  • 1-2 Sticks Butter

  • 2 Small Onions

  • 1 Green Pepper

  • 1 Red Pepper

  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup

  • 1 Small Box Velveeta Cheese

  • Shredded Cheese

Season chicken breast. Cook in slow cooker with bullion cubes and water. Once it’s cooked, shred the chicken and set aside. Save liquid from the slow cooker and cook noodles in the liquid. You may have to add more water and bullion cubes. Drain but do not rinse noodles when cooked. Saute butter, onions and peppers in large skillet/pot. Add cream of mushroom and chicken soups and Velveeta cheese. Stir until melted. Mix everything together and stir well. Put mixture in a large casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Bridge's 15th Birthday!

This month 16 years ago Bridge Ministry of Acadiana was conceived by a small group at Trinity Bible Church that came together to discussed how to go love our neighbors in deep meaningful ways that goes beyond feeding fish. We all saw the brokenness in our generationally under-resourced neighborhoods, but quickly faced the fact that we did not have a clue how to go love our neighbors. After a couple of meetings, we decided to simply join an established organization. We began studying the non-profits in our city to find the best fit. To our chagrin we did not find such an organization. There were many good relief and rehab type non-profits, but no relational long term development type non-profits. We began facing the fact that we must create our own inner-city mission. In not having a clue how to proceed we began looking for a biblical model by traveling, reading and meeting people. Our Pastor introduced us to his longtime friend Jimmie Dorrel from Mission Waco. Jimmie became our mentoring coach and directed us to the Christian Community Development Association where we met more mentors like Dr. John Perkins from Jackson, Wayne Gordon from Chicago, Robert Lupton from Atlanta, and many more. We began traveling to Waco, Jackson, New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Miami learning how to love our generationally under-resourced neighbors (without causing harm). In our exploration phase we began learning the theology of Christian Development (not relief). We were taught the importance of our organization embracing a sound biblical theology before taking action. One year after our initial meeting at Trinity Bible Church, after much reading, after studying our city’s demographics, touring other inner-city ministries, etc., we placed an “X” on the map and moved into the middle of a generationally under-resourced and unsafe neighborhood here in Lafayette. Much like “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, MSG), we did the same in October 2003, our Birthday. 


Bridge Ministry of Acadiana moved into this under-resourced Four Corners neighborhood with the intentional long term goal of falling in love with our neighbors in right and meaningful ways that holistically build all up mentally and spiritually. Relying on our Lord we faithfully entered in fear and trebling…. going awkwardly door to door listening and learning from our new neighbors. We quickly realized this inner-city ministry was too large for our church, so the ministry was spun-out as a 501c3 Christian non-profit that embraces all churches. As a result, hundreds of faithful pray-ers, volunteers and investors have graced our neighborhood over the years.


On this our 15thBirthday we THANK GOD first and foremost for His loving us, freeing us, guiding us, and empowering us to go love othersover the years. God has shown us His Kingdom process of grace, faith, truth, love, righteousness, and justice that promises to produce wholeness, peace and joy. We also THANK GOD FOR YOU. We thank you for faithfully being in the trenches of life with us by volunteering, investing and or praying for our neighborhood, community and ministry over these years. You have been a great encouragement to us and your fellowship has brought us much joy. We especially THANK OUR NEIGHBORHOOD for showing us so much grace, faith, trust, and love. We THANK OUR COMMUNITY of Churches, Businesses, and Government for trusting Bridge Ministry of Acadiana with their shared resources. We thank our Savior and Lord for bringing us all together as one Body to love Him, our neighbors and selves. THANK YOU!!!!


 “How can we give God enough thanks for you for all the joy you give us?” (1 Thess. 3:9, NLV)


What's Going On?

Understanding the Gentrification Processes in our City

Story 1: In establishing Bridge Ministry of Acadiana in 2003, we went door to door listening and learning the dreams of our new neighbors. The first response we heard was, “What have you all come to take away from us now?” We had no clue what our new neighbors meant. It has taken years to understand “what’s going on”.

Story 2:  One of our original Bridge children called, “Mr. Nelson, I want my child to go to Bridge.” I was more than excited to hear this from her. Further in our conversation I told her the neighborhood needs her back and asked her to consider moving back into the neighborhood, which she quickly responded, “Mr. Nelson, I can’t afford to live in that neighborhood!”  

What?!?! This young lady cannot afford to live in one of our city’s most generationally under-resourced neighborhoods?!?! What is causing housing to be unaffordable in our neighborhood? What’s going on?

