To say that devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is unbelievable would be an understatement. When we arrived in Staten Island (our first assignment was to Far Rockaway, but we were redirected) it appeared as though there wasn’t much damage. But then we saw it. The images are burned into my mind…cars strewn everywhere. They were picked up in the flood waters and deposited at the whim of the storm: in fields, marshes, onto houses, in the roads, and against other vehicles. Houses were moved off of their foundations, poles pushed aside and electrical wires scattered aimlessly. The street-side mountainous piles of trash grew by the minute.
However, what caught out attention more than anything else were the faces. Faces of people like Robert (pictured here). When we arrived on Robert’s street, we intended to only work at his neighbor’s home. But we saw Robert sitting there in front of his home. His reddened face was a result of asthma that was triggered from the work of gutting his flood-ravaged home. Robert lost much including his vehicle. He told of the horror of being in his home alone while the storm raged in the darkness of night. The water rushed into his home and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. He cried as he told of watching bodies float by–victims of the torrent. Some from the team offered to help him and he graciously accepted. The work was completed in short order and Robert stood there to see us off. Before we left we asked if we could pray for him, his breaking voice revealed his emotion. We gathered together with our arms around him and prayed. He began to sob and said, “I can’t believe you came…God must’ve sent you.” One of the team members talked to Robert of Christ.
We “gutted” 5 homes, provided food, water, and other supplies. The stench from rotten food and stagnant ocean water was, at times, overwhelming. Sewage littered basements. We were there to work and to work hard…cleaning, gutting, providing…doing. But what we found was more necessary than anything else was simply to relate. Those extra few minutes spent to talk to people like Jean, an elderly woman who was nearly washed away by the rushing water, meant more than any work we could do. Her own family wouldn’t take the time to help. But our team was there to not only clean out her house and provide fuel for her car, but to embrace her and to remind her that someone cares.
Ali and his family are Palestinian immigrants. They live beside Robert and we were glad to provide help to them as well. This Islamic family was obviously a bit shy at first but soon happily received us. We worked hard and tried to provide a positive testimony for Christ. Before we left, we gifted this large family with a generator and plenty of blankets.
Our hope in all of this was to provide relief through relationship so as to bring glory to the One True God. Today (Tuesday) nearly 1,500 hot meals were served by our associate teams in Far Rockaway. Five hundred of those meals were provided through our deliveries yesterday. Pray for Team 2…leaving on Monday morning and working in Far Rockaway.
Our greatest needs right now are:
- Monetary donations
- Contractor strength, large trash bags
- New (still in the package) socks and underwear
- Mops, mop buckets (with the ringer), sponges, scrub brushes
We are no longer accepting donations of clothing or food. Thanks for helping to meet the immediate needs!
Please send your checks to:
Good Samaritan Benevolence Fund
125 Calvary Church Road
Wrightsville, PA 17368