Day Seven Journal

You've been generous to pray for our two groups while they went to NY to offer help to those there who have been affected by the events of September 11th, and I'd like to give you an update on the trip our two teams had, and share my thoughts about things there and the ongoing needs we've been made aware of.

It may take me a few days to process all that I have experienced, and with Christmas Eve tomorrow, and Christmas the following day, it may be toward the end of the week before I can get it all out of my head and on paper. I will send you an update as soon as possible.

Let me leave you with this: We could not have anticipated a more incredible week, felt a wider range of emotions, comprehended the changes in New Yorkers without seeing them first hand, nor ever felt more inadequate.

From the mechanical problems on both of our outbound planes in Phoenix and Chicago, to the special welcome home team of John and Trish Ferree and Garth Wilson at Sky Harbor last night, God has blessed us all with an experience that He directed from start to finish, and given each of us an opportunity to participate in what surely is among the most moving experiences in our lives. Your prayers and emails have been appreciated more than I can express, and we've all felt the power of God in our many different daily activities.

We've served breakfast, lunch and diner and listened with love to the weary and over stressed firemen, EPA & OSHA officers, construction workers, etc., digging in a 7 story deep hole at "ground zero" (all that remains of the WTC), and police and National Guard soldiers guarding the perimeter of this crime scene. We've been privileged to stand on the tightly guarded dignitary platform overlooking the "hole" and read what has been written by President Bush and hundreds of others from around the world and felt our hearts melt at what our senses have taken in. We've been to just a few of the memorials erected in tribute to those lost and missing, and felt the tears running down our own cheeks for the grief the survivors are experiencing.

We've ridden the NY Subway system during morning and evening rush hours, and at 10 pm, midnight, 3, 4 & 5 am after walking a mile through streets so packed if was difficult to move or totally deserted, in rain and biting cold wind, and marveled and enjoyed each minute. We've given our hearts and ears to very tired Salvation Army workers, and workers in the kitchens and churches of NYC.

Some of us have served as shopping helpers to families affected by the events of 9/11 while they shopped in a free store at Lamb's Church for gifts for their kids, while others briefly counseled those individuals, sharing the love of Christ and the gospel with those who's hearts have been opened to the Lord. We've prayed, hugged, cried and laughed with many, including each other. We've marveled at the change, the difference, in New Yorkers, who were more friendly to each other and to we outsiders than we expected or thought possible.

The trip of Team One and some of our activities have also been chronicled on the Scottsdale Bible Church website at http://www.scottsdalebible.com/counseling-nyc/index.html (see the right hand side of the page for links to the trip).

May your Christmas be more delightful, deeper with meaning and understanding than ever before . . . of the blessings God has given this world, and America in particular.