Saturday, December 23, 2006

Keep "X" in Xmas...

Someone commented to me the other night that they disliked the use of 'Xmas'.... I understand that. At first glance 'Xmas' seems to 'X' Christ out of CHRISTmas doesn't it? X (the Greek symbol Chi) was acutally used to abbreviate the name of Christ. Xmas is actually just an abbeviated rendering of Christmas. I think that Jesus might be more in favor of Xmas come to think of it....Jesus wasn't flashy and in your face. I think He would have preferred to come under the radar. After all didn't He choose Bethlehem? Wasn't He from Galilee? Wasn't He the one who was almost coy when Herod questioned Him about being King?My personal experience with Christ has been more like that...subtle and profoundly subversive. He always seems to be at work but not in flashy ways, more like the stock guys at Home Depot- working from Midnight to 8 a.m. restocking, moving things around, changing the setup of things and then 'all of the sudden' the electrical department is moved clear across the store.In reality Jesus likes to restock my heart, move it around and change the setup of things. I dislike it. I like the electrical department where it was. I put it there. In alot of ways that is a good description of my life for 2006- subversive movments of God that change everything. I wonder what 2007 holds. Will the electrical department be moved back again? Will the garden center move to the other side of the building? Who knows. It is a wild ride. I know what I'd like, but I'm beginning to learn that the suggestion box isn't checked too often (if at all). I was praying with Jordan this morning before he left for home and asked God to strenthen us, to make us more like Christ. Presently we are tired- retreating from the crowds, trying to rest, trying to see Jesus again- My prayer was that God would allow us to incarnate in the Bay, to be a picture of the Gospel in this place.Ironicaly, I think that while we're seeking to do that in the Bay, Jesus himself has been doing that very thing in our lives. He has been 'incarnating', becoming more real to us, taking on flesh in our daily lives. That means less of me, more of Him, less of me, more of Him (lather, rinse, repeat.) Pray for me this year. Please do that. Pray that all I'll want for Christmas is Christ.I'm frightened how that might be answered- I want it to look like victorious spirituality, exponential growth and a renewed devotional life. If 'X' shows up it will probably look like repentance, faith, tears, struggling and true joy. That frightens me and at the same time excites me. Narnia is thawing. God is at work. His ways are not our ways. His plans are not our plans. Exery day is Xmas- the incarnational reality of Jesus himself. That seems to be the Lagniappe way. I guess not the Lagniappe way, just His way. Merry Xmas.

Christmas at Lagniappe, "An Endless Summer"

While most families will be celebrating Christmas Monday, December 25, Lagniappe celebrated Christmas with the residents of Bay St. Louis/Waveland Thursday, December 21. What started Wednesday as an invitation to bring a team of volunteers to carol at Waveland City Hall, resulted in Lagniappe inviting the City Hall event to our facility. The reason for the change was an unexpected deluge of rain which flooded streets, neighborhoods, and prevented a number of our 200 volunteers from performing their assigned construction tasks. "Why would God send the showers? Why come this far to work and have God do something like this? Doesn't He know we devoted hours to planning, giving up vacation time, and driving so far for this?" These were the questions everyone must have been thinking. I certainly did. Then came the call from the city of Waveland. "We can't host the event in our parking lot as we planned. Could we use your facility?" The questions we previously asked, the mystery of providence, quickly became known. God planned all along to have Lagniappe host this Christmas celebration but He only revealed it to us that day. What existed in the mind of God from eternity past was revealed to us at 10am Thursday morning. Because it was planned, orchestrated, and executed by God it was nothing less than spectacular. Over 500 residents, volunteers, and staff ate, danced, and celebrated to the glory of God. It was like nothing I have ever experienced and probably never will. At one point Kenley leaned over to me and said, "It's Summer again." How profound. I knew exactly what he meant. Last summer was the summer of defeated self effort, thwarted human plans, and the display of God's glory. No one could claim credit for any of it then and no one can claim credit for any of what occured Thursday night. May the future of Lagniappe be one of "Endless Summers." Sola Deo Gloria
The Warner's "Getting Down." Richard, "You still got the moves brotha"
Smiles from families for whom this would be their only Christmas A little Lagniappe for Christmas. It was reported by WLOX, our local CBS affiliation, that $40,000 worth of toys were given away that night.
Don and Sandra Oja-Dunaway, friends from St.Augustine, Fl
Over 500 residents, volunteers, and staff. Special thanks to Grace Fellowship Church from Snellville,GA (Atlanta) for bringing 100 students and adults to serve Thursday-Saturday. We had no idea what an integral part they would play for this event. Neither did they. As Barbara Warner said, "We couldn't have pulled this off without them." Thanks again.

