ABCNJ/ABHMS Sandy Work Week
Making a Difference!
ABCNJ and our American Baptist partners are making a difference on the Jersey shore (and beyond)!
The third of four Hurricane Sandy Relief work weeks, sponsored jointly by ABCNJ and the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, is coming to a successful close. Volunteers from New Jersey (ABCNJ), Pennsylvania (ABCOPAD), Indiana (ABC Ind/KY), Rhode Island (ABCORI) and West Virginia (WVBC) are among those participating - 94 in all!
As Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor of ABCNJ, I am so proud of how our region and its churches have responded to the storm. We have repaired and rebuilt buildings, and more importantly, have served our communities in countless ways.These work weeks demonstrate that we are not alone - the entire ABCUSA family is alongside us! And we are making a difference in the lives of families along the shore and beyond. Folks keep letting us know how much they appreciate what the volunteers are doing.
I had the opportunity to visit some of the work sites on Tuesday (August 16), accompanied by Victoria Goff (ABHMS), Denise Gratzel (ABCNJ Disaster Relief Coordinator) and Mark Mahserjian-Smith (ABCOPAD).
This has been an extraordinarily hot week, but that has not dampened the enthusiasm of our volunteers. Each day they keep on serving!
Our Hurricane Sandy Response volunteers are involved in many activities, including painting interior walls of homes damaged by the storm, cleaning up and beautifying yards, hauling debris from homes (like refrigerators!), preparing a community center for future relief activities, and preparing the building adjacent to ABCNJ's Pilgrim Baptist Church, for future ministry.
But it is not just the physical labor that is touching peoples' lives. Our volunteers have also been listening to the stories of and then praying with those they are helping. Many have been through so much trauma and they deeply appreciate a listening and compassionate friend.
awesome deeds of righteousness
As I reflected on what is happening in our midst, I was led to read Psalm 65. In verse 5 and 7, David exclaims: "You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, ...who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves." This week, I witnessed the "awesome deeds of righteousness" of God's people in response to the storm of a century, and from their actions, God's grace and love brought a measure of peace and consolation to those whose lives have been tossed about.
Looking to the future, we still have a work week scheduled for August 10-17, 2013. In 2014, we hope to sponsor two more work weeks.