Day 3....working on destroying Sandy's damage :)Today is day three......Wow, where do I start?
This week has been crazy amazing thus far! As we were driving to Atlantic City all this week, I noticed a sign on a billboard that said "Nice try Sandy, but we are Jersey Strong"! In my heart, I know that the Jersey Shore Will be bigger and better because of this tragedy they call "Hurricane Sandy". There is soo much work left to do here, that I am sure it seems very overwhelming to the people here; But, just from the people I have met so far on this trip, they have a passion for their homes and where they live....they will NOT be defeated. Knowing this, makes me OK leaving at the end of this week.....I will be back; I don't know when, but I WILL be back for sure!
For the past three days we have worked with Varnell and Carlos' family, they have become like family to me and the rest of my group as well. Today was the last day that we had to spend with them, and it was bitter sweet....We did some crazy amazing things in their homes(2 of their 3 homes are completely stripped and ready for a rebuild...and the insurance company was there today as well :).....I am so proud of all that we were able to accomplish for this awesome family. Ya see, Varnell and Carlos had no idea that we were going to help them at all until Laura, Bobbie, and myself showed up on their doorstep on Monday and after chatting with Carlos and looking through his homes, we just knew they were the ones that needed our help this week. We did not come here with an agenda except to share our love and be the hands and feet of god! I believe we did just that for this family and it makes my heart smile :) Carlos shared with us that when his momma called and told him 3 woman were on their way to the house and wanted to help, he was very reluctant and thought "yeah, ok, woman???"....upon our leaving him, he hugged us and told us that he will never doubt the power of a woman and the love of god again....he sent us as his angels to help him regain hope and faith again....Mission Acomplished!!!!!
Another thing that amazed me while finishing up Carlos' home is that Atlantic City Workers were there picking up the mounds of trash off the street.....several workers helped carry out trash and dump wheel barrels before they went on lunch. One of the workers came back early from his lunch break and came right in the house and offered his help until their crane operater arrived. He not only helped, but when two more of the city workers arrived, he had them helping as well! Atlantic City Workers, you have made this Minnesota girl proud :) Thanks for your help guys!
We then headed to the shelter to drop off more donations for the displaced homeowners from Atlantic City......very overwhelming! Their faith here is amazing, it kind of makes me feel guilty about the Americanized lifestyle we take advantage of in Minnesota. We are so very FORTUNATE!
After going to the shelter, we went to downtown Atlantic City to help an elderly woman remove a few items from a crawl space. I was saddened to see a child about 8-10 riding his bike down the rode smoking a cigarette :( There were homeless people EVERWHERE. A lot of those people slept under the piers when they were still standing, how many died, where do they go now????? A lot of questions going through my mind as I type.
This evening, we spent the evening leading the youth group from Calvery Chapel.....made me miss home seeing these kids, but it was great to get to meet them. So many of them could not even tell me where Minnesota was :)
Tomorrow, we will be going to serve the homeless and other lost soles in any way we can. We want them to have a reason to give thanks....I don't really know what that looks like, except to tell you that just talking to them, listening to them, not judging them, offering them help, offering them hope, and just loving on them makes them smile; even when there was not a smile on their face for weeks. And really, how long did it take out of my day to accomplish that. I now have a personal mission upon returning....I will seek out the people that just need a little hope....christian or not, they deserve to feel the love that all of us have in our lives!
I am getting very long winded, but I really do feel blessed in my life. I have heard such horrible and nasty stories on my trip...things that NO ONE should ever have to deal with......and they feel like there is no hope left, until after we just love them! Crazy what love can do I tell ya!