Back from New Orleans! (part 1)
After two 30-hour bus rides and six days in the city of New Orleans, the 2014 SMCC ServeUP team stumbled off our bus last Sunday afternoon in Portland, ready for some long showers and naps! It was an amazing week of hard work, rewarding conversations, and new friendships. Pictured below is the house we repainted...
This home is located in the lower-ninth ward of New Orleans. If you are familiar with the tragedy of hurricane Katrina, you know that this neighborhood is right next to the levees that failed, and was under 15-20 feet of water. This effort to repaint the homes here is spear-headed by the church Journey9, and they are doing this for two primary reasons:
1) When the National Guard searched through homes after the disaster, they spray-painted markings on each home to indicate what they found. These markings have persisted in the years since, harming the morale of the neighborhood and reminding everyone of Katrina.
2) Unpainted homes tend to attract drugs and drug dealers. They become spots for dealers to sell, as they are assumed to be abandoned. They neighborhood calls these "sets". By simply repainting, Journey9 has been able to systematically get rid of most of the "sets" in the area.
By working with Journey9 last week, we were taking part in this important work!
On our tour of the city, we stopped by the spot where the levees failed during the storm. Below you can see part of our group pictured here...
Although the physical work we were doing was a significant part of the ServeUP experience, we also intentionally spent time in conversations during our "community time" each evening to discuss and learn about how work and service can affect your faith. It was during these community-time discussions that the team grew closer together, and we saw God move powerfully in the lives of students. I look forward to sharing more about this with you in my part 2 update next week!
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