New Orleans Mission Trip Day 5

June 26, 2009

What a day? What an awesome day? We began at 7:15 am and traveled to the warehouse to pick up tools for the day. We loaded shovels, wheel barrows, nail pullers, crow-bars, hammers, safety glasses, masks, sledge hammers, and more. We traveled to our worksite and were ready to gut a house. The worksite was right where the levee breached from Lake Pontchatrain. We pulled up to the house and a few of us went inside the house after meeting the owner to see what needed to be done. The house had already been gutted and we were told that the house needed to be torn down. However, they needed the owner’s permission and it was looking like we were going to be sent back to the cemetery. I had set the students up to gut a house and I was pretty upset that I was letting them down. But I knew that we would do whatever we needed to do. Fortunately, the owner agreed to having her house (which could not have been remodeled due to city codes) torn down. So we stayed and got ready to work. We pulled off siding, pulled out windows, took off the roof, downed a fence, and eventually at the end of our day as one large group we pushed a section of the home down to the ground. We loaded the debris in a dumpster container and our day finished in the rain. All that stands of the house now is four walls and the flooring. Another group will come along and finish the task. We grabbed some ice cream from the ice cream truck and got on the bus to go back.

In the midst of tearing down a house, the owner Patricia was at her other house next door (which has been rebuilt). A few students at a time spent some moments with her hearing her story and visiting with her. She is a fascinating lady that has overcome such diversity. Even though she is currently confined to a wheelchair due to a car accident she managed to make it outside to see our progress. She was smiling and I can imagine that hope was restored. Pray for Patricia!

Of course we had Honey Baked Ham Sandwiches. We took a vote yesterday and turkey won, so we had turkey sandwiches. We took a shorter lunch so that we could get as much done as we could.

Everyone was filthy from the work and we all had to use plastic bags so that we wouldn’t ruin the bus seats. We came back to the hotel and got cleaned up for dinner. We walked to Pierre Mespero’s and enjoyed authentic New Orleans cuisine. Their food was fabulous. We took a scenic route back to the hotel and saw the diverse culture of New Orleans. Following our time out we loaded the bus and went to St. Jude’s Cathedral and met in their meeting room.

We held our devotional there where we talked about John 13 and Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. In the scenario Jesus shows the importance of showing love by serving and when we serve we place ourselves last or in our case, “Third!” We handed out our shirts and as we washed the feet of the students and blessed them. When we truly serve we keep God, Jesus, Holy Spirit at the forefront, others important within the kingdom and ourselves third. At first this seemed to be still me focused since the shirt was 3rd. However, it really is the great reminder of our place. After the adults had finished washing the feet of the students, then all were welcome to join in and bless others. After two hours we had to stop the blessing because we were out of time.

We began the day with some disappointment and uncertainty turned that into a wonderful working experience, and ended with filling a room with blessings and worship. What a day indeed!

Tomorrow we are leaving New Orleans at 6:45 am. We should be home somewhere around 7:30 pm. This trip has been a real blessing to me and the other adults. The students have impressed us over and over again. Our kids at Highland grow up on the principle that other people are of importance and serving them is directly serving God. It is a blessed community of faith that we have together.

Pray for our safe travel tomorrow. Pray for Nicole and her journey. Pray for Fridella, Jeaneva, Landry, Sean, and Tyrie and their family as they rebuild. Pray for Patricia and that she can be healed of her injuries and find closure from this terrible experience. Pray that God continues to restore and redeem New Orleans!

-Mercer

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One Response to “New Orleans Mission Trip Day 5”

  1. Candy said

    Michael – It’s so very cool that you’ve kept the blog going. I’ve read and enjoyed every word. You’re right. We have amazing young people all around us at Highland. Give them all a hug for me today will you? Ha! Yeah! Anyway I’m praying you home, gang.

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