I just got back from our trip to Louisiana and it was awesome. Since I knew how tired I’d be tonight I wrote the following ahead of time so I can just post it now and go on to sleep in a real bed. I’ll start writing in earnest over the next few days. I will tell you now that the trip was great and we had fun and we’re glad we went. And we’re already planning the next one. Here’s what I wrote before the trip. Tune in next week for stories of what we saw and did.
We will be working on a brand new work site in Houma, Louisiana. We are the eighth “village” of volunteers the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has built in the hurricane area. Surprisingly, most of them are in Mississippi. Apparently there’s a lot more red tape to set up a recovery camp in Louisiana. Our camp will be the second one in the state. The other one is in Luling. While the first six teams are already working on drywall, painting and roofing in Mississippi, the teams in Luling and Houma are just now setting up housekeeping.
PDA calls our housing village “the Good Earth.” Gives it a kind of happy, campy name. We will be the first team to actually stay in it. First we have to finish building it. Once we get it habitable we’ll go out into the community of Houma and start helping with the mucking and demolition. Now, I’m not familiar with mucking. Well, I mean, I know what it means, at least, I think I do. I’ve just never actually mucked before. I hear it is nasty and smelly work.
What we expect to face in Louisiana will be minor in comparison to some of the trips I’ve been on to Guatemala. The beds won’t be what we’re used to at home. We’re not sure if we’ll have electricity. But, actually, we’re the people who are scheduled to install the electrical wiring so that’s kind of in our control.
I said before that mission is not “taking Christianity to the savages” anymore. Mission is now standing alongside others in need and helping them or just being with them. Just “being” with someone is a hard thing for us to do in our action oriented culture. It took me quite a while to understand this concept. It doesn’t seem like much of a contribution. But sometimes it’s all we have to give.
I expect the hardest part will be to see citizens of my own country in the same shape as people in a very poor country far south on the world globe. That’s what I expect. We’ll see what happens.