Congregation prays for God to take Ledet higher

WESTLAKE, La. (AP) - Since Joshua Ledet went to Hollywood for "American Idol," his aunt Cynthia Ledet said, she misses him most on Sundays at the House of Prayer Holiness Church.

"On a Sunday like this Joshua would run through the church singing to the top of his lungs," she said. "I miss him so much - that I can't reach out and touch him. That's the hardest part for me."

And, though he's been eliminated from the competition, his aunt said his singing is a ministry to the congregation - not a contest.

"Just like they say on "American Idol" how he gives them `gooseys' - well that's nothing compared to what we get in here," she said at church on the Sunday after Josh was voted off. "My brother has been a pastor for going on 27 years and Joshua has been singing gospel since he was three.

"I knew that God had his hand upon Joshua, and it was a God-given talent and that he loved people feeling his music. The emotions Joshua gets when he sings - he wants everyone to feel it."

The congregation continues to pray that God keeps taking him higher and higher, she said.

Chris Wilrye, a church member, said Ledet is a very humble and down to earth young man.

"Just what they see on the stage is what we see at church," Wilrye said. "And I'm glad the world finally got to see what we see every Sunday. Josh knows how to bring a crowd up. He knows how to set the atmosphere. He'll keep you laughing and keep you smiling. He always knows how to brighten your day. If you're down or anything is wrong with you, be around Josh for five minutes and you're back smiling and you're back laughing and cutting up. He just knows hows to get that out of you."

Wilrye said Ledet's success is no surprise at all.

"We've been seeing him sing since he was a little boy," he said. "He has just grown by leaps and bounds in such a short amount of time."

Wilrye said Ledet will be all over billboards and all over the world ministering through his music like he always wanted to do.

"I just wish him the best of luck in all of his endeavors from his House of Prayer family," he said. "We'll keep praying to God and keep lifting him up."

Assistant Pastor Robert McCraney described Ledet as "a guy that really loves God and has grown up in the Lord."

McCraney said Ledet is not only a soulful singer, but one who knows how to preach too.

"God called him to speak the word," McCraney said before worship last Sunday. "Every day - when he was real young he would get up and sing. He would act the part as a minister as a young man. I am very proud of him that God has used him."

He said Ledet "stepped out in faith."

"He wants to do something from his heart and when you do something from you heart and you really love God - God will back you up 100 percent," he said. "That door just opened - for the world to see somebody that really cares and really loves to sing."

McCraney said he asks God to keep encouraging Ledet because his talent is so powerful.

"I've seen him even as a young man, someone with no fear, who really loved to do things for God. You can notice it when he sings, when he preaches, when he teaches and when he acts," McCraney said. "There was no fear there because God backed him up even as a young child."