Summer of Service, by Kris Gerig

“Alright lets gather round and pray.” This phrase signals the beginning, and end, of a work day at Mr. Joe’s home on Elysian Fields Avenue. Prayers for safety, prayers of thanksgiving, and prayers for relationship with the Savior are offered up by a man who is more concerned with the spiritual health of a volunteer than the needed physical repairs to his house. Mr. Joe has been watching over groups nearly every week since mid-May as they worked to complete renovations on a downstairs apartment and the building exterior. If any groups arrive in St. Roch with the idea that they will be working for their entire stay in New Orleans, Joe sets them straight with directions to the nearest Sno Ball stand or a reminder for Thursday’s Outreach in the St. Roch Park.

This is not to say that Mr. Joe doesn’t know when to get down to business. Whether painting from scaffolds and ladders or pressure washing a fence, Mr. Joe’s top priority is safety. Ensuring that volunteers have the necessary eye protection, stable footing, and a sense of responsibility, is part of each day’s preparations. When the churches, ministries, and schools that sent teams to work on Mr. Joe’s house this summer sat down to plan, they may have been thinking about the opportunity to contribute physical labor towards fulfilling the vision and mission of St. Roch Community Church. And while they certainly did achieve this, they also were blessed with the wisdom earned by a man’s long life of knowing and loving the Lord.

*Kris has faithfully served as our Community Development Intern, learning the the ins and outs of our philosophy of ministry, coordinating work teams, helping with many behind-the-scenes tasks of maintaining our property and even playing the keyboard in worship.  He also designed and led a health intervention as a part of the Masters in Public Health degree he is earning from Tulane.  


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