Community leaders in New Iberia hope to inspire change with pray - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Community leaders in New Iberia hope to inspire change with prayer

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New Iberia, La. -

As crime continues to plague the streets of New Iberia, city council members, the sheriff's office and the community are all trying to figure out how to combat it.

Now, pastors, priests and ministers are coming together for a 7-month initiative they hope will curb the violence.

The initiative will take them across New Iberia's five districts, praying for the city and for an end to the violence.

The prayer drive is starting in District 1, inside the sanctuary of the World of Hope Outreach Church. All attending agree they need to take their city back.

"The thrust this year: God put it on our hearts to cover the whole city as well as looking at the districts. So, we set up a schedule from January all the way to June to cover all the districts," said Pastor Zach Mitchell with World of Hope Outreach Church. 

"I have a very median income district, and they are a good target because they have things that lower-income people want,  and it's not too far beyond its reach," said New Iberia City Councilwoman Natalie Lopez. 

Mitchell is coordinating the prayer drive. His mission is to end crime by drawing children away from the street.

"A lot of the young people are being used as pawns by older people, and what we are doing is, we are focusing on the younger group. Many people tell us this is our up and coming generation, and I disagree with that. They are our generation now, and so we target them in everything we do," proclaimed Mitchell. 

The New Iberia church plans to open its doors to anyone who wants to see a change in the city.

"I hope that people see that there is a bigger force, and that there is just so much care in New Iberia, and that they understand that we want to take it back and that it is going to get better, and the more people that are involved, the better chance we have. Normally, when you see someone else care, it sparks something in you to care."

The group of ministers will host events in every district of the city with a grand finale planned for the summer.

Tonight's prayer service runs until 2 a.m., and even though it's a District 1 event, everyone from across the city is invited.

On Saturday, there will be a prayer walk, starting at 10:30 a.m. at Daspit Elementary School and ending with a reception at Acadian Ballpark. 

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