I just returned home to Atlanta from a 4 day mission trip in New Orleans. It was during this trip that solidified, for me, the saying, “The greatest blessing is to be a blessing to others.” image

The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest natural disasters to ever hit the United States, is in 3 weeks. I’m so humbled to have been able to contribute to the continued rebuilding of the great city of New Orleans, particularly the Lower 9th Ward. Before actually seeing the damage that was done in 2005, it’s hard to even begin to imagine all that people went through. One of my best friends was forced to relocate to the Atlanta area with her family at that time. I had never thoroughly thought about what they actually had to endure, until now. Their lives changed forever because of this one ruthless storm. Yet their faith, like the rest of New Orleans (as I’ve personally witnessed), has remained the same.

I traveled with my church youth group to attend the annual Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engimageagement and Development’s (CSID) home mission project. People from all over — Florida, Maryland, Maine, Iowa, Oregon, and even Puerto Rico come together to assure the people of New Orleans that they have not been forgotten.

Not only did we repair, rebuild, and re-paint homes, but we participated in projects such as assisting teachers in preparing their classrooms for the upcoming school year, preparing meals for families in food kitchens, and even sorting thousands of recycled Mardi Gras beads to sell to businesses as Mardi Gras is a vital tradition to the city.

Amid extreme police brutality, movie theatre shootings, and crazy Republican candidates, I think we tend to forget about the genuine good that’s still left in this world, or even in this country. How comforting it is to know that there is still some type of unity in this country despite all that’s designed to separate us. It’s amazing how just one week of work can impact someone for a lifetime.

If you, too, are a member of a Baptist church anywhere in the United States, ask your pastor or youth pastor about possibly joining the American Baptist Home Mimageission Society, and also about attending CSID’s annual program specifically for Katrina victims. The program always takes place in early August and is an incredible way to end summer vacation (if you have one). Click here for more information.

Continue to pray for the city of New Orleans and all of those who were and are still affected by Katrina every day. And even better, do something to help your brothers and sisters as the 10th anniversary approaches to remind them that they’re not alone.

Click here for more information about the American Baptist Home Mission Society. Also, follow @abhomemission on Instagram.

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