Today we welcome back Heather Platt for part one of a three-part interview.
Can you tell us a little about your parents, your siblings, your growing up years?
I have 2 sisters, one older, one younger. We are very close to each other, although we are spread out in age. There is 17 years between my oldest and youngest sister. I had two incredibly loving and supportive parents as I grew up. My dad is a believer and my mom just recently became a believer before she passed away this past August. The Lord was so gracious to save her before she died. Her faith in Christ challenged and inspired me.
We would love to hear your conversion story—when and how did God reveal Jesus Christ to you?
At the beginning of my senior year of high school, my best friend invited me to go to youth camp with her church group. The first night of camp, the Lord began to do a work in my heart that would transform me from the inside out. I realized that I was deep in my sin and I couldn’t change on my own, I needed a Savior to cleanse me from my unrighteousness and fill the empty places in my heart. I confessed my complete surrender to Jesus and asked Him to take control of my life. The Lord began his transforming work in my heart that night that continues day by day.
When and how did you meet David? Can you briefly relate the story of your relationship from the time you met until you were married? Are there any funny or memorable moments you’d be willing to tell us about?
I met David at that same youth camp where the Lord saved me. I thought David was really cute and I was trying to get his attention so he would notice me. I was throwing the football with a friend, trying to get him to look my way, while he was on the stairs behind me memorizing the book of 2 Timothy! Typical! I got him though! We dated through some of high school and all of college and got married the day he graduated from the University of Georgia in 1999.
You and your husband lived in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina. Can you briefly describe your life and ministry there?
After we were married, we lived with David’s parents for 8 months to save money before we headed off to seminary in New Orleans, LA. I was hesitant at first about living in New Orleans. It seemed like such a crazy place, but the Lord changed my heart and made me ready for our new adventure. We LOVED living on campus at the seminary, making life long friends, and ministering in the city. It became an important part of our spiritual journey and marriage. David was mentored by an amazing professor, Dr Jim Shaddix, and I was mentored by Jim’s wife, Debra. The Lord used this family to teach us much about ministry, parenting, and marriage. They are still some of our closest friends. I taught school the whole time we were in New Orleans and truly enjoyed the path the Lord had set us on. David finished his masters then went on to complete his PhD and finally came on faculty at New Orleans Seminary. It was a sweet time in life and ministry.
What are your memories of living through Hurricane Katrina and how did God use the events following Katrina to lead you and your husband to The Church at Brook Hills?
I taught public school Pre-K while I lived in New Orleans. It was the Friday before my kids were supposed to arrive for their first day of school on Monday and my principal made an announcement over the intercom to put all our furniture in the middle of the room. She said there was going to be a storm over the weekend and some of the rooms flooded if it rained really hard. As a teacher, I had spent countless hours preparing for my new students and making my classroom look perfect! I grumbled as I moved all the furniture around saying to myself, “Who cares about a silly storm?” I got home that night and Dave and I watched the weather, questioning if we should evacuate or not. We decided to wait until the morning and make a decision then. By the time morning came, it was clear that evacuation was necessary, but we had already evacuated several times that season for possible hurricanes; this was no big deal. I threw in 3 days worth of clothes, my bag of jewelry, my wedding album, and my school bag to finish up some last minute work. We left Saturday morning, spent the night at a hotel in Lafayette and headed to a conference center in central Louisiana where David was scheduled to preach later that week. I’ll never forget, Katrina hit and all had seemed to go better than predicted. We were serving at a shelter that Monday night and David and a couple of guys were asked to hook up a video feed to the news so everyone could see what was going on. The TV turned on, and the Levees had just broken. We saw immense flooding throughout the New Orleans Metro area. The camera flashed scenes from all over the city, including the gas station a half mile up the road from where we lived. The water was up about 8-10 feet high in our area. We knew at that point that we had lost everything. It was a devastating and humbling time. We were grateful we had evacuated and had a place to go, but we watched in horror as people were stranded for days and weeks, waiting for someone to rescue them. We headed to David’s mom’s house in Atlanta and moved in with the Platt family once again!
(Tomorrow: part two of how God used Hurricane Katrina to bring Heather and David to Brook Hills.)