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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 …

Happy Thanksgiving

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 …

Ryan

Ready to meet Ryan?

mlab Behind The Scenes, Staff

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program – let’s meet another MLab staffer! This week, we’d love for you to get to know our videographer, Ryan Watts. Ryan is a student at the University of New Orleans where he’s working on a degree in computer science, and he’s been doing video work for about four years. Ryan is a New Orleans native who loves all the different adventures that this city has to offer.  Food is the best part of living in New Orleans for Ryan, and Emerald’s being his favorite restaurant.  He also enjoys all the festivals that happen in NOLA, taking in the music, the good food, and the culture. Ryan can also be found supporting New …

Meet Pete

mlab Behind The Scenes, Staff, Uncategorized

Another week, another staff member – today, we’d like to introduce our ministry site coordinator, Pete Harbin. Pete is our resident neat freak from a little town called Northport, who enjoys chick flicks almost as much as he loves Alabama football. He’s a third-generation twin, and he’s lived in New Orleans for almost a year. Pete started traveling overseas when he was 15, and since then, he’s set foot in 23 different countries. He had a hard time choosing, but when pressed on the matter, he decided that Egypt was his favorite. In the future, he would consider living overseas, but for now, he’s settled in New Orleans to work on an MDiv at the seminary. When he isn’t studying, …

“Haaaaave you met Eric?”

mlab Behind The Scenes, Staff

We have a few new faces around the MissionLab office! We also have a few not-so-new faces around here, too (not to say that any of our faces are OLD by any means – well, maybe a few of them). Over the next few months, we’ll be featuring different staff members on the blog so you can get to know us all – old and new alike! Eric Pope is serving as our new administrative assistant. He is a first semester seminary student and originally hails from Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He has degrees from Methodist University and the University of West Florida, and he has an extensive background of working with college students at UWF and Troy. He is …

Summer is over – now what?

mlab Behind The Scenes, Jamie, Missions, Staff

After the suitcases are unpacked, the laundry is done, and you’ve found just the right spot to hang your feathered mask and the pictures of the kids you met at the playgrounds, you might think you’re done with the week you spent at MissionLab this summer. But as we’ve learned here, it’s really just the beginning. It can take a little work to really unpack all that you experienced here in New Orleans, and that’s where debrief, “a series of questions about a completed mission or undertaking,” comes in. To me, debrief is just as important as training. It allows a time for reflection. Most people only think of training when they consider completing a mission, preparing themselves to do a …

Iron Sharpens Iron

mlab Behind The Scenes, J.P., Staff

Phones ringing, printers humming, emails going out to every corner of the US, and coffee cups being refilled for the umpteenth time – there is no question that the MLab crew has kicked it into high gear, and all of this activity and excitement can only mean one thing: SUMMER IS UPON US. The energy level is great in the office right now, but eventually all this buzz gives way to fatigue. Don’t get me wrong – I know the drive and sense of purpose will always be there. But, let’s face it: as our crazy schedules drag along, it’s natural to start feeling worn down. The newness wears off, the excitement dims ever so slightly, and often we feel …

Mardi Gras Madness – Part 4

mlab Behind The Scenes, Engaging Culture, Missions

“Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods and our joy of living. All at once.” – Chris Rose, The Times-Picayune, December 2005 Don’t be deceived – not everyone in the MLab office loves Mardi Gras. While some of us have been working for weeks on finding just the right sequin and feather headband to wear to the parades, others prefer to avoid the chaos that goes hand in hand with Carnival season. But even our staff members who have recently moved to NOLA have given in to the all-important rhythm and beauty of this city, and to be honest, that’s what is really at …

Mardi Gras Madness – Part 1

mlab Behind The Scenes, Engaging Culture, Missions

The season is upon us – not Thanksgiving, not Christmas, but Mardi Gras! If you’re anywhere near the Gulf Coast (or if you have friends in the area), no doubt you’ve seen pictures of decadent King Cakes popping up all over Facebook and Instagram. But maybe you have no idea what in the world I’m talking about. Allow me to shed some light on the situation. Each year in New Orleans (and some of the surrounding areas), we celebrate what is called the Carnival season – beginning on January 6, which is the “12th day of Christmas” heralded in carols, and culminating in Mardi Gras Day, the day before the Lenten season begins. In New Orleans, we celebrate this block …

Be Still.

mlab Behind The Scenes, Sarah, Staff

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news lately, you’ve probably seen clips about the major freeze that swept across the southeastern part of the U.S. this week. Though we have our fair share of “winter moments” here in New Orleans, it’s not often that we’re immobilized by an ice storm. Since the majority of our year is spent enjoying subtropical temps, the presence of ice on the roads (and all over our cars) caused a massive two-day pause around here. MissionLab, NOBTS, and essentially most of NOLA spent two days in stillness, and while it might seem fairly common to those of you from other parts of the US, stillness isn’t the norm around here. I took a …