by Lauren Balerud

I absolutely loved the ELCA youth gathering in new Orleans this year. I wanted to go to New Orleans for this so that I could learn more about the Lord while in a different setting than I am usually exposed to.

While I was there, I had an incredible time. A highlight of the trip was when Ruth Young, Jenna Comstock, and I all donated 8 inches of hair to Children With Hair Loss. The theme of the ELCA is “God’s work, our hands” so we felt this was one way we could use ourselves to give to a bigger cause.

Another highlight was worshiping every day with 32,000 other people in the room– words cannot describe how amazing that felt. You would think you could not connect with that many people, but walking around the streets of New Orleans high-fiving all the other Lutherans from around the country made you feel like you were united with them.

While big worship was great, I also enjoyed when we had a service with just the people from our synod. Now that I’m back home and have gone on with “regular life” I feel that I have a deeper connection with the Lord on an average day, which is a result from the stories I heard from speakers and my own experiences in New Orleans.

St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA. Youth Director, Ingelaurie Lisher and Saint Mark's Youth, Jenna Comstock, Lauren Balerud (the author!), and Ruth Young.