Christmas Tree Lighting in the city and only a few blocks away
the clean up continues from Hurricane Sandy!
Sunday November 25—Flying out to Brooklyn NY to night. Curt and Mary Jo will pick me up at Laguardia. First question/snag—“which terminal are you in?” WHAT! No one told me there were 3 terminals. Which one Lord? Always an adventure—terminal C. Picked up & headed to Horizon Brooklyn. Nick & Brittany (Curt’s son & daughter-in-law) & 3 of the Bowery Boys (Tom, Lewis & Josh) arrived at the church about the same time for introductions & prep for what was ahead of us. After a tour of our home for the week we bedded down for what was left of the night to prepare for the 6am breakfast & devotions.
Monday November 26—Up-coffee-devotions (Curt choose James-I was just starting in, no coincidence with Jesus) & ready to go to work (labor of love). 40º & Windy– 8 of us out to Sea Gate, just a few blocks from Coney Island. I had no idea it was an 80% Jewish community. We started on a Rabbis house. Almost 4 weeks now of sea water turned into black mold & muck with sand from the Atlantic piled in the streets. We empted out basements or first floor damage with collections of peoples lives. I never get use to this part of the clean-up. Reminds me of my heart. Please God keep emptying & scraping out my heart. I don’t want any pride, bitterness or un-forgiveness to hang around & create black mold in my life. I need to be obedient & filled with your love for others. It’s not about the work but the relationships you bring into my life. Help me to be content & remember to count it all joy when I have trials. Full day’s work of bringing out Drew’s life-only to see it shoveled down the street. This does put life in perspective. Help me to continue cleaning out & down sizing my head, heart & home! We walked down the street to Randy’s house to assess what tomorrow’s job would look like. Dirty, tired, wet & needing a bathroom, we packed up and headed toward our shelter for the week. The ladies at the church are feeding us dinner after our 3 minute showers (1 shower-8 people)! There is a prayer meeting & worship in church tonight—oh how I was blessed! True after glow—songs of praise, speaking encouragement through scriptures, breaking off into 3’s for personal prayer-Wow Lord what a special blessing. Then-a surprise cake for Curt. Tomorrow is his Birthday. We were all tired & ready for bed—tummy’s full, clean clothes & Spirit rested.
Tuesday November 27—Back to Randy’s place. The basement needed emptied & the walls & ceiling needed torn out. Masks for this job-lots of mold. Scraping muck, pulling insulation out of floor joist, pulling nails/screws out of framing & sweeping the ceiling/walls for loose debris. When you look at all the work & don’t see the opportunity to share Jesus you start to question “what is wrong? why are we doing this?” It’s not about the work but the people. Not even the homeowners but the team you serve on—how can I love on them Lord? What is needed in their lives today-here in this disaster & their own disasters of life-my own personal disaster. You Lord! You are all we need for any disaster. I love the people in ways that is not normal God. I don’t even know them—but you do! It’s your love they feel & see not mine. Randy was grateful for the help but very cautious & nervous—he needs extra prayer. Please Lord help us to be a light & good representative of you. 2 times today Lord I was approached by a Rabbi & Jewish man with questions: what are you doing? who do you work for? how much does it cost? are you religious?
The Rabbi had a testimony of his escape of death by you God saving him—open door!! Answers—after hearing of his escape I proceeded to answer his questions—doing clean up where we can-work for God- costs nothing-no! I am not religious. Not Christian either—I am a believer of Jesus the Messiah who saved me from my disaster of sin & I now have eternal life with Him in heaven. He had no other remarks – said good-day & walked off. The other man was just curious & heard the same story about the Messiah. Thank you Lord for your wisdom & grace. Jim & Martha (California) will be in later tonight. Curt, Mary Jo, Nick & Brittany are going into the city for dinner & show (birthday). So it was me & the Bowery Boys (organization like Wheeler Missions) settling in after dinner with popcorn & Chronicles of Narnia. Got Jim & Martha settled in their room area then we all settled down for the night.
Wednesday November 28—Again-up at 6am for breakfast & devos—now 10 of us. Martha & I ended up at Gloria’s. Tanya (Gloria’s friend) contacted Curt for emergency help. Gloria’s mom died a few months ago & she promised her mother that her father would never die in a nursing home or hospital. He was coming home from the hospital to die. The basement was cleaned immediately after the hurricane but because of the germs & mold the upstairs living area needed disinfected & germ free for him. So we cleaned out his room. We washed walls, ceiling, closet, doors, bed, dresser & anything else in the room. Used the industrial sweeper on the floor & window shades. After labor of love for a while we are offered tea & conversation. Another story Lord-another honor that you have given me. We find out Gloria’s father (in his late 90’s) & mother were both survivors of Auschwitz! They were about 14/15 when they were let out of this nightmare in time. Oh Lord –I pray that they knew you as Savior! It is humbling to be in this home—I would love to hear his story but not this day-only preparing for his return to die. I can wash walls, ceilings & rooms for such a man—I only pray he finds you Jesus-please don’t let him take his last breath until he has made a decision-yes or no for you! I pray one day I will see his face but that is his choice. I can only ask for his soul Lord-the rest is up to you, your Holy Spirit & him. Finish early, clean up-back for Mexican home made dinner – & off to Manhattan by metro to see the lighting of the Christmas tree. We walked many blocks, saw all the decorated windows, 34th Street & time square. What a special blessing of laughter with our group. We all slept great.
Thursday November 29—Up early-breakfast-devos-clean up-fix lunches & potty one last time for the day. Suit up-boot up! Off to labor of love. We started Mario’s after we finished the odd jobs. Lots of work. 2 car garage, back & side yard, basement & house of apartments. The water was gone but like all other homes the black mold & left over dirt/dust mixed with water was turning into sludge/muck to be scraped up. Shoveled up 2 of the 8 rooms in the basement—no electricity as of yet. I was so glad we only had to remove all the stuff & not clean up all the drywall. Mario is from Cuba & has a broken arm. I am not sure how he got in this gated community of 80% Jews. He supervised our work-throw this away—keep this. He couldn’t make up his mind on most of the stuff-so of course I felt it my duty to help him. We became friends after 2 days. His whole countenance changed. He thought I was funny-weird but funny. HAHAHA! He was sad when I left the team on Friday afternoon to fly back to my world at Central. We left by 4 for showers & dinner with Pastor Jon Connor & Ester his wife. I also met Richard & Diane (we had a mutual friend) it is a small world. We cleaned up the area & joined them for church service. It was a small group but the teaching & worship was a blessing. This whole week has been a great blessing & honor for me personally. Ready to pack up-work then fly out tomorrow. Funny how close you get with people in such a short time. I have so many foot prints on my heart.
Friday November 30—This is it Lord. Thanks! in case I forget later to tell you. The day gets so busy. You again have given me people to love, pray for & remember. Labor of love at Mario’s with the team. I laboring with each on individually-it gives me time to really get to know them in their heart not just on the surface. Great time to listen, share & pray with each other. I will miss them. One day we will all be at the same table. Hugs, prayer & I am off. Jon & Ester pick me up from the work site & take me to the church for clean up, bags & good-byes. Now off to Laguardia & back where I started. My heart again is changed & challenged. Thank you Lord.