USA (MNN) — As U.S. families gather around the Thanksgiving table today, some members might be missing.
"Workers are sacrificing this week of family and gathering to be serving those in need," says EFCA TouchGlobal Director Mark Lewis. "We always get concerned 2, 3, 4 weeks after something like [Sandy]: sometimes people start to burn out."
For the past six weeks, relief teams have been working tirelessly alongside Evangelical Free Churches in areas slammed by Hurricane Sandy.
"The leaders have been going nonstop at many of these churches," Lewis says. Ask the Lord to give strength and energy to local church leaders. "Pray that they would have the stamina to run the race and to finish it well."
On November 17, Lewis says a plethora of volunteers rallied to help EFC churches. Volunteers arrived at seven different locations, including Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Stanton Island, and central and southern New Jersey.
A team of 24 from the Evangelical Free Church of Hershey, PA responded to the needs of the Hoboken EFC in New Jersey and its surrounding community. Believers brought a trailer full of donated blankets, coats, and children's clothing, as well as a donation of $4,000 to help with the costs of reconstruction.
"As soon as we pulled up, people from the congregation all came together. We were serving like one church, not two separate churches," said Erica Hunter, a Hershey EFC volunteer, on the TouchGlobal blog. "There was a bond and a connection with them as we were working to serve and share the Gospel together during tough times in the city."
Chrissy Spears, another volunteer from Hershey EFC, claims the news hadn't done justice to the level of destruction left in Sandy's wake. Spears helped homeowners sort through waterlogged memories in Little Egg Harbor, NJ.
"You can't change the path of the storm," says Spears, "but you can change its looks in their lives by coming alongside them and encouraging them."
As Christian workers serve in affected communities, pray "that there would be just this sweet aroma of the Gospel that would carry through these communities and leave a lasting impression of Jesus."
Ask God to give hope to the hopeless.
"We saw discouragement and hopelessness on the face of many," says Lewis. "[Pray] that the Church would be evident in a way that would bring that kind of hope and encouragement to the lives of those people affected by the hurricane."
Pray that the lost would find Jesus through this crisis.
"Having some help cleaning your basement, that's a beginning," Lewis states. "Ultimately, it's the relationship with Christ that really is what people need."
Lewis adds that physical needs are mounting, too.
"We've been grateful for the response of the Church, and we hope to see just a continued outpouring of giving," he states. "There's a significant gap for many, many families between what they're getting from insurance and FEMA."
TouchGlobal resources are growing thin. Lewis says they're running out of funds to support church repairs, much less take care of families and community outreach. The ministry needs people who can help by praying, giving or going.
Is the Lord moving in your heart to make a difference?