Friday, November 9, 2012


I've been opening my laptop, going to my blog and looking at a white, blank text box since Monday morning. In the end, I close the laptop and tell myself I'll write this blog later.

Last weekend, I went to New York and New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I saw a lot of things. My trip to Colorado this summer was just a tiny glimpse of what it's like to be involved in a initial response to a natural disaster when the wildfires terrorized the city of Colorado Springs. I can't compare it to last week's trip at all.

I'm honestly not sure what to say. I could write about the gasoline lines. I could write about moms, dads and children carrying bundles of soaked belongings from their house to the curb. I could write about the woman who teared up, telling us that her teenage daughter was handling the loss of their home very well and that she was proud of her. And then there is the overwhelming response from people who want to help. Tables are set up everywhere offered free food and drinks. People are giving out donated coats from the trunk of their car. Amazing things happen in a community when there is a crisis.

One team from Pennsylvania really touched me last Saturday. I'm pretty sure Cornerstone EFC comes to New Orleans to serve at least once a quarter. You get the picture, they are there a lot and I've had a lot of interaction with them. But they really blew me away last week.

Hoboken EFC is located in New Jersey and the city itself is actually below sea level in most, if not all, parts. So, needless to say, Hoboken had a fair amount of damage after Sandy. Hoboken EFC had knee-deep water in their basement which was not only renovated a couple years ago but also the center for a lot of ministry that happens in the tiny, one square-mile city. The Pastor Paul I met on Friday (Nov. 2) was not the same pastor I saw again, 24 hours later. On Friday, I met a man whose heart was breaking and who was physically and emotionally tired and unsure of what to do next. As the penetrating smell of mold hung heavily in the air we breathed, he was discouraged and quiet. So...we set up a course of action.

Cornerstone's response was immediate and enthusiastic. They embraced the challenge of gutting out a dank, smelly basement and hosting a neighborhood block party. Quite possibly the first block party every in Hoboken! I didn't get to hang around much on Saturday in Hoboken because we were pretty much on the move all day, but for the short time I was able to stop in and visit I was so encouraged! Of course it's always nice to see old friends :) The block part seemed to be a huge success! Never have I seen strangers gather in front of a building just to hang out and eat some hotdogs in the northeast. Wow, what an incredible, practical way to show the love of Christ! These people had been stuck in their dark, powerless houses for days and just seeing another person and having a conversation was a delight for them!

I suppose I should have just started typing a long time ago...I discovered what I wanted to blog about! Again, this disaster just makes support raising more urgent. The ONLY reason I was able to travel last minute to the northeast is because of the generosity of EFCA paying for my plane ticket, food, etc. In order to be able to do this the next time TouchGlobal wants to respond to a crisis, I need to use the support money raised to get there. Please prayerfully consider being a part of the kingdom in this way. If  you are already supporting me and you plan to keep doing it for another year, you are AWESOME. Just shoot me an e-mail to let me know :)

Love in Christ,

P.S. - I took a million pictures, but they aren't uploading. Check back for pictures or check out TouchGlobals Facebook.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Created a Mission Field

I am amazed at God's sovereignty. Today, I am completely and utterly amazed by that.

Just the front of a long line of people waiting for gasoline
I had emailed Mark earlier this week about doing whatever he wanted me to do in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to get the news out. I never expected him to ask me to come to the east coast this weekend. Within 19 hours of getting a phone call from him, I bought my plane ticket, packed, finished a presentation due the next day, did various other things I was planning to do this weekend, presented my presentation had one last meal with Dustin and hopped on a plane to Philly. Can I just say right now that I love my job? And air travel.

Today was definitely an experience. I've never seen hurricane damage so soon after the actual disaster. It was eerily similar to New Orleans and the pictures I've seen post-Katrina. People lined up for at least a mile at most gas stations, both standing and in cars. While driving through New Jersey last night, we would hit spots that were completely blacked out.

 I walked up a street today and people wandered past me, unsure of what to do with their soaking wet possessions piled up on the sidewalks. I saw the caution tape slapped onto a house that you could see straight through to the back door. I looked at pictures taken of a woman's house that was completely under water. And I watched a pastor light up at the mention of doing a block party and handing out food tomorrow in front of his church. I listened to the story of a woman who worked in a shelter for the past few days, helping people who had a home one day and nothing the next. I sat around a kitchen table and talked to a family who was excited to have us in their house and wanted to learn more about this ministry.

Photo taken in front of a property on Staten Island.
Things salvaged from the flood.
I don't think people realize how bad it is until they come here and see it for themselves. That's why I'm doing this. People need to know and see pictures and hear stories of real people that we've met that are suffering and struggling. People that are rejoicing because of their hope in Christ, not their hope in things. Today, I heard that 3% of Staten Island (which has a lot of damage) claims to evangelical Christians. That's 3% of over half a million people. We believe that a mission field is created in the wake of every crisis. This is a mission field. We have an opportunity.