Rogue Valley's Mission to New Orleans
Tools, magic markers, and a season of prayer brought hope and blessings to four families when Rogue Valley Adventist School (RVAS) students in Medford, Ore., chose missions over vacation.
RVAS students went to New Orleans to help repair four homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Through a partnership with the North American Division and South Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the school gave $10,000 worth of supplies toward renovations and personally prepared the damaged homes for professional volunteer contractors. With sledgehammers and crowbars, they gutted and cleaned the inside of homes. With rakes and mowers they beautified neighborhoods. And finally, with youthful zeal, they went the extra Christian mile with a unique testimony of hope: The students used magic markers to permanently write promises of hope and encouragement on 2 x 4 lengths of timber that will be used as rafters in the roofs.
Helping in New Orleans, the students gained an appreciation for the everyday blessings of life. One homeowner, currently taking refuge with family out of state until a job can bring her back to New Orleans, was overwhelmed with the volunteer work of the students and sent word for them to bless her home and family with prayers.
The students dedicated her house and the three other homes they worked on. Standing in a circle in the empty, gutted homes that await the return of families, the students shared aloud adjectives that described the blessedness of their home and family: laughter, support, love, loyalty, spirituality and memories. Then they blessed the home and families with all these attributes.
A moving, tearful season of prayer brought the mission project to an end while reaffirming the choice of mission over vacation; and in their choice Rogue Valley Adventist School affirmed their faith-based tradition of service in education.