minnesota thus far

i love it here.

the sunsets really are as beautiful as people say….and I’m not even to the reservation yet.

the people really do talk all “donchaknow” and such…it’s true. and southern hospitality has been left at home. people aren’t rude, but it’s not an automatic response to open doors, say thank you when people refill your drinks, and when my bags fell over, no one offered to help…its just a different culture. not bad, just different.

training is…wow. so much stuff shoved into my mind in such a short time on little sleep. it’s not officially a camp, but there is SO much to know. all of the responsibilities of running a site (there are only 5 of us in charge of it all) including building, youth orientation, adult leader orientation, rules, community standards, cultural differences, what native american reservations are like. PLUS all the responsibilities of my role in work projects: securing projects, community relationships, setting up accounts at hardware stores, mixing paint in 30 gallon trash cans, good vs bad vs oil vs latex paint, lead paint safety, cultural things, and more! its overwhelming, but it’s worth it.

my team is awesome. plain and simple. we mesh well together, we’re fun, it’s awesome. pictures soon from our wednesday night out where we all went to a sculpture garden at the edge of Minneapolis. we have stuff scheduled from 7am til 11pm.

this is right where God wants me to be. i’m overwhelmed, i can in ZERO way do this without Him. i know that on a level i’ve never felt before. there is no way i would be in this job had my life not turned upside down and been beautifully wrecked and pieced back together by Him over the past 6 months. it’s been a journey, but i wouldn’t have it any other way. i’m right where i need to be and i know that. it’ll be hard this summer and there will be days i feel like a failure, but i ask that those of you reading this, those of you at home, pray for me, please. i’ll need it. there will be days where i am running on fumes and simply a vessel of God because i have no energy. i hope those vessel days are everyday, hopefully the fumes will only be toward the end of the week. i love it though. when we are at our lowest, our weakest, the point where we have zero clue what’s happening, that’s where God meets us most. and carries us through.

one thing that has been reiterated throughout training has been that the same God that has carried us throughout all of our lives, and our journeys to YouthWorks is the God that will be with us this summer. this is comforting when I’ll feel alone. comforting that He loves. just overall a peace.

about this organization, it’s such a humble one. the CEO and the COO of the organization have both humbly come to us in a genuine sense and just laid it out on the table and encouraged us and walked in our shoes. it’s very encouraging.

i said back in January-ish that i wanted a job where i’d get paid to take youth on mission trips to awesome places and get to do construction projects and get paid for it.  funny how God works when you just let him isn’t it? 🙂

i miss you all at home. i miss hanging out with you. i miss bowling. and those of you who weren’t at home but we talked more regularly, i miss our facebook messages and text messages. but trust that this is where God has called me to be and pray for me in that. let me know how I can be praying for you and encouraging you and i will do the best i can. i am away, but i am not gone. i have stamps, paper, pens, and envelopes and want to be there for you as much as i can.

i miss tom too, but we’re each where God called us to be for the summer. while that is 1284 miles apart, different time zones, and neither of us have much spare time to talk, i trust that God has a plan. i also get to be married to that wonderful man of God in 150 days, it’s just hard missing him right now.

i love you all. pictures will be on facebook momentarily.

if you’d like to send me mail this summer…

if you’d like to send me mail or things this summer…you can!! here is the exact way you’ll need to address it:

Kim Louvin

Youthworks

15308 Highway 371

Cass Lake, MN 56633-3112

I will not be at this address until this saturday, May 29, so don’t send anything this week to there.  My birthday is next Monday so feel free to send cards 🙂

Have a great summer and keep all of us with YouthWorks in your prayers!  I’ll try to update as I go along.

Leech Lake Indian Reservation (VERY abbreviated)

For those of you who have been out of the loop, I am spending my summer at Leech Lake Reservation in Cass Lake, MN.  I’m currently in the Minneapolis airport waiting to be picked up at 4pm and I’ll return to Nashville around lunchtime on August 10.  So, clearly I’m out of town.

