Friday, June 13, 2008

LAST DAY TO SERVE NEW ORLEANS
Our week-long youth service project ended hopefully today

MUCH ACCOMPLISHED, BUT NOT FINISHED. This was our last day to work on the Roberts Street house and to talk to the Jenkins family. We strove to finish as much of the painting as we could. We made great progress in a week, but there was just too much to do within this time frame. A 100-year old house like this has lots of surface repairs, difficult-to-reach eaves and a lot of square feet to cover with brushes and standing on ladders. But we feel good about what we were able to do. We got a bit attached to this family and it was hard to say "good-bye." We hope to see them all again someday.

WE FULFILLED OUR PART. We realize that lots of people have worked on this house before us. Many more will follow before work on it is completed. One plants, another waters... The family lives on the second floor, which has been restored, while the first floor, the level most badly damaged, has yet to be rehabilitated. Natasha's mother, who used to live there, will return once the first floor is restored.

CELEBRATING IN THE BIG EASY. We celebrated the completion of our week of work by spending Friday evening in downtown New Orleans. We walked the Riverwalk, visited the Audubon Aquarium and saw "Hurricane on the Bayou" at the IMAX Theatre. For the second time on our trip, we were entertained by the solo music of Leonard "the Human Jukebox," who says he's been singing along the Mississippi River front for 49 years. In addition to singing selected songs of jazz and blues artists, he sings his own gospel songs.

I RECOMEND THIS CHURCH ORGANIZATION. Our work and hospitality this week was coordinated by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Disaster Relief ministry in cooperation with the Disaster Relief office of the United Church of Christ. This is the second work group from West Morris Street Free Methodist Church to do Katrina rebuilding work in the Gulf area with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We have found their efforts well-planned and coordinated. We worked well with their site supervisor, mission director, and team coordinator. We would recommend other groups working with them in the future--there is plenty of rebuilding work still needed in and around New Orleans for years to come!

HEADING HOME. We start for Indianapolis and home early on Saturday morning. It will be an all-day drive, but we're anxious to be with our families again. We're also looking forward to sharing about our experience of service and the "Mission Trip Top Ten" in Morning Worship on Sunday. Thanks to all who supported us with prayer and financial support. God bless you as you stood with us in our mission of service.

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