Young Life Expeditions and Superstorm Sandy

Last fall, Superstorm Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, wreaked havoc from south of Jamaica all the way to Maine. The storm landed on the shorelines of New Jersey and New York early on the morning of Oct. 29 and the destruction there was particularly devastating.
Jan Mulder, regional coordinator with Young Life Expeditions who lives in Illinois, responded quickly. “Our prayers went out immediately to the East Coast,” Mulder said, “and many of us wondered how our Young Life friends there were faring. My heart knew it was time to put into action what Young Life Expeditions had dreamed about for years, to be able to assist with disaster relief.”

A week later she was in Staten Island, N.Y., preparing for the teams who would arrive and help in whatever ways they could. For the next few weeks, 238 people came from all over the East Coast to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. In New York, the teams served in areas like Staten Island, Long Beach and Brooklyn, while other teams provided aid in New Jersey at Point Pleasant and Toms River.

On Staten Island, Mulder said, one woman in tears asked for assistance removing photos from wet photo albums, the only possessions she was able to save. “One man told us of his 85-year-old mother who lost everything; as her only son he was so grateful for our help. Another told us how he saw a wall of water coming and climbed in his frontyard tree where he stayed for eight hours until help arrived.”

The appreciation for their teams’ efforts was overwhelming, Mulder said. “St. Philips Baptist Church hosted us and had a delicious home-cooked meal waiting for us every night when we returned back hungry and dirty. The pastor is very excited now to get Young Life going in their community.”

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