Post-NOLA Trip thoughts 1 – Why New Orleans?

We’ve just returned from our trip to New Orleans and the Desperation Student Conference.  Really grateful for so many aspects of this trip.  Here is some of how and why we got there (and here).

I thought twice about planning a mission trip to New Orleans.  In fact, I thought twice about having another student mission trip. Though they have their flaws, I really do see the value of these trips and believe them to be worth having.  Will probably share more about that as time goes on.


One of my hopes in our student ministry is to have a Christ and others-centered, mission approach where we go and serve local and further out domestically and internationally.  This past year, among the best things we’ve done was skipping our traditional fall retreat. Instead, we went out and did local mission projects in Paterson, NJ, Harlem and Queens, NY.  Frankly, we need to find ways to do more of these types of things as a student ministry and as families and believers.  We’re taking steps.

Anyway, it’s a long story but New Orleans became the place.  I couldn’t really avoid it, these opportunities kept coming up, the need is great, turn on tv and from PBS to even the Edge having a charity devoted to saving the music, it was everywhere so it got my attention.

As I was praying about it, the idea of not going because it was too cliché seemed more superficial and compelled by the need of New Orleans (and much of the Gulf region), I found myself planning a mission trip. Time went on and I got excited about the opportunity. In college, I connected with classic jazz and some friends turned me to Harry Connick Jr. – a son of New Orleans. Dealing with the aftermath of Katrina, the rebuilding, the non-rebuilding, the corruption, the hurt, the politics, the culture of New Orleans, Cajun, its symbolic presence in the South, and then there was us. I am not handy. Most of my students aren’t either. This was going to be tough – for all of us. As you could see, things were falling into place in terms of a mission trip. I was getting excited to do something that we weren’t that good at. Something that would make us uncomfortable as that would force us to keep focused. As many know, it’s when we are uncomfortable and not in control that we hear God’s voice. I doubt it’s because He is speaking any louder but more that we are listening so much more intently. Next thing I knew, friend, fellow seminarian and blogger, Evan was bringing some students as well. God truly seemed in the midst of this. For if it was me, we’d be in Vegas. Hmmm, that’s a great idea for next year.