Diary of a Volunteer

January 28, 2013 • United States

A volunteer spends a week serving with us in New York where a storm ravaged hundreds of residents' homes.

By Theresa Cane, who spent a week volunteering with a group from Touchstone Christian Fellowship in Sacramento, California, to help Hurricane Sandy victims in New York

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Today we went to Sue and her mother’s house. We ripped out floors and did yard clean up. Sue’s mom had lived in that house since she was 1. She is now in her 80s.

She was very touched by the help from Samaritan’s Purse. Sue was great, jumping in and pulling nails. One of Sue’s neighbors was the only one spared in the neighborhood. She opened up her home and had snacks for us.

Her cousin Dot lived across the street. Samaritan’s Purse had been working on her home. Not only had this disaster devastated her, but one day later she lost her husband. We were able to come alongside of her and do some yard work while helping her talk about some of her grief. Please pray that she will be receptive to returning to church and allow people to minister to her during her extreme grief.

We wrapped up the day at David’s home. There is a lot of work to be done. He was raised in the projects. He bought his first home five years ago for his family and had been remodeling it. He had a lot of well-wishers after the devastation but not a lot of hands and feet. God provided that for him. I’m praying we get to return as we had a lot of great conversations and would like to bring it full circle.

David’s neighbors said that the locals call us the “orange people.” They invited me into their home to show the work they’ve done. We had a great conversation. The dad talked about how he doesn’t attend church and how his wife tries to save him. Later he came to find me to ask how to volunteer. Please pray that he is able to volunteer and that he comes to know Christ through the process of being loved up.

Another neighbor had their windows written on. It said, “By the grace of God, we will rebuild”. They are finding hope in crisis.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Duffys have captured our hearts. This sweet little couple has such a heavy load. Mary Duffy is having such difficulty letting her items go. They are doing this all alone as their daughter is fighting brain cancer. They are in their 80s.

Lisa and Erin worked all day with her sorting items, and I got to spend time with Ray. The guys worked next door in David’s house pulling up floors. I have to say I was happy they let me use the saw. Tomorrow is our last day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mold galore today. We got to return to the homes we were at yesterday. That was the desire of our hearts. The guys led the way on finishing off a room at David’s and then let the Georgia Tech girls rip up the floors.

The ladies helped the homeowners tackle tasks, sorted, and cleaned mold. We exchanged contact information with both owners. It was truly a blessing to come alongside them.

Please pray for David to come back to Christ, that the scripture references we left him with will resonate. He was raised very legalistic and left the church. Please pray that Mary and Ray continue to receive help in this process and that they will receive a new-found joy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

We got an early start from the house, but we were weather grounded. We totally took it in stride. God had it covered. It felt like He kissed us on the head and said, “Well done my good and faithful servant”, as we boarded and got to have a whole row of seating each.

Kim Walker was blaring in my earbuds, “How He Loves Us,” and how we can’t help but be changed. That pretty much summed up our trip. God poured out His love and let us be a part of it.

This blog can’t even begin to touch on His tender mercies and the shower of blessings that we encountered and witnessed along the way. This trip wasn’t about the work. It was about laboring in love with others during a tragic time in their lives. It was about connecting with them and loving them. It was a privilege to see progression in the process.

I tear up just thinking about how unworthy we are of being His hands and feet, and yet He allows us such a grand honor.