One Summer – Two Trips

2 TRIPSEvery summer, Bethlehem sponsors a mission trip for our eighth grade and high school students. This year is special: we are going on two trips!  About 15 students and leaders will be returning to New Orleans. This will be our eighth trip to New Orleans following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Each year we’ve helped the residents of this beautiful city rebuild by working on homes, helping with Vacation Bible School or attending National Youth Conventions held there. This year we will be working with Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans, or RHINO for short. RHINO is a church-based mission that sponsors over 300 campers each year. From community gardens, construction work, summer programs for at-risk you and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, RHINO touches lives.

After NOLA, a small group will be heading to Anapra, Mexico and working with Rainbow Trails Lutheran Camp where we will build a home for a needy family from the ground up.

Check back daily on our blog to follow us along with stories, pictures and more about how this mission trip is effecting many lives.


  • As we piled into the car on our last day in Mexico, we had mixed emotions. There was a lot of sadness that trip was nearing the end, but many of us were looking forward to a nice, well-deserved shower in Albuquerque. As we said goodbye to our leaders from Casas, John and Matthew, we had one final hug before heading back on the road. We arrived... [read more]
  • I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the week! Today was definitely the roughest day. We came to the worksite at 7:00, and didn’t leave until 3:00. Those 8 hours were tough, but the most satisfying. In those 8 hours, I learned new appreciation for people who drywall. Everyone plowed through the stucco, electrical, and drywall to finish the house... [read more]
  • On our third day of work, we began the day by splitting into groups and finishing a few various tasks. One group took charge finishing the outside of the house, covering the whole house in chicken wire. But the most important project of the day was definitely the roof! First we laid down the OSB plywood to give a firm base to walk on. Multiple peop... [read more]
  • We got up early this morning and headed off to start working on the walls of our house. Mostly it was just a lot of nailing wood planks to build frames, and that wasn’t too hard until all the nails started bending. There were just four short exterior walls with a smaller interior divider in between to make two rooms in the house. After a long ... [read more]
  • Today we woke up in the Cross of Hope Lutheran Church before setting out for another fairly sticky voyage in the van. We had to downsize on our luggage a lot to fit it all in the one trailer, getting knocked down to maybe three shirts and two pairs of pants each, but that’s ok. Everyone would have gotten ludicrously stinky anyway. The van trip... [read more]
  • Day one of our journey to México is coming to an end and we've had a pretty adventure-filled day. We got an early start to our day and made it to the airport with ease! We soared through security and made it to our gate with lots of time to spare. Although our flight was delayed, it gave us  an ample amount of time to get to know each other an... [read more]
  • Today we woke up early again for our last full day in New Orleans. We ate breakfast, made our lunches, and then we were off to the work site for the last time. Today we set goals for each of us and tested our ability to work with only our group. By the end of the day we ended up completing our goal of finishing the ceiling and a lot of the wal... [read more]
  • Today started off early again, leaving for breakfast at 6:45. After packing our lunches for our work site, we enjoyed yogurt parfaits and croissants while most of us were still half asleep. We then went straight to our work site to start day three of drywalling. Today we all worked very well together getting lots of work done very efficiently.... [read more]
  • Coming downstairs at the wee hour of 6:45 this morning and seeing the caffeine deprived faces of the group (Grace), the day seemed to be off to a rough start. Although, after a great breakfast of panini sandwiches, we perked up and were off to work on the house. We arrived at the house and started right away. Today, we worked more efficient... [read more]
  • The morning started with a delicious breakfast of biscuits, cubed potatoes, and the meat candy commonly known as 'bacon.' Then, we were off to orientation to kick off our first day of service work. There, we learned about the St. Bernard Project (SBP), which has been helping the locals return to their original homes since 2005. We also heard t... [read more]
  • The day started out with a wonderful breakfast at Cafe du Monde.  From there we broke up into groups to see the sights.  Everyone went to the French M arket and then walked the streets in the pouring rain and ever menacing cracks of thunder in our plastic ponchos.  We stopped at multiple stops on our travels, but Madam Lava's Voodoo shop an... [read more]
  • The day started with a very delicious breakfast followed with everyone pilling into the vans. We were all on our way to New Orleans. A few stops and a bumpy bridge later we reached our destination at Loyola University. Everyone settled into their dorm rooms for the week and met for dinner (Kat declared a PHONE FREE zone). Mulate's served a love... [read more]
  • We Made it to Memphis! After departing Bethlehem and hugging families goodbye we embarked on our 11 hour van ride down to Tennessee. For our first stretch, one van grabbed some zzz's while the other had enlightening conversations. We then stopped for a quick lunch at subway to provide for our diverse dietary needs. Having full stomachs, the mis... [read more]
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