News from the Crescent City
Well, I need to begin by apologizing for the long absence since I last posted. Life is totally different in New Orleans. I arrived on Monday and, for a welcome back present, I was in a wreck. Unfortunately, it was my fault. I was pulling into Metairie on I-10 and a guy stopped in front of me. I slammed on my brakes but still rear-ended him. No injuries and minimal damage to his vehicle, but a wreck nonetheless.
I slept on my pastor's couch Monday and Tuesday evening and on a friend's couch Wednesday night. My FEMA trailer was set up and had water and electricity, but I couldn't get my key. Finally, on Thursday I received a call saying that my trailer was open. I've been sleeping there ever since. It's not pretty, but it's my home for now. I'm always on the go, however. I have been helping coordinate the mass of college students that are coming to New Orleans to help gut out houses in the month of March. We are having over 100 college students work with our church just this week. We are hopeful to gut out 40 houses this week, and hopefully to keep up that pace for the entire month (NOTE TO READERS: In a previous post, I erroneously guestimated that my church would gut 1000 houses in March. Well, let's just say I was using that 'fuzzy' math. The numbers will be more like 120-140. It is no understatement to say I got quite a ribbing from my friends here in New Orleans who 'called my bluff' on the 1000 homes. They got quite a laugh out of it).
If you, your church, your local association, or just a bunch of people would like to send a team down to help, we would provide housing and food. We are looking for as many people as possible to touch lives in our community. These people are so grateful for any help. I found out today that each home we gut out (that is, ripping out sheetrock, tile, tubs, etc) to the studs saves the homeowner at least $5000. Folks, that is tangible service to many who can't afford to pay for such labor. I can't stress enough how open people are to being loved on during this time. I implore you to gather together a group, give up a week's worth of work, and come serve others in Jesus' name. We'll take you in March, April, May, June, July, whenever. We just desperately need as many volunteers as possible. There are no skills required. We will show you how to gut a house and you should already know how to love on people. It's a simple, but effective ministry.
Finally, I must confess that blogging will be taking a back seat for awhile. The closest place I can get internet service is a 15 minute drive and between church work and school work, I have little time for 'extra-curricular' activities. I'll be taking most of March off, just because of the sheer volume of college students coming to New Orleans. I hope to pick back up in April.
Please pray about coming to New Orleans to help gut out homes. Pray about how you can serve. Please pray for Edgewater Baptist Church as we seek to minister in the Gentilly area (if you want to learn about our area of New Orleans, go to Google Maps and type in 70122 and you will see where Gentilly is). Pray that people respond to tangible love expressed through manual labor, food distribution, and worship services. Pray that God would continue to raise up churches willing to restructure their entire budgets to help support our ministry in this city. Pray that God's people would effectively minister in a city who's nickname is "the place that care forgot about."
posted by Jason Sampler at 5:31 PM