Dear Friends of Champion Christian High School Mission Trip,
Thank you so much for your prayers and support during our mission trip to New Orleans. As you know CCHS took a group of 28 students and 9 adults to work along with Touch Global, a ministry that has continued to do restoration ministry and build relationships in the New Orleans area since Hurricane Katrina. As you will recall, Hurricane Katrina caused great loss of life and damage along the Gulf Coast almost seven years ago. More than 800,000 homes were damaged in New Orleans alone. While we were there we learned that the need is still great. It was an amazing time. This was, of course, very different from our other mission trips but very powerful in our lives.
We also heard a lot of stories from those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. One of our students wrote, "One of the things I really enjoyed was hearing the stories of people who had survived the hurricane. The stories made me feel sad at first. People up here (in Pennsylvania) don't know exactly what happened and how bad it was. Hearing it from the people it happened to and seeing the damage made me feel deeply for the people we were helping."
When we arrived at Touch Global in Covington, Louisiana, we were assigned to work in small groups on various projects. A small group of guys from our mission team worked on the roof of a home that was completely gutted. One student said, "I liked the mission trip because I got to meet new people who were following God. They became my new friends in Christ. They taught me how to work on a roof. We learned how to do some framework and put wood down for the tar paper and shingles. I liked working and serving God - that was my favorite part of the trip." Another group of our guys installed a kitchen in a damaged home. One of our Chinese students wrote, "During the trip, we met Larry and George, (a volunteer with Touch Global). Larry is a strong, kind man who has ten children. George is a professional carpenter. We made a kitchen in Larry's home. We made some doors and assembled (the cabinets) together. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I think it is the best kitchen ever built!"
A large group of our mission team worked with a church and urban ministry that was moving from one location to another. We helped with renovation on the new building and with some of the moving work. Students mentioned, "We moved a refrigerator out of an old house and into the new church. We put up insulation, ceiling tiles, and moved large carpet squares up and down the stairs. For days we moved boxes to the new church. We met some really good people. They worked very hard along side of us and were kind and friendly." Another student at the moving site reported, "One day I was putting primer on a door when a lady drove down the alley. She stopped and looked at me, but I kept working. About a minute later I felt her arms around me, hugging me. She said, 'Thank you for giving up time out of your day to come and help a broken community.' Then she walked back to her car and drove away. I think about her words a lot now... a broken community. I went down to New Orleans not knowing what I would find. My heart shattered when I saw houses and churches that were boarded up and foundations with no houses. I didn't want to come home. I wanted to stay and help with the healing process of the city."
Two other small groups worked on painting homes that were almost completely restored. We sanded the dry wall, taped ceilings, covered floors and spent many hours painting. The best times were when we were visited by the owners of the homes. One owner was an elderly woman whose husband is an invalid, and the other was a single mother of two. They really appreciated the work we were doing, and we enjoyed learning about them. We also got to meet people in their neighborhoods. One student wrote, "When we did a prayer walk, we met many adorable children at a day care. That was so awesome! We talked to them and prayed for them." In addition, our whole mission team got to meet people in the neighborhood where we hosted a block party. Each week, Touch Global has a block party with free food and drinks in one of the neighborhoods where they are doing restoration work. The block parties are a chance to connect with people in the neighborhoods and to learn about others who may be in need. Our team enjoyed playing with several children who stopped by.
Finally, in our evening of free time, we enjoyed seeing and tasting some of the sights and culture of New Orleans. We saw a warehouse of Mardi Gras floats, ate an amazing barbecue feast, saw some of the historical French Quarter and the Mississippi River, and ate beignets at Café du Monde. Before we left the south, we traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi for a dip in the Gulf of Mexico. One of Korean students wrote, "When I visited downtown New Orleans, it was so pretty. The lights of the city and the tall buildings looked like Seoul, my hometown. If I have another chance to go to New Orleans, I hope to help others and sightsee more. I give thanks to my God, who let me have this precious opportunity to meet and help wonderful people."
Although there is not enough room on this page to convey to you the experiences, God-sightings, powerful feelings and wealth of new experiences we had while each of us took new steps to follow God on this trip, we hope you get the sense of how important is was in our lives. As a ministry, CCHS makes a commitment to offer 4 significant trips to our high school students in their career at Champion. Almost without fail, our alumni report that those times are those that have impacted them the most spiritually, culturally and educationally. Thank you for helping to provide that experience for us. May God bless you richly.
Champion Christian High School Mission Team 2012