summer flowers

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 …

2014 Global Missions in Greece

mlab Global, Local, Missions, Spring Break

If you’ve been to MissionLab in the past three years, you’ve probably heard me (or one of my teammates) talk about our global missions focus in Greece. In fact, if you have interacted with me on anything past surface-level small talk, you’ve probably heard me talk about Greece. Three years ago, part of our team began looking into the struggles, the needs, and the ministry opportunities there. Ever since, we have been sharing the story of the work in this part of the world with our MLab teams who have come to serve in New Orleans. In a country so tiny and overrun with economic difficulties, there are over a million refugees seeking a better life. With only around 11 …

Spring Break, Rounds 2 and 3!

mlab Local, Missions, Spring Break

Some of my favorite souvenirs to pick up when I travel are postcards. I tend to buy a stack wherever I go, and I always have the best intentions of jotting down a few lines on each and mailing them to my friends and family back home. Unfortunately, I also tend to get so caught up in the trip itself that I forget to take a few minutes to write/address/mail said postcards, and I always end up bringing them home and mailing them a few weeks after I get back (if I even remember to do that!). That’s kind of what the past few weeks at MissionLab have felt like. We’ve been moving nonstop, and in the hubbub and (mostly) …

Spring Break Week 1!

mlab Local, Missions, Spring Break

This week a mosquito the size of my fist attacked me, and I nearly lost the MissionLab truck in a particularly deep pothole. Sometimes New Orleans is not an easy place to love. Thankfully, this week has also been filled with nine amazing spring break teams who have, despite the gargantuan bugs and atrocious streets, loved this city and the MLab staff well. They have sorted canned goods at food pantries, cleaned gutters for senior citizens, cleaned up blighted lots, shared the gospel with students on several college campuses in the city, and prayed over playgrounds, schools, churches, and street corners.                         On top of it all, these groups …

Notes From The Garden

mlab Behind The Scenes, Local, Missions, Sarah, Staff

I might be your average city girl, but I come from a long line of West Virginia women who moved to New Orleans and still managed to can their own vegetables, pickle just about any part of a pig, and occasionally wring the necks of two chickens at once. (SPOILER ALERT: this NOLA girl hasn’t lived up to that legacy.) Pickling days at my grandmother’s house were the absolute worst, especially since the window units never seemed to be working properly. On those hot afternoons, I would escape to the small patch of garden in the backyard. I’m not sure if it was the idea of making something grow from practically nothing or the pure bliss of being out of …

What’s Your Focus?

mlab Behind The Scenes, Local, Missions, Sarah, Staff

This is a guest blog from our Associate Director of Youth and College Programs, Sarah Barnett. Sarah is a New Orleans native who spends too much time drinking coffee and reading BuzzFeed articles.   The leaves don’t change much during a New Orleans autumn. While friends in other parts of the country are beginning to add layers to their outfits, I’m still rocking flip-flops. I force myself to drink the oh-so-beloved pumpkin spice lattes, even though the face-melting heat will linger here until mid-December. Despite the weather, though, the feeling of fall creeps into New Orleans in other ways: the feeling that it’s time to rest, to regroup, time to rethink and reframe. Our theme for the coming MissionLab year is “FOCUS …

Why Do Short-Term Missions?

mlab Local, Missions

Top 5 Reasons to Take a Short-Term Mission Trip 5. Your group will grow closer. Going on a trip is fun! Seeing new things, having new adventures, tasting new foods and experiencing life together draws people closer. 4. You will be stretched. You will see things that you do not see on a regular basis.  You will meet people that you may not talk to in your everyday life.  While the experiences themselves will grow you, having time set aside for the Lord is a growing experience.  Anytime you separate yourself from the day-to-day and push yourself to focus on God and others, you have an opportunity to experience the Lord in new ways. 3. You help long-term missionaries.  Short-term …

Summer Missions Experience

mlab Behind The Scenes, Local, Missions

MissionLab has one overarching motto: Learn missions. Do missions. Be a missionary.  In the summer of 2011, Jack Blanding did just that. Not only did Jack get to be a missionary, he got to help teach youth how to do missions as well. When it comes to learning missions and doing missions, Jack recalls connecting specifically with one student from a church in Georgia that came to MissionLab. Although Jack was nervous about being a summer missionary for the first time and working with this group, he shared his story with them and was excited to lead them.  One student in particular connected with Jack’s story, and because Jack was willing to share with him, the student then went on …

Week 9: July 22 – July 28

mlab Local, Missions, Summer 2012

It’s hard to believe this is the last week of MissionLab for the summer. Our 9 groups helped us finish out the summer strong. Groups like Brock Baptist and Calvary Baptist helped out by wrapping up painting projects for several senior adults in the city. Without these groups, it would have been so difficult for these seniors to afford these home repairs, and our volunteers were happy to help. Students from Calvary also helped a local church with some construction needs, served the homeless throughout the city, cleaned up lots in the Lower 9th Ward, and spent time doing kids’ ministry in a local neighborhood. 121 Community Church also served through children’s ministry while they were here. They helped out …