Story 3: A few years ago, I attended a Bridge Neighborhood Association meeting. The members were talking about trying to increase their membership numbers. Members said they had been asking residents in the neighborhood to come and join the Neighborhood Association, but none came… none joined…. none seemed to care. As a result, their membership numbers have never increased. When I looked around the room, I realized that all the Neighborhood Association members were actually homeowners. I realized that this was a Home Owners Association, not a Neighborhood Association! Who owns the houses in our neighborhood?What’s going on?

Gentrification: To understand “What’s going on” I found that among other things I had to understand the dynamics of ‘gentrification’. “Gentry” is a name that refers to anyone from an upper socio-economic class and is the root word in “Gentrification”. Gentrification is the process of restoring and inhabiting neglected urban neighborhoods by middle-class or affluent people

Landed-Gentrification: Alongside the “Gentry” is the “Landed Gentry”. The Landed-Gentry refers to a portion of the Gentry class who own land and make a living from property rentals. “Landed-Gentrification” herein refers to the process of buying houses in urban neighborhoods by the gentry for rental purposes. (Note: “Landed-Gentrification” is a newly made-up term used for this Bridge Note).

Gentrification and Landed-Gentrification Differences:In the Gentrification process the Gentry live in the neighborhood, while in the Landed-Gentrification process the Landed-Gentry live outside the neighborhood. This sets up differing motivations. The Landed-Gentry are motivated by their rental cash flows, while the Gentry are motivated by the neighborhood they now live in.Their motivation is an important distinction in that home owners living inside the neighborhood care more about their neighborhood’s integrity than those owners living outside the neighborhood. The pitfall of the Landed-Gentrification process is that the original residents will be displaced to other areas of town and lose their social connectivity (ie, social capital). The potential pitfall for Gentrification is the possibility of displacing the original residents, when there is no intentional care and respect towards them.

The Dynamics of Gentrification: The beginning of Gentrification is quickly and easily seen. The restaurant and grocery store landscapes begin changing, food deserts give way to whole food markets, rent increase notices begin appearing in mail boxes, black residences decrease and white residences increase and become younger, black owned businesses disappear, police patrols increase due to the increase in citizen reports, basketball courts are replaced by dog parks, construction increases, increase in eco-friendly cars, less graffiti and more urban art, street walkers change to dog-walkers and joggers, coffee shops and cupcake shops begin appearing, etc. Property values increase.

The Dynamics of Landed-Gentrification: How does one know when the Landed-Gentrification process has begun in a neighborhood? One can rest assured that Landed-Gentrification is and has been taking place when the “We Buy Houses” signs begin appearing in a neighborhood. Landed-gentrification happens very quietly and unobtrusively like the “frog-in-the-water” metaphor. It is hard to see at first by the neighborhood, but it is surely felt. Relational issues in the neighborhood begin going downhill. The neighbors begin saying, “Something has changed, it was not like this in the past!” “Something is going on?” “Joe sold his house and moved out.” Neighbors begin knowing each other less and less. Houses are gobbled up, “For Rent” signs pop up, and there is an increased loss of neighborhood ownership. And as the neighbors lose their ownership, the issues associated with poverty increase, neighborhood trust goes down, crime goes up, whole families and role models move out. As the Landed-Gentrification process matures, one will see more vacant store fronts, pay-day loans, seedy motels, idle men, nail salons, seafood restaurants advertising “We Accept Food Stamps”, dollar general type stores, and many store front churches. Schools go from bad to worse. And recently we see Police Cameras on utility poles. If ‘triaged’, the Landed-Gentrification process moves a neighborhood from green to yellow to red relatively quickly. Ironically, home prices and rents are increasing!

 Land-Gentrification & Government Partnerships: Who are the landed-gentry today? Basically, they are Section 8 and Slum Lord investors. The Section 8 Housing Choice provides Federally subsidized housing for low income people by forming partnerships with the Landed-Gentry who own the rental units and are guaranteed monthly income. The subsidized voucher amounts (ie, rental cash flows) are set by HUD through the Section 8 Housing Choice program. The established rents are set higher than market values, so as to attract investors to these neighborhoods. These subsidized guaranteed cash flows raise the cost of real-estate and subsequent rents. This subsidized housing partnership creates a Faux-Real-Estate-Market and Slum Lords follow on their coat-tails. (Note, Section 8 investments perform best in poor under-resourced and most fragile neighborhoods where property is acquired at low costs. 

What’s Going On in the Bridge Neighborhood:In studying the ownership of the Bridge Neighborhood a few years ago, I discovered that 66% of the housing in the Bridge neighborhood is currently owned by outsidersIt is not Gentrification that is occurring in the Bridge Neighborhood, but Landed-Gentrification.It is no longer a true real-estate market. As a result of flooding a fragile under-resourced neighborhood with subsidized housing, lower-income people cannot afford to rent or purchase a home there, and the Neighborhood Association does not grow in numbers. The loss of neighborhood ownership raises the cost to our city for police and fire protection, schools, hospitals, etc., etc… 

When there are fires, abandoned unsafe houses, or when homes fall down in the Bridge Neighborhood, no one rebuilds. As a result, there are many abandoned lots. I have counted about 65+/- lots, where homes can be built in the Bridge neighborhood. These 65 abandoned lots currently produce no tax revenue, and are a liability to the city.

