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It’s been a bad week. . . . Last Sunday night our nation watched on T.V. as Hurricane Sandy approached; the storm’s awesome power was hard to fathom. Then again, we’ve seen hurricanes before. . . . In the wake of the storm, images showed truly unbelievable scenes we had NEVER seen before. All week, stories have swept over us: a child snatched from a parent’s arms and swept away; a weddinig photo found blocks from the owner’s home; water rushing through the subway’s turnstiles; the 87 year-old woman trapped in her 8th floor apartment in the dark, no heat, no water, unable to walk down the eight floors in the dark. Over and over again tears filled my eyes; no doubt tears filled the eyes of all of us Americans. Their suffering was ours and we felt as powerless as they were. So we wept and prayed with them, for them.

And then I had a stunning experience on Friday afternoon which brought me to tears once more, but this time for all the right reasons.

My husband and I were catching a flight to Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love, by the way) to see his family. Boarding the plane, I noticed that the passengers seemed a bit noisier, more rambunctious than usual, burlier somehow. As I took my seat, I became aware that they were mostly men on the flight (not so unusual for a Friday afternoon when many business men fly home from a week’s work). But these guys were NOT the usual guys. They were wearing blue jeans and work boots; all sported identical t-shirts bearing a company’s logo. Waiting for the flight to depart, I noticed the baggage carts out the window were filled with these:

As the flight progressed, I overheard the three guys behind me. They were young and sounded just like a group of high school boys, teasing one another about their favorite football teams; speculating which stadium was biggest, regaling each other with