Feature

Hurricane Sandy

Care during the Chaos

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Almost two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, sections of New York and New Jersey are still without power, more than 75,000 people have no place to live, a shortage of gas makes travel difficult and residents of the Northeast remain in a state of shock. Hurricane Sandy was anticipated for more than a week before it struck, but no one was prepared for what happened.

As with Katrina in 2005, those who were most devastated had not evacuated. More than 100 people were found dead in their homes, and many others are missing. The homes of five Alliance pastors in the region were flooded by 6 to 11 feet of saltwater, but their lives were spared. Hundreds of Alliance families were displaced from their homes after the massive destruction. Only a few days after Sandy waned, the region was hit with a second storm that brought 75 mile-per-hour winds, temperatures in the 20s and up to six inches of snow. The situation was quickly becoming hopeless.

In this vast darkness, the light of the gospel has begun to dawn. Even though churches in the entire region have suffered, they organized to do what the government could not. Six Alliance churches strategically located near the most devastated areas opened their doors as hubs for the relief effort. In the midst of the chaos, God raised up a Disaster Relief Team to coordinate what will be a two- to three-year rebuilding process. Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA) quickly offered aid, and Alliance churches across the country began to respond with compassion and love as the Body of Christ. Calls were being received hourly from churches arranging to send relief workers, generators and supplies. Many churches took offerings to help with the incredible need that was unfolding.

One Alliance congregation, Centerpoint Community Church on the south shore of Long Island, was particularly devastated. More than 50 people lost their homes, and the church was flooded. Even the pastor’s home was under water. He texted me pictures he took from his roof in the midst of a vast ocean that consumed his community. Teams from Long Island Chinese Alliance Church (Dix Hills, N.Y.) were there within 48 hours to help members of Centerpoint gut the building in hopes of saving the structure for ministry. Today, that church is a hub of refuge and relief and has rented a synagogue for worship. Within a few days after the waters subsided, more than 100 homes had been gutted and prepared for rebuilding. Pastor Brian McMillian said, “I believe we will emerge stronger when this is all over, and the power of the gospel will have gone into places where otherwise we had no access.”

The Alliance churches affected by Hurricane Sandy want to thank the Alliance family from around the country for their immediate and sacrificial response to our need. By working together, we will see Christ exalted and see the Kingdom of God become more tangible.

Watch the Video

Watch as Jordan Christopher, a managing producer of the Alliance Video office, describes firsthand his observations of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

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