Today has been a whirlwind of emotions: excitement, anxiety, sadness, tearful goodbye, and tired-ness.  Being here in Minneapolis is nothing short of God’s hand…well this blog will be continued….they YouthWorks people are here to pick me up early

from YW website:

The Cass Lake area of north central Minnesota is surrounded by the natural beauty of the water and the woods. A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, some of Minnesota’s largest lakes are located in this region. Cass Lake is the tribal headquarters for the Leech Lake Reservation, and like many Native American communities, the tribe struggles to overcome the pervasive issues of addiction and poverty. As the hands and feet of Christ, your group can help preserve the hope and spirit of this community. Your group will serve through home improvement and children’s programs.

Demographics

The Leech Lake Reservation is one of six reservations affiliated with the federally recognized Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The reservation is made up of 11 communities, Cass Lake being the largest. Its population of 10,205 makes it the largest Indian reservation in the state in terms of population, but not in size. While its original boundaries contained 677,099 acres, today less than 7 percent of that land remains in Indian hands. The bulk of the reservation land is now Chippewa National Forest, which attracts about 1.5 million tourists a year. Also within the original reservation boundary is Itasca State Park, where you’ll find the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Tourism and casinos are important tribal revenue sources, and reservation land is open to non-members of the tribe. Many youth on the reservation struggle with dysfunctional families and substance abuse. The high school dropout rate among American Indians in the state is 34 percent. Nearly 22 percent of individuals in this community live in poverty, including 28 percent of Leech Lake’s youth. Although members struggle in this community, they are proud people. Your participation in ministering to these residents is important to restoring community pride.

About the Ministry

We focus on two primary areas of ministry: children and home improvement. Our work with children consists of a hands-on program led by your youth, known as Kids Club. Kids Club offers high-energy games, crafts, skits, songs and interactive lessons all designed to help kids learn about Jesus. Also during the week, your group will have the opportunity to do home improvement. Your group’s willingness to refresh a worn out exterior of a house with a new coat of paint brings real hope and an opportunity to share the love of Christ. Adult leaders will separate youth into ministry groups, and the youth in your group will be mixed with the youth from other groups for their week of service. We ask that you come with a willing and flexible spirit.

Activities

Evening activities during a YouthWorks week are designed to give participants an insight into the lives of local residents and the culture of the area. A list of evening/cultural activities we have done in the past include: learning about American Indian History at Spirit of the Living Forest; take part in an educational activity; attend a community cookout; and spend an evening at the beach. These are examples of what your group might partake in during your mission week. These examples are subject to change due to weather or availability. In case of change, suitable substitutes will be provided. We try to arrange for free evening activities, but from time to time, an additional cost may be required for an activity. Please plan to bring an additional $10 per person to cover any extra costs. We will confirm the details closer to your trip

2010 just keeps getting better

as i sit here waiting on one of my best friends i haven’t seen in 2 years to arrive, i reflect back on 2010 thus far… WOW.

a friend of mine used pictures one time to describe her year with brief captions…and i think i’ll do the same, words cannot capture the awesome-ness

January

January 2010 was easily the most emotionally turmoiltuous (if that’s a word) month of my life. My mind was consumed with personal things, i was stressed, it was my last semester of college, love life, my best friend had just moved away, and i work at a gym so that was crazy. it was a crazy month to say the least. and i was, as usual, going a million miles an hour. until the last weekend….when snow blanketed the entire city of nashville shutting it down. freezing and icing me in, and forcing me to just take a day and think about my life. to realize how blessed i had been. to realize that god covers all. it was beautiful.

February

no picture here really. not because it wasn’t exciting, but because i lost my camera for a month 😦 february was a beautiful month. a start of new beginnings and the old being rekindled. it was perfect. spaghetti factory. sleep. school. the realization that i really was going to get to go on the trip to Nicaragua, and becoming even closer to some new friends. teach for america interview this month too.

March

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i finally got to go on an international mission trip and wow. i had no idea what to expect, except that God would show up. He did. i saw Him work through my friends, myself, in the faces of the children, in the volcano. i felt Him when i slid down the volcano to i thought my death.  God was ever present throughout this trip in every possible way. i became closer with friends, began to see my life in a new perspective, and felt God forcefully pushing me toward missions for the summer even more. i had prayed that i wanted a job where all week i got to do mission trips and got paid. my wonderful, now fiance, Tom suggested “oh you’re going to come back from Nicaragua and want to do youthworks” i had no idea what youthworks was, but after 2 minutes of him explaining, i immediately applied, and interviewed the day after getting back to the States. God works in miraculous ways.

