Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Paraguay gone New Orleans...

As many of you know, I have been helping out with our church senior high youth group for the past few years. For the past year we have been planning to take 30 of our kids on a mission trip to Paraguay. While there we planned to teach English and do some construction of seminary buildings. Well, as usual, God had His own plans and on the day we were supposed to leave for Paraguay, our Brazillian airline went BANKRUPT!! After many hours of endless phonecalls made by our Youth Pastor, John David - to EVERYONE he knew, he quickly rerouted our trip to New Orleans to help out with Katrina relief.

After two hours of planning, 30 of us hopped in 3 vans and made our trek south. Three days later, numerous fast food encounters, countless stops to the restrooms, and way too much road music we arrived in New Orleans. Here is an excerpt from an update our youth pastor sent:

Day One: A somber ride into the city of New Oreleans brought forth feelings of sympathy and compassion for the people of the area. At this point, all that we have been told is that we will be gutting the flood damaged houses near our home base. The church is in the 20% of the city that was not ruined by the floods last August. The other 80% in which we are working in was hit quite bad and are practically abandoned. We are staying at Berean Bible Church on the outskirts of the city. There are three other high school groups here but the building is comfortable and the AC is cold. This trip is different from your typical youth missions trip- it is part road trip, part missions and part summer camp. Well, it's time to hit the old dusty trail. Tune in tomorrow. Paa-ting.

The Paraguay/New Orleans Team
(this email originally composed by Dan Majorowski & David Gallagher)

Nothing could have prepared us for what we were to encounter. Devistation is everywhere and remains of Katrina leave a haunting presence all throughout the neighborhoods. Here is another excerpt from day 2:

Day 2

Today was more than we could have imagined. We divided into 2 teams
and began gutting 2 different homes on the west bank of New Orleans.
One house was less than 2 blocks from where the levee broke. The
homeowers have been extremely gracious and overwhelmed us with
hospitality and generousity. The devastation is hard to
describe. Pictures and television do not to it justice. All the
earthly possessions that these people owned are in piles in the houses
where flood waters moved them around. Other things are still in place
like normal life was going on when the flooding began. One group even
found dinner in the oven. To make things worse, looters have already
raided the houses and taken anything that had any valuel. It is
difficult throwing out years of memories for these people while they
sit and watch, but all the homeowners are grateful to God and speak of
nothing but blessings. We have heard no one complain about their
situation. They have heard the story of how we ended up here, andwe
all agree that God has done something amazing. We could not have planned a better mission trip...in fact, we didn't. Everyone agrees that this is a life-changing experience for us all. We are anxious to
see what God is going to do tomorrow. We begi n at 7:15am in morning.
It's more stripping of sheet rock.

...CLICK HERE... to view a slideshow of images from the houses we've been gutting.


Anonymous said...

you and your kids are AMAZING....

Rick said...

not only are you guys an incredible example to the people you are helping,but you are an incredible example to the whole country!!!

Anonymous said...

i wish that more people in this confused world would look at what each and everyone of you are doing for these poor folks...to give yourselves to helping as you are is something all of us should consider doing...even if it's not helping the folks in new orleans, we can start by being more helpful and kinder to our families and neighbors....you guys should know what an inspiration you all are...anyone would be proud to say that they know at least one of you guys who is there helping in new orleans....hats off to all of you...and god bless each and every one of you....

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