A continuation of my deployment experience responding to Superstorm Sandy in 2012 with Christ in Action (get to know them here).
Count Your Blessings
11/21/12, Tuesday 7:15pm
I am 3 sheets to the wind exhausted & so ready to call it a night! A wonderful chapel service this morning filled with the presence of God gave me grace & strength for the day.
What has impressed me today is the gratitude of the people I speak with on the phone. Part of my job here is to follow up on the requests for help and almost everyone I call says thank-you over and over even if we haven’t specifically helped them! It makes such a difference in the morale of people just hearing someone cares enough to help.
The emotional toll on the victims of a disaster is overwhelming. Many feel isolated, alone and don’t even know where to begin putting their life back together.
What do you say to a man trying to move major debris out of his yard when he tells you that his brother died during the storm and the items are too much for one man to move?
Thankfully, I can say, “we’ll be right over to help!”
That’s just one of the many stories we hear as people deal with soggy insulation, no heat and the stench of poisonous mold. Folks like you and me suffering with multiple crises at once – devastated homes, lost and injured family members, a maze of insurance issues and now the holidays are upon us.
Gives you a lot to be thankful for this year doesn’t it?
The Heart of a Neighbor
11/24/12 Saturday 1:37pm
Weather has turned colder with a sharp wind that blows right to the bone. Today I am a little homesick, missing my girl and her events: basketball games, a dance and our late night talks. It is a day when I have to pull on God’s strength.
The physical toll is wearing, not that my work is physical like the crews we send out, but the spiritual aspect has its price, too. Last night I prayed with a woman on the phone overwhelmed trying to find lost paperwork. Today she called back excited to report: within five minutes of ending the call they found the paperwork! Yay God! You are there to show Your faithfulness even in the little things! It is obvious the forces of darkness do not want us to press in and take back territory where the light has grown dim.
Too bad – we’re doing it anyway.
We see on the news reports of the physical destruction but what we don’t see is the emotional damage that accompanies the storm. Sometimes, people cannot cope, they commit suicide, they become paralyzed with indecision and inactivity or overwhelmed trying to navigate the maze of recovery. That’s why it is clearly a time when the body of Christ needs to be prepared to minister to those in need – not just mouthing spiritual words but addressing the practical needs, whether by putting a hot meal before them or dragging wet furniture out of a stinky house. It is a distinct opportunity for the body of Christ to honor God by loving our neighbor.
You know, if the situation were reversed and it was our house devastated by a storm we would want help.
I love seeing the heart of volunteers arriving to work. The job is hard, messy, sloppy, and stinky – crawling under houses to pull out soggy insulation, tromping through freezing mud, yet, volunteers give up their holiday time and joyous at the opportunity to help. Serving others as Christ served us. It makes a difference, a big difference in us and through us.
Do you have the heart of a neighbor?
How can you show the love of Christ to those around you?
There might not have been a hurricane in your neighborhood but there are storms – reach out, perform a random act of kindness, have the heart of a neighbor.
It’s worth it.
And you shall love your neighbor as yourself ~ Matthew 19:19