02 December 2012

Sunday Service

A typical Sabbath observance here does not begin at 4AM, nor does it include shovels or respirators.  Today was an unusual day.  It was an awesome day.

Nearly fifty of us, including the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and The Boy, from our little ward (parish, for those not familiar with Mormon lingo), met at 530AM, and after a brief Sacrament, we jumped in our cars and headed for Far Rockaway, NY, to join Mormon Helping Hands to provide relief from Huricane Sandy.

Believe it or not, nearly five weeks after her furious attack on the East Coast, Sandy still looms large for far too many of her victims.  It was positively surreal to drive around Far Rockaway, taking in the damage.  The air is still heavy with the smell of, well, mold.  The wreckage of flooded homes is everywhere.  The presence of the NYPD is pervasive and has all the feel of marshal law.

That said, what an experience it was to don our yellow vests and knock on the door of a family that had been waiting for help.  The Puerto Rican couple who we met and worked with could not have been more gracious.  It must have been a bit overwhelming to have more than twenty people swoop in, but it was amazing. With our respirator masks firmly in place, we went to work.  We took a water-logged basement down to its studs in a matter of hours.  Linoleum was ripped up as was a cast-iron tub that weighed a ton.  My foot can attest to that weight since it got dropped on my left foot.  As more and more debris piled up in front of this couple's home, more than one neighbor appealed for help as well.  We did what we could but there is still so much to be done.  The scale is truly epic.

After breaking for lunch, we were able to tackle another water-logged basement. This homeowner has still not been able to return home and the water in his basement was only pumped out yesterday.  Yesterday!  It hardly seems possible in a resource-rich nation like ours that five weeks have passed and homes are still water-logged.

With daylight disappearing, we had to call it a day. We could have stayed for days as there is still so much to be done.  I could not have been prouder to be a part of this group today.  Everyone worked so hard.  It was easy to forget yourself in the work, knowing it was making a difference.  There was no expectation that those people we helped today show up at one of our services in the near future.  We were there to help and to bless the lives of those who have had it rough of late.  The funny thing is that we were the ones who were truly blessed today.
Getting started
Insanely heavy tub
Clean up conga line
I can't say we'll have another Sabbath like this again soon, but it was awesome!

1 comment:

Ben said...

Wish I could be back there to help.