New Orleans Part 3: Our School at Blair Grocery

Part 1 HERE & Part 2 HERE

Wednesday and Thursday (June 14 & 15) brought our group to the lower 9th ward to a place called Our School at Blair Grocery. A former New York City teacher moved to the area about 10 years ago and purchased a bunch of vacant lots and an old grocery store to start an urban garden as a means of getting kids off the street and giving them something productive to do in the summers, while improving their health at the same time.

When we got there on Wednesday, Turner (the former teacher), showed us around. Some of the students worked with him to sort through the fruit and vegetables for the compost pile. Every day he gets a load of food from a grocery store that they would normally throw out. Some of it has gone bad and goes straight to the compost pile, some of it goes to the goats (if they like it, because goats are surprisingly picky), and the fruit that is still good gets eaten by Turner and the kids in the neighborhood. Sometimes that is all they will eat in a day. Continue reading “New Orleans Part 3: Our School at Blair Grocery”

New Orleans Part 2: ARC of Greater New Orleans

Monday (June 12) was our first day of service work in New Orleans.

I was really excited because I knew that my team would be going to a place called ARC. ARC provides employment for adults with disabilities, and they help the environment by recycling Mardi Gras beads. I was told we would get to work with the employees sorting and repackaging beads, and we would learn a little about Mardi Gras in the process.

We were a little late to get to the warehouse in the morning because we couldn’t find it. We stopped to check the map again and eventually realized we were parked right next to it; we just couldn’t see that it was on the other side of a fence. Continue reading “New Orleans Part 2: ARC of Greater New Orleans”

New Orleans Part 1: St. Louis

Last week, Jamin and I helped lead a high school mission trip to New Orleans. We got back last night around 7:30pm, and we have used today to rest and regain some energy. The trip wiped us out, but it was amazing.

About a month before the trip, we were asked if we could go along because they needed two more leaders. The students were from a Lutheran church in our town. We aren’t Lutheran, but I love having opportunities to work with other denominations and be unified with the body of Christ! Continue reading “New Orleans Part 1: St. Louis”

Haiti: Being Loved By Orphans

I learn something from the beautiful hearts behind those sweet smiles every time I go to Haiti – I learn how to love big and unconditionally like that’s all I’ll ever have.

The first time I walked into the Imagine Missions orphanage was with a group of about 20 other people. Some had been there before, and some were like me…this was just the beginning. The team from the previous week was spending their last afternoon with the kids, so most of them were preoccupied with their new friends. I saw kids running to the familiar faces on our team and embracing them. For a moment I thought, maybe that will happen to me in a couple days once the kids have had a chance to meet me, then I felt something around my waist. It was the arms of a little boy named Duvalson.

 

I didn’t know him, and he didn’t know me, but that would change over the next week that we would spend together.

Duvalson wasn’t the only child who was attached to me at the hip, but he is the one who Continue reading “Haiti: Being Loved By Orphans”

Haiti: Loving Orphans

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Me & Aldo
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Jinald
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Lovelie & Me
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Me & Djoudens
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Wood & Jamin
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Roody
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Lovens

The first time I went to Haiti was the first time I ever met an orphan, and I met a whole lot of of them all at once.

The Bible says that we are to care for the widows and orphans, and I suppose that was one of the reasons why I wanted to go three years ago. I am a supporter of international missions, and I’d been to the Dominican Republic several years before, but I wanted a chance to see an orphanage firsthand, to know the kids that lived there and help them in some way. Continue reading “Haiti: Loving Orphans”

Haiti: Joy & Mourning

A week before our arrival in Haiti, a beloved member of our Imagine Missions family died. His name was Feto. He was a security guard at the team house and so much more. He was a father figure to many children – including two of his own, an amazing servant and friend, and he was Papa Noel (Santa Claus) to the children at the orphanage. He loved to play a card game that involved putting clothes pins all over your face; in fact, I’m not sure if I’d ever seen him without at least one clothes pin on his face. I still don’t understand how the game works, but I remember how Feto was always welcoming and kind.

My husband and I had privilege of attending Continue reading “Haiti: Joy & Mourning”

Haiti: Where We Go

It was three years ago that Haiti captured our hearts. Specifically, it was an orphanage just outside of Port-Au-Prince called Loyal Oaks Community Chapel Children’s Home.

We just returned from our third trip to see the people at Imagine Missions who have become family to us. We led a small team – just 6 people including us. I wasn’t sure what to expect with such a small group, but it was nice. We were able to get to know each other and make some fun memories.

The orphanage is home to almost 100 of the most precious kids in the world. Some of them are orphans, and others have living parents who just can’t provide for them. At Imagine Missions, these kids receive food and education, and they are being raised to know the Lord.

We absolutely love having the opportunity to go back and visit “our kids,” and we can’t wait to go back again! I’ll be writing more about our trip over the course of this week.

If anyone wants more information about the orphanage or is interested in financially supporting the kids there, visit the Imagine Missions website 🙂 (http://imaginemissions.org)