This week things seemed to be getting back to normal in my life. Sleep patterns and regular routines take a while to recover from jet lag, culture shock, hurricanes and cyclones. But even as my life returns to normal, I have been struck by how many people in our state and in neighboring Staten Island are very far from any sense of normalcy. In fact this thought was on my mind when I asked our elders this past Monday if I could look into any relief work we might be able to be involved with in our community or even beyond this community. They wholeheartedly encouraged me to pursue some disaster relief work for our church family to be part of. I wasn’t prepared for the open door that God has now set before us, though I shouldn’t have been surprised because God can truly do exceedingly more than we ask or think.
John tells us in I John 3:16-18: Jesus’ challenge was that the world should know us by our love, but how do we express love in the midst of all the brokenness we see around us? Well this past Wednesday I happened to be over at the Great Commission Baptist disaster relief headquarters set up at Raritan Baptist Church in Edison. I was aware that they were looking for host churches to house disaster relief teams working in the area. I volunteered our church as a possible host church and also asked about having our men be involved in relief work as well. Well, as circumstances would have it, the Great Commission Baptist church plans for their college student disaster relief team’s housing would fall through later that afternoon. Around 7 PM, as I was getting ready to go into Bible study, I was contacted about the group coming over again with another coordinator to examine our facilities. After further discussion and another meeting on Thursday afternoon it was decided that NDC would be serving as the host church for many of the college ministry teams that will be coming and serving the Staten Island area in Jesus name.
All that’s required of us is our building and a heart to love on the young adults who will be here giving up part of their Christmas vacation to serve and represent Jesus in our area. Yes, we may be inconvenienced and the building stressed as we continue our normal ministry, but I believe it is God who opened this door for us and we should enter it with joy and thanksgiving.
Any inconveniences we may experience during the next 6 weeks are only minor when compared to people who have lost homes or loved ones. Think of what it was like for each of us who lost power even for just a few days. When I was living in rural Michigan when 9/11 occurred I felt very far away from the needs and brokenness here in NJ. I desired to somehow minister but was too far away. Now I am so glad that our church, New Durham Chapel, will be a hub of active ministry, engaging our world, and supporting young adults as they go forth to represent the Lord Jesus Christ on Staten Island. May they be refreshed and encouraged by our ministry and may we be blessed for hosting them.
Thank you, God, for the door of opportunity that you have set before us to share the love of Christ with a hurting and broken world. May we do so for the glory of God.
To God be the Glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo