Sandy - 5 Years Later

By Blesson Mathew, Partnership Coordinator

It is hard to believe that it has already been 5 years since Hurricane Sandy hit the community of Long Island. This storm shook the area and everyone that lives in it. To this day we are still feeling its repercussions. Five years is a long time and there has certainly been a lot of progress made. There are some who have moved back into their home since the storm and there are others who have lost their homes due to damage but have since created a home elsewhere. However, there are still over a dozen families that need assistance as a direct result of Superstorm Sandy. Many have spent the last of their savings and disaster aid just to meet their basic needs. I have had the honor and privilege to work alongside these families and the organizations helping in this very long rebuilding process.

I started to think about the number 5 and what it might mean. In the Bible the number 5 acts as a symbol of God’s grace. It has been 5 years since Sandy hit and the grace of God has been more than evident than ever in the lives of people in the community. Grace, in its nature, is available to all and this has brought hope to many who endured the storm. In spite of tough times, people came together, got through many hurdles, and now can look back at all the things that have happened with gratefulness. Many have reflected that if it was not for the grace of God they would not be enjoying life today as they still have that hope that there is more to come.

I visited one of the community members I met back in 2013 when we started the disaster relief work in NY. He was able to move back home last year and just a few weeks ago repairs were finally completed on his home (which is a very common case in the community). We started talking about the progress of things, the good and the bad. At the end of the conversation he shocked me with a bible verse, instructing me to share it with everyone I got a chance to. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10. The reason this shocked me so much is that he does not call himself a Christian. However, I can see that God is doing his work in him and through his life.  I have the great opportunity to live with many of those who suffered through the disaster of Sandy. I’ve made a lot of friends, many who I can even call family, but to think I could still learn so much from the storm goes beyond words. Disaster relief in New York may look over but there are still many in need and just scared to ask for help. These families remain hopeful and I know we can play our role in being a part of God’s plan in this community. It’s been 5 years after Sandy hit and I have seen His grace fill this community. I can’t wait to see what more he has in store.

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