March was also my first camping trip. Fall Creek Falls. little did i know that it was preparing me for an even better trip in April 🙂  waterfalls, trenches, colorful fire, cider, hot chocolate, and a perfect weekend. at this point i thought 2010 couldn’t get much better. turned down teach for america…i’m not a math teacher.  took youthworks. got in the car, went camping. beautiful

April

yay i’m engaged!!! this could be the longest post ever, so i’ll just direct you to the most perfect engagement story ever it seriously could not be a more ‘us’ story and i get all smiley and cheesy just thinking about it.

April also allowed me to be a leader on a mission trip from my home church. we traveled to lynch, KY and worked on creating a community center for the kids of the small mountain area. through this, I really felt God prepare me for the summer and affirm my role with Youthworks.  oh yea, i got the Youthworks job.  just an awesome month.

May

it is now may. i am still packing. will update later

you’re the God of this city

the flood is devastating. all floods are. Nashville is my home. it’s the place i’ve grown up. met my best friends. been on first dates. the cityscape is the backdrop to my ‘thinking place.’  i’ve had the best times of my life in and around this city. and my city is now forever changed. by water. whenever i’m at an ocean, i’m reminded how small I am in the midst of the world. nothing makes you feel smaller than looking out into the ocean at night. there’s something about hearing the waves crash violently against the sand that forcefully reminds me how insignificant i am in the grand scheme of things. in a matter of seconds, the water come up, crash against the sand, and take me out with it. hurricanes. unstoppable.  water is one of the most unpredictable, unstoppable, powerful forces of nature. with tornadoes, it happens, its over, and the cleanup can begin nearly immediately. with lightning, same thing. earthquakes, same thing. you see the devastation almost immediately.

not with water.

you have to wait until it recedes. until it decides you can see just how powerfully it has changed your world. this could be hours, days, or even months until it decides you can cleanup and begin piecing your life back together. this is nashville currently.

i’ve been downtown. i’ve seen nearly every single riverfront business underwater. i’ve seen the cumberland river forever change the lives of business owners. i’ve seen it ravage industrial parks. flood parking lots. consume riverfront park. consume ‘tent city’ where so many homeless called ‘home.’  I’ve seen it devastate local businesses many poured their life savings into.

tonight. i drove through bellevue on my way home from church. here i saw water destroy the homes of those local business owners. here i saw where water from creeks consumed the lives of thousands. i saw car lots empty because all of the cars had been totaled in the flood. i saw a local ymca sign for a flooded Y display “bellevue and nashville are in our prayers.”  I saw 200 year old stone walls crumpled like a pile of gravel. massive oak trees ripped up by the roots strewn across roads. plantation homes with no power because of the flooding. dust was everywhere because the mud that covered the road has since been caked on by the sunshine. all of this made my stomach turn into knots. but what really got me was the smell. when floodwater begins to recede and people are allowed to begin to search for the pieces of their lives, there is a smell like no other. the smell of homes, pictures, business, food, cars, gasoline, trash, trees, grass, mud, and anything else that stood in the path of the water. a stench no one can contain and no one can erase. no febreeze. no scented candles can control it.

bellevue is not on the river. it’s not on a lake. its not on any major body of water. if i were a homeowner, i wouldn’t even think about getting flood insurance. sure the harpeth river is closeby, but the dams and the cumberland river keep that in check.  14 inches of rain in 24 hours changed all of that. thousands of families have been displaced because of a flood and many of them likely have no flood insurance. water was up to the second floors of their homes. their cars are ruined. their homes are ruined. no one could have predicted this, so unlike many hurricanes and some tornadoes, most families had little to no time to grab the things most precious to them.   bellevue is also a small community on the outskirts of nashville, so many local businessmen and women have their businesses and homes in the area. imagine having both your home and your business lost in a single weekend to a flood that no one could have predicted, and you have no flood insurance. this is the case in at least one situation.

it’s hard for me to stomach this disaster. its hard for me to realize i’m leaving in 17 days for my summer job while my city tries to find its feet again.

all of this is less than 10 miles from me. my kroger grocery store…flooded out and a car nose first into the ground. a body was found in a creek created by the flood behind it. two people i work with lost everything. the road i take to school..was flooded out and had a portable from a local school float onto it and into a semi. countless people i know have been affected. i am blessed to have only had minor water damage in my basement, but please pray for those who have not been so lucky.

