Last week (September 14-20), I went up to Long Island, New York with Perkensville Baptist Church here in Boone, North Carolina. I was invited through a dear brother of mine (Roy), who mentioned the trip to me as a last-minute fill for the spot. Samaritan’s Purse took care of the provisions of food and sleeping arrangements, and coordination of scheduling. The rough outline was that we went up there to help rebuild homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy (which hit NY in October of 2012). We were to go up and lend our services in helping do repairs and construction work for damaged homes. What happened instead was so much more!
We met families that still bore the scars of the devastation as if it were just yesterday; families who had nothing left but a pile of rubble, or a single room that they all had to live in; they slept there, cooked there, and raised their children in what was left of their destroyed homes. But what was more is that the amount of gratitude that each person had in seeing people who would freely volunteer their time, to travel across the country, helping people they’ve never met… and doing all of it simply because God compels us to. The smile on their face resounds the echos of their heart, and how appreciative and overwhelmed they were at the amount of progress each group could make towards building them a new house, and more importantly, a new home. You see, each week, there are new groups of people who are up there volunteering through Samaritan’s Purse, and even though these families have seen people come and people go, they still carry the weight of full gratitude each week, and each team feels like they are part of the entire build process from beginning to end. They offered themselves to us, even as we offered ourselves to them. We saw families who gave their heart to Christ through the work that was done; we saw team members learn a way of life that supersedes what they have known before… a life of giving and serving with no gain for self. We encourage one another, prayed for the power of God over those places, and stood side by side through painting and hammering boards in place. It was construction and rebuilding, but that was only the gateway. Conversations with home owners, with neighbors, with eachother. We went up in authority in the power of God, and took back the shame, the hurt, the remembrance of devastation, and claimed the hope of glory in all that we did!
There were a couple nights where we were able to take the train into the city (Manhattan) and see the lights and hear the sounds of the hustle and bustle of life in the Big Apple. It left us realizing how much we enjoy country life! But it was a nice change of pace to see how different life is in a place like that.
I’ve included below some pictures from my trip. You can find the video that I’ve put together from this trip here. I’m thankful for all that God did on that trip. What an incredible time and great experience!
Thanks to Samaritan’s Purse, to the donors thereof, and to Perkensville Baptist Church who helped make this trip possible!
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