This past week our young adults/college group “Explore” had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Lake Charles Louisiana and join with Samaritans Purse on their Rebuild Project to restore 25 homes and to rebuild 25 new homes that had been ripped apart and severely damaged by 2 hurricanes and a separate flood in the past two years.

Our group of 15 was split into 4 teams to work alongside a Samaritans Purse foreman each day. As we worked on these homes and ministered to the community we were challenged in our own walk with the Lord. This was one of the main highlights and blessings from this trip; The privilege of being under some of the most prayerful, gospel, and mission focused leaders we have ever encountered.

On the final day of devotions and share-time every single one of our 15 team members talked about the amazing example of our respective foreman and the intentionality they had when it came to prayer and sharing the Gospel. If anyone came close to the house we were working on, we would stop what we were doing to talk and pray with that person. By doing that consistently Samaritans Purse has developed a foundation of trust with the community and they have been able to cultivate deep relationships with individuals in order to share the Gospel.

Many of our team members also shared how they were feeling challenged and encouraged to do the same once they got back home, not to just let what we learned in Louisiana stay there, but to take it with us and apply it to our daily lives.

The best part of our week was that we had the amazing opportunity to participate in a dedication ceremony. Dedication ceremonies happen when a house is completed and ready to be given back to the homeowners. Everyone from Samaritans Purse along with the homeowners, their neighbors, friends, and family gather together for the dedication.

The gospel was presented many times and in many different ways. We prayed for the family, and over each room in their house. They were given a Billy Graham Study Bible, a journal filled with prayers and words of encouragement, and a bill for the work that had been done on their house which read *PAID IN FULL* Just as Jesus paid for our sins in full when he died on the cross. It was a beautiful and emotional experience to see the family in tears as hope was restored and the love of Jesus was so raw and real towards them.

Samaritans Purse’ challenge to us is to “go and do likewise” just as we read in Luke 10:37. -By Eve Staal

Here are a few words and takeaways from different individuals on our team.

“I learned how vital it is to be consistently filling ourselves with the Holy Spirit through prayer, Gods word, and fellowship together.” -Laura Boerema

“I really enjoyed working with Samaritan’s Purse and seeing how much everyone involved cherishes what they do and how much they love the Lord. They do an amazing job of serving the people around them and sharing the love of Jesus through quality work, intentional relationships, and a lot of prayer. That was a huge inspiration to me and my faith.” –Camden Elder

“It was so cool that our team was able to be apart of such a strong ministry that emphasizes a relationship with Jesus so intentionally. We helped build homes for those who’ve lost so much, but most importantly we were able to help share the love of Christ and pray for the home owners and those that came near us! It was also great to get to know our team members better and see their servant hearts for God.” -Regan Befus

“The biggest thing I took away from the Louisiana trip is how important prayer is. Having a good prayer life is something I’ve always struggled with. Every time I’d meet with one of my mentors…they’d encourage me to spend time in prayer everyday. I never felt comfortable with praying and sometimes did not see the importance of prayer. However, on this trip I saw the power of prayer and the prayers we prayed being answered. At the beginning of the week, as a large group, we prayed that a house would be finished by the end of the week. That prayer was answered and one of our groups dedicated a house back to its owners on our last day. Also on our last day, our foreman told us there was only one neighbor who had not came by to at least see what was going on and meet us. He prayed that that neighbor would come see what was happening, within 10-15 minutes of praying, that neighbor came and met us all and learned about what we were doing and we prayed for him. After this trip I am seeing the importance of prayer, and I am challenging myself to spend time in prayer everyday.“ – Lucy Nusbaum