get going. Oh my gosh, what an incredible experience!!! Dot, Carla, and I spent our day painting trim and
doors, staining and sealing trim, laughing at our ineptitude, delighted by new skill development. Saws
and fans roaring, Dale cruising around on stilts, Ron and Paul designing railings for the choir loft, Rashid
patiently tutoring Carla, Dot and myself and Sam is everywhere. Whoa! I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back to the beginning…The drive from Harrisonburg to New Orleans was uneventful, so uneventful, in fact that we drove straight through, and were we ever grateful when we awoke Sunday morning. A time to relax and stretch a bit, a time to get to know each other and hear about the week’s schedule, a time to listen to razzing and banter between old friends (both geriatric and longtime).
After a slow start in the morning, we went to Christian Baptist Church to worship with our New Orleans
brothers and sisters. We were warmly welcomed by a rousing service, followed by fellowship and lunch
in the pews--such generosity, affection, and appreciation! Gumbo--need I say more?
I know previous blogs have shared the profound experience that is the Lower 9th Ward. In fact, I
read each one, eager to learn more about the project and the people. Still, these snapshots cannot
do justice to the experience. Devastation continues to abound: empty, uninhabitable houses, vacant
lots with waist-high grasses hiding broken fragments of past lives and once bustling neighborhoods.
Entire neighborhoods rebuilt by celebrities and church groups, emerging from the emptiness. Hope and
despair, resilience and defeat, devastation and resurrection--so many dichotomies.
Thank you Tillie and Joan for the delicious meals (Dot is no longer on kitchen duty and I’ve only had to
wrestler her back into her chair a couple of times. Old habits are hard to break!) We arrived home in
the evening to cold drinks and a tremendous meal. We are well tended, which is most excellent since we
returned to the MDS house dragging at the end of the day.
Thanks Sam, for your vision and commitment to this project. I have a deepening level of respect and
appreciation for the hard work and sacrifice made by you and your family.
Good night from New Orleans. Please continue to keep the 9th Ward in your prayers and pray that we
are able to finish the necessary details as the project nears an end.