Once again it's been quite some time since my last blog. Although there's been a lot to write about since Jodi and I moved to New York last September - and really, I should post pictures and commentary on some of our past NYC weekend adventures. I guess, quite honestly, I've fallen into the daily in and outs of services at Pulino's that I haven't been feeling inspired to write lately.
However, just last week on October 29th we got hit by hurricane Sandy, and that left Jodi and I trapped in our Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn apartment, sitting at our little white IKEA dinner table with table with not much to do other than tinker with our iPhones - calling our worried parents and checking the updates on our social networks. As the storm got worse our wifi struggled to connect for at least a week. This was the modern day equivalent of the phone lines being tied up durning these type of natural disaster emergencies where far too many people frantically and unnecessarily make non-emergency calls. But these days everyone was trying to capture the best storm picture so they could Facebook, Tweet, or instagram it.
The day after the storm hit, we were still on lock down in our neighborhood. From all the flooding and heavy winds the trains were down, trees had fallen everywhere, and hundreds of thousands had lost power through the boroughs, so It was probably in our best interest us to stay indoors and off the streets. But, thank the Lord, our neighborhood made out quite well. So well that our neighborhood coffee shop was able to open for half the day for all of us to get a very needed coffee from our restless sleep through the storm and to do a little surveillance of our neighborhood.
Finally, however, I did something appropriate. I decided to get off the major intermet highways and write. What was meant to be a short letter of thanks to our family for praying for us, also turned into a reflection of our uneasy experience through hurricane Sandy.
Jodi and I would like to thank you for all your prayers through Hurricane Sandy! The Lord was definitely keeping us safe from harm - especially our little corner of Greenwood Ave and E. 3rd Street!
Our neighborhood shops were awesome at opening for half the day on Monday so that we could get some last minute provisions - Steeplechase for coffee & donuts, Mr. Tong's for Chinese take-out, and the gas station for beer & chips (haha, i know not really ALL THAT important...). But God bless them. They're also open today for another half day!
My chef, Tony Liu (God bless him and his family in Queens), was great the night before the storm at getting us all out of work early and out of the city as soon as possible. Since all the trains stopped running at 7pm on Sunday night he sent us all home in taxi's to our different boroughs in Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem and the Bronx.
Coach was great at making sure all their employees left the city well before the last trains ran. And they'll remain closed until it's safe to return back to the city.
I was pretty restless all Sunday night - checking on where Sandy was, and trying to figure out how bad she really would hit. Jodi did a great job at packing out emergency bags of clothes, food, and water in case we had to head to the basement or to the evacuation shelter several blocks away. And she made sure the house was clean -after all, if the windows blew out, a clean and orderly house would be safer than a messy house!
When Monday morning came it was windy but we had time to run out of the house for our last minute "provisions" which I mentioned. As the day went on Sandy blew harder and harder. By 8pm Monday night, just as the weather reports predicted, Sandy touched ground in New Jersey and that's when the winds blew the hardest. All throughout the evening I kept turning towards the window and gauging if this would be the gush of wind that would blow out our windows, or crack our tree outside and throw it right through our wall... (by the way for future reference "X"ing the windows with tape doesn't work. Rather, crack open all your windows so that it relieves pressure... ) The winds shook the house repeatedly. We could hear the sirens of emergency vehicles all night, and we could smell smoke from the fires around us. But, the Lord was with us. Even though we had faith that the Lord was with us, it wasn't until the day after that we could testify that He was! When we took a walk in the morning, all around our corner of the neighborhood tree's branches had split from their stumps, thrown into homes, and fallen on cars. But, besides being scared enough to turn to the Lord in prayer together and having the strength of faith in the Lord, we were practically untouched by the havoc of Sandy. We're so thankful that the Lord gave us this house, on this corner, in this neighborhood in Brooklyn - which one year ago when we moved here, we could've been less concerned about it's safety from a hurricane. God is good and merciful! We do not take His mercy and love for granted! And neither do we take all your prayers and love for granted either - it without a doubt, kept us safe!
Please continue to pray for our Brooklyn community, our NY friends, and all those that were affected by the storm. If at all you feel compelled, our church probably has a relief fund you could donate to. I currently am not getting consistent wifi because of the storm, so I can't give you the direct link. But our church www.trinitygraceparkslope.com probably has a link somewhere on the website.
Thank you again for your love and prayers, and for encouraging us in faith!
Mark & Jodi
He's our shield. (Genesis 15:1)
He's heard us. (Genesis 21:17)
He's our salvation. (Exodus 14:13)
He's our comforter. (Psalms 23:4)
He's our strength & courage. (1 Chronicles 38:20)
He's our deliverer. (Jeremiah 1:8)
The rock of a home that the Lord blessed us with a year ago (on the left, second floor). Monday morning. Winds starting to pick up.
Some photos several blocks around us. Minor compared to the rest of the boroughs.