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December 7, 2012

Missions – Charmaine's Story

It has been over a month since Hurricane Sandy battered the New York and New Jersey coastlines. Residents are slowly beginning to piece their lives back together. Slowly.

Charmaine, a single mother of an 11 year old daughter, is doing what she can to recover from the superstorm that rocked her home and community in the Rockaways, the southern most peninsula of Queens. While school has resumed and Charmaine has been able to reopen her small computer repair business in the heart of the Rockaways where she has been helping residents recover lost files, documents, and photos from damaged computers and hardrives, home for her and her daughter is still far from home.

Power was only restored to their home about 2 weeks ago, over three weeks after the storm. She had been heating her small home with her kitchen stove, and now has resorted to 2 small space heaters.

It’s been about 35 degrees at night in New York City. With the cold Atlantic wind that buffets the Rockaways constantly, that has felt like a bitter 25 degrees. 25 degrees with no heat.

Charmaine has been waiting in line for some city assistance to repair her broken furnace so she can truly heat her home. Unfortunately, the city will not touch her apartment because Charmaine’s basement unit completely flooded and filled with sand from the storm surge. When the basement flooded, not only did it leave behind sediment, but a damaged foundation and a small leak in a first floor sewer line that had contaminated the sand in her basement.

It was a big problem that Charmaine did not know how to fix.

Charmaine, a woman of strong faith, had determined to pray for wisdom and a solution. Just two days ago, Charmaine was asking God for a solution to this seemingly insurmountable problem. Little did she know that a few short hours later, God would send her the answer she had asked for.

This God sized opportunity presented itself to the team of Woodlands Church and New York Dream Center volunteers this week while we have continued working together in the Rockaways to bring hope and the love of Christ to hurting people. In fact, our team came to know of her need simply because she was kind enough to allow some team members to use a facility in her small business location.

Charmaine was asking the Father for help, for wisdom, for an answer and our team was the direct timely fulfillment of her prayers.

Our team immediately went to work cleaning the 6 inches of sewage soaked sand out of Charmaine’s basement, bucket by bucket. The team was also successful in making the small plumbing repair required to stop the sewage leak.

By the end of today, Charmaine’s entire basement will be cleaned out, and the contractors and city workers have been contacted to come out Saturday to come make the necessary repairs to restore heating in her house.

One small prayer uttered from the lips of an overwhelmed mother was met by the hand of God leading a team perfectly equipped to handle her very need, people who were willing to do whatever it took to be an expression of love to Charmaine and her daughter, a reminder to her that God loves her and is intimately aware of her every need, and He is forever faithful to provide for her.