We have been home for three weeks now. Time has slipped by quickly and Curt and I have settled back in to
our home routines (it took awhile because we aren’t really sure what our home routines are since we are
away so much!). When we left New York, most people were transitioning from clean-up to rebuild. We had
the privilege of directing three rebuilds. We completed one and the other two are still going on.
One of the rebuilds is taking place at Melissa’s house. She is the new believer who is talking care of her
elderly father and has an autistic son. A group from Connecticut is supposed to be working Saturdays to
rebuild her basement (where her father lived before the storm). Pray that the team would be able to
complete the work soon.
One thing that we realized on this trip is our need for a larger truck and trailer. We have started
collecting money and have begun the search for the right vehicle. Pray that all of the funding for this
would come in and that the Lord would give us the truck and trailer that would best suit our ministry. We
are looking for these specifics for the truck; Ford F350, 4-door, 4-wheel drive, not a dually, V10 gasoline
engine, 8’ bed, vinyl or leather seats, front bench seat must split so each side can recline independently, an
04-’07 with no more than 100k miles. For the trailer; 20’-22’- v front, 5000-7000 lb dual axles (total of
10k-14k), at least 6.5’ high, 8.5’ wide, 12” frame and side wall bars, drop down gate in back, side door.
Whenever we look back over the things that were accomplished during our trips, we always give thanks to
the Lord, for the only way our small teams could accomplish so much is by the grace and strength of our
Father in heaven. In thirteen weeks, several people from more than a dozen states descended upon New
York City and worked alongside of us to clean out fifty-five homes, treat forty-two for mold, and serve
over five thousand meals. Clean-up includes removing everything affected by flood water down to the
studs. The last ten percent of the job- removing every single nail, every piece of insulation, every bit of
drywall (even drywall that is tightly wedged in the tiniest spaces), sometimes takes about eighty percent of
the time we spend working on a house. It is tedious work, but it is our privilege to do it since we are
representing Jesus and since it is absolutely necessary in order to properly clean a house before it is
rebuilt. Often, contractors and other professionals who come in after us remark that the houses we work
on are the cleanest they have ever seen. The estimated cost of the work that we did was over $750,000!!
We are able to help those who can’t afford to hire someone do this work for much less at no cost to them.
The average per home cost for us is $3-400! God is good!
We are still amazed at how God was way ahead of us, busily establishing all these connections for us long
before anyone ever heard of “Superstorm Sandy.” Every connection we had made over the last five or so
years of going to the Bowery- the Bowery itself and our friend Tom, Horizon Christian Fellowship in
Brooklyn and Pastor John and wife Esther, our friends Danny and Daniela, New Dorp Baptist Church and
New Hope Church in Staten Island, and many more- were pathways for us to minister after the storm.
The best part is that the ministry is continuing through the efforts of all of our friends, new and old, that
God already had in place!
Pray for our friends who are continuing to minister to those affected by the storm. Bahk and Katsyia are
gifted evangelists and are hoping to reach their neighbors for the Lord. Their church has provided gift
cards to give out to storm victims in hopes of getting a chance to share the Good News. They have already
been reaching out to folks that we were able to help. So far two people have invited Jesus into their
hearts! Our dear friends at Fellowship Baptist Church in Coney Island have “all ministries up and running.”
They have an outreach to the homeless and are also hoping to reach the rest of their community for the
Lord. Tom is continuing to coordinate volunteers in Staten Island. Pastor John and the saints at Horizon
Christian Fellowship in Brooklyn are following up on the many people that they met through providing meals
for their neighbors in Seagate and those we helped as well and a couple of them have given their hearts to
We also had the opportunity to serve with good friends that have joined us on several other relief trips.
Steve from Indiana helped Brian and me when Curt was busy with the Bowery Thanksgiving and I was
keeping the relief effort going on Staten Island. Cassie from Indiana came out to help us in December. I
finally got to meet Jim and Martha, a couple from California who have been involved in relief for sixteen
years and have worked with Curt before. Curt’s son Nick and his wife, Brittany also came out to help. We
also met several new people that we hope will serve with us again. The assistance of all of these friends
kept Curt and I refreshed as time wore on.
