I am so grateful for the many, many reactions I received to last week’s post about my Katrina experiences. And I watched with some degree of relief to see that New Orleans area fared much better this time around than they did seven years ago.
But two realities remain:
- After 7 years, there is still much work to be done in New Orleans and the surrounding areas
- There is, indeed, new work to be done after Isaac
So what are you going to do about it?
And no, that was not a hypothetical question.
I refuse to believe that in any of the 780 United Methodist churches in East Ohio there aren’t 12 adults who have the time, compassion and physical ability to spend a week in Louisiana between now and Christmas. Between retirees, stay at home parents, working folks with unused vacation time, even those between jobs, you can find a team that can paint, fix porches, tear up carpeting or do a myriad of other tasks.
All it takes in each church is one person to get the thing organized and make perhaps 15-20 phone calls to make it happen. That one person can be you. I know what I’m talking about, I’ve done it.
OK, I have you convinced, but who is going to figure out which porches to fix and whose carpet to rip up?
The Epworth Project is in Slidell, a suburb of New Orleans. A ministry of Aldersgate UMC they have dormitories, a dining room, a supply of tools and project coordination. They even have a list of homes to help in Slidell, New Orleans and the surrounding areas. How big of a list? Before Isaac hit there were thousands and thousand of jobs on the list. I have a feeling the list just got bigger. That’s OK, these folks can handle 400 volunteers a week.
Since Katrina, the Epworth Project has hosted nearly 100,000 volunteers and provided just under 4 million volunteer hours in service to the community. I have reliable reports that the hospitality is southern and the work is meaningful. By the way, all of this is done by a church with an average worship attendance of just 376.
Cfor the week per person is around $225 plus food and travel expenses. And that even includes a Sno Ball, the best daggone snow cone you’ve ever had.
I wrote last week that my week after Katrina was a week when I got to be the kind of person I always wanted to be. Why not allow the adults from your church to have the same kind of week? We know that mission work helps to move along the spiritual journey, not only building relationships within the work team, but the relationship with God as well.
Encourage your members to go be the hands and feet of God. And you be the spark that makes it happen.