In late 2019 we received a referral from Miss Lucille; she was approaching 80 years old and needed help repainting the exterior of her historic New Orleans home. Ernie went to review the job, and agreed to take on the project for this "strong and mighty soldier in Christ's army." Our hurricane response in New Orleans was rather slow at the time, so our next team didn't arrive until March of 2020. The students from Dordt University started the week by scraping peeling paint and preparing the house for future teams to paint.
Their week with us was interrupted when news broke of a new virus, and the university told the students to leave New Orleans early, returning to campus only to pack and go home mid-semester. It was an emotional time for them as at least one student didn't know where she would stay, and all of them faced uncertainty with when they would be able to return to campus and their regular classes. Our staff prayed with them, reminding the students that the same God they had come to New Orleans to share with others would be with them during the coming weeks.
And then Miss Lucille's house sat, waiting as the pandemic kept us all in our homes. For more than a year, there were no volunteers at our New Orleans site. And then Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans in August 2021, and Miss Lucille's house flooded due to roof damage. Her brother, who had been living with her, passed away that fall, leaving her without any family in New Orleans. Eventually she was able to get a company to replace the roof of her home, but she still needed help with interior repairs.
The unforeseen blessing of Hurricane Ida was that teams began returning to New Orleans to serve and encourage homeowners affected by the storm. Teams were able to help Miss Lucille replace the drywall in her home, our staff helped repair damaged windows, and together they were all able to encourage Miss Lucille as she made the difficult decision to sell her home of 56 years and move to Las Vegas to live with her daughter. Even though she will not remain in the community where we serve, we trust that God will use Miss Lucille in this next chapter of her life to share the stories of God's love and faithfulness.
We could never have guessed how our time with Miss Lucille would go back when the story started in 2019. God brought her through so many difficulties, but her love of Christ encouraged each of our staff and volunteers, even though they came to be a blessing to her.
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