my family has its roots deep in the country music industry. my grandfather and his brother (the louvin brothers) were a huge gospel/bluegrass band in the 1950s and my grandfather has since had a successful solo career as a bluegrass artist. they are members of the grand ole opry and the country music hall of fame. as a child, i grew up going to the opry on saturday nights and spending my summers at opryland. christmases consisted (and still have) of a trip to opryland hotel to see all the cool plants and the christmas lights. we’d eat at a local cracker barrel or shoney’s with my grandparents whenever he had a show.  i grew up with the opry.  the opry is nashville. without it, nashville would not be the tourist center it is today. it is easily the most integral piece in nashville’s history. and it  is currently under 15 feet of water. pews from the original opry at the ryman auditorium are currently molding in floodwater. the circle on the opry stage that goes with the “will the circle be unbroken” opry theme is currently underwater (it’s old and wooden, not exactly fixable).  the backstage area with porter waggoner memorabilia and other artist memorabilia has been flooded. the opryland hotel has millions of dollars in damage and all restaurants and imported plants are ruined. fun fact: there were plants in the hotel from every state in the country and many international countries. opry mills mall which was build on my childhood opryland theme park is soaking in 15-2o feet of water. you cant pump that out in a mega mall or a convention center. the cumberland river has overtaken.  diesel fuel from the delivery trucks at the hotel is seeping into the ruins, making it unsafe for anyone trying to salvage anything. the country music hall of fame, which is downtown, has water in the basement, but luckily no memorabilia has been damaged.

the city is losing countless tourism revenue and will continue to do so for awhile, as the convention center at opryland hotel won’t open for an estimated 6-9 months and many downtown businesses are scrapped. who knows what can be done about opry mills mall, the farmer’s market, and other businesses still soaking in floodwaters.

and there’s nothing anyone can do until the water recedes.

i haven’t been out to nor do i know much about, but west nashville, bordeaux area, neely’s bend, pennington bend, franklin, brentwood, hendersonville, goodletsville, and parts of murfreesboro have also been affected.

i beg you to pray for this city.

pray for the leadership of it to handle this unprecedented disaster

pray for the families affected, whether it be home, business, or just local favorite place

pray for the businesses and their employees affected

pray for those who have friends that have been affected, that they will open their homes and their hearts

pray that the city will continue to band together as it has so well over the past several days

pray for all of the law enforcement working triple time and their families.

pray for those still waiting for the waters to recede

and pray for those who are helping, and those who want to help.

i’ve compiled several links i’ve found that detail ways to help below. if you’re not local,  please spread the word about this disaster and text ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999 to donate $10 to flood relief.”  the money is being used across the southeast for those affected by floods and recent tornadoes.

more locally,

Flood FAQ: Clearing Up The Information Disaster [Flood 2010]

Local Businesses Pitch In For Flood Relief [Flood 2010]

the most comprehensive list… So Nashville Is Flooded… How Can I Help? [Flood 2010]

Help Nashville Facebook group

buy a nashville flood relief shirt

more links to be added later.

please continue to spread the word about the RedCross texting, and please help those around you. take donations of clothes, water, food, etc to local area donation drop offs (sorry i dont have a list, google does).

to see a comprehensive flickr album of flood coverage, click here

nashville :(

copied from: http://marktucker.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/nashville-flood/

I had no idea that that Cumberland breached its banks until late this morning, (Monday). At first, this was somewhat exciting — just blown away to see such water. But now, to see that people’s homes are being flooded, and many people killed, the reality begins to hit home. Titans stadium taking on water; Opryland Hotel under ten feet of water; my old house on the river, flooded out. Very sad. Here’s also a link to a nice video shot by a local person. More images that I shot today, about an hour ago:

Downtown and Lower Broadway. River over its banks. Incredible amount of damage. Click to enlarge.
From EastNashville side of the river, from the new bridge. Click to enlarge.
The brand new Symphony Hall, finished only last year.
Joes Crab Shack, Second Avenue. Horrible food; sometimes karma just gets you. Good riddance.
Grounds and parking for Titans football stadium. Beyond surreal.
Industrial area, around Memorial Bridge.