A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Friday, June 23, 2006

New Orleans Mission Trip: Report #1

This is the first post on our church's work trip in New Orleans. Today I will highlight the persons who went on the trip and some of the people we met. In future posts, I will discuss the work we did and other aspects of New Orleans and the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina.

The first question to ask is why build a city that is below sea level? I have to confess, I am not sure about the logic of where certain cities were founded. I travelled to Phoenix, Arizona a few years ago, and one thought kept occupying my mind as I went about the city: What numb-skull stopped the wagon-train in the middle of the desert and said, "Hey, this looks like a great place to live!" Well, who decided that building a city below sea level in a place prone to hurricanes was a good idea?

But, that is not exactly the way the city was founded. The French, who were looking to control the mouth of the Mississippi River, travelled up the river in search of high ground on which to settle. The first place they found was a hundred miles inland and became the French Quarter, the original part of the city. As the population grew, surrounding areas that were below sea level were developed. There will be more on the French Quarter in a later post.

This is a picture of the entire group. Ten of us were from Smithville United Methodist Church and ten were from Wayne Street United Methodist in St. Marys, Ohio. It was great to get to know them and work with them! I am on the far left in the red shirt. My daughter Alyssa is sitting right in front of me and my other daughter Courtney is standing right beside me.

Here is a portion of our group with the owner (Barb) of the first house we gutted, and her son (James). Barb has much joy in her life considering what she has been through in the past ten months; and James is quite an artist and basketball player.

Here we are with Jeanne (pronounced like the French "Jean") and David. Their house was the second one we gutted. She is holding a ukelele she played for us as we prepared to leave. It was her way of saying "Thank you."

Courtney (daughter), Leslie (a.k.a. "Lester"), Scott (a.k.a. "Franklin"), and Alyssa (daughter).

Steve and his daughter Stephanie

Sandy and Steve, two incredibly hard workers!

This is our team leader, Linda. She went to Mississippi in January on a work team, so being a veteran, we put her in charge. Every tool in Linda's box had one of four names: doodad, gizmo, thing-a-ma-bob, or what-cha-ma-call-it. She sure knew how to use all of them!

We stopped at this couple's house on Thursday after lunch to do some minor work as the major gutting had been done by a previous group. It turned out that we did not need to do anything, but while there we discovered some problems with the foundation. Sandy, our construction expert, was able to give them advice on how to proceed next, so it was a good thing we stopped. The porch they are standing on is about three feet off the ground, so the flood line on the house behind them is at about seven to eight feet.

Here is Leslie (a.k.a "Lester") wearing the tool belt her dad bought her. She sure enjoyed wielding that hammer!

My next post on our trip will directly concern our work.

What a joy it was to serve with such faithful people who took a week of their time to work hard in order to serve God and their neighbors!


Anonymous said...

Really interesting - will look forward to the others. Loved the comment about Phoenix!

Allan R. Bevere said...

Thanks Marilyn. Phoenix truly baffles me. When I was in Haiti twenty years ago, I was in a town that was literally on the side of a mountain. If you weren't careful you could fall out of the street to your death!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks Allan. Look forward to more. And it is interesting about where cities are situated. I think of Jerusalem. In that case, it seems from my understanding, that it is a great locale for a city, especially in ancient times. No wonder Phoenix is so hot in the Summer!