Volunteers helping homeowners recover from Hurricane Sandy are modeling the servant love of Jesus
By Bruce Mundell, serving on the site management team for our Hurricane Sandy response in New York
Back in early December, while driving here from Georgia, I wondered what lie ahead of me. It had been several weeks since Superstorm Sandy came ashore and I thought there must be a few homeowners who still needed help. Boy was I wrong.
Little did I know that, as a staff member for Samaritan’s Purse assessing damaged homes, I would be in houses daily that had been flooded with two to four feet of water and had very little and in some cases nothing done to them since the storm. Streets were lined with possessions, and caravans of dump trucks hauling debris streamed out of the communities, and many houses had been flooded with two to four feet of water.
The musty smell of flooding was thick in many areas and the sound of front-end loaders echoed up and down the streets.
God is willing to use extreme resources to reach people with His message and I think He did in this case. The Bible tells us of Jesus walking on water to deliver a message in the storm, and I think He is delivering just as strong a message with this storm.
As we volunteer to help these folks, we realize these are not just people, they’re appointments from God. They ease into our world with no grand announcement. Penetrating our lives for just a few minutes yet impacting our future forever. They are not just strangers, they’re friends we’ve never met. They are anchor points of our journey along our trail directed by God.
Often I see the homeowners watching the teams work on their homes, tirelessly removing drywall, ripping up flooring, and carrying bundles of debris to the street. All the time they’re amazed at the commitment of these volunteers.
It reminds me of the illustration that Jesus gave us at the Lord’s Supper. He washed the disciples’ feet, modeling what it means to serve through love.
The volunteers are the servants, the hands of Jesus ministering to storm victims. The arms of these hands just happened to wear the orange sleeves of Samaritan’s Purse.
One thing we must understand as we serve in this great adventure is that God is here! He didn’t come with the storm, nor did we bring Him. He was already here. Maybe hidden behind misguided religion or buried beneath years of denial, but He’s here and you can see Him at work.
God appears as the layers of their house are stripped away as if we were peeling away the barriers that have isolated them from God for years. As the walls are torn down and the dust begins to settle, homeowners can see the smiling faces of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers eager to share their faith.
It’s almost like heart talk when dealing with people who have been affected so deeply. The mouth can’t put into words what the heart is feeling. The hands Samaritan’s Purse volunteers put to the work are just as willing to hug the homeowners or wipe their tears. I call it the language of the heart, but I know it’s the Lord speaking to them.
What a great privilege to be God’s hands.