ELCA youth made a world of difference in New Orleans last summer. Even now, 6-7 months later, New Orleans remembers and gives thanks for "all those kids in orange shirts who made such a difference." God used the ministry of the ELCA Youth Gathering to make a difference in New Orleans; God worked through people to touch people. God's work. Our hands.
Below is a small sampling of the response from citizens/organizations served by ELCA youth last July. You can be a part of the service movement of ELCA youth by registering for the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering. Join us in standing with the people of New Orleans.An Episcopalian partner sees ELCA as a poured out church
"I've never seen a church so outwardly focused. We tend to be such navel-gazers in our ministry. This is refreshing!"City Park, feels blessed by ELCA youth
"The whole city is buzzing about the blessings that all the Lutheran Youth have brought to the City of New Orleans! Please pass the word to all the church member that they truly provided a beautiful witness of faith well lived! I know that their labor brought great joy to our Lord and the fruit of their labor will be enjoyed by His people of New Orleans for years to come!"Louisiana Men of Christ recognize the witness of ELCA youth
"Uniformly each person shared a testimony that they were vividly touched by God through the experience. I just want to say how proud I am of each of you for your sacrificial service. The Kingdom has been blessed by God through you as you served!"Kristi Cowen, Jumonville Plantation, says ELCA youth saved her community
"For almost four years we have been working very hard to restore some of what we lost in the hurricane. This was the first time we've had help from outside our neighborhood with our beautification/restoration projects. [ELCA youth] are the reason our community has been saved."Marty Benoit, Councilman, City of Covington considers himself lucky to have worked alongside ELCA youth
"I consider myself very fortunate to have worked alongside ELCA young people. I cannot help but think how successful these individuals will be in life. I wish all of them to know that their efforts will remain in my thoughts as I walk with other residents along those newly cleared pathways. God bless all of the participants in this wonderful effort by the ELCA."Marisa Morton, Southern Repertory Theatre, overwhelemed by the generosity of ELCA youth
"We are thrilled that the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering came to New Orleans, and are overwhelmed by the generosity of all the attendees for the incredible work they performed, not just for our little theatre, but for the entire city".Harry Steffens, St. Tammany Humane Society, hopeful about future in hands of ELCA youth
"Tell ALL the young people THANK YOU! Words cannot express our gratitude; I hope our actions did, especially the action of the dogs and cats. Actions do speak louder than words. Tell them they are an outstanding testimony to their generation. My grandchildren's future lies in their hands, and I feel very comfortable with that, for they are the ones who will make the best leaders of this county. God bless and keep you all, which He surely has done and will continue to do."Principal, Recovery School District, says teachers moved to tears by youth's work
The Recovery School District serves the most at-risk children in the country, at-risk because of poverty and post-traumatic stress. "I can't begin to thank you guys enough. School opened last Thursday and it looks beautiful. Teachers cried; students were amazed."Sara Massey, "Communities in the Schools" celebrates gift of books!
"Thanks to the generosity of ELCA youth we were able to restock 10 school and local libraries with new children's books, over 100,000 in all!"Steve Pettus, Dickie Brennan & Company, grateful that ELCA chose New Orleans
"Thank you for choosing New Orleans as the location of your 2009 Youth Gathering. Your members certainly left a great impression on our city – both on a personal level and with the work performed throughout the metropolitan area. By choosing New Orleans, you have provided many of our local businesses with a much needed boost in what is normally a quiet time of year. Additionally, by coordinating with local organizations on community projects you have helped us take a huge step forward in our recovery."Jefferson Parish teacher says ELCA youth expanded world of her students:
"Thank you very much for sending [ELCA youth] to us." They opened up the very small world of our children just a little bit more as they talked to our children about the different areas of the country in which they live."Thank you, Jefferson Parish. You opened our worlds a little bit more too!
God is always present, and we always represent God and the Church, wherever we are. Read below how ELCA youth witnessed to people helping them serve others:Bill Hagey, Hagey Coach Inc. report bus drivers excited to be part of the effort
"You have no idea how excited our guys (bus drivers) were to be a part of this wonderful endeavour. I pray that humankind listens to the hope and love of Jesus more often like this.New Orleans citizen grateful for church's stewardship
"The city of New Orleans is a better place for having had the privilege to host [the ELCA Youth Gathering]. I was reminded of this daily as I drove to work and came across a sea of orange shirts heading toward the Super Dome. Words cannot express my feelings knowing that thousands of volunteers would soon be heading to various areas of the city to assist in its recovery through your church's stewardship."
New Orleans citizen calls ELCA youth "angels"
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to meet many of your wonderful teenagers and congregation members. In addition to all of your generosity and extensive community service work, you provided so much life, excitement and joy throughout our city! Passing City Park each morning on my way to work and seeing those beautiful, vibrant, orange T-shirts just gave me goose bumps! Please pass to all of your ELCA 'angels' our gratitude and appreciation!Mike and Shelley LaDue, On Eagles Wings Charters, Inc. say "Jesus walked through New Orleans"
"What a blessing to hear about the past week in New Orleans. Jesus just walked through New Orleans in a BIG WAY wouldn't you say? Thank to you and all your hard work."ELCA youth touched bus drivers and hotel works along the way
"Our bus driver said: "This really touched me. You guys went and worked." The same person wrote: I just got off the phone with the group sales person from the hotel we stayed at in Cape Giradeau, MO. She wanted to know where all these people came from and what we had been doing in NOLA. It was an honor to share the story with her."
Fast food restaurants impressed by youth's cleanliness
"We did a canvas of the fast food outlets downtown and on Canal Street to see how their sales were during the Youth Gathering. The report stated that the establishments were more interested in letting us know how ELCA youth left tables and restrooms clean. The youth showed little concern for their inventory being depleted or short. They basically made it work the best they could. Isn't that wonderful? Words cannot express how much you have impacted the residents of our city, and our lives as well. People are constantly coming up to me to tell me what a wonderful group you guys are, and the great work you have done."Sleepless in New Orleans posted on Twitter at 2:19 am
"Praise the Lord and pass the hammer! Thank y'all for your service through the city, particularly in the 9th Ward. My old neighborhood never looked so 'orange.'"Woman notes manners of ELCA youth
"The Lutheran Church can be very proud of their young, bright and respectable youth. It was a delight to walk down the street with these young people and not hear loud cell phones, and conversations dotted with cussing and vulgar language. Thank you for coming to New Orleans and hope you will return. It was our pleasure."
NOLA pastor grateful for making Lutherans known
"Thank you for what you did for promoting Lutheran identity in New Orleans. It was a joy to see how locals welcomed and appreciated the Gathering."Construction worker hopes the spirit of service continues
Isaac Troice stopped by the Health Fair in City "Park to pick up things for his seven year-old and 10 year old. Troice spent 20 days on the top of his roof with his children, waiting to be rescued from the flooding after Katrina. He is glad that the ELCA is here, and hopes that the spirit of service continues to come to New Orleans."