ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: habitat for humanity

New York Mission: Day 6

Thursday started off a little slow. After getting back from The Lion King late last night, everyone was really tired, which made our devotion/quiet time this morning interesting. Everyone loved the show last night, and got to spend a little bit of time in Times Square for shopping and pictures.

The morning also brought rain. After stopping at Lowes to pick up some flowers and other needed tools, the group drove into Breezy Point. Dashing through the rain, the groups got started on their tasks for the day.


Three of the small groups went to work on finishing the sheet rock in the winter chapel, and taping and compounding the Sheetrock that was already up. These three groups turned out to be all women. The whole week this room and the work done in it was dominated by a male presence. As the group was getting started this morning, one of the Habitat workers (a woman) said she needed some guys to do something. Both Duane and I said, these girls can handle it. And they totally did! By the end of the day, I overheard the Habitat woman say to her supervisor that he needed to find more work for the girls because they were knocking it out!

The other three groups focused on the outside of he church, where the cook-out will be on Friday. There was weed-eating, weed pulling, and flower painting. But the outside work quickly came to a halt when thundered rolled. The outside crew moved inside and we started moving pews from a section of the summer chapel to another part of the room. This part of the floor had not been cleaned yet. The pews were stacked one on top of another. After moving about a dozen of them, a group started sweeping and then cleaning the floor. After various layers of dirt were removed, sections of mold was discovered. This part of the floor was located to the right of the front doors, where apparently there was a surge of water.

Upon of the discovery of mold, two brave individuals – a college student and an adult – set out to tackle the mold. Using a mold kit that Big Tom (with Habitat for Humanity) bought, they began the process. At one point David, one of the high school students, came into the room and it wasn’t long before he put on a hazmat suit, goggles, and gloves, and got down on the floor to scrub. Shortly later, two more joined in to tackle this common enemy.


Meanwhile, the rain left, and he sun came out. And along with the outing of the sun, the youth and adults headed back out into the world, as if they were leaving the ark. They cleared out brush. They weed eated some more. They planted more flowers. They trimmed tree branches. And they hauled more debris and trash to the dumpster.


Despite the rain, it was a very productive day. And we learned tonight in the debriefing/worship from Willy, our mission leader with the Center for Short Term Missions, that our presence has made an impact on the Habitat for Humanity leaders, like Big Tom, who hasn’t worked with other volunteer groups willingly in three months. And on the church members, including Dylan who owns a billards hall in Brooklyn. Dylan opened up a whole area of his business for us tonight for two and a half hours. The group got to play pool and ping-pong, and eat real New York pizza for dinner!


Each morning this week the team members spend some time in quiet for devotions and prayer. Afterwards, they gather in their small groups to discuss their devotion. In the evenings the team gathers again in their small groups to talk about their challenges and inspirations from the day. They also share where they saw God during the day.

Everyday this week I have seen God in each youth on this trip. They have willingly tackled each task presented them, never with complaint, and have done an excellent job. Big Tom went on and on this afternoon about the group and how awesome they did. All you parents, grandparents, and Peaklanders should be very proud.

New York Mission: Day 5

On Wednesday we got an earlier start to our day. Arriving about an hour earlier than the other days, the group got to work right away. Some continued working in the room with they hung Sheetrock. Today they laid down new flooring.

A small group went back out into the community handing out more flyers inviting people to the cook-out on Friday. Many were very grateful for the invite. They also visited two firehouses, inviting them to the cook-out as well.

One lady invited some into her home, showing them what work has been done. This house is one of the original houses built in the 1930s. I met a couple while we were out who explained to me that all the houses back then looked like this one. Both the husband and the wife grew up at Breezy Point. They, like many yesterday, told us that before Sandy no one knew that Breezy Point even existed. The people we talked with today were anxious to get back in their homes.


They celebrated the efforts of Habitat for Humanity, who has been in Breezy Point since Sandy. They told me how they drove through the destruction with a small trailer handing out Sheetrock. The Habitat folks have been using Christ Community has there base for their work in the area. A lot of work has not been done on the church till we arrived. They decided to join us in our efforts. Which has been a blessing in both directions. They have worked alongside our group as if they were all one group. Members are hoping to start holding services inside once we are done.


A number of the youth and adults also cleared out a huge trash pile that had been collecting since before we came. When we arrived this morning we were greeted with the joyful site of an empty dumpster. Though it was not empty for long. Groups set out in search for another worthy dumpster and when that was full, the search resumed. At the end of the day the group filled at least three dumpsters with trash and debris from the church.

While clearing out trash, the group also worked on the courtyard and other basic landscaping issues to help make the area loom more welcoming, especially since we were handing out 1500 flyers for the cook-out on Friday.

It was another great work day. The team pulled out of Breezy Point around 1:45 in the afternoon. Upon arrival back in Brooklyn, the rat race to the showers began as they all got ready for Broadway in the evening.

I walked into the small grocery store and bought an iced tea. As the sales clerk gave me my change, she said, “Thanks for all that you all are doing.” That has been the norm here in Breezy Point.

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