NEW ORLEANS?Center Point Church of North Richland Hills, a Fort Worth suburb, has adopted a “home” away from home.

After replacing the roof on the home of a senior adult New Orleans resident?Mr. Richardson?in June 2006, the church decided to adopt the home and see it through to completion. The fourth team of volunteers from the church recently returned from hanging drywall in the home.

Center Point has been working with Operation NOAH (New Orleans Area Homes) Rebuild, a two-year initiative of the North American Mission Board in cooperation with Louisiana Baptists and other assisting state conventions. NOAH houses, feeds and coordinates the work of hundreds of volunteers every month, working toward a projected goal of rebuilding 1,000 homes.

Pastor Jay Bruner and the first team of volunteers presented a check from the church to Operation NOAH for $10,000. The money has been used, in part, for building materials for Richardson’s home.

Marc Byers, owner of an automotive repair shop and a coordinator for the trips, said returning team members were so excited about the first trip, the church made the commitment to come every few weeks.

Participant Lauri Daniels said that after hearing the report of the first team, she decided, “I’ve got to be a part of that.”

Byers, who came to faith in Christ a year and a half ago, said getting people involved in the trips was as much fun “as bringing people to church.” Some “recruits” for the trips have been unchurched skilled workers, including some of Byers’ customers.

“Nothing builds a church quite like a mission trip,” Byers said. “Some of our team members got connected to the church for the first time after one of these trips.”

Brad Sullard, Center Point’s associate pastor, said that the nine-year-old church, now averaging 650 in worship, has shifted their focus as a result of the mission trips.

“These trips have been very significant in developing our mission focus and a vision for those outside the church,” Sullard said. “We are moving from being self-focused to giving our lives away.”

Sullard said that the presence of volunteers is being noticed in New Orleans. As they shared lunch and visited with the neighbors, team members have shared how they are motivated by a commitment to Christ.

Center Point teams took the gutted home and replaced wiring and plumbing systems, insulation and walls.

“NOAH 5,” the next scheduled trip, is planned as a youth mission trip to paint inside the home. Three additional trips are anticipated to finish out cabinets, flooring and other accommodations.

“As an individual there’s not much I can do,” four-time team member Paul Bellwood said. “But we have learned that as a team, together we can do a lot.”

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