WDCX and Long Island after Hurricane Sandy

Leading worship for the volunteers before the disabilities conference

At the disabilities conference

Sharing my story at Island Christian Church

Some of the storm damage from Hurricane Sandy

With the awesome campus pastor, Mike O'Connor, and his amazing wife, Creative Arts director Mary O'Connor,

I’m sitting in my friend’s house on Long Island. It’s been a busy weekend. In many ways great and fun, and also very emotional. My husband, Nathan, and I started our married life out here on Long Island, and watching all the devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to the East Coast hit close to home for us. We still know a lot of people out here and remember doing a few hurricanes ourselves, but nothing like this one.

Last Thursday, I did an interview on LifeLine with Kurt Goff for WDCX up in Buffalo and Toronto, talking about the book and the new album. They’re a great station who has been really supportive of my music in the past. I was waiting to hear from Island Christian Church out here on Long Island if I was still coming! The hurricane damage was so severe that most of the people around the church didn’t have power for almost two weeks. It had looked good, but then, just as they were getting power back on and things a little closer to functional, Long Island got hit by a nor’easter which knocked the power out again! I was supposed to fly out in the morning, and during my interview I got the message to come ahead. The power was on at the church and the airport was open. They were going to try it!

I packed up quickly and got to Long Island without much trouble at all. I felt so badly that my friend, Linda, was picking me up, though. I had heard about 6 and 8 hours waits to get gasoline, and I hated that she was spending it on me!! She said things were getting better though. She had gotten up at four in the morning to get gas and had only had to wait until 7:30. I thought she was putting a good face on that one!

By the time I got there, most of the obvious stuff had been cleaned up where the church was. Fortunately for them, they are not on the South shore which is where the intense damage was, and they were enough inland from the Sound that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It was still unbelievable, though. We would drive down one street that looked perfectly fine and then turn the corner and there would be four huge trees laying on one house, and the whole street looked like someone had come through with a giant weedwacker. At one stoplight I counted 28 power company trucks ahead of us, and there were license plates from all over. People forget that even though Long Island is huge, it’s still an island, and getting supplies out here can be pretty difficult.

We went ahead with the events, and it was such a special weekend. The first was a disabilities conference on Saturday, and it was like nothing I’ve ever done before. They were considering cancelling it because many of the people who would attend were from group homes and many of the homes were trying to conserve gas. They decided to come, though, and in the end we had around 350 or 400 people there for the conference – it was amazing! I also debuted an early version of my new video “Your Child” and that was very sweet. I was really touched by the faith of so many present – they are doing an amazing ministry, and many are responding!

On Sunday, I did about a half an hour on both services giving my testimony and some thoughts on what God has been teaching me, and also singing a few songs. It was a good week to be there. The church had just gotten the very hard news that one of the pastor’s wives from another campus was now in palliative care for her cancer and they didn’t expect her to live very much longer. I could tell there were so many people who were just hurting from this news – she must be a very special person. It was good to be able to encourage people and remind them that God is faithful and in control. And I have to say, this church really ministered to me as well. I feel like I’ve met new old friends.

Tomorrow I am heading to Little Rock, Arkansas to tape FamilyLife Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine. I’m really looking forward to it, but also sorry to leave my friends. It’s good to see things looking up here. We’re planning a tour back this way next summer, so knowing I’ll see them before too long makes it easier to go this time.

Leave a Reply