The days are flying by here in New Orleans. Ahead we have two days of travel, behind we have a full trip of service and learning. And today was no exception. As with everyday this week we awoke at Camp Hope with the usual breakfast of eggs, sausage, and biscuits & gravy. Fueled up, we went to the Gathering and dug into todays theme of restoring mission. The students were challenged to set up an action plan in which they will specifically combat an injustice at home. This injustice was something that resonated in their heart: whether it is homelessness, racism, illiteracy, etc.
After our time at the Gathering we went back to Camp Hope to assist in cleaning bathrooms and showers. From there we went to a sports complex and community center called Val Riess. We were able to complete a variety of tasks that included mulching a swing set area, power washing bleachers, windexing the front windows, edging sidewalks, and cleaning bathrooms.
Our group was able to knock out these projects right before some of the CIY staff arrived on our worksite. The staff at Val Reiss had no more projects for us so we spent our last half hour playing a friendly game of kickball alongside the CIY Staff. After the game we celebrated at Val Reiss with the other churches with a hot dog cookout.
To wrap up the day after dinner and free time, we went back to the Gathering one last time. In a time of worship, learning, and listening to an interview with a Kingdom Worker, our students were challenged to give over to God something that needed to be restored in their life. This was followed by a last small group time and then bedtime!
It's our second full day here in New Orleans and we have been busy!
This morning, we learned about how the people who lived in Jerusalem with Nehemiah began to realize how much they had turned away from God and that they needed to now build a better relationship with him. Students were encouraged today to think about relationships that they needed to restore with others and how they needed to restore their relationship with God.
We headed into our Justice class after our morning devotions to experience what it means to be on the side of injustice. Please ask your students when they get home about this experience. It was very eye opening.
Our afternoon project was a hot one! We ventured to a place called "The Arc" which is a community center and community garden for people with special needs. This organization helps over 500 people with special needs get the resources and help they need to live in New Orleans. Today we worked on many things including weeding, painting, helping to build a shed and dig up an overgrown field in order to plant more things. It was unbelievably hot but the students did an amazing job and the organization asked that we come back tomorrow because we did such a great job.
Tomorrow is our last full day here and we are excited to see what God has in store for us. Our group is being challenged to think and see things outside of what they are comfortable with which can be difficult but is generating great conversations. Please continue to pray for our trip, our students, leaders and for good sleep!
We are having an amazing time here in New Orleans! We are learning about Nehemiah this week and his heart and journey to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem for God. This story is helping our students see how their hearts can be restored and place can be restored.
This morning we began a class on justice. We talked about the many injustices in this world and a few of our guys made up an awesome rap about starvation. We will continue that class all week.
During the late morning, we were able to travel throughout the city to pray for parts of the city in need. We learned a bit of history and were able to see the devastation that Katrina left behind.
This afternoon we served at a local community center by helping them paint their gym, bathrooms and back rooms. All of the students worked really hard and worked together to get the job done!
Tonight we took some time away from the regular programming and did some site seeing at the French quarters of New Orleans. The students really enjoyed experiencing the culture and atmosphere here.
We are experiencing the real deal when it comes to food here in New Orleans.
It feels like it's been a week already with all of the driving but the group is doing well!
Thank you for all of your prayers for our trip. God is certainly touching
the hearts of our students and working to restore.
High school Anthem is taking a break for the summer.
We hope you all have a great summer and we will see you again in September!
On April 30, 19 of our students decided they wanted to take their next step in faith and get baptized.
Please check out this video to experience a bit of what this night was about!