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Students blitz city in one of state’s biggest-ever projectscomment (0)

January 1, 2009

By Chris Mills

Christmas break brought something big for Alabama Baptist missions work.

More than 270 Alabama college students, their leaders and trained disaster relief workers participated in one of the largest missions projects state Baptists have ever put together. They gave up a week of their Christmas break to participate in the North American Mission Board’s Operation New Orleans Area Homes (NOAH) Rebuild, a project designed to help post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.

This was the second year this project was organized by the office of collegiate and student ministries at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM), and 100 more students participated this year than in 2007. The students worked at 21 job sites including a number of homes and two churches.

Hardy Price Jr., a New Orleans resident, found encouragement in both the work and timing of the volunteers.

“My family was hoping to get back into our home by this Christmas,” Price said. “These students are a godsend.
They are right on time. With their help, we hope to make it back home this Christmas.”

Jared Roggli, a senior at the University of Alabama (UA), worked on Price’s home. “Mr. Price has worked alongside us. He’s been so grateful. He’s thrilled to see work done,” Roggli said.

The physical needs were not the only needs met, he added.

“People are searching for something. As Christians, we have that hope and often we keep it to ourselves.
Opportunities like this one are opportunities to share that hope. We are not only seeking to share physically or emotionally but also spiritually,” Roggli said.

Mike Nuss, director of the SBOM office of collegiate and student ministries, said the impact on the people of New Orleans was “huge” but the impact on the students “will be even greater.”

“Students coming together like this allows them to see the bigger picture of the body of Christ working together. We hope to participate in more projects like this in the future,” Nuss said.

Kim Andrews, campus minister at UA and Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, said the project was the “ideal way” to involve students in missions.

“For many of the students, this is their first missions trip. I know that their lives will be forever changed because of this experience,” Andrews said.

Vernon Lee, a member of White Springs Baptist Church, Rainbow City, in Etowah Baptist Association and a state coordinator for Alabama Baptist disaster relief, served as a crew chief at the First Baptist Church, Chalmette, La., job site. He said he found encouragement in the students’ desire to serve.

“I can’t say enough about the students. They have done a wonderful job,” Lee said. “Campus ministers are doing a great job in raising up our future leaders. These students are playing a very active role in helping bring the people of New Orleans back home.”

For more information on collegiate ministry, contact Nuss at 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 276, or mnuss@alsbom.org. For more information on Operation NOAH Rebuild, call 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 229.

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