In 2012 my life was interrupted for 3 weeks when I deployed with Christ in Action
in response to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. Below are some of my reflections about the experience.
Doing It Together
Denny at chapel and crew assignments
A smaller crew today as many of the volunteers returned to home. Each morning breakfast is at 7:30 followed by chapel at 8:00, then the crews gather their tools and hit the road. We have 3 crews going out (about 10-12 people total) and they’ll cover at least 10 homes today, plus any other calls that may come in at the base camp. On today’s agenda for the work crews: home gutting, tree cutting and mold treatment.
My agenda: man the phones, data entry, long distance-mom stuff and laundry. Life goes on even when you’re in the midst of a disaster zone. It seems surreal when I get calls from home because I have to adjust my mind and totally switch gears; there’s a whole set of issues at home requiring attention and which are just as important as the intervention here. There’s no point in doing ministry if you are going to neglect home life because then it ceases to be ministry.
We have to keep things in the right order: God first, family second and the rest follows. Balance is crucial. Thank goodness for the technological advances we have now because it’s easier to stay connected. Last night I skyped with my discipleship students and helped with an assignment my daughter had via email. She checks in with me after school by phone and thankfully, other parents are looking after my chick. Just like we pitch in to work together here, the same happens at home.
Here, I may schedule home gutting, listen to the broken voice of those hit by tragedy, wash dishes, or run an errand. But back in Texas, coaches are picking up my daughter for basketball games, my sister is taking her out to dinner and another mom is admiring the beautiful dress for the formal and taking pictures of a dance I don’t get to see.
I’m ministering to those hit by tragedy in New Jersey but those at home are ministering to me and to my daughter in my absence. One doesn’t happen without the other. Both are equally important because we all are precious in His sight.
Curbs piled with debris piles over 5ft tall
Life happens. I won’t always be able to respond to the needs of disaster relief but I could respond to this one, so I did. But, I didn’t do it alone.
“Also, I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,”Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us? Then, I said,”Here I am, send me! ” Isaiah 42:9
Behold I Do a New Thing
Today I came to the end of myself. I sat under a tree and cried; not for long, though because I discovered I was really weeping into my self-pity instead of looking upon the Source. What I am experiencing is nothing compared to what He did for us – are we not supposed to lay down our life for our brother? Instead of dwelling on my little world let’s look at what God has done in the last 24 hours in His.
my go-to spot and where I met my duck friend
A phone call from Home Depot – they are donating $2000 worth of material, our choice, at cost! Today the truck came – it was like Christmas – I’ve never heard so many grunts of admiration as the men gawked at the booty! Demo is hard work & the right tools make it better – thanks Home Depot!
Second, our director assesses a property untouched since the storm where poisonous mold is literally climbing the walls. He confronts a man about his drinking, the guy weeps all over his shirt and gives his life to Jesus!
Beach Haven NJ
My favorite – at chapel God brings some tough looking men to their knees, weeping and repenting. We see deliverance, conviction, and encouragement in an outpouring of His love! God places His hand upon us and we are never the same! Most volunteers come thinking they’re going to bless others and are surprised when God rearranges their heart anew.
They leave walking a different way, with God’s word written on the tablet of their heart, never to be the same again. His thoughts are not our thoughts but I love the way He loves us. His ways are not our ways but I love the way He works! Make me different, O Lord, do a new thing in me!
“Behold, the former things are come to pass and new things I do declare!” ~~ Isaiah 42:9