January 12, 2013 Encouraging Words
From January 7 to 11, 2013 I had the great privilege to go to Old Bridge, New Jersey and lend a hand with the relief effort form hurricane Sandy. Old Bridge is about a two hour drive north in New Jersey from Delaware.
Our work team was made up with people from West Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and locals that live in the New Jersey area. The team was made up of both women and men. We stayed at Sayre Woods Bible Church a very friendly church in Old Bridge, New Jersey. We ate like kings and queens. The ministry we joined is “Love Thy Neighbor Outreach.”
Sandy slams Jersey shore
Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the United States about 8 p.m. EDT Oct. 29, 2012 striking near Atlantic City, N.J., with winds of 80 mph
The death toll from Sandy as of Nov. 1, 2012 was at least 149. The confirmed deaths include 42 in New York; 12 in New Jersey; nine in Maryland; 6 in Pennsylvania; 5 in West Virginia; 4 in Connecticut; 2 in Virginia; and 1in North Carolina. One person died in Canada, and at least 67 people were killed in the Caribbean, including 54 in Haiti. (National newspaper headlines)
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 New International Version (NIV)
What did we see 76 days after Sandy landfall? We saw Destruction, Devastation, Loss, Sadness, Hope, Determination, People coming together to help, and the spreading of God’s love.
We worked in just a few small areas that were hit very hard by hurricane Sandy. Our main work was focused in a small community of about 30 houses that were in various stages of destruction.
One house developed a gas leak and was completely blown apart.
One of the houses was hit with such force that it was knocked completely off of its foundation.
Most of the houses have damage to the foundation. When we looked most of the damage was large holes on the foundation with many large cracks in parts of the remaining foundations. The houses were in various stages of clean-up.
Imagine mud everywhere with the smell of sewage on everything. We saw boats in places that you cannot even imagine how they got there.
We worked in 5 of these houses. Our team was split up as we worked in the houses in this area. Our work consisted of “Mud Out.” This meant you put on protective overalls, berating masks, rubber boots, rubber gloves and went in to clean out everything. Most of these houses were built at least three steps up from the ground but still had for 5 to 7 feet of water on the main floor of the house.
In this location we worked on these 5 different houses for a total of about 21 clock hours. House 3 we removed some large appliances. House 6 was major work. The basement had a large hole in the side and was filled with debris from the neighborhood as well as the owner’s contents. We had a full crew in this house for two days on the basement alone.
We also worked on the main floor removing drywall, insulation and clean-up.
House 9 we removed drywall from the floor to the ceiling. This house had almost 7 feet of water inside. House 33 we worked with the owner removing drywall, and clean-up.
In the house across the street from 33 we helped with the removal of appliances, drywall, insulation and clean-up. The residents of this area were told that before they could return to their homes the houses had to be raised 17 to 21 feet off of the ground or pay very, very high flood insurance.
We also worked in two homes at a second location for two days. The first house we cleaned out the upstairs, removed drywall, insulation, and clean-up and sprayed for mold on the main floor. In the second home we removed the drywall in two rooms, removed the hardwood floor in the living room and pulled nails throughout the house.
We also saw God’s hands and feet. We saw hope. We saw love. We saw compassion. We saw the gospel of Jesus Christ coming to life in the lives of the workers and in the lives of the home owners, and in the lives of the people from Sayre Woods Bible Church. What a wonderful experience to see God using us to make a difference in the lives of people that needed hope at this time in their lives. I saw more people from the community expressing thanks for what we could do for them than in any other mission trip I have been on. It was most uplifting to see the people in the community stop us and say thank you even if we had not worked on their house. Even the police that patrolled the area said thanks. Those “Thank Yous” and the relationships we formed with the people we came in contact with made this a very special trip.
Thank you God for another safe and humbling experience and another opportunity to see Your power and mercy at the same time. We also thank you for Your word that tells us what we see is temporary and we fix our eyes on what is unseen, our relationship with You today and forevermore.