When you think of New Orleans, what it the first thing you think about? Is it the French Quarter or Bourbon Street? If you’re a football fan it may be the Superdome and the Saints. Or maybe it’s Creole cooking or Mardi Gras. All of those things are part of New Orleans but to us, New Orleans is the place where God has brought us this summer to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those that are still rebuilding after Hurricane’s Katrina and Isaac.
One of those people is Miss Dorothy. She is a sweet 80 year old lady that lives in what is called a “double shot gun”. This is a duplex with rooms arranged one behind the other and doors at each end of the house for each side. There are no hallways. When Hurricane Katrina hit she left her home and went to a hotel for the night, when she heard that the storm didn’t cause any damage, she left to go visit her sister in Alabama. What she didn’t realize was that there was a storm surge descending upon the city that would cause the waters to rise almost to the top of the windows in her house. She got to her sister’s house and the TV’s were all turned off and everyone was very quiet. They then proceeded to tell her that the city she called home was under water and her house was more than likely severely damaged. She was devastated but came back to the city to have her home rebuilt.
She had hired a contractor with the money she received from different sources however like so many others, this person did inferior work and actually caused additional damage to the house due to a faulty roof repair. This is how our assessment team found her after she had moved out of her bedroom and was sleeping on the sofa because of the mold and mildew in the walls. Since then several short term teams have been in to help her repair her home. A new window was put in, ceiling fans put in, drywall has been replaced and in the last week, the room was painted and today the trim was put up. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to see the look on her face when she sees the progress on her room. By the first part of next week she will be back in her bedroom and not sleeping on the sofa anymore.
After each day of work as we give her the keys back we gather in a circle and pray with her. Some days her son, Tyrone joins us. We praise God for the work that got done, for Miss Dorothy and for God’s handiwork and we ask for safety for the ride back across the causeway to the “North Shore”. We then say good bye and Miss Dorothy waves at us from her porch until we are out of sight.
This is what New Orleans is to us. Helping to serve those that God leads us to. Sharing time with volunteer teams, homeowners and fellow ministry co-laborers for Christ. Praying with each other and praising God for everything He provides and for the calling on our lives. Will we eat crawdads and beignets? Absolutely! We will enjoy the culture, the people and even the heat. But first and foremost we will remember why we are here and thank Jesus for it all. To God be the glory!