Recently, I spent 12 days in a Hurricane Katrina devastated area of New Orleans. I worked with about 100 volunteers in the Habitat for Humanity organization.
It was a mission trip I wanted to do because the catastrophe was in our country. I have made a few foreign mission trips, but this time I felt the need to help some of our own who are in need. Many in the New Orleans region are in dire need.
Some people are getting some insurance, but most people are not going back to their homes or businesses. Two hundred thousand people evacuated. I would be surprised if one-fourth of these return to their devastated area.
Since I like to work with lumber and either build new or remodel old, my skills were used in various ways. For several days we sided a 1,200 square foot house. A couple of days we cut and hung soffit and facia. We never hung guttering. It is seldom used in that region.
I have worked with concrete so I offered to help pour footing for another house. I also worked on a house in progress by installing walls.
All in all, I did not overdo it in the 95 degrees plus heat. The humidity was also very high.
The people guiding the Habitat building projects are very considerate of the volunteers. I felt very protected and guided in my volunteer work and ministry.
Because the people of Holy Family Church helped me financially to make the trip and live there for two weeks, I felt it was a parish ministry, and I was their representative.
Fr. Tom Hesse, Pastor
Holy Family Church, Eudora