Re-Neighboring Opportunities and Solutions: Is it time to stop the decline and tilt the Bridge Neighborhood back in the right direction? If so, it will require a multifaceted approach. Bridge’s The Church Academy has begun reversing our children’s past educational declines, which is a good thing. Bridge Ministry of Acadiana gives family and neighborhood support by building capable and caring relationships (i.e., increasing social capital). These relationships create and build a sense of community where edifying resources begin to flow again. Bridge is also beginning to address health and housing issues too.

As to government subsidized housing partnerships, there should be federal legislation in place that restricts the flooding of fragile under-resourced neighborhoods with these Landed-Gentrification type partnerships, which are not caring, right or just to the neighborhood and larger community.  As to the Bridge Neighborhood, it can be re-neighbored with the building of 65+/- homes on these existing abandoned lots. If this re-neighboring occurs, the neighborhood’s ownership will be increased to 50% and neighborhood wealth increased, which at some point will attract businesses and jobs again. This re-neighboring of the Bridge Neighborhood at present can be done without displacing our original neighbors. Bridge Ministry and The Church Academy School in the neighborhood now form the relational platform for revitalizing the Bridge Neighborhood. Along with spiritual transformation, a good school, healthy living and family support, the increasing of homeownership in the neighborhood will attract young role model families who are both capable and caring. 

Isaiah 65:17-25 paints the vision of a New Neighborhood by describing safety, security, neighbors who build and live in their own homes, good long healthy lives, meaningful and satisfying labor that produces enjoyable fruit, and their children are blessed by God for generations. In this New Neighborhood there will be wholeness, peace, and joy (shalom). Isn’t this generationally blessed shalom what we all so deeply desire? So does the Bridge Neighborhood.

They’ll build houses and move in. They’ll plant fields and eat what they grow. No more building a house that some outsider takes over, No more planting fields that some enemy confiscates, For my people will be as long-lived as trees, my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work. They won’t work and have nothing come of it, they won’t have children snatched out from under them. For they themselves are plantings blessed by God, with their children and grandchildren likewise God-blessed.(Isaiah 65:21-23, MSG).

Time of Possession

Football fans know that a team’s ‘time-of-possession’ is important. Instead of possessing a football though, Bridge Ministry of Acadiana has increased our “time of possession” with our children this past year. We intentionally increased this ‘time of possession’ by adding to our after-school program an all-day private school. Bridge’s school, “The Church Academy-Lafayette” (TCA-L), not only allows Bridge more time of possession with our children, but also builds closer relationships with our children’s parents, teachers, interns, volunteers, neighborhood and our community. In increasing our time of possession Bridge now has a stronger platform to grow from in our Christian neighborhood development and revitalization efforts.

The Church Academy-Lafayette, has finished its first school year! HOW DID OUR CHILDREN DO?...  

To understand how our children did, we must first determine where they came from. Coming from public schools our children were tested during their first week with the Calgary Assessment Tests. This initial 2017 assessment discovered that 66% of our 3rd-5th Graders came to us 1-3 years below their Grade Level (GL)!They were tested again at the end of our 2017-2018 school year where half of the initial 66%ers that were below GL were brought up to GL!!! All of our scholars exhibited growth beyond just one year!Our 2017-2018 students averaged a 166% yearly growth rate (or, a 1.66 GL jump overall)! 

A different assessment was done with our Kindergarteners thru 2nd graders.  At the beginning of the year 60% of our First and Second Graders were at GL, while 40% were 1-2 years below GLAt the end of the year only 20% were below GL by only ½ year; 40% were now at grade level; and, 40% were actually above grade level! AND all of our Kindergarteners were on target at end of the 2017-2108 school year. Again, all improved by more than just one school year, or GL.

As to TCA-L’s 2017-2018 year-end LEAP Tests, our 3rd-5th Graders had a 718 average overall Math score and a 723 overall average English Language Art (ELA) score. With 725 being Basic (B) TCA over all is Approaching Basic (AB), while ultimately aiming all our children at Mastery and Advanced.

TCA-L’s LEAP Test Results  

(At the end of the 2017-2018 School Year)

((A/Advanced (>790) – M/Mastery (789-750) – B/Basic (749-725) – AB/Approaching Basic (724-700) – U/Unsatisfactory (<700))


3rdGrade         M - 757 ave. 

4thGrade        AB - 717 ave. 

