Well, I just got home from a nine day trip to New Orleans. I'm a little pooped. To be honest, I always dread these trips. They are so long and exhausting. I hate living out of a suitcase and the showering conditions always leave you feeling a little dirtier than you were before. I always come home so excited though. I'm always blown away by my kids. They work so much harder than expected. They seek God in incredible ways. Mission trips give me a glimpse of what the body of Christ is truly intended to be.
New Orleans is doing great and terrible all at the same time. Many things had changed since last year. A lot of people had come back and it wasn't such a ghost town. More stores were open and quite a few houses were rebuilt and being lived in. A lot of houses had been completely demolished. There were houses that hadn't even been touched though. Streets were still lined with FEMA trailers and it was clear that people were very weary. They were not without hope though. They were confident that God was at work in their lives even in these unbelievable conditions. One of our sweetest moments happened one night at our devo. We had driven through the neighborhood where we worked last year. One of the work groups from last year always pulled into a Walgreens parking lot for lunch and ate under the pharmacy drive through overhang. So we decided to worship in that same spot. A man and his daughted drove by and saw us so they decided to get out and talk to us for a few minutes. He told us about his experience in the hurricane and about the friends and neighbors who had been killed by Katrina. He encouraged our work and told us that church groups were responsible for the rebuilding that had been done. When he left we were all so touched by his words. How often to you see God in a large Cajun man and his daughter? As hopeless as New Orleans may seem, God is still at work there. We believe in and worship a God of redemption, a God who rebuilds and restores. New Orleans is a testament to that.