As usual, we were trying to bless others, but the Lord sent many people to bless and encourage us. We
stayed in the Sunday school rooms at Horizon for more than two months. We loved being part of the
fellowship there. Diane and Richard helped us with teams and food, all while running their own ministry and
dealing with some family health issues. Barbara and Roy were great encouragers. Donna coordinated meals
for us (among other things!), and the ladies of the church supplied us with so many delicious dinners. Richie
and Sarah invited us home for dinner, as did Pastor John and Esther and others. Toward the end of our
trip, we were so blessed to share a pleasant dinner with Pastor Rabino and his wife Ana (from Fellowship
Baptist) and their lovely children. When Ana introduced us to her children, she said, “These are people who
live by faith!” It was so sweet! I thought it was funny that the woman who lives in Brooklyn (the second
most expensive city in the country), is a stay-at-home mom for six children that she homeschools, and is the
wife of a pastor who shepherds a small church in a rough neighborhood thought we lived by faith!
New Yorkers certainly have a reputation for toughness, and we definitely saw their strength. We also got
to see a warm and wonderful community of people helping each other, embracing us as their new friends,
and working through the heartbreak and frustrations of cleaning up and rebuilding. Sometimes it is very
painful to see people going through such difficult times. It is especially difficult to see an older person lose
everything he has worked his whole life to establish. A friend from home once asked me how I am able to
handle the devastation and heartbreak without getting discouraged myself. I think it is because I know
that the Lord has sent us to tell people that they have a need greater than any of their temporal needs- an
eternal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only real shelter from a storm. Pray that all
those we met would come to this realization as they continue to rebuild their lives and their homes.
Tom, one of the coordinators and a long time friend of ours, received a couple of emails from homeowners
we were able to help. Below is a copy of what they had to say:
Tom, My mother and I felt that we HAD to write you a letter of gratitude for all the help that the cleanup
team from Calvary gave. After the shock of walking into our house after Hurricane Sandy with no idea of
where to start, the loving Hands and Feet of Christ (the Calvary team) came to the rescue. It has not been
easy, but it's life. It is God's Love, prayers, hands held, hugs given, HARD LABOR, walls knocked down,
demolishing floors, dust in the air and laughter from the Calvary team that has helped us through this
process. Curt and Mary Jo Hencye from Sarasota, Fl have been a complete blessing with organization,
removal, and following through. Curt and his team showed up every day to remove molded wood, then to
later remove smudge and contaminated dirt from the crawl space which was dark and cold. Not by any
means an easy task. He has made sure along the way to keep us healthy and safe. We are in the process of
drying up the wood with heaters, de- humidifiers and he has applied chemicals to fully stop further mold
growth. Words cannot express how much these loving people have meant to us. We never felt alone in this
process. Even our neighbors would come over to ask, “who are those amazing people, helping?” We are so
GRATEFUL, thank you, thank you, thank you for your loving prayers and physical help!
Judy and Joanna Rodriguez from Coney Island
Tom,My wife and I wanted to drop you a brief note to thank you and your coordinating teammates for all
that you have been doing. With all there is to do, all there is to comprehend, and all there is to proceed with,
the help that we've received has absolutely been a blessing to us at this time. At the very moment when we
were running on physical and emotional fumes, you showed up with “The Disaster Pastor” (Curt). Although
the decision to go ahead with his advice of gutting down to concrete was painful at the time, we now have
such a feeling of peace, secure in the knowledge that we've done everything we possibly could to stop the
growth of mold. I thank you for steering him along with that beautiful group of guys from Missouri to our
home. The wisdom and obviously skilled workers that were here really helped us get to a good place
(structurally and emotionally). With all these volunteers who are so eager to serve the Lord by serving us in
our home, the same hymn keeps ringing in my ear: There's a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place, And I know
that it's the Spirit of the Lord; There are sweet expressions on each face, And I know they feel the
presence of the Lord.
Thank you- Bill Grady