Day Two Journal
Our full group assembled at 9 in the morning and headed off to a local deli for a quick breakfast before we headed off to orientation at the Harvest Christian Fellowship center where we also were to receive our assignment. They had 3 times the volunteers this week than they have had any other week, and were overwhelmed (their space on the third floor accommodated maybe 150), and told us to leave and go for a walk for an hour. We walked over to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and then went back for our orientation.
Our assignment for the week is to cover serving food at the Clergy Crisis Responder center while "visiting" with the firefighters, police, National Guard and construction workers who are working in and around ground zero . It's 150 feet from "the hole", and any of those workers can come in have a good meal and sit at a table and shake off the effects of working there. We are there to make sure that the free food is served to them, and to enter into conversation if they want it.
Our group of 18 has been broken into 3 teams of six to cover 8 hour shifts in this location...although today one of the teams spent the day (2 to 10 pm) at Nino's Restaurant which also serves free food to the WTC workers. Actually, Nino's prepares all the food that is served in the location we staffed as well.
Wayne, Bev, Dick, Patti, Mary Jane and I started our shift at 4 pm and worked till midnight, when we were relieved by Pat, Sharon, Paul, Marion, Ted and Diann who will work until 8 am, to be relieved by Fred, Kristen, Sandy, Anita, Rick & Heather. We had the joy and privilege to work with Bob Spears, who is a Pastor of Counseling and also a police chaplain from TN. What a treat to share duties and fellowship with him.
Each of our team of six had the opportunity to express the love of Christ in a number of ways, from listening to those who have worked in the center full time, to hearing the pain and the occasional joy of those working there at the World Trade Center recovery and removal.
The stories are more moving than I can relate without sleep, and as time permits in the days ahead we'll share what we can here. In the meantime, pray for these workers who have experienced more grief in three months than most of us know in a lifetime. Pray for those who do not know Christ, that the love of the Christians working beside them, counseling them and even those feeding them will touch them with the message that God wants them to be a part of His family, and He wants us all to support and encourage them through this time. Pray also for their safety in the 3 or 4 months ahead as the work continues, and pray for their emotional health. We heard today that the suicide and divorce rate in Oklahoma City doubled in the six years since the bombing there, and that it will only be by the hand of God that it does not happen here.
Many of the charitable organizations have shut down their operations already, and the Harvest Christian Fellowship group that we are on loan to from BGEA, is shutting down after this week. Without the influence of godly men and women to draw these people out long term, the effects of what they have seen and experienced, many feel will guarantee a similar effect here to what has happened in OKC. This is the week before Christmas, and it is an extremely difficult time for many throughout the land, but for the 15,000 children who have been effected by the loss of someone close to them, and for the 10's of thousands of people who have lost friends, family, or jobs as a result of 9/11, it is a most hopeless time, so pray for them and ask God to light their way with a light even brighter than ground zero at midnight. The light of His Son, Jesus.