Our Life

Monday, February 19, 2007

Work day in Pontchartrain Park

On Saturday morning, a group from the Seminary split up into teams to go into Gentilly and help with debris clean up from the tornado. Our group went to Pontchartrain Park, which was hit pretty bad. The house we worked on was only a few doors down from where Mrs. Stella, the 85 year old woman, was killed by the tornado.

This is a picture of where Mrs. Stella's house and FEMA trailer were before the tornado.

Mrs. Stella's family has put up flowers at her house in her honor.

This is another house that was hit across the street from Mrs. Stella's.

I talked to a neighbor down the street and she told me about the night the tornado hit. All the neighbors came out in the rain in the middle of the night to help Mrs. Stella's daughter try to find Mrs. Stella in all the rubble. Please be praying for this family and for this community.

Our group, joined by a team from LSU and some employees from The Times Picayune, worked at the house of Mr. Melvin and Mrs. Mary. They are living in a trailer in front of the house, but haven't yet started working on rebuilding. We worked in the backyard which was packed with stuff that had been damaged by Katrina.
He had a huge shed full of ruined things, but the shed had been damaged by the tornado and was about to collapse. He also had 5 motorcycles or bikes, 3 or 4 ovens, 2 boats, and 1 refridgerator in the back as well. We spent all morning clearing the debris and bringing it to the front yard by the street.
Halfway through the morning, Chad drove around and found the FEMA guys that pick up all the debris. He got them to come pick up what we had done so far so we would have more room to put the rest.

Mr. Melvin was extremely grateful for our help and we got to pray with him and his wife before we left. We were exhausted, but it was a great day of practically showing people the love of Christ.

This is the group from the Seminary that worked at our site.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Birthday and Valentine's Day!!

Chad has it rough . . . my birthday was on Feb. 13th and then Valentines the next day. But let me tell you that he did great! He started out the week by getting me tulips so I could enjoy them all week. He even got me some for the office and some to keep at home, how thoughtful. He made me breakfast when I got up and then gave me his sweet card and the two books he got me.

Then we went into the living room to look at my new elliptical! I asked all the family to give me money instead of gifts and we pooled it all together to start up Club Gilbert!! I have really been wanting to get in shape, but I can't run (bad knees) and walking isn't enough of a workout, and the nearest gym is 20 minutes away. My elliptical was the answer (although it stinks that I can't use the weather as an excuse not to work out anymore). We've had it a few weeks and I really like it.

My friends at the office made me a birthday sign, a birthday cake and they all sang to me. After work, Chad and I jumped in the car because we had reservations for dinner at 5:30. I love surprises so I had no idea where we were going. I was so excited when we pulled up to The Melting Pot!! It is a fondue restaurant and so much fun. We got a four course meal(cheese fondue, salad, lots of meat and veggies to cook, and chocolate fondue for dessert), which we cooked ourselves. It was romantic, yummy and we were there for 3 hours . . . I love long dinners! When we got back to the apartments, we went to Matt and Jacque's place and they had thrown me a surprise party with more cake! What a great day!

Because of my birthday being on the 13th, Chad and I don't get each other prizes for Valentine's Day. We usually try to do something creative and inexpensive. We went to church and ate dinner there, but after church I had a surprise for Chad. I was planning on taking him to Barnes and Noble for a little game I planned, but realized on the way that we were about to get caught in a Mardi Gras parade. There were police everywhere and half the streets were closed. So after driving all over the place I finally decided to nix the B&N idea and try it at Target. It ended up great doing it at Target.

Chad and I each had 5 cards and a buggy. We each had to go through the store and pick out 5 items that reminded us of the other or stood for a characteristic that we loved about the other. Then we wrote on the cards why we picked these items and what we love about each other. After 30 minutes, we met in the lawn and garden section and showed each other the stuff we picked out. We gave each other the cards so we can keep them to remember this Valentine's Day. It was cheesy, but it ended up being really fun and a neat way to say "I love you" to each other.

These are the things that Chad picked out for me.

These are the things I picked out for Chad.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How much more can we handle?

This is the question that is on the minds of most people in New Orleans. If you've seen the news, then you probably know that it is because of the tornados that hit on Tuesday morning. The really crazy thing is that most people just slept right through it all, Chad and I included. The was no warning, no sirens, nothing. I woke up with the rain hitting our window unit (it was actually hail, but I didn't know that), but I just thought it was a thunderstorm and rolled back over.