Friday, December 22, 2006

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More Christmas At Lagniappe

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Jean Larroux III was interviewed on the local news tonight regarding tonight's Christmas party at Lagniappe. He was quoted saying, "We are a church, and at Christmas, we are sensitive to those who had 'no room at the inn'." This quote was in regard to the fact that the Lagniappe Christmas party was planned TODAY, to help out the city of Waveland, which got rained out. It was fun-lots of food, guests, and dancing!

Merry Christmas

Andy Chapman and Jean Larroux pose for a quick Christmas photo during the Waveland Christmas party at Lagniappe tonight.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

MaxCast a look over here!

LPC Video now on MaxCast The Lagniappe video which has been seen by so many of you at orientation and also received by DVD is now available in high quality format on the internet. Thanks to a new technology called MaxCast, you can pause, play and rewind all with NO buffering, reloading or jumpy picture quality. Tune to our 'channel' called: LPC Videos and see for yourself! Please share it with others after clicking here to be taken to the page!

Monday, December 11, 2006

One of the Things I'm Praying For...

Today, Kenley, pictured above, did a punch out list on one of the houses that we are close to finishing. It was as follows: Electrical:
  • install switch in bedroom
  • install range hood
  • wire three way switches in living room
  • install AC outlet covers
  • install kitchen light
  • hook up water heater
  • Plumbing:
  • install water heater
  • install tub and shower fixtures
  • Miscellaneous:
  • install cabinet knobs
  • hang medicine cabinet
The point of this story, this is not necessarily a list you can put a team on to finish. Often teams will come with one or a few folks skilled in building. If I put a team on a list like this one guy will work and all the rest will be sitting around not accomplishing much. However, this is probably the most pressing work order I have, accomplishing this list will allow Ms. Tomasich to be able to move into her home. Kenley, Dick, and Dr. Tom, all pictured above are retired men that came down with their wifes, lived in the back of the Lagniappe property at our RV hook-up sites in trailers, and have worked and stayed at Lagniappe for weeks and months straight. Given, Kenley has often wanted to be fired because he finds it hard to not to work to hard, but these type of commitments have made the work at Lagniappe possible. Men that have owned homes and can accomplish or through the advice of Conrad accomplish such a list and check off the "small stuff" that HAS to be done. Dr. Tom had to leave after a month of service, Dick will be back soon for two weeks to do drywall finishing, and Kenley, although he is back, has been drawn into working to hard again on big picture stuff such as home blue prints and permitting issues. Helen has recently gotten over $100K on grants to finish out homes, this means many homes that will have punch lists very similar to above. Moral of the story is I am praying for folks that want to make atleast a month or longer commitment to come specifically to help out on houses and work on such lists. With the wau prayers are answered down here I would just like to thank the Lord for the folks that will soon be punching out these lists and say I am looking forward to meeting and working with you.

Under the Radar

"I'm in! I'm in, and that's what important for those to know who follow my blog," reads the first line of Mary Perkins blog on msnbc. Mary Perkins is a home owner with whom we partnered with to help build her house. We framed up the house and put on the roof. Mary hired out the siding and between her and her nieghbor they put the plumbing and electrical in. We came back and hung the drywall and started taping and mudding. Mary took over from there and for someone who didn't know how she was going to be able to get into her house last June she is now sleeping under the roof of her own home. I got to go see Mary's home today. We found out Mary was in her home because I ran by her house and saw the Christmas tree in the window. Today we also got a Christmas card from Ralph and Erin Henton, a elderly couple on our webpage. Their home is not completely finished but is close enough that they are able to live in it. The vital workings are there. Slowly but surely work is paying off in the very practical sense of people moving into their home. Thank the Lord for this and continue to pray that volunteers will continue to come and we can here many more of these stories. There are new pictures of Mary's home on our website under her photo album. If you would like to read more on Mary's blog and see her pictures her most recent post click here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Poetry Lady Gets a House

ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN SEA COAST ECHO 12-6-2006 (see link below for original story)
Lane Shaw will begin again very modestly, in what has become known as the Katrina Cottage, a 12 X 24 little dynamo of a house, that can withstand hurricane force winds. Builders Without Borders of Houston, Tex., are building the home and Lagniappe Church in Bay St. Louis linked them with Lane. Most people would probably say they remember Lane as the "poetry lady," and if her plans go well, she hopes to be known as that once again. Before the storm, Lane was the keeper of a collection of poetry books and a mentor for local poets. The books and the poetry center went with Katrina when she blew through, but Lane survived, barely, in a room with neighbor Darlene Casanova, just one house off the beach in Bay St. Louis. The upstairs room and the stairwell were the only part of the home that stood. Lane had been talking with Darlene about buying the 80 year old home, she said, and when the storm came, Darlene refused to leave. The house, after all, had survived Camille with little more than a scratch. But this wasn't Camille. "The winds that came with the surge were amazing," said Lane. "Roofs were flying by and then we saw a car – it flew through the air just like someone was driving."
Assistant Pastor of Lagniappe Church in Bay St. Louis Curt Moore consults with Lane Shaw about plans for her Katrina Cottage.
While the women struggled up the stairs, the roof came down, breaking Lane's arm. They sat in a shower stall and sang "Jesus Loves Me," Lane said, the only thing that seemed to calm Darlene. When the storm passed, sheriff's deputies rescued the women. Lane found her dog Kai, who had survived on a cedar chest that had floated on top of debris. The women were taken to a shelter at Bay High School. A place, Lane said, not equipped to deal with the elderly or injured. With many wheel chairs and supplies commandeered by other relief efforts, the elderly had to be carried, she said. "But there were many heroes at the shelter, many people who volunteered to help others," Lane said. After six days she was able to help Darlene get to Mobile. Darlene passed away this past summer, Lane said. Lane went to New York to be near her daughter. Now she is home and floating between friends, she said. With most of her money going to medical expenses over the past year, Lane wasn't sure how she would find her way into a home of her own, but in the meantime she discovered a wonderful spirit, she said, at the Lagniappe Church in Bay St. Louis. "We try to present that it is okay that you are not perfect," said assistant pastor Curt Moore. "Everyone is broken." The church has a five-year plan to help in the rebuilding, Moore said, and so far the church has helped put over 100 residents back in homes and helped over 1,000 people with supplies. With two general contractors, a social worker on staff, and the capacity to house about 300 volunteers, the church is serious about the business of recovery. The relationship with Builders Without Borders is a new one, that Moore hopes will help to transition people out of trailers. It also gives people the opportunity to help, even if they can't make the trip to Mississippi. Lane's cottage will be built in a parking lot in Houston and trucked to its final resting place on Sycamore St. The 300 square foot home will be equipped with a stove, microwave, and a refrigerator, two bedrooms, a bath and a kitchenette. The cottages usually range from 200 to 900 sq. ft. it is designed so that it can later be turned into an addition or a mother-in-law cottage, said Moore. The church inherited equipment and supplies from the Morrell Foundation when they left the area, said Moore. After rehabbing the old West Lumber building, the church also became a construction business, hotel and restaurant, of sorts, Moore said. Since then the donations and outpouring of assistance has been amazing, offering a large number of people who have never had the opportunity to offer assistance and volunteer their help the chance to do so. You don’t have to be a church member to receive help, but of course, Moore says, everyone is welcome at services which are held at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday. Information on Builders Without Borders can be found on their website at The group has been involved in relief efforts since it delivered the first truckload of food donated by the citizens, churches, and businesses of Friendswood, Tex. in September 2005.
Link to the original Article