My last post on the Katrina Mission Trip 2013, a little late but yet here. As you are reading this, we are all home, safe and sound.

Friday was the last day – which had many mixed emotions. Many, if not all, were thinking, “If we just stayed one more week, how much more could we get done.” We all wanted Sande and Miss Trina in their home. Team One headed to work early for 7am so that they could get the flooring in.

That afternoon at 3, we were encouraged to go to a ribbon cutting ceremony for Ms. Creola’s new home. There were mixed feelings, we wanted to see the joy of a home being completed but wanted to get as much done before departure. All were happy to go to the ribbon cutting ceremony to share in such joy. Sadly, Ms. Creola had lost her best friend the day before. Although she was saddened by the loss, she knows her best friend was still with her on that porch. It was a happy day for her to be in her home. Joyously she danced on HER front porch, arms raised, loudly proclaiming “Thank you Jesus!”, “Thank you Jesus!”, with a big smile on her face!

Team Two was a little disheartened as we all wanted to see Ms. Trina one more time before we left, but with the ribbon ceremony and Ms. Trina working it was not going to happen. We made our way back to St. Jude’s Community Center for supper and packing. The best surprise was waiting for us, Ms. Trina. She remembered where we were staying and stopped by to see us before we left town. Hugs all around! One more picture and more hugs for good measure.

We heard several times while we were there, that although we think, “If we had one more week we could accomplish so much more” – had we not come at all, the nail would not have been hammered, the wall not painted and the floor not installed. Progress was made – there was forward progress on both houses we worked on. We were told, St. Johns was one of the best crews they have seen. They commented on our teens, how hard and what a great work ethic they had. Be proud!

During devotions that night, comments such as “We got them closer to the goal line.”, “There is so much work to be done, not just building houses.” There is also, homelessness, feeding the hungry, education, human respect – giving a warm smile as they walk through the door. They are one of Gods masterpieces! It is like it is all one big bundle of things and we are one small piece of that bundle.

Do you know there are still 130 houses on the waiting list for St. Bernard Project just waiting to be worked on and there are 10 more calls a week for help on other homes? Still! We must continue to pray for all the work St. Bernard Project and St. Jude’s Community Center is doing.

I want to take this chance to thank the St. Johns Mission Team members for all the work they did that week. Thank you Pat for all the coordination efforts you put in, for taking the lead. Thank you Cheri for the spiritual guidance that you gave all of us. Thank you to the youth of St. Johns for the opportunity to get to know you better and to be so proud of all of you. Thank you to all the team members, we all made progress forward in New Orleans. Thank you St. Johns members for giving us the opportunity to participate in this mission trip and the support that you give each year.

Until next year, Michelle Strate