2008 New Orleans Mission Trip
From October 11-19, 70 people from 10 Minnesota Christian churches travelled to and worked in New Orleans, Louisiana. Below is a report from the Cleveland Team along with 125 pictures giving a taste of this 2008 NOLA mission trip.
Cleveland Church of Christ Team Report
By Graydon Dickie, Trip Member and Cleveland Church Elder
Nine people from Cleveland and one person from New Ulm, met at Faribault to ride on two buses with sixty other Minnesota Christians to make the 1400-mile trip to New Orleans.
Deb and Ciara G, Judy L, Pam A, Patty Z, Ben T, Kim S, Graydon and Laura D, and Sandy S, Tay O's sister from New Ulm, all endured the 24-hour bus trip to help build homes for some of the people in New Orleans. We arrived in New Orleans early Sunday morning, October 12th, and worshipped with the Journey Christian Church who is meeting in a movie theatre in a mall.
On Monday morning, we met at an abandoned school to salvage copper wire, plumbing and light fixtures for The Gathering Church. They hoped to sell or use the fixtures in an old bowling alley they are converting to be their church building. On Monday afternoon, we went on a swamp adventure tour. We saw alligators up to seven feet long. Then on Monday night, we were treated to a shrimp boil picnic in Matt Woodward's backyard. Matt is of the minister for The Gathering Church. All 70 of us, plus some of the neighbors and some of the people from The Gathering Church, also attended. The large shrimp were boiled in big kettles with potatoes, sweet corn, and mushrooms Cajun style. There were even left over shrimp after feeding at least 100 people.
Tuesday morning, we started with NOAHH (New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity). We were bused from our downtown hotel to the lower ninth ward to help build houses. We split up into five teams of 14 each to work on 8-10 houses in different levels of completion. People did painting inside and out, door and window finish trim work, siding and soffit fascia work outside, insulation work underneath the homes and many other things. All the homes we worked on were in the musician's village. All were brightly colored in different colors - bright blue or purple, yellow or green and so on. The houses were three-bedroom, about 28 feet wide by 40 feet long, built on concrete pillars so they would not be affected by flooding by the next big hurricane.
We worked hard from Tuesday through Friday to get as much done as we possibly could before returning home. The Habitat for Humanity organization had one or two crew supervisors to lead each of our five teams. They were pleased we got as much done as we did in four days. Habitat for Humanity works Tuesday through Friday with outside volunteers. On Saturdays, they work with the local people who will be moving into the homes. On Saturday morning, we got to sleep in before the long ride home via seven states to get to Minnesota.
The trip was worth the sacrifice to help people who are in need of living space. Some of the houses still look like they did three years ago after Katrina hit, while next door the house and the property are all back to normal - fixed up and looking great. They say only about 30% of homes are repaired and inhabited. There is a long way to go to get New Orleans back to some sense of normality. Even hundreds of businesses and large office buildings are abandoned and in need of repair. NOAHH seemed to be the best and most organized in home building. They have built more homes than any of the other homebuilding organizations. (This mission) is definitely worth pursuing for many years to come.