Hey everyone! Thanks for you all of your texts, calls, emails and Facebook messages. Here is a quick update of what has been happening here in NYC in the past week and a half.At this moment, I am sitting at JFK airport, where I have been for the last 24 hours. Long story short, though I had plans to return to Florida to spread the word about collegiate missions in NYC, the Nor’Easter had different plans for me. But I did finally get to spend a night in an airport, which for some strange reason has always been on my bucket list... so that was good. It was kind of like a church lock-in except not as scary. ;) But honestly, this is a trivial problem compared to what many in my city are dealing with at the moment!
As you know from watching the news, life has been tough for those that live in NYC and Jersey City recently. There are so many without power, access to food, clothing, and shelter. Many have lost EVERYTHING in the floods that have ravaged our coast line. Now they are facing the punishing coldness brought by the Nor’Easter. The fact that CNN and other news agencies are no longer covering Sandy does not mean that everything is over. The relief efforts are just beginning.
Whether it is the cab driver that drove me to the airport, who complained consistently about the fact that he was unable to find gas anywhere, the lack of access to the subway system or the family in a high rise apartment in lower Manhattan that JUST received power and access to their elevator, everyone in NYC has been touched by this disaster. Before the Sandy visited us, I gathered with my small group from the Gallery church at an apartment in Harlem. This was by far one of the safest places in the city. There, we played games and hung out as we waited for the worst. Thankfully, God protected us. During this time, my small group realized that the storm changed my birthday plans so they threw me an impromptu birthday party complete with an amazing pumpkin pie!
Three days later on October 31st, we emerged from the apartment and were thankfully to step on to dry ground. As we looked outside, we could see that Mcdonald’s was open. This was a sign to us that the world was getting back to normal. But things are far from over... In the days that followed, the MNYBA and the Gallery church have been coordinating relief efforts all over the city. We are mobilizing volunteers to serve our community and be a Gospel light to those that are hurting. I arrived at the Gallery church on 27th and Broadway to help in any way I could. I was quickly directed to a room full of documents and hair dryers that were laying on the floor. “Raleigh, could you start drying the most important documents first?” In the next few hours, I helped to dry out birth certificates, ordination certificates, and tax forms that belonged to the Burton family.
The Burtons go to Gallery and live in Jersey city. Last year, their apartment was flooded by Irene and though they prepared for it Sandy flooded their apartment again. They lost everything!!!
But God is providing. Recently, I assisted several students from Westpoint that were providing for the Burton family, as well as other families that had lost everything in Jersey City. They brought baby clothes, shoes, shirts, towels etc.
We have also been going to the High rise apartments that have been without power and have climbed the stairs with flashlights in hand (many times at least 25 flights)to deliver much needed food and supplies to those that were stranded. One such man told one of our team that he needed Kidney Dialysis and he didn’t know how he would get there; a ride was provided for him the next day by the NYPD. If you are interested in reading more, please click here...
Thank you so much for praying and caring for us. I also ask you that as you think about us that you would provide financially. As I am a self-funded collegiate missionary in NYC, it is YOUR monthly gifts that enable me to serve those that are helpless. Please go to the “Why Donate?” tab and give as the Lord leads. Thank you so much for your concern. Also, during the month of November, if you live in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, or Kentucky, I would love to schedule time to meet with you and/or your church, as I will be traveling through the South to raise up a ministry support team. Contact me at Raleigh.firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and God Bless!!!