Hurricane Sandy – NY Branch Update
Making the most…
So it’s day two without power [because of Hurricane Sandy] at our 31st Street center, and we decided to meet and pray together. Around a dozen of us gathered this morning in my living room to share prayer requests and ideas about how we can best use our time this week.
Life in the building had become increasingly more difficult, so those living down at the center have moved in with the families living uptown who still have heat and electricity. Several of our staff in the boroughs were not able make it into the city, as transportation has been extremely limited. We were told that south of 39th Street, the east side Manhattan could be without power for around a week.
After some thought and prayer, we decided we wanted to reach out in some way to our neighbors there. The staff prepared around ten gallons of hot chocolate and tea to give out to the crowds making the journey from lower Manhattan to midtown, where they can charge their phones and grab basic necessities.
We set up on a chilly yet busy corner and gave out warm drinks to passersby. We had mostly positive reactions although a couple of people expressed their frustration with Jews for Jesus being there. Dan Tasman spoke to an Israeli guy named Ariel who wondered why Jews for Jesus were handing out hot chocolate. After he spoke with us for a bit and grabbed hot chocolate, he continued on his way.
Helping the Elderly
Amidst all this, an elderly woman named Arlene came up and asked if a couple of us could visit people in the low-income residential building across the street. David Randle and I went along with her to see how we could help.
We discovered that this nineteen-story building houses elderly and disabled New Yorkers, many who have no one taking care of them or any means to provide for themselves under the circumstances. Without elevator usage, many of these folks were confined to their homes and had no electricity, heat or running water.
So while our team continued to hand out hot chocolate on the corner, we went door to door with Arlene. Many people were encouraged to see someone asking about their well-being. Arlene introduced us each time as the “friends from the Jews for Jesus who are handing out hot chocolate across the street and are here to help.”
One Orthodox Jewish guy named David said he didn’t care who we were but he was glad to see us. We took a list of some basics and pooled together some different supplies from the branch, including water and groceries, and brought them over. All in all, we knocked on 76 doors and visited with 20 or so people there. We plan to return tomorrow with basic supplies like flashlights and food and hope to bless them physically and spiritually.
Most of us are feeling tired and a little weathered by the storm. We honestly didn’t think much would happen today, but we went out anyway. It’s amazing to see how God can use whatever we do for Him. Please keep us in prayer over these next weeks as we seek to share the hope of Yeshua with a recovering city.
Love from the NY Jews for Jesus team.