Dear brothers and sisters:
Please don't stop praying for us here in metropolitan New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It is one month ago today that the storm hit with its greatest force (and for the duration of most of that day). While the rest of the country gears up for Christmas, we are still surrounded by clean-up and house re-building efforts. We are now entering the home reconstruction phase of our relief work.
We are thankful to the Lord for the many offers of assistance from carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and other skilled workers. I am also very thankful for the superb disaster relief coordination that is being done by one of our elders (and former chairman of our Board of Deacons), Al Zarek. He is truly a man "for a time such as this." His skills remind me of those of Mayor Giuliani in the aftermath of 9/11/2001.
This Saturday we have a team of six coming from a United Reformed Churches congregation north of New York City. They will be working in two separate locations. One team will help to complete work on the home of one of our widows in East Rockaway. The other will assist with clean-up work with a couple of families in Brooklyn. Given the challenge in scheduling things, at least for now we are having to confine these projects to very busy Saturdays, making use of volunteers who come to the area, and also local helpers. Pray that these efforts will be fruitful.
We are awaiting a large shipment of winter coats; but, apart from this, that need is not in the forefront. Volunteers to do the kind of skilled work mentioned above are "front burner" needs now; however, we must coordinate these properly so that we also have the necessary materials and tools for the projects. Al Zarek is the contact person for that. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been heartening for us to receive financial gifts and promises of financial gifts. While we are able to use them for Franklin Square-related needs connected with Hurricane Sandy, we would urge you to send your financial gifts to the Committee on Diaconal Ministries, c/o the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 607 N. Easton Rd., Bldg. E, Willow Grove, PA 19090-2539. Note specifically that this is for Hurricane Sandy relief (keep in mind that some of our New Jersey churches were hard hit by Sandy as well), and direct your communication to the attention of David Nakhla, the OPC Disaster Relief Coordinator. His support has been invaluable to us.
One little vignette: One of our five year old covenant children, the granddaughter of the widow whose home has been a priority in our relief work, was so concerned to help those who were "hit hard" by Hurricane Sandy that she wanted to sell lemonade (however, we convinced her that hot chocolate was more appropriate at this time of the year!) to raise some money to give to the OPC Diaconal Committee to help out. So far she has raised over $160.00 from Franklin Square families and individuals. If you would like to help with "MacKenzie's Hot Chocolate Relief Fund," let me know and I can give you more details! My email address is email@example.com.
Keep praying that our light will so shine before others that they see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. I continue to pray that OPC mission churches come from this shaking of our secular area!
Yours in the Lord of the winds and the waves,
Bill Shishko, pastor
Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Franklin Square, NY