NOLA8- Epilogue

Where did I leave off?  

The last work day?
On Friday, we planned on being done around noon.  The Epworth Project wants their tools back early on Friday, and there is a lot of value in taking time to see more of the community we are working in.  All the teams left their job sites about 1:00pm.  
Howard's team finished the roof.  (except one small run of ridge shingles –  we ran out of shingles…)  
Bob's team finished the cabinets.
Louie's team finished the drywall and other projects
Kirk's team was working on drywall and a small addition. They did NOT finish, but Kirk and Terri were asked and agreed to stay a few more days to help finish that project.  Terri sent an email a few days later with their progress:  
Kirk and I returned from Slidell Tuesday afternoon. When we left Sheryl had running water in her kitchen and bathroom. No hot water yet, but water. She was pretty excited. Her bathtub is due to be tiled in the next week or so. She told me it's been 5 years since she has taken a shower there.
The laundry addition is finished and the plumbing has been run to it also. Mr. Glenn wanted to make sure I got photos of the laundry door because Leanne was "frettin" ( his word) about the cut she made for the opening, worried it didn't look very good. Well, the door fit perfectly.  There is a new washer and dryer in the warehouse for her.
I cleaned out and pruned some landscaping when Kirk and Glenn were working on plumbing. Also used Iron Out on her toilet which was pretty badly stained.

We had a nice talk with Sheryl when she got home from church on Sunday. She said that she had reached a point, before anyone had started work on her house, where she thought God had forgotten about her and she almost lost her faith. Then she got the call from Epworth that gave her hope again.

Right before we left Glenn got a call that a group from Maryland that had been working at Sheryl's a couple of weeks before us had raised the money to drill a well for her. (About $3000).  The water at Sheryl's now is a water hose running from her neighbor Denice's, whose house River Bend worked on last year.

Kirk and I had a great time on the trip, getting to know other team members & helping those in need.

After the job sites, we came back to Epworth and cleaned up and went to see parts of New Orleans.  We drove through the Lower Ninth Ward.  And even eight trips and almost ten years later, I am still surprised at what isn't done there.  And sometimes by what is done.  And what is being done.  We drove by a HUGE school campus being built.  And a lot of houses that haven't been touched since Katrina.  Terri did devotions at the Levy.  
Then we went to the French Quarter to be tourists a little.  And then a friend from my college days told us where to meet for dinner.  We went to a great place called New Orleans Hamburgers and Seafood.  Awesome.  
The next morning we packed up and headed north.  Made it to St. Louis early enough to look at the Arch and still get some pizza to eat before it got too late.  Another college friend came and hung out with us for a few hours.  
After uneventful travel the next day, we made it back to St. Paul around 6:30pm.  Unpacked the trailer, took back the rental van, and the trip was over.  
But not really.  Because is it ever really over?  
The lion's share of these trips has a purpose of serving people in need that probably aren't going to get it anywhere else.  But another large hope of mine is that the people that go on the trips come back changed.  That when we go serving God, God serves us also.  We don't see things the same.  We don't feel things the same.  We remember that Christ's love for us is real, and that means something.  That we CAN and do make a difference where we are.  Which is why it's never really over.  Because the "mission trip" might be over, but the missional hearts are fired up and looking for places to serve in our own communities, families, circles.  What was that Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker?  (Spider Man)-  With great power comes great responsibility.  We who know Christ, and know His heart, and HAVE His heart, cannot just sit by and see the "least the last and the lost" in our own communities and not do something about it.  You, the reader of this email/epilogue/blog post/facebook link have also been encouraged by us during this trip to see your neighbors through Christ's eyes.  You don't have to go up on their roof, or hang drywall or buy them cabinets.  But maybe giving a drink of water, or a tank of gas, or better yet, an hour of your time- doing nothing but being with a person- is EXACTLY the response a person could have.  We are grateful for your participation with us on our trip-  prayer, encouragement, finances, time, sharing the story, however you have been involved.  It's not over.  Amen.  
Two more things:  
1-  You know that as a team, we have been praying for a little girl named Amalia who was born premature at 26 weeks.  She is up to 2 lbs. 3.3oz.  her surgery went  well.  She is on a ventilator and her heart is beating kinda fast.  Mommy got to actually changer her diaper on Mother's Day.  (the first time Mommy has gotten to do that.)  Jamie and Eric (Mom and Dad) ask for continued prayers as Amalie still keeps trying to get stronger and more stable.  
2.  Next trip is October 11-19.  Crisfield 2.  Who is in?  

True faith is never found alone; it is accompanied by expectation.  –C.S. Lewis.

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