This cross sits atop nearly all of the cemetary plots around here. Amazing site, and thought provoking for sure!
Saturday night we welcomed our team from California. They are staying at the East location, where we live. They spent yesterday getting settled in and were ready to go this morning. They are working in numerous locations doing everything from sheetrock finishing to electrical to plumbing to porch finishing to mudding. Tonight they will be going to a barbeque hosted by a friend of theirs who lives here, a woman retired from the Coast Guard. It will be a special treat for all of them!
This evening we are expecting our team from Missouri to arrive. They will be staying at St. Luke's church located in the 9th ward. They are a group of students, mixed with adult leaders, and will be doing their share of mud outs while they are here.
I wanted to talk a bit about Hands 2 Go. It is the relief organization that is the "brain child" of Pastor Larry who is from New York. He comes and spends 3 weeks out of each month here and feels that is where God has called him. He and Pastor Teresa put the wheels in motion to start Hands 2 Go and were running things on their own, as best as they could, for quite some time.
Back in December of this past year they took a special man, Joel, to lunch. Now Joel is from northern Indiana and had been here quite a few times volunteering in whatever way was needed. He would plan on coming for a week and end up staying 3 or more. Pastors Larry and Teresa asked him if he would be interested in being the director for Hands 2 Go. He agreed and gave a year commitment to doing so.
There are 2 locations where we house volunteers. The place in New Orleans East used to be the church. After the storm the entire congregation was gone. The church building in the 9th ward opened up and Pastor Teresa moved operations there. The building at East has been transformed for the volunteers, bunk beds, full kitchen, 2 showers and all. The church in the 9th has an upstairs area that has also been transformed for volunteers. No longer are there church offices. Instead there are more bunk beds with a full kitchen in the downstairs area.
Everything changed with the storm. Everyone changed after the storm. And things are still changing by the day. Churches everywhere have transformed the space they have to help others. Some are just doing everything they can to have church again! Without the volunteers neither would be possible!
Both of our locations have the option of having 3 meals a day prepared for them (at a small cost) or they can use the facilities and prepare for themselves. We have both and both work, according to the teams needs and preparations.
Hands 2 Go has a 10 year commitment to the area - - - yes, you read correctly - - - 10 years! You might wonder why so long? If you wonder that, you haven't been here and seen for yourself! After you have seen you will understand! You might even think that 10 years is a short time then!
If you ask Monty and I how long we will be here we will not have a definitive answer. Only God knows that and He's not big on giving us His long range plans. I know that if He did, we would mess things up for sure. We do know that we are committed for as long as He would have us here. If another storm would come in this upcoming hurricane season . . . we would be first responders and go from there. Like I said, God has the set of plans. It's hard to explain unless you have been here. It's even harder to understand unless you have been here. It's a life unlike anything else. It's not a life for everyone. It IS the life for us! It's the dream for us, it's the calling for us and it's where we will remain!
Hopefully this has answered some questions you might have, or maybe created enough that you want to come and see for yourself!? Either way, we thank you for having the heart to come with us on our mission, for praying for us and for just thinking of us.
Please continue to pray for the people here, those trying to rebuild their lives and those coming to help them.
Until next time . . . Susan and Monty