~ Courtney (US Volunteer at Camp Restore)
The Lutheran Young Adult Corps (LYAC) is a summer or gap year program for young adults (18-26) that provides a community of faith and service through full-time service work in various cities across the US. As the LCMS website states, “During service, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod provides a supportive, life-changing program for young people to gain valuable experience while deepening their faith and sharing Jesus through acts of mercy”.
There are currently four participants serving in Louisiana: Madison Ezzell, Courtney Haag, and Hayden Duncan at Camp Restore in New Orleans, and Paul Mroczenski at Camp Restore in Baton Rouge.
Both camps house and feed volunteers from across the nation, and offer a variety of service opportunities to those volunteers. Camp Restore-NOLA partners with over 100 non-profits in the area, including food pantries, animal shelters, schools, nursing homes, senior centers, churches, homeless ministries, and community gardens.
Although the sites are different, all four interns appreciate the community that is surrounding them. Mroczenski and Duncan are often invited to dinner with church members and attend pizza parties hosted by their pastor, Dave Buss. Ezzell and Haag enjoy going to their supervisor, Kathy Wendling’s house to watch the Saints games, as well as going to festivals and exploring the city.
All four participants entered into this program very unsure of what to expect in terms of work and community, but have been embraced by the Camp staff and the LCMS churches. While in Louisiana, they have grown in their faith, expanded their worldview, and discovered new talents.
The participants have also discovered a new place to love. They come from all over the country and have now discovered different things to love about Louisiana. Haag’s favorite part of working at camp is walking through the office in the middle of the work day and pausing to laugh with the staff and share stories from their lives. Ezzell loves learning new skills, such as using a jigsaw or cooking jambalaya, and growing more comfortable doing hard tasks. Duncan loves fellowship and community with the members at Trinity Lutheran Church.
More than anything, these four young adults are excited for an opportunity to serve their neighbors and share the love of Christ in their respective communities. They appreciate the support of the Southern District and the LCMS church as a whole as they explore their vocation and engage in the work of Christ.