We started off day six by going to Donna and Charles Bolian’s church. There were only seven of us because last night we said goodbye to Keith and Nathan who left for the airport at 3 o’clock this morning. The service allowed us to see how a different church runs worship which I know for me was very interesting because I haven’t had the chance to attend many other church services outside St. John’s. The service started out with the youth running the praise music. There were multiple TV screens out in the congregation with the song lyrics so it was very interactive. Even though I didn’t know any of the songs, I found myself singing along to them by the end. The sermon was preached by a woman named Tiffane Lyon and she told the story of Noah’s Arc. The main lesson of the sermon was how to be obedient to God and trust in Him. There were multiple videos throughout the sermon that helped visual learners like me to understand the story. One of the videos was a clip from the movie Evan Almighty and even though the movie is a comedy, it got me thinking about how Noah was able to trust in God even though everyone else must have thought he was crazy.

After the church service, Donna and Charles took us to a grocery store in Slidell where we bought souvenir T-shirts and gifts for our families. Then we went to lunch at a place called Churches which is the southern version of KFC. After lunch, we went to a beach and swam in the Gulf of Mexico which was very warm compared to the water in New England! When we got back to the treehouse, we met a neighbor, a woman named Yolanda. She’s ninety years old and lives with her daughter and grandson who brought out his bunny for us to play with. Yolanda is from Panama and was living in Slidell when hurricane Katrina hit. She told us her story about how her house was completely destroyed during the hurricane. When all of the water receded, it left three feet of mud in her house, it was up to her waist. She moved back to Panama for a short time and when she came home, a group rebuilt her house for her for free. Even though it wasn’t the St. Bernard project that rebuilt her home, she was extremely grateful and thanking us for our service helping other people like her.

This is my third year doing this mission trip and I keep coming back because I see how grateful people like Yolanda and others are with what we do. Yesterday we wore our mission trip T-shirts to Jazz Fest and a woman stopped me while I was walking to tell me her story and thank us for continuing to come down nine years later. Tomorrow is our last day and we are back to work at a new site. I hope that our last day is as memorable as the previous six have been and we can leave Louisiana on a high note after another successful mission trip.

~Michaela Weinberger