Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Display of Contrasts

Passing through some old photos as I try to find pics for a particular project my ADDness hit overdrive. Found myself looking through other pics unrelated. Couldn't resist posting this one. No. I didn't drug Mr.John Sabin and prop him up in the skid steer. He was a willing accomplice. Thanks for playing along. I think the picture reveals a bit of each one of us, a display of contrasts. I will show you my rough exterior but I secretly love daisies, puppies, cookies and milk, and a big hug.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Things at Lagniappe are so busy right now-March is full, June is full, and half of July is full! We are so thankful that God continues to bring volunteers to us to help with the restoration of the area. I am facing some serious personal trials and I would love for those who are faithful to pray to intercede for me in prayer for strength and God's mighty work to be done-to bring the lost to Himself, to right the wrong, and to bring a beautiful picture of His love to my life. That I would feel God singing over me and never doubt His goodness in my life, even when the clouds are so prominent. If you've been trying to reach me, I promise I will call ya back! I know there are many of you that want to come help do some work, and we want you to come! If there are dates that you want to come and they are full, please use that time to pray for us.... Thanks! Cammie

so what exactly do you do....??

This is one of the questions I am most commonly asked. The moment you say you graduated 2007, people look at you enthusiastically and say, "so! what do you do?" I usually begin by saying "I'm resource coordinator for Lagniappe" to which they respond, "hmmmmm, so what EXACTLY do you do?" (This is after I explain what on earth Lagniappe means) Well....I fumble around, it's something like "recruiting volunteers, raising financial support, and raising prayer support." Most people nod and leave it at that-at the most smile and say something like "that must be fulfilling." Those who venture to press further hear me fumble through "well, I email folks, I travel, I call churches, I write articles, I run errands, I work in the tool crib, I go to Lowes...." Some days I'm in my office all day making phone calls and writing emails; somedays I'm working in the tool crib. Usually what happens is I begin in the office around 8 am, writing emails and making phone calls, somewhere around 9 am I get a phone call saying "I have a flat tire; hook up the trailer and bring the flat-bed pick up truck...oh and by the way bring some wrenches with you when I come." I drive down some dirt roads, deliver materials, go to Lowes to pick up more materials, and I return around 10:30 am. I return a few phone calls, make a cup of tea, and go talk to Ruth in her office. From 11-12, I work on a slideshow presentation, quitting at 12 to each lunch and let off steam that's building from frustration with technology (I do better with quill pens and owl mail). From 1-4, I plan my trip to Texas, or Oxford MS, or one of the other exciting places I get to go. By 4:30 I'm wrapping up for the day, sending out final emails and clearing my office desk. Then I get a phone call, "We need insulation hung tonight; the house is being sheet-rocked tomorrow" so I leave my computer and head to the Foster home. We hang insulation in the dark till 7:30--listening to Journey, Shawn McDonald, and anything else on the random Ipod playlists....I'm an office girl who drives a flat-bed pickup truck and likes it. I'm a PR rep who hangs insulation (but you can tell I don't do it often because I'm not very good at it). I am a mountain lover who lives by the beach; I am a banker's daughter who loves working in a mini home-depot, and I'm a Christian who's learning I barely understand the Gospel I proclaim. That's what I do....I love my job, but if you ask me to explain it, it might take a while :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

"In His Own Words"

The title reminds me of the NPR radio program with the name "In Their Own Words". Actually, I wanted to share with you the words of Richard Fisher, a recent volunteer, who came with Covenant from Harleysville, PA. Richard wrote his prose after our morning worship service. During our service we have a time for prayer requests. It was at that time that a lady in our congregation asked for prayer that '08 would be her year for a home. This is what he wrote: From January 8-16 my church sent 18 people to the Gulf Coast for restoration work due to the horrific storm Katrina. Even after two and a half years the Gulf Coast struggles to live. To my eyes, it's like a man who has suffered a heart attack. His only hope is if someone who knows C.P.R. helps him breath again. People who have chosen to stay and fight still face overwhelming problems. May I tell you about one such lady. I don't know her name or what she looks like, but I heard her voice and recognized her pain and what I heard was this... "Mr. Preacher man, it's been 902 days since Katrina hit, God's still working one day at a time to fit My thinking, my desire, my longing to sit, On my own porch. Mr. Preacher man, would you be so kind to tell the Lord that you're a friend of mine, Would you tell Him that I'm still alone, Wishing and hoping for my own home. Could this be the year, two thousand and eight, That everything will be suddenly set straight? Can you hear? Will you answer? this mournful plea. Surely God is speaking to you and to me.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It's Hard to Let Them Go............

One of the greatest joys of being on staff at Lagniappe is the great privilege we have to get to know volunteers who come to serve from all over the country. However, it is also one of the great "hurts" we genuinely feel when we have to see them go. Shown here is a group of volunteers from the community of Whitewater, Wisconsin, a community which adopted Bay St. Louis shortly after Katrina. This group contributed 784 hours of service to Bay St. Louis this week! They also presented our public library with a check for $1500 donated by their Whitewater Library, they gave our Second Street Elementary School a check for $500 from quarters collected by their own Washington Elementary School, and they donated approximately $250 for miscellaneous building materials as they worked on Lagniappe projects throughout the week.
This group came to us from Covenant
Presbyterian Church in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. Richard and Sarah Fisher served graciously in our kitchen, assisting our chef, Elizabeth Holman, with preparing, serving and cleaning up this week, while the rest of their group worked on several houses nearing completion, doing drywall and flooring. Thank you, Covenant!

Restorers of Dwellings

"You will be called restorers of streets and dwellings..............." Isaiah 58:12 Thanks to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (known as MEMA around here) one of our regular church attenders, Shirley Hightower, moved into her MEMA cottage today! Shown here with Shirley on her beautiful front porch are NCCC staff members Jillian Amrich, Emily Buckley and Angie Caldwell.
NCCC is an Americorp group currently living and working with Lagniappe. Americorps National strengthens communities and develops leaders through team-based national and community service, and are a GREAT help to Lagnaippe in many ways. Today they graciously helped Shirley move into her new home.
Thanks, NCCC!
Welcome to your new home, Shirley!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Known as "The John Maudlin Group"

These group of guys are simply known as the "John Maudlin Group" on the calendar here at Lagniappe. That or when Lynne Sabin and I discuss them as my friends or your group. Notice that knowing some one here at Lagniappe at best gets you shoved in the bunkhouse that at the moment is being used for storage, great connection. Anyway, these guys have been coming around since before Lagniappe even existed and built sheds with Conrad, one of the contractors on staff with LPC early on, before much else was established. Gutting houses and building sheds are how we got started back with housing teams at Morrell on the beach with groups like this. If you ever run into John, Caleb, Andrew, and Ben ask them about the time the shed fell off the trailer while traveling down the road. It is a fun story to tell and hear but it is also a story of God's providence and grace. This week these guys laid tile in a house that Lagniappe built from the ground up and among other things moved a refrigerator into a repair that we took part of. From moving sheds to now an organization that builds houses, has the supervision and skill on staff to allow these guys to lay tile and lay it good and fast (thanks Clyde) and is still around two years later. Having groups like this return are a reminder of all God has done in this place. What they may have thought as a weekend trip to build sheds turns out is the foundation and starting point of what God built this church out of. They were the first to move towards brokenness out of brokenness for the declaration and demonstration of God's love here at Lagniappe and begin the practical application of how we were going to do this. Thanks for coming back guys and glad to hear you found crawfish.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Volunteer Says it all for 2007

As I pondered what to say to close out the year for 2007 we received this note from James Hildreth an RUF student from Auburn. It says precisely what I had hoped to say- Lagniappe has an amazing staff, the work is monumental, the Gospel is going forth and Christ's name is being lifted up in this city and in the lives of the volunteers- thanks James. *********************** 12/07 Dear Lagniappe Church, I was one of the RUF students from Auburn that came down to work on the blitz build last week. It ended up being a very special trip for me. I know that y'all put in a lot of work and preparation to take of all the visitors and actually get the construction done. The place felt like a home instead of a bunk house and the food alone was worth the trip, I thought that y'all did a great job of making Jesus the priority and not the house. My faith was definitely strengthened on the trip. I've done a couple of blitz builds with Habitat, and it's a great feeling to watch a house go up in a couple of days, but they did not touch my soul the way this past weekend did. It's amazing how God works. I went thinking that I was going to help somebody else, but I feel that I was helped as much as anybody. It was also real fun to get to know everybody down there. I had a great time meeting people from the staff, to the RUF students from other schools, to becoming better acquainted with the folks from Auburn. Our trip to New Orleans and bonfire at the beach were really a lot of fun, The sign in your church that reads, "Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends" is very true. Thank you again for letting me come work and visit. Have a Merry Christmas and I will be keeping you and the community in my prayers. I hope that I can make another trip to Lagniappe in the future. Sincerely, James Hildreth