Remember yesterday I said I could possibly gain 10 pounds on this mission trip - let's change that figure to 15! Ya'll they have got to quit cooking this good food every meal. For lunch today we had a shrimp boil - and if you've never sampled a Louisiana shrimp boil you don't know what you're missing. They boil shrimp, cajun sausage, corn on the cob and potatoes all together in the same water with the same spices. Yum. And tonight it was homemade pizza with homemade pecan pie for dessert. I go in with the intention of only eating a salad and there's temptation, calling my name. Thank goodness for all the walking I'm doing!
This mission campus was originally built as an orphanage/school for African American boys right after the civil war. It has, of course, been added to and improved on and changed to fit the needs of the times. The "depot" is a football field sized warehouse where disaster kits are assembled, packed and shipped to all the world. Their motto is "When the world rocks, UMCOR rolls." They put together school kits for children (school bags with notebook paper, pencils, etc.), sewing kits for women who want to learn to sew (bags with needles, pins, threads, etc.), health kits (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, bandaids, etc.) and flood buckets (5 gallon buckets with cleaning products inside like trash bags, handiwipes, cleaners, sponges, etc.). Last week they did a big shipment to Afghanistan. It doesn't matter where in the world help is needed, UPCOR provides.
The campus was empty for 14 years until Hurricane Andrew hit when it was opened and used as a central point for distributing goods. Everything that goes through this station is a result of donations either of money or goods and with the exception of just a very few paid employees the work is done by volunteers. We not only pack kits, box them up, make the school bags we also do the kitchen clean up after meals. We don't do our own cooking, and that's a good thing cause everyone would lose weight if I was cooking! There's a verse in 1 Thessalonians that says something like "we work for our living so we won't be a burden on others." Paul was saying this to the churches he visited and it appears that this policy is being followed here - what a great thing.
I hope by tomorrow I have some pictures I can post for you. Even though we had a frost today the roses and perwinkles are still blooming right along with the mums. The dorm is right on the banks of the Bayou Teche - if you're a fan of James Lee Burks books about a detective named Dave Robicheaux you'll be familiar with that bayou. Dave's hometown, New Iberia, is a few miles up the road. And I understand the author's old home is here but I've not seen it yet. We do have the afternoon off tomorrow to do some sight seeing so I'll let you know what I've gotten to do.