Headlines are painful these days.
Acts of violence—the natural disaster of Hurricane Sandy or the human disasters of Newtown, CT—make Psalm 46:1 resonate with us.
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
In spite of all that has assaulted our senses, still we bow our hearts and prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, our Savior. No matter what our circumstances have been during the trauma, it is still in Him that “we live and move and have our being.”
Mobilized by Nyack’s commitment to being socially relevant, members of our campus community connected with Samaritan’s Purse and other organizations to help with post-Sandy cleanup.
They will have a deeper appreciation for Christmas this year. Some may feel they have already been given a gift because of the opportunity they have to serve others.
They may have picked up hammers and crowbars to do demolition work or held hands with a distraught person to pray for comfort or helped prepare sandwiches to share with the hungry. Nyack has been represented in New York and New Jersey communities by members of student clubs like Hands of Compassion, LoSTANDfound, and Students Against Hunger who hit the streets in the past several weeks to help the hurting.
Nyack Professor Jim Muckell, who worked alongside of students with the Samaritan Purse outreach in Nassau County, Staten Island, and New Jersey, was joined by education professor Dr. Christine Buel and Bible professor Dr. Stephen Bennett.
Says Muckell, “Some people say Sandy was the storm of the century in our lifetime. Actually, it was an opportunity of a lifetime to minister.”
The business professor, who has in the past few years taken students on mission trips to Mexico to help with operations at a Christmas bookstore during winter break says “these one-day trips in the New York Metropolitan area are every bit as transformational as the 10-day trips” Nyack students take to the Philippines, Africa, Israel and other places around the globe.
Prof. Muckell became involved when men from the discipleship and evangelism team at his home church in New City, NY found out about the Samaritan’s Purse operation. When he circulated an eblast on the Nyack campus, volunteers responded enthusiastically and joined the home repair crews.
“When you drive down the streets and see the shell of the houses, they look fine, but then you see 10 feet of debris in front. You go inside and really see the devastation,” he explained.
So how do people, who may not be believers, know they have witnessed the hands and feet of Jesus at work?
Each time volunteers leave the site of a completed home repair, an informal presentation is made. A Bible is signed by every volunteer who worked on a house and given to the homeowner.
Muckell says, “They can’t miss that.”
The Sandy relief efforts enter the sixth week, continuing work this weekend (December 22) in Nassau County. The group will take a break the following weekend and resume on January 5.
The Rockland County departure site at 6:00 am is Gracepoint Gospel Fellowship Church at 384 New Hempstead Rd., New City (exit 11 on the Palisades Parkway) or volunteers can meet at 7:30 am on Long Island at The Full Gospel Church of Island Park, 4101 Austin Blvd., Island Park, NY.
Bring work gloves, work boots and pack a lunch including drinking water. Return trip to Rockland will be by 6:00 pm. Contact Prof. Muckell at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details.