Project 12 Mission Trip 2009- Entry 1
Posted by gkaiser on May 14, 2009
P12 Outreach- May 2009
Had a looooonnnnggggg drive (about 22 hours I think) from Chicago to Baton Rouge. Everyone seemed rather cool for such a long tiring trip. Lots of stops for fuel, food and play along the route helped. Had a fun picnic in a town park in Illinois, lots of slides, merry-go-round and a nice pavilion where we ate lunch on a warm Spring day.
We drove through a heavy rainstorm in southern Mississippi but other than that it was a rather uneventful trip -which is nice sometimes 🙂
Early in the morning we arrived at New Covenant Baptist in Denham Springs, LA who as last year, really blessed us with food and accommodations. We had great fellowship with old and new friends, worked at the wonderful Streams of Life church food for the needy distribution center, I did a short music set at Walker School in nearby Walker, well received, had a great response and good chats with students and some of the staff. God is at work there!
The mid-week worship service at New Covenant was a blessing, pastoral staff very kind -and of course these southerners can really cook… we had several amazing dinners in Baton Rouge there!
We were able to also do a set with several great local artists at Community Bible Church, had an excellent turnout and response. Ami, Brach and friends (The Unfortunates) who include staff and students of Project 12 did a cool show there. I finished with a blues set and some speaking. Again, a wonderful night with a lot of great folks.
I’m writing this at the Redeemer Presbyterian Church mission house who have provided our housing as well as connections to needy folks with homes semi or totally trashed by the hurricane in New Orleans. They have long done great outreach and hosted hurricane relief groups in N.O. and directed us to solid and good labor throughout the week.
We had gotten to New Orleans very late due to the last Baton Rouge concert and the many chats with folks afterwards. Heading towards Mike & Terry Rousey’s home (good friends and directors of St. Level Ministries, also members of Redeemer Church) we drove through the French Quarter about 3 a.m.. So many sad people were out, doing the Fri. night up. As in many places lots were drunk, high, plenty of pimps, prostitutes and thrill-seekers. It reminded me of Chicago only more compressed in the Quarter. And of course many of these folks are tourists from other places.
It also reminded me of where God brought me from, that’s for sure. Loving pleasure rather than God is still the deal for so many in our culture.
A street-musician friend named Wil Kennedy (a singer/songwriter/guitarist) as last year set his battery-powered gear up in Jackson Square and music sets with me. He’s a seasoned street performer and knows Jesus and the Word. He’d taken a large detour on heroin a long time ago but has climbed out of addiction and is just a good bro. who I enjoy hanging with.
Had a couple good chats with people who stood or sat to listen, a few school groups who sat or stood across the street waiting to get into a museum there, and was thankful to notice a local fortune teller and a few drug dealers were essentially forced to listen to most of my gospel blues tunes 🙂
Our students and staff have worked hard each day, demoing, drywalling, sanding, mudding, painting and otherwise doing carpentry and other work in homes quite messed up from Katrina. A lot of folks have never returned or are dead or gave up, but many came back and are basically trying to keep afloat in an economy and a hard situation of perhaps getting their mortgage finished up but with zero money left with which to rebuild wrecked homes. This is where wonderful folks like those at Redeemer and other churches have made a great difference by hosting mission groups.
As I write all but 3 of our group of 18 is once again working hard at two sites.
Yesterday we’d split into 3 teams, one of them who had the job of crawling under a house that had been largely destroyed, nothing now but the frame basically. A single mom and her daughter were kind and grateful for our P12’ers going under the house and clearing out all sorts of debris, tires, pipes, anything the wind and flood waters had brought to a halt under the house. I’m told the snails, other bugs and of course overall mess was quite amazing. We were blessed by her kindness as she brought them all lunch from Popeye’s Chicken.
Last night most everyone visited the Quarter, had coffee and treats there and were able to relax after yet another day of heat and hard work. I’m proud of ’em for sure- truly!
God is blessing this trip and we certainly appreciate all the prayers.
Hope you enjoy a few photos from the trip so far!
I’ll post one more time from Missouri where we will fellowship and share in a bit of work as well as outreach and fellowship with the Allen’s who run Rocks Cry Out Christian Retreat near Doniphan. They bought the old JPUSA lodge and property we had owned and worked for many years, and have graciously allowed us to stay, work and interact with them for a few days at the end of each of our P12 mission trips. They’re good folks who love the Lord and have vital ministry to many of the kids, many whom are caught in drugs and other issues locally.
So, after we’re there for a couple days I’ll post an update.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your prayers for our team, witness/example and safety.