The first day, all of us worked at the Habitat for Humanity building site, on framing a house for a musician of Jamaican style music. It is required that the future owners of the houses being built actual work a minimum amount of hours on their house beside the volunteers, so we worked with the owner and another team on the exterior walls that day. We also discovered that New Orleans, in July is hot & humid, so the work environment was difficult. There was mandatory water breaks every hour in order to stay hydrated, but I have never seen such dedication, devotion and desire to work through whatever situation or circumstances were set before us, because the ten or more work groups there, made up of College students, church groups, and volunteers from all over the United States, were there for a common reason and goal, which was to put out all their effort, ability and strength to help build these houses for the people of New Orleans. There were no excuses not to move forward, no roadblocks that we couldn’t get around, or any reasons to stop what we came there for. We worked together. What an awesome feeling!
The rest of the days, I bounced between the two projects, helping wherever I could, and there was plenty to work on. One of the greatest memories was, when I walked from the Habitat job site to the New Salem house to have lunch with the rest of the team. I was hot and tired, as I lugged along the couple streets between work areas. But local residents that were working on their own houses, tearing out and replacing the interior walls and flooring, came out to shake my hand and thank me for coming and helping the community relief efforts. They didn’t know where I was from, but they knew that I had come to help them, and they were appreciative of the gesture of compassion, charity, aid and assistance. They saw that they were not forgotten or abandoned; that was demonstrated just by my being there and lending a hand, working to help rebuild their homes, their community and their lives. I needed no more than to see the joy in their faces and the happiness in their voices, as they thanked me for being there to help. When I flew into the airport at New Orleans I saw volunteers from all over the United States who just finished their missions trip, and as I waited to fly home a week later, I saw many new volunteers arriving to take my place and do their part to help. Continual waves of caring individuals with a common goal ... working together and to give all they could to help make the lives of the citizens of New Orleans restored to the best of their ability. Loving their neighbor.
Psalm 140:12 I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. 13 Surely the righteous will praise your name and the upright will live before you.