A Unique Ministry

September 23, 2013 • United States
New Jersey Rebuild

A volunteer who has helped our team in New Jersey since Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of the area ministers to the staff and other volunteers in a special way.

By Carol King, the Samaritan’s Purse office manager for our Ocean County, N.J., rebuild project.

One of the treats of doing a rebuild is meeting those who came before and hearing their tales. Terri is one of them.

Terri visited me in my office back in early spring with energy and zeal to pick up where the mud outs ended. Terri’s story actually started in January 2012, 10 months before Hurricane Sandy, when God began to move in her heart to lose weight. She said that daily prayer with her precious husband was the key to losing 100 pounds safely and consistently by the end of September. So when the storm arrived on October 29, she was ready to enter into the work of helping folks in the months following the storm.

New Jersey RebuildTerri’s story is of faith, of spiritual and physical transformation, and of God’s Grace and faithfulness. It’s an incredible testimony.

As she shared with me in my office, it was a natural thing for me to share a bit of our story of loss in the past year. And thus began a friendship.

Earlier this summer when Terri heard that I was hoping to bring my granddaughter, Lilly Grace, to New Jersey, she immediately invited us over so that she could play with Lilly and spend some special time with any of our team who wanted to come.

I had picked up something about her ministry of being a clown and “doing balloons” but did not realize what a gifted woman she is.

We ended up having Terri eat dinner with the entire staff and volunteers on Thursday. Terri came equipped with uplifting Christian music, her juggling kit, and her face paints. Of course Lilly was her first canvas and quickly became her assistant. As the night went on, Terri shared her testimony with us and inspired us to live in God’s presence, allowing our daily experiences to enrich our lives. One by one, the adults in the group asked to have their faces painted.

New Jersey RebuildThere was joy and laughter coming from our team from South Jersey. My guess is that we had only two folks under the age of 50, Lilly and Jim. By the end of the evening, we had 11 new characters in our midst. This was definitely not what I would have expected from a group of tired volunteers who had spent three days out in the field together.

How fun it has been to see God working though such diverse circumstances and personalities and using the “least of these” to remind us to share in the joy of the Lord!