Day Four JournalIt's about 4:45 am here in NY as I hit send, and I'm actually not sure what day it really is...but I think it is early Thursday Morning. That, to tell you what a whirlwind we've all been on since we arrived in the Big Apple. Our group of 18 was originally separated into three teams of six, we've all done at least one "shift" at the St. Joseph's Chapel, aka Clergy Crisis Response Center (CCRC), where we were assigned to feed and engage the workers at Ground Zero in conversation when they desire it..
Somewhere in our pictures is a picture of the crablegs we served for dinner the first night. Someone showed up with a huge container of cooked crab legs and 2 full Lobsters for the workers, and as you might imagine, they were all thrilled. Many of those working down in "the hole", still searching by hand for their fallen co-workers have little joy as day after day another brother-like friend is found. For many the three locations that feed them are the only places they can come to rest for a short while in someplace warm and clean, and the only place where they can find someone who will listen with understanding and no agenda of their own.
Our three teams have only met in passing, so I am unable to share much from the other team's perspective. Our team started on the 4 to Midnight shift, then did a Midnight to 8 am shift, to have been followed by a second 4 to Midnight shift.
As we were preparing to leave the hotel on Wednesday afternoon for our next adventure on the Subway, we had our assignment changed to the Salvation Army feeding center which serves 4000 meals a day. Since it is inside the perimeter of Ground Zero, (where the CCRC is just outside the perimeter), we first had to go to the Salvation Army Command Center to receive Ground Zero Security passes. We reported for duty later on Wednesday at 11pm, and were given jobs in and around the serving area, along with volunteers from other places in the USA.
I will admit to a slight (ok overwhelming) frustration that God had given us all the training and gifts to be good listeners to those people who have so much bottled up inside, especially since I landed the position of "coffee brewer" in the back room behind a row of boxes . . . away from not only the firemen and police, but away from everyone else also, or so it seemed.
Praying for wisdom and my attitude, I discovered that a policeman and National Guard soldier were about 30 feet from my post, and I could cover my post (which entailed making an urn of coffee when needed - and it was only needed rarely), AND talk to these two. I spent more an hour with them and trust that time to God and His use.
The other 11 of our new combined team served in similar capacities on the dining floor, cleaning tables, removing trash, stocking the carry-out food racks, etc., and were able to engage in conversations with quite a few workers over the course of the early morning.
Thankfully Wayne, Bev, Mary Jane and I were given a shorter shift than the rest as the four of us had only managed 4 to 6 hours of sleep since Tuesday AM.
The third team spent the afternoon and evening at the Lamb's Bookstore, and I hope to catch up with Dick and Patti Matthews, Sandy Wilson, Anita Fox, Rick and Heather Peacock later on today after some sleep, and tell you about their new assignment.
The week is flying by, and while I'm not sure whether it is still Wednesday, Thursday or some other day, I know that the next two days will be filled with the right God ordained opportunities for each of us, and that each one of us is looking forward to how He might use us as a blessing in the lives of those who are working to recover lost comrades, and those charged with providing security to the site. It is an awe inspiring and emotion filled site, and it evokes in us all feelings that we cannot fully untangle ourselves, just as outside witnesses to the aftermath.
Pray for our hearts to be still, to listen well to those we encounter, and our faces and voices to be filled with the Hope within us so that we may offer the comfort of Christ, and share that Hope in some way with all that we meet.