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 …

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 3

mlab Blake, Engaging Culture, Missions, Staff

Street preaching, sign holding, tract dispersing, cross carrying, conversation engaging – these are all common sights in the city of New Orleans, especially around Mardi Gras time. In addition to the people who inundate our city for “The Greatest Free Show on Earth,” we also have a number of outside and diverse groups coming to engage in evangelism – sharing the story of Christ with those they come across. We’ve talked a little about what Mardi Gras looks like for those of us who live here year-round: parades with marching bands and bejeweled floats, golden coconuts and bedazzled shoes being thrown – I mean “handed” – to people filling the streets, grandstands, and specially-designed ladders. It’s not all one happy-go-lucky …

Mardi Gras Madness – Part 2

mlab Engaging Culture, Missions

The sun is out, and the sky is the kind of blue you see on postcards. I lean back in my lawn chair that’s been carefully positioned along the parade route and soak in the warmth, the smell of a barbeque pit, the sound of kids laughing next to me and someone playing a trumpet not far away, and I think to myself, “This – this is my New Orleans. This is my Mardi Gras. This is home.” For many visitors to our fair NOLA, Carnival season is a time to escape and become someone else, someone reckless and daring who revels in overindulgence. A trip to New Orleans affords rich food, abundant alcohol, and ample opportunity to partake in …

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 …

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 …

Greece: A Few Final Thoughts

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

If I’m being honest, I could talk for hours about my trip to Greece: the people we met, the work we did, the things we saw and experienced, the food we ate (!) – the list goes on and on. After visiting three times and falling more in love with the country and its people each time, I’ve got a few stories to tell. For obvious reasons, though (like this isn’t my personal blog and not everyone gets as stoked about Europe as I do), the time has come to wrap things up. In doing so, I figured I would answer the three questions that seem to come up the most. (By the way, if any of you want to …

Greece: The Power of Conversation (and Prayer!)

mlab Global, J.P., Missions, Staff

Kypseli is a tiny neighborhood in Greece (it’s only 1.6 miles long and 1 mile wide!). Despite the close quarters, the community is packed – the population of 180,000 is diverse and includes Greeks, Russians, Albanians, Afghanis, and Iranians, just to name a few. Part of the group who went to Greece with us spent the week praying over and ministering in this neighborhood. We worked with a man who has in the last year begun a church-planting project in Kypseli. There are only 30 evangelical churches in all of Greece, so clearly, there is a huge need. The people in Kypseli are hard working, but the country’s economic crisis has hit everyone living in Greece. The town square where …

Greece: Divine Appointments

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

Timing is everything – it’s a cliché for a reason. While I tend to operate on New Orleans time for most things (we move a little slower around the Big Easy), I strive to be on time when I know someone is waiting on me. I’m a people pleaser at heart, and I can’t stand to slow anyone down if I can help it. Sometimes my schedule doesn’t exactly match up with the Lord’s plans, though, and I was reminded of that very clearly while our team was in Greece. Near the end of the trip, we came across a woman named Daniella begging on the street. Someone had clearly helped her position herself on the sidewalk in front of …