NOLA 4/NOLA 5 Coming and Going

I feel like I never put closure on the NOLA 4 trip.  Obviously we are home and that trip is done.  People ask me how it went and I tell them we got a lot done, which we did.  We had a lot of people on the trip and there are a lot of stories.  The biggest thing I noticed will sound like a broken record, but just how much work there is to do still.  –  This time, the house I worked on was in the Upper 9th Ward.  Now we had been several times to the Lower 9th, and seen the damage and devastation there.  In the area we have visited, it was pretty much wiped out.  In many neighborhoods we have driven through before, there are usually 3 or 4 or 5 "good" houes and 1 bad one that is in obvious need of attention.  In the Upper 9th, it is the other way around.  4 or 5 "bad" houses and 1 good one.  This begs the question of what is going to be done to them?  Many people just aren't coming back.  What will happen to these structures?  What will happen to the property they sit on?  There is still sooo much to be done. 
As I said in the last update about the trip, UMCOR (the United Methodist agency we have been working with) has run out of funding as it pertains to Katrina/Rita relief.  They will not have any projects after December 31st.  The people overseeing these agencies still have a heart for the ones they call "The Least, the Last, and the Lost," and they said they would try to hook up with another agency or create their own.  So I don't know what will happen with the homes of those that are still in FEMA trailers?  Unknown.  This makes me wonder if we need an agency to work with?  What if we just went down and found a FEMA trailer and asked what they needed.  And THAT makes we wonder if we just went to people in our churches that had evidence of need and asked how we could serve them?  Or if we went to Wadena, MN (tornados) and just asked where we could serve.  And that makes me think that really, you don't need me to put that together for you.  Just keep your eyes open.  In our Commissioning service, Pastor Gail encouraged us to leave a trail of blessings on our trip.  I would encourage you to leave a trail of blessings in your day to day life. 
That being said, we have another trip in the works.  NOLA 5.  October 16-24th.  We will be staying at the same housing site we stayed at last time.  Working with UMCOR again.  I signed us up for 20 spaces.  We will be joined by a team from Pennsylvania that coincidentally, we housed with in Biloxi back in 2006.  We have spoken a little bit about combining some resources. 
There's one small problem.  I can't go. 
Well, that's not exactly true.  I have been informed that I cannot take the week off from work.  (I burned up my vacation when my mom was in the hospital and for NOLA 4)  My Plant Manager DID offer a compromise, though.  I will be able to do part of the trip but will need to fly back and work during the middle of the week.  So that will add to the challenges.  Every trip is different, right?  So shoot me an email and let me know you're in.  The cost will be $225 per person.  And watch for more info about where and when to find the planning meetings. 
Get on the bus….
As I said

The spiritual life cannot be made suburban.  It is always frontier, and we who live in it must accept and even rejoice that it remains untamed.
—  Howard Macey
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