So I promised to tell you the good things that have happened in this Sandy disaster, at least from what I’ve seen. What kind of blog would this be if I didn’t define a silver lining? Yes, there was a lot of tragedy but I saw the church do some of its best work.
Hey, Partner: As a church we were able to partner with Convoy of Hope and keep in touch with Samaritan’s Purse as they were participating in food distributions, clothing drops, and gutting houses. Although the week in the office felt far from normal (catching water in buckets, anyone?), I was able to connect with a bunch of pastors in our region. Hearing first hand what they were doing in their community and the personal stories of those they were helping were legit heartwarming. I saw a network of pastors and leaders working together for a common goal and for the name of Christ. For the record, I want to give credit to the men and women who are leading churches in New York, that really stepped in to make a difference. We have an amazing crew of people who genuinely want to express God’s love to a hurting place. I’m honored to work amongst them.
Expansion: What’s cool about the body of Christ is that it expands way past our little community borders. At The Point, we were in contact with various teams that just decided to come down and volunteer their time. We had a new crew crashing at our church every few days and I have to say, it was fun! In the midst of being displaced and being rained on when I came into work, I enjoyed every bit of conversation I had with those teams. Not only did I gain new friends but I appreciated the time and effort they put into being there for strangers. So many people felt alone and overwhelmed by their flooding damages- these churches and teams brought hope to them.
Provision: God provides sometimes in unlikely places. I can’t tell you how many people and churches blessed The Point so that we would be able to gain more resources to give back to our community and certain members in our congregation who experienced Sandy hardships. I learned the power of connections! Sometimes you meet people and you’re like, “man that was cool.” Or you bless someone because you really wanted to, even if it didn’t make sense at the time. I’ve been learning more than ever that God sees around the corner when I can’t. All things work out in the coolest ways!
Hope: I’ve seen a lot of hope. There is not too much to elaborate on but I’ve seen people find hope in God again, in church again. Hope just because people got down in the mud with them just to make things easier for them. Where there is hope, there is healing and nothing can be more rewarding.
Humbled: As for me and my story, I was BEYOND BLESSED. I can’t even begin to explain to you how much my church family means to me. I sat down and made a list of all the people I wanted to thank and was taken back by the generosity that was shown to me and my family. My pastor showed up and helped a random church team move out our stuff (and fed us dinner), Meg combated mold with me and blessed my family with gifts (thanks Meg and Jay for them sneaks), and my dad, Dave, and Matt did all the heavy work I could never do. Jeff, Kara, Sam, the Woitkos- couldn’t get through the kitchen and patio without you people! Michelle, thank you for making me laugh in the most horrible of times and for wrapping decorative plates with me! Aunt Susan and the Oms opened up their home. The Bellomo’s gave me permission to probably too many showers. So many friends gave to me financially- honestly I was overwhelmed. So many people offered their houses, bedroom sets, and encouragement. Even in the little things- getting a hair straightener and a curling iron! Those little gifts made me feel normal again! Being in ministry, the nature of the “job” is loving on others, showing them that they have purpose in Christ, and another aspect is serving and helping in troubling times. I’ve been through difficult circumstances before but this was the first time I experienced something to this extent. It’s very humbling to be on the other side and I am SO GRATEFUL. Words cannot express.
Being Schooled: There are certain things I’ve learned during this process. First, who thought I would be having a fun time with my dad during this idiotic crap. I have a better relationship with my dad now than I’ve had in the past years. Like I said, very grateful. Second, I am never living near water. Ever. All those wonderful days of the year don’t make up for the one day that wipes your house away. Third, adopt pets with caution. Not sure if I want the responsibility of cats or dogs, especially if I have to pack up and move. I’ll stick to the staple goldfish. Fourth, my clown neighbors were actually not that weird. If anything, they were kind, helped me move out a table and were comical. Fifth, I’ve had more conversations with my neighbors due to Sandy than I did before. And I liked it. Sixth, you really appreciate what you have more once they are gone or when necessities are much harder to obtain. I hope now, I never lose this feeling. That everything I’m blessed with is truly a gift. Lastly, I get it. One day during that week I went to volunteer at Evangel Church of God where I knew a few friends. Tara and I drove around handing out whatever we could to people who were leaving their trashed houses. One woman I met was sitting in her car outside her house and we got into a conversation. They had to move out, showering at the gym, lost everything and my response back to her was a genuine, “I get it.” I know what it feels like to air out your family pictures on your front lawn. I know what it’s like to throw out memories. I know what it’s like to have your normal flipped upside down in a day. And for the first time, what I went through… felt good.
So yes, after a month of instability, family debacles, sleeping on the floor, moving into a hotel, I don’t know the list could go on, there is…
The good stuff.
You just have to put yourself aside to see it.