NOLA3- Epilogue– Think small

We started the NOLA 3 at commissioning with Pastor Dave encouraging us to be our part of the Body.  And that our part was really pretty small, considering.  If you think about a body, there are arms and legs and eyes or tongues, etc.  And each of those parts may be the United Methodists as the arms,and the Catholics as the legs or the Charismatics, tongues (get it?) etc.  And that maybe we, as individual members or attenders or watchers of those churches, are cells that make up the arms, legs, eyes, etc.  Just small.  Tiny.  Yet significant, each playing out own part in the body as The Body.
I think we all wonder on  trip like this, “What is my part?”  And when we go down, there’s not a lot I know how to do when it comes to building.  I rely on Bob or Howard to tell me what to do, and how to do it.  And when they’re busy, I have to look to find what best helps the team.  So I do some sweeping or moving bags of cement, or carry garbage, or run to Lowes, or drive Kim to the other job site, or etc.  Some of that might seem like not a power playing part.  I didn’t help hang drywall, or install the cabinets or blow the texture on the wall, but if I hadn’t done the parts I did, who would have?  This is not to justify my presence on the team, it’s to set up my next point.
Kim and I met with Dale Kimball, who oversees the work projects for Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery.  He is a very compelling speaker and is very motivational.  I have mentioned him in past blog entries on previous trips.  Anyway, Kim and I taped an interview with him on our last day there.  Dale has a pretty realistic view of the recovery process.  He has had a very successful run on the North Shore (Pontchartrain) and they say they are mostly recovered there.  He is now focusing on the Gentilly neighborhood in New Orleans.  And there is still sooooooooo much of New Orleans that is not restored.  People ask him when will it be done?  He says, “when y’all stop coming.”  He said, “Look at the homes you worked on this week.  If you hadn’t come, they wouldn’t have been worked on.”   The part we play might seem like a small part in a big city, but if we didn’t do it, who would have?  
 God is not calling everyone to get in the van and go to New Orleans or Mississippi or Texas to clean up and help rebuild.  But if God is calling you, And if you think, “What can I do?  I don’t have anything to offer.  My talents are insignificant. etc.”  I would ask, If you don’t, who will?  Maybe your role is talking it up at your church, or sending notes of encouragement to the people that go, or praying for the people on the trip and the people affected by these storms, or maybe donating money or gas cards or other things to take down.    Maybe your role is getting in the van and seeing what happens when you get there.  Donna’s role on our last trip was to cook meals for us for when we got back after working all day.  Kim’s role was to shoot video to help recruit for next time.  
Everyone that is receiving this email or reading this blog have been asked if you want to get it, or have been told how to get your name off the list, and really, just receiving this email or reading this blog entry is answering a call.  It’s a small part in a big picture.  If from reading it, you are compelled or motivated to get more involved, then great.  If not, then you’ve already done everything you are supposed to do-  and thank you!  It is very helpful to us knowing that there are people following along, cheering us on from wherever you are.  
There is still a lot to do.  And New Orleans has a LOT of houses in many neighborhoods that still need work.  And there are a lot of people still not back in their homes.  –  some not back to Louisiana.  And that’s just Louisiana.  Mississippi is still not fully recovered.  And Texas was hit pretty big by Ike in 2008.  When we went to Mississippi to catch up with some of our previous homeowners, we met with Elijah Mitchell, who was the coordinator of Disaster recovery in Mississippi for the United Methodist Church. I asked him which area needed more help, Louisiana or Mississippi.  He refused to answer, saying that to the homeowner or homeless person affected, their problem or need is the most important.  There is work to be done everywhere.
So what can one little person or group do?  Whatever you can.  Think of Gideon against the Middianites.  Or Elijah against the prophets of Baal.  Small groups verses large odds.  Being obedient in the small things brings big results.  What can you do?  Whatever you can.  And if you don’t, who will?
Thanks to everyone again and again and again who made this possible.  Jim P. who wrote a lot of letters and did some great fundraising.  Medtronic, MIdway Party Rental, Allied Rental, Boyer Ford Track and Van rental, Robert Street Business Association, Millwood, Inc., the Riverbend Church group, The Outback Steakhouse in InverGrove Hts, and everyone that donated, prayed, encouraged, etc.
NOLA 4-  Spring of 2010-  who’s in?

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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