Un-be-knownst to our team (and we all agree this was the primary goal) our real mission was beyond providing food, clothing, or gasoline to those in need. It was to lift up, or pick up, or help heal a fallen brother in Christ.
Nearing the end of our experience, we met the assistant pastor of Grace Bible Church - Pastor Joseph P. Morrissey. Visibly a humble man, as well as tired and broken. He asked us into his devastated place of worship, asking us to pray with him. We agreed.
We entered the church building, which visually was ravaged...but up the steps we go, where there is more a sense of normalcy. He asked us to sit in a small conference room, where we thought we were going to commence a prayer meeting, instead it turn into a testimonial. Pastor Joseph, began telling us his situation, taking us back to his days at Time Square Church, his love for the late Pastor David Wilkinson. He spoke about how he met his wife, and his love for her and their children...we listened. He spoke about the lack of desire for the Lord by so many on Staten Island...we listened.
He shared with us that four hours or so before Sandy destroyed his house, the bank had agreed to a refinance which removed his home from the foreclosure list...we listened.
He looked at us with such pain and so much sorrow - such agony. We began to personally realize that we were not there to pray with Pastor Joseph - but for him. we carefully looked at each other as if to receive confirmation from each others eyes that Pastor Joseph was our true mission. Jesus put into our hearts that he was...so we comforted him, and asked him if he would like us to lay hands on him, and pray for him. He said: "Yes, I know that God has sent you to help heal me, and to restore my faith which is wavering."
We asked him to raise his hands to the Lord. I brought out my bible from my case and laid my hand on him. The entire team surrounded him laying their hands on him too. And Armando began to pray for him. And then I prayed for him. And then Louie, and then Iris. He broke down, got to his knees in tears. I knelt beside him to comfort him. I then read from my Bible (Matt 6:25) a verse that Jesus gave us to help us understand why we should not worry. We took some time to compose ourselves (because we were all sharing in his pain). Today we look forward to his promised visit to the Lehigh Valley, where perhaps he can share more of his trial with our community.
We exited the building where Armando helped with a generator (Electrician by trade) while we engaged with more of the Sandy's survivors - rejoicing in the moment that we all have the hope of Jesus...all we have to do is receive Him...His gift of Salvation is free!
If I may, I would like to close this series with one final thought. We were punch in the nose by Sandy, knocking us down to the floor...but we for the most part were able to get up quickly.
So many others like Tracy, and Pastor Joseph, were totally knocked out!!! And can only get up by the Grace of God.
Witnessing what I have reminded me of the old saying: a man stopped complaining about having no shoes when he saw the man with no feet!
May God bless us ALL.