My Summer to Remember

Evan Anderson Uncategorized

The summer of 2016, for me, was truly a summer to remember. I highly anticipated moving to my favorite city on earth to serve the Lord and love people in His name. I didn’t quite realize what that would look like at first, but I decided to just follow the Holy Spirit in whatever He may have me to do. Sometimes, that meant sitting on dirty concrete under the overpass downtown as a man told the story of how he ended up living on the streets. Sometimes, that meant leading and empowering high school students to serve and love people in the community. And other times, that meant building community with my fellow summer missionaries – celebrating weekly triumphs and …

The Risk of Being a Summer Missionary

Evan Anderson Uncategorized

Apply to be a summer missionary with MissionLab and you risk the possibility of: poison ivy infested legs, meeting hundreds of incredible individuals every week and saying goodbye to those same individuals at the end of the week, falling in love with the most eccentric city on earth, and having your life changed forever. No big deal…right? Well, for me, it was a big deal—the biggest deal. However, I definitely didn’t realize this when I first applied to be a summer missionary in the summer of 2014. I applied because I knew I had loved working with MissionLab as a camper, but I had never spent my entire summer working at a camp. Nonetheless, I knew it was something I …

Preparing the Way

Evan Anderson Uncategorized

  ‘Tis the season! Sure, it’s the season to be jolly (according to Deck the Halls), but as I was reminded the other day, it’s also a season of preparation. Across the world, this Advent season is a precursor to ringing in the New Year.  People are preparing for all that comes with a new year: lifestyle changes, renewed hope and vision, and maybe finally losing that pesky ten pounds that absolutely plagued your 2016. But let’s take a step back and look at Advent season. Can we prepare for it? If so how should we prepare for it? Advent is a good opportunity to spend some time evaluating your relationship with the Lord. As we reflect on all that Christmas represents, we …

K10: Lessons from the Storm

mlab Behind The Scenes, Sarah, Staff

“Ten years ago…” If you know anyone from the Gulf Coast, you’ve probably heard him or her start off a story like that recently. You’ve seen the Facebook posts. You’ve read the editorial columns. A decade has passed since Hurricane Katrina took her toll on this region, washing bare the shores of the coast and turning New Orleans into a bowl of water, grime, and chaos. My stack of stories is extensive. I could share what it was like to be a twenty-one year old who stayed through the storm. I could tell you about the winds howling through the city as the eye of Katrina passed just to the east of us. I could tell you about the immense …

Summer 2015: Lessons from the Lower 9th

mlab Local, Missions, Summer

Have you ever stopped to smell the roses?  Literally? If you have (kudos to you), you may have received some sidelong glances from confused onlookers. However, you have not just seen the beauty of the rose, but experienced it, and what a difference that makes. Many people have seen New Orleans, whether while visiting here or looking from afar.  People see parties, vibrant culture, lots of rain, good music, great food – you name it (we probably have it). Amidst the typical touristy attractions, you might hear an undercurrent of negativity. Dirty. Lost. Sinful. Godless. But these are words used by those who have merely seen New Orleans, not those who have experienced it. New Orleans is a city full …

Advent, week three: choosing joy

mlab Uncategorized

I have been to Target four times this week. One of my best friends had been playing phone tag with me for a few days, and when she called yesterday evening to find that I was in line at Target YET AGAIN, she couldn’t believe it. The line was ridiculously long. The lone cashier was in a quandary – call for backup and let the line linger even longer or just power through? She called for backup. She LEFT to go find backup. Things were getting desperate. As I glanced around at my fellow shoppers, I noticed that our baskets were filled with different versions of the same items: from toys to sweaters to housewares, it was clear that our …

Advent, week two: peace

mlab Uncategorized

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7 We lit the second candle in the Advent wreath on Sunday – the peace candle – and it burned just as bright as the candle of hope we lit a week ago. Peace is a tricky thing to describe to someone – ever elusive, complicated to discuss, obviously needed but hard to come by. We pray for it, march for it, fight for it. But do we ever truly find peace? Many of those around me know that the past six months have been difficult, to say the least. We’ve had some ups and downs in my family, but mostly …

Advent, the season of hope

mlab Uncategorized

It seems like only last week (ok, it WAS only last week) that we were posting about Thanksgiving, preparing ourselves for plates and plates of food, and possibly bracing ourselves for some uncomfortable family interactions. And now, in almost an instant, Christmas is upon us. You should know that I absolutely love Christmas. Sitting back, sipping on a cup of hot chocolate, and smiling as I’m mesmerized by the twinkling lights on the beautiful, albeit slightly crooked, Christmas tree, the smells of cinnamon and evergreens and cold (yes, I promise you cold has a scent), the ancient, funky popsicle stick blobs we pass off as ornaments, the excitement of finding just the right gifts for the people I love – …

Getting through the holidays in (mostly) one piece

mlab Behind The Scenes, Sarah, Staff

Thanksgiving is a loud affair in the Barnett household. Too many Italian women cooking too much food in too small of a kitchen – it’s a recipe (pardon the pun) for disaster. By the time we sit down at the table, laden with autumn hues and the Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers that predate both my sister and me, we’ve had at least three arguments, spilled something on another thing that’s probably dry-clean-only, and someone has whispered a cuss word or two under his or her breath because inevitably, we’ve burned the rolls. I love it. Sometimes the holidays don’t turn out quite like we envision, though, do they? Sometimes they fall at inconvenient times. Sometimes while it seems that …