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 …


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 …

Tea Cup

NOLA to Greece: Tea and tears

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

“Syaw or sabz?” I must have clumsily asked that question a dozen times, mostly because my Farsi is non-existent and I had to keep repeating myself to be understood. “Black tea or green?” Over and over again. Wednesdays are a little different at the refugee center: only women in the building, a more relaxed atmosphere, and lots and lots of hot tea. I knew deep down as we started the day that something significant was happening. I had been feeling it all week, and I sensed it even more so with each handshake and kiss exchanged as the refugee women filed in. As we settled in with our tea, our hostess, an incredible woman who has served at the center …

NOLA to Greece: Check your “savior syndrome” at the door, please

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

I am not a hero. I am NOT a hero. I am not a HERO. Sometimes I have to repeat that phrase to myself so I’ll remember, well, to remember that I am no hero. I don’t have super powers, a glowing, golden lasso, or even a cleverly named sidekick. But there is something about going on a volunteer trip that kicks that latent “savior syndrome” into high gear. Those of you who know me personally know that I spend a lot of time trying to coax this syndrome out of the groups that volunteer with MLab in New Orleans, so you would probably think that since I rail against “savior syndrome” so much that I’d be immune to it. …

NOLA to Greece: “But when do we start??”

mlab Global, Missions, Sarah, Staff

If you’ve been following #NOLAtoGR on social media (if not, you definitely should be!), you’ve seen a little bit of our Grecian journey so far, and let’s be honest, from our pictures of the delicious food, incredible views, and plenty of smile-filled selfies, it probably doesn’t seem like we’re “roughing it” as you might expect us to do on a trip like this. You might be wondering when our “real work” begins, and you’re probably not the only one asking that question. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: sometimes serving and volunteering involves more than nose-to-the-grindstone tasks. Sometimes it’s sharing a meal and a conversation with a local ministry partner. Sometimes it’s catching up with a …

NOLA to Greece: Notes from a newbie

mlab Evan, Global, Missions, Staff

  Since March of 2011, MLab has partnered with a refugee center in Greece. And if you’ve been through our program in the past three years, you’ve heard about the dire situation of the refugees there. In the time since our partnership began, some of our MLab team has had the opportunity to serve there. They have seen the faces and heard the stories first hand. Today, for the first time, I have that same opportunity. Soon, I will see those faces and hear those stories myself. I am blessed beyond measure for this opportunity. But if I am completely honest, sitting here in the airport about to board the first flight, I am also more than a little scared. As an …

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 …

Nine Years Later, and I’m Still Not Strong Enough

mlab Sarah, Staff

“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” How many times have you heard it? How many times have you said it? To be honest, it’s all too common around these parts, especially when we’re standing in front of someone walking through some profound tragedy. My story is not unique. At the most basic level, it’s a story of human suffering and God’s redemption of that pain. As a tried and true New Orleans girl, I’ve been marked by the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It will always be a significant moment, followed by a series of very dark days, a whole new level of introspection and doubt, and ultimately, the Lord pulling me from the darkness. The …