5thGrade        AB - 703 ave. 

                     AB - 718  Weighted Ave.

English Language Art

3rdGrade          B - 741 ave. 

4thGrade          B - 730 ave.  

5thGrade        AB - 708 ave.  

                      AB - 723 Weighted Ave.   

NOTE, These LEAP Tests show an obvious progressive educational decline from our 3rd to 4th to 5th graders that began years before. Yet, TCA-L’s assessments taken at the beginning and at the ending of the school year clearly illustrate a reversal of this inherited downward trend. This reversal has been a TCA-L goal. Our scholars will now become progressively stronger, not weaker, the longer they are enrolled at TCA-L. (Refer to TCA-L’s 166% student growth reversal above). The tide of hope is surely turning in the lives of our children and their parents!

NOTE: These 2017-2018 results are remarkable in view that 66% of our 3rd-5th grade children came to us 1-3 years below GL, and now half of those have “caught-up” while the rest are “catching-up”)!!!!   


How long does it take for a 3rd grade student to ‘catch-up’ who comes to TCA-L two years behind, yet grows at a 150% GL rate per year? The graph below shows that it will take four years!!! For our quick fix culture, this 4-year catch-up period maybe tough news for a child or parent. An increased ‘Time of Possession’ with much grace, faith, love and encouragement is needed to keep all in the ‘game’ for the long haul. 

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Bridge Ministry of Acadiana is a development organization, not relief. Human development is relational, intentional, slow and long term, as is love. Our 2017-2018 success at The Church Academy-Lafayette boils down to lovingly developing both hearts and minds that leads towards Christ-like Character development and destiny. Our children must first know they are loved by God their Father and ourselves.  After knowing ‘The Love’ the teaching and growing of their hearts and minds truly begins. In developing both “hearts & minds”, TCA-L is growing the whole person, who is both “caring & capable”. By increasing God’s time of possession with us and each other we become more whole, both mentally and spiritually. Wholeness is the goal for our children, because whole people make up whole families, whole neighborhoods and whole commUnities.

This coming 2018-2019 school year we will double the number of our children, while keeping a close eye on maintaining the quality of our relationships. Maintaining relational quality as numbers increase is where caring and capable volunteers at all levels helps us edify and empower our under-resourced children and neighborhood (and grow our hearts). Over the years we have come to realize that more and more relational resources are needed than the vast majority of Americans have ever fathomed. With limited funds, volunteers are surely needed to ‘bridge’ the gaps.

Come join with us at Bridge Ministry of Acadiana. Be a part of the whole, while becoming whole with us. With God’s help and direction, we are creating a model for neighborhood-commUnity development. At Bridge there is always the need for volunteers to assist our great teachers, food service, information technology, coding, administration, lawn and building maintenance, cleaning, music, arts, physical and health education, etiquette training (social and workplace), adventure trips, professional role models, administration help, volunteer and donor relationships, parent and neighborhood relationships, intimate church-business-government relationships, etc., etc…. There is no silver bullet in building community. Community building is an intentional, multifaceted, faithful, loving, and committed long term endeavor that brings hope to all. We invite you to come meet and love your neighbor alongside us and grow. SHALOM!

 “LOVE BUILDS UP” (1 Cor 8:1)

 “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph 4:16)


SUPPORT “THE CHURCH ACADEMY–LAFAYETTE” at NO ADDITIONAL COSTto your budget when you redirect your Louisiana Tax liability to Louisiana’s Tuition Donation Credit Program(TDC). The TDC program is operated through ARETE’ SCHOLARS (aretescholars.org) which in turn provides scholarships to The Church Academy-Lafayette. Under Louisiana’s TDC law, any company or individual that pays Louisiana income tax may receive a 95% tax credit for their re-directed tax donations to Arete’ Scholars. Arete’ Scholars qualifies and provides these School of Choice scholarships to our under-resourced students. You can designate a ‘Group’ of 2 or more schools in the State, if you desire. We do ask that you consider designating “The Bridge Group” as the recipient. Thank you.

(Contact Nelson Warner at 337-298-2277, or nelson@nwarner.net for more information.) 












South Louisiana Giving Day

SOLA GD Facebook Cover Photo.png

Bridge Ministry is extremely thankful to take part in South Louisiana Giving Day on May 10, 2018. William C. Schumacher Family Foundation has awarded Bridge with a $50,000 matching grant.

This matching grant opportunity offers children in our community the access to education they deserve, and it is in support of our foundation’s Mission” says Dr. Schumacher of the William C. Schumacher Family Foundation.  “The Church Academy is clearly investing in the future of our youth in a meaningful way, and so we proudly support this school and humbly request the community’s consideration of this matching grant opportunity.

Read more from our SOLA press release here.