Well, day 15 has drawn to a close and I am going to say it was bitter sweet. For those who don't follow me on Facebook, I have transitioned to the Recovery unit (demolition and sanitation), having left inventory in Hammonton. I am serving on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. The devastation here is significant.
Boats piled up where they shouldn't be, homes uplifted and rammed into other homes, people displaced with no place to live, vacation homes left unchecked for two weeks and their owners thinking they can clean up in a weekend. Only one business is open on this 1x18 mile island- a 7-11, for anything else you need to leave and come back. Many homes have electricity back but most don't have gas or drinkable water. Along with sand, sea water, heating oil, and debris, the flood waters also had sewage in it. Then there is also the age of the homes to consider and the likelihood of asbestos in floor tiles and such.
That last example was the case on our first assignment today and we had to evacuate this 84 year old man's home. His disabled wife was upstairs, the cat was nowhere to be found, it was a mess.
Then there was the news that independent contractors had come on to the island in droves to take advantage of these poor people- charging ridiculous rates to get things cleaned up and rebuilt.
The topper was our second assignment of the day. After doing half of the work on her home, it became questionable whether or not this was her primary residence (we don't work on second homes). Some are taking advantage of our policies and Christian nature to manipulate the scenario to work in their favor.
So, after taking several showers, saying goodbye to some on our team, and getting a warm meal served by the Red Cross, the remainder of the men here settled into the church where we are staying (Grace Calvary) to relax and have some fellowship. Some even shared the gospel with folks we have met here.
I'm not sure I have a point in telling you all this other than to give you a glimpse of what it is like here, ask you to pray for diligence on my part, and to remind all of us that though vultures may circle, the hope of Christ endures.
Serving through love and laughter is a great way to live.