Epilogue - First take December 26thAfter some reflection, it is apparent to us all that God has blessed us much much more than we could have imagined. Remember our instructions to come with no agenda, no expectations, and no whining. From start to finish God has gently reminded us of those guidelines, and while it may at first seem that all the credentials, all the training, and our desires to help in "certain" ways (see those expectations creep up on us soooo quickly) were ignored . . . it was in His providence to show us how to be humble servants to the deeply wounded folks in NYC. For example, on Friday our fearless leader Wayne (who is one of three Pastors in this second group of SBC volunteers) was given the job of wrapping boxes with twine in the basement, and earlier in the week one of our Lay Counselors was assigned to washing dishes in the kitchen, and another pastor and two Lay Counselors were detailed to empty trash, and our own Neurologist assigned to cleaning the restroom for the 400 people served daily at St. Joseph's Chapel. In His gracious mercy, we are all convinced that it is where God wanted us, and that He used us there as creatively as He did when we were interfacing with those Firemen working down in "the hole" recovering their lost comrades.
One of the most powerful things I've come back with is the change in New Yorkers. I've been there perhaps six times in my life, and while I've never ridden a subway before, I have certainly encountered the people on the street and in shops and restaurants. My memories of NYC include an almost-constant blaring of car horns, and rude people who would not talk to you, but would be quite quick to give a rude gesture if you got in their way.
Not today! Today the horns are mostly silent, and many drivers more courteous than what you'll find here in Scottsdale in January through March. Everywhere we went we engaged the people of NY in conversation, and they were warm and friendly to us the entire week. Many would go out of their way to help us lost out of towners; even on the subway they talked to us and laughed with us, not at us . . . even when we once nearly pried open the door to get off when we almost missed our stop. There WERE a few groans and mumbled words about the impropriety of such an action, but none seemed rude or angry.
And those we went to serve...those at Ground Zero who are daily facing great personal stress in the task of recovering their fallen friends . . . they would not even allow us to clear the table for them or bring them anything. EveryONE was so thankful and considerate of US instead, and many were eager to talk and share their heart about what they are doing and have experienced.
In the days ahead we'll be assembling the reflections of the whole group and those will be shared below. Again we all thank you for your prayerful support while our two teams were there, and any of us will be happy to give you a personal update should you desire it. Please feel free to contact us through the counseling office at 480 824-7239.
The reflections of the group will be posted here as they are written.
last revised - January 31, 2002
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