Louine contacted Jaci and Julie Lewis, UPC's short-term missions coordinator, about participating in the newly formed Shoulder-to-Shoulder ministry, which, even today, continues to send teams of workers to Bay St. Louis.
knew from the beginning that she
wanted to go to Bay St. Louis for more than the weeklong stay of most teams.
After talking to Jaci and Julie
and representatives of the First Presbyterian Church of Bay St. Louis, UPC's partner in Mississippi, she
decided to go for three weeks and worked with several teams.
came back to Seattle, she
felt like God was calling her
to go back to Bay St. Louis for a longer period of time.
"I tried to discern if it was the result of a mountaintop experience, if I just wanted to go back because it was so cool to be there or if God was really calling me."
After significant prayer and consultation with her
friends and family, she
decided to go back for what turned into an 11-month adventure as a volunteer social worker.
Though it was hard to quit her job as a clinical social worker at Children's Hospital, Louine knew the time was right.
An admitted "adrenaline junkie," she
was ready for something new.
parents blessed her
trip by giving her
their RV to live in while she
yellow lab, Cooper, traveled to Mississippi and settled into the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church.
tasks varied from week to week, Louine
- or LuLu, as her
southern friends call her
- offered consistent emotional support to the people of Bay St. Louis and neighboring Waveland.
checked in weekly with elderly folks who were living in Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers.
She organized the kitchen at First Pres to make sure there was food in the pantry to serve the work teams that came from all over the United States.
She sometimes joined a work team "mucking out houses.
also worked with other social workers to locate resources for people who needed specific kinds of help.
"I tried to be involved with the congregation and in the lives of the people there," she