Monday, November 12, 2012

An Update on Our Church’s Recovery from Hurricane Sandy

I intended to write this post for my Thankful Thursday post last week.  But…life happened and I never got to sit down to share an update.  Much has transpired since my last update on our church and how we are recovering from Superstorm Sandy.  I wanted to be sure and keep my out-of-town friends “in the loop” especially since I know that many of you are praying for our church and church family.  We need your continued prayers, and hopefully this update can help those prayers to be more specific.

Last weekend we had a team of seven young men from Maranatha Baptist Bible College come to help demolish the damaged areas of the church {floor, bottom 4 feet of sheet rock, etc.}.  They brought a generator with them which allowed us to have a short service together on Sunday. 

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The Maranatha Crew with our Pastor.  They worked long and hard and were a great blessing!

Pastor preached and one of our Russian men translated.  We had been given money to distribute necessary items to our neighbors in the community.  After the service folks headed out with bags of snacks and essential items.  The bags also included a tract and a Gospel of John.  There was a table set up on the sidewalk to offer breakfast and coffee to church members and neighbors alike.  I wasn’t able to attend this service because it wasn’t a great place to have the kids.

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Our church’s first gathering after the storm.  As my friend Grant said it, “Even in a room that's dark with no power, the entrance of God's Word gives light.”

During the week a crew from Pennsylvania came and brought two generators, construction lights, and building materials.  We are unable to obtain sheet rock and plywood right now, because of the shortage of these items in the City.  The men replaced the bottom four feet of dry wall in our annex and classrooms.  When they left, they gave us one of the generators so we could continue work and hold services yesterday.  We also had a relative of our Russian Pastor bring a small group to help do some work.

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Pictures of the garbage that we removed from our buildings.  Ben said it was over 300 trash bags full.  Amazingly enough, the garbage company took it all at once!

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{That’s Ben & his Dad you see there}

Tonight we are expecting another crew from Florida.  They are also bringing some building materials I believe, as well as a contractor, electrician, and some ladies to do the cooking for their crew.  They will be working on our auditorium, and Pastor said he expects it to look quite different when we gather again next Sunday.

Yesterday I was able to attend the brief service with Ben.  The kids did pretty well, all things considered.  Pastor shared a challenge from Nehemiah, about how Nehemiah was moved when he heard the state of Jerusalem.  We were challenged to not only rebuild the physical building of Bethel Baptist Fellowship, but also to “rebuild” spiritually and care for the souls of those in our community.

The Lord has opened many doors to our neighbors around the church.  Many of them have been without power for two weeks.  Because that everything in the area was submerged in several feet of water, the power company has to check the lines and circuits at each building individually before power can be restored.  Yesterday a crew of power trucks from Detroit were working on the street next to our church.  One lady in our church was ecstatic that they were finally here to check the meter!

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Distributing necessary items and hot coffee to our neighbors

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The Maranatha crew handed out these invitations to people to join us for our first Sunday gathering.  They are in English & Russian.

Our church has two storefront building, but in between our storefronts is a Chinese restaurant.  The owners live above the restaurant.  Their daughter Mona has attended many of our children’s events and outreaches over the years.  This family lost everything – their restaurant equipment, food, and they have not had power for two weeks.  Our church has been able to reach out to them and help with food and blankets.  We even let them hook up to the generator during the afternoon.  I am praying that this will cause them to be more open to the Gospel.

Please continue to pray for us.  Several families in our church have been displaced and are still seeking temporary and permanent housing.  Many churches from across the country have given financially.  Some have helped us order new hymnals.  Some have given their benevolence offering.  Others have sent crews to help us rebuild.  God has truly been good in the midst of difficult circumstances.  We are praying that our neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay will be open to the Gospel like never before, and that the trying circumstances from Hurricane Sandy will leave people tender and not hardened to the Lord.

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Specific Prayer Requests:

  • A couple need an apartment.  They have temporary housing but it is not close to church.  They lost most of their possessions also.
  • A family of four need an apartment.  They also lost many of their possessions.  They need to stay in the church’s neighborhood to be close to church and job as they don’t have a car to be able to travel far.
  • Families and church to regain power soon
  • Open doors in our community
  • Quick restoration of our church building so we can resume services

All pictures are from our church’s Facebook page.

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