It’s easy for us on site here in Plaquemines Parish to get "lost in the weeds" (I probably should have used "swamp" instead of "weeds") of what we’re doing and accomplishing each week. Periodically God gives us a strong refresher of what we’re about.
This past week we were blessed to have our many-times volunteer team from Marist (Catholic) High School, Chicago, with us. For those of you who haven’t heard the story, Marist was responsible for a dramatic evolution in my thinking regarding high school students. I started our journey in Biloxi narrowly believing that we needed the skill and thoroughness of adults. Then California Lutheran University opened my eyes to the university crowd. Well Marist High School did the same thing for the high school crowd. They’ve established a tradition, which is magically passed from one Marist team to the next, of dedicated and passionate service. We love them! And by the way, they’re the only team that has operated in every location we’ve worked in including Chauvin, Louisiana (after Gustav and Ike).
One of the students, informed me that after his experience in Chauvin (Marist demolished a house there), he became a believer (not precisely his words) and is dedicating his life to God. Gives new meaning to the pamphlet, "Finding God in the Ruins", doesn’t it? Anyway this young man heads the mission outreach committee at Marist (1800 students) and will major in theology when he goes off to college this fall.
The story gets better. A friend of the homeowner who has been working with our volunteers told our team how he had soured toward God and community because he had felt abandoned in the long aftermath of Katrina. Marist High School turned him around and restored his faith!
And they do the dirtiest jobs imaginable. Yesterday, armed with chem/bio suites and respirators, they cleaned out the most disgusting dirt and matted attic insulation that Steve Martsolf has ever seen! The kids are just awesome!
To be sure they’re still high school students! At 9.00 PM, in Venice, Louisiana (check your map—that’s very close to the end of the earth), they experienced a blow out on one of the vans on the way home from dinner. While two of the leaders changed the tire, the remaining 33, including chaperones, held an impromptu street dance (don’t worry, very slim chance of being run over in that remote area).
We are blessed to serve in His name!
Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders