Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Katrina

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Thoughts from Dave Lunsford (He Traveled With Our Group Too)

This is my second trip to New Orleans and I was excited to see the changes that had taken place since one year ago.   As we drove through the Lower Ninth Ward, my only thought was disappointment.   Very little had changed.   There were still large piles of debris, buildings still boarded up and abandoned.  This was not going to be the mission trip that I had hoped.


But then something dramatically changed….not in the buildings, nor the houses, nor the desolation that is so widespread, but the change I saw in myself being around the students.  Whatever task was asked of them, they exceeded.  Not just in the amount of time, but in their enthusiasm, sense of purpose, and teamwork.  They watched out for each other, helped each other, helped others in the community….always with respect for others before themselves.


There were five of us from First Christian Church with the students and as we drove to New Orleans, we were concerned.   How would the five of us….40 or more years older than these students work with them?   Our concerns were unfounded!   From the very first morning together, this has been a joyous experience.   Twelve hour workdays ripping roofs off, clearing up the debris, and putting on new roofs on two houses.  Everyone focusing on working together to help others less fortunate.  Whatever was thrown at the group, they adapted and succeeded.   They never backed down from any challenge.


A number of the students wear sweatshirts that say “Wabash Always Fights.”   I would prefer the saying to be “Wabash Never Quits.”   They never quit….they never backed down….they never said ‘No.’


It has been a honor for me to be not with these Wabash students….but with these Wabash Men!


                                                                                    Dave Lunsford

                                                                                    First Christian Church