Residents of New Orleans and all of the Gulf Region have endured loss and hardship the past decade with the destruction of both the oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans residents take pride in their food, culture and heritage and there is a determined, survivor’s spirit that remains committed to rebuilding and thriving in the unique and challenging region.
Since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, the number of homeless men, women and children in New Orleans climbed from 6,000 to over 21,000 in 2011, according to the HUD definition of homelessness. New Orleans now has the highest homeless per capita rate for any city in the nation. Louisiana also has the highest percentage of people living in poverty of any state in the U.S. and it has the second highest percentage of single parent homes in all the U.S. In the 9th Ward area of New Orleans, 40% of residents did not graduate high school, and 36% of residents live below the poverty line (12% is the nationwide average).
There are great needs in New Orleans, and many of the ministry leaders we partner with in New Orleans have experienced personal loss and trauma as they faithfully serve where God has called them to be his light. We have the opportunity to come along side of them and help bear the weight of the vital ministries that God has called them to in a unique and challenging mission field. The ministries serving year round in New Orleans are extremely creative, faithful and necessary- reaching out to those in need, including impoverished kids, the homeless, after school programs, displaced families and the elderly.
We invite you to bring your group to serve alongside of us on an urban New Orleans short term mission trip.
There are few cities in the United States that rival San Diego, California in terms of its beauty and climate. San Diego County has over 70 miles of some of the best beaches in the country, in addition to some of the United State’s best attractions, including LEGOLAND and the San Diego Zoo. With a population of 1.3 million people in the city and a total of 3 million in San Diego County, it is the second largest city in California and the eighth largest in the United States.
Unfortunately, like many other of our nation’s cities, San Diego has very marginalized populations who live in desperate need. According to a 2008 report by the Center on Policy Initiatives, San Diego has over 320,000 residents living in dire poverty, with single moms with children comprising 30% of that number. Additionally, as of the 2011 homeless census, there are over 9,000 people experiencing homelessness in San Diego.
Beyond all of that, San Diego is one of the largest cities in the country for refugee resettlement. A refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” According to the San Diego Refugee Forum, San Diego is home to more than 150,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and asylees from Southeast Asia, East Africa, Burma, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Former Soviet Union and other war-torn regions of the world.
We are very excited to be partnering with several ministries and churches to specifically serve this growing refugee community in San Diego. The community is comprised of people from some of the most truly marginalized and oppressed countries worldwide. We would love for your group to join us as we partner with these great local ministries in San Diego to serve and show the love of Christ to people from all over the world. In San Diego, world missions has truly come to our own backyard!
We invite you to bring your group to come and serve alongside of us on an urban San Diego short term mission trip.
Portland is the largest city in the state of Oregon and the second largest in the Pacific Northwest. It is in one of the most beautiful settings in the country, with mountains, forests, and the ocean all within a short drive. It has a thriving art community, numerous outdoor activities, the largest independent book store west of the Mississippi, and is one of the best coffee towns in the United States. To top it off, the summers in Portland are amazing with lot’s of sunshine and temperatures hovering between 70 and 80 degrees.
However, that only tells part of the story of Portland. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most unchurched regions of the country. In fact, a recent Gallup Poll ranked Oregon as the state with the highest percentage of residents identifying with “No religion, Atheist, or Agnostic,” at 24.6% and also ranked 41 out of 48 states for least church attendance. Additionally, Portland outpaces even San Francisco and LasVegas for the most strip clubs in a single city. On top of that, Oregon has the highest percentage of homeless per capita of any state in the United States, many of which are youth, and it is ranked 8th out of U.S. states for the largest number of sex offenders per capita.
As you can see the need for the Gospel of Christ in Portland is great. But the good news is that there are amazing full time ministries faithfully bringing the good news of Christ to the people of Portland and we are privileged to be able to partner with them in their mission.
Please come join us in loving and serving the hurting people in Portland who desperately need to know the hope that is found only in Christ. We invite you to bring your group to come and serve alongside of us on an urban Portland short term mission trip.
Dallas is the 9th largest city by population in the United States. And if you add in the metropolitan areas, it becomes the 4th largest metropolitan area in the United States. What this means is that there is a lot of need and a lot of opportunity to love, learn and serve. There are an estimated 6,000-10,000 homeless and one of every five people lives in poverty. 23% of the south Dallas population lives below the poverty line. More than 60,000 people live in public housing.
Our partner ministries faithfully serve in Dallas through ministries such as after-school tutoring, Bible clubs, befriending individuals and families experiencing homelessness, Bible Studies for the elderly, school supply drives, and sports camps. We also have an incredible opportunity in Dallas to reach out to refugees from all over the world, who are here in our own backyard. We partner with ministries that reach out to the hundreds of men, women and children who have fled their home countries in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution. Our partner ministries serve in various ways including Bible Clubs for kids, food and clothes distribution, home visits and as language partners. Dallas has more churches per capita than any other American city, but it also has the worst overall crime rate for cities with more than 1 million people. We invite you to bring your group to come and serve alongside of us on an urban Dallas short term mission trip.
When combined with its twin city (Saint Paul) right next door, it has a population of approximately 3.6 million people. Additionally, it has a theater system second only to New York, has a city park system that comprises almost 17% of the city, essentially having 770 square feet of park per resident of the city. Minneapolis is also one of the most walkable cities, ranked 9 out of the 50 major metropolitan areas. Finally, Minneapolis is one of the most educated cities, has some of lowest rates of unemployment and is one of the most philanthropic cities in the United States with over 40% of the residents actually giving time to volunteer in charitable work.
In other words, Minneapolis is more than what initially meets the eye. This is true of the needs in the city as well. While the city does have some of the best social services, it also has a lot of need. According to the United Way, in the Twin Cities, 680,000 people are living in or at the edge of poverty and 32 percent of those are children. Additionally, there are over 10,000 homeless people in the Twin Cities and at least 2500 unaccompanied youth on the streets each night.
Another aspect of Minneapolis that few people know is the diversity that exists in the city. In the last three decades, it is estimated that 95,000 refugees from over 90 countries have been resettled in the Twin Cities area. In fact, the Twin Cities has the largest Hmong and Somali communities of any other city in the United States.
These lesser known realities of the Twin Cities provide many incredible opportunities for us to partner with ministries and churches in the area who are daily serving the needs of both the international community and those experiencing homelessness and poverty. We would love for you to partner with us in the Twin Cities as we both serve alongside of our incredible partner ministries, as well as learn from them more about what it means to live out the Gospel in our own communities.
We invite you to bring your group to come and serve alongside of us on an urban Minneapolis short term mission trip.