Dad called Tuesday morning to wish me a happy birthday and then asked if we were ok. This was the first we heard of the tornados. Chad went to class and they were saying that one hit really close to the Seminary, just a few blocks away. As I mentioned in a previous post, Chad is doing mininstry in our community (Gentilly) and spends a lot of time with people in their trailers. There is one elderly lady that he visits once or twice a week and they have really bonded with each other. When Chad heard in class that an 85 year old woman had been killed, he was scared that it could have been her. He left class and after she didn't answer the phone, he drove to her trailer. The Hand of the Lord must have been over her because all around her trailer was destruction, but she was ok, shaken up, but ok. We are praying that this would be an event that would draw her to the Lord because she is not a believer. Please pray this with us.

Chad ended up skipping his classes and just walking around in Gentilly. Many people were outside because they didn't have power so he was able to talk and pray with many of our neighbors. Pray that we will find other ways to help these people that are once again devestated. We are so thankful . . . the tornado hit on both sides of the Seminary, but evidently jumped right over us.

The crazy thing was that after the storm passed, Tuesday ended up being one of the most beautiful days that we've had in months. It make me think of the verse that says that "weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning." Unfortunately, most residents of New Orleans aren't feeling very much joy. Please don't forget to be praying for these hurting people. You can go to www.nola.com to read local articles and see more pictures of the damage.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Game time and the perfect weekend!

I have a bunch a pictures to show how much fun we've been having lately with college students. A couple of weeks ago, we went out to eat at Mother's, a great New Orleans restaurant in the French Quarter, and then came back to our apartment to play games. We had a lot of international students that night so our game of Cranium was quite interesting!!

This past weekend was absolutely the perfect weekend. Friday night we took a bunch of students to eat at a little Italian restaurant in the Quarter . . . it was so yummy, but took quite a while for 20 of us to eat and get out of there. We then walked to a club in the Quarter that offers free salsa lessons from 9-10 pm and then you can stay and dance. Dinner took so long that we walked into the lessons right as they said they were finished. This made me a little nervous because most of us had no clue how to salsa and once again we had a lot of international students with us. The band starts playing and I quickly realize there was nothing to worry about . . . everyone was out on the dance floor having a blast. Our friends Ivan and Laura, the resident experts in salsa dancing, took turns teaching us some moves. We had so much fun!! We stayed for a couple of hours and the students were still dancing out the door as we left!

On Saturday and Sunday Chad and I did absolutely nothing . . . it was fabulous! I was actually sore from the salsa, ridiculous I know, but I really was. We read and exercised and watched Robin Hood. So good to have nothing you HAVE to do. On Sunday after church we went to eat at the Asian Super Buffet. Those who know me know that I love to eat, especially buffets. When we got home we took a two hour nap because that's what you do after a buffet. The day was so beautiful so after we got up we went to the lakefront to feed the birds. It was so relaxing and much needed.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Most of you already know about Chad's new ministry position, but I thought I would write about it on here just in case. Since the beginning of January, Chad has been working as the College and Community Minister at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans. We joined Edgewater when we first moved to New Orleans 2 1/2 years ago and just love the church family we have there. We couldn't wait to move back down here and be able to get involved in the ministry that Edgewater does for the community. During the Fall, Chad began talking with the staff about being a semester missionary through NAMB for this year until he graduates in December. The ministry that Chad is doing is definitely a need in our community, but the church couldn't afford any more staff positions. Because of this, we have chosen to raise support for 2007 so Chad can be in this position.

The past month has been a whirlwind, but so good. Chad has been focusing on college ministry at the University of New Orleans which can be tricky because of post-Katrina New Orleans and the fact that most students at UNO are commuters. Even so, we have had some incredible times with college students. We are watching American Idol every Tuesday with students in the college apartments, Chad is working with an Intervarsity Bible study on Thursday nights, and on the weekends we usually try to plan some get together for the students. I have pictures to post later of us playing games at our apartment and salsa dancing at a place in the Quarter. Needless to say, we stay busy, but we know that in order for lives to be changed, we must invest in these students and let them see the way that Christ changes our lives.

Chad also spends time each week visiting with families in our neighborhood (Gentilly) that are lonely and depressed or just need someone to talk and pray with them. Chad has such a heart for taking care of widows, especially those all alone in FEMA trailers. Guys from the church (The L-Team) mow grass and weedeat the yards for many of these families in Gentilly. We have also started Angel Food ministries at Edgewater, which is a discount grocery ministry. It is great to be a part of a body of believers that really seek to meet the needs of the people around us, to serve them, love them, and show them Christ in a way they may have never seen.

Thanks to all our friends and family that are praying for us and supporting us during this time. We need it! God has been providing in such amazing ways where only He can get the credit for it, which is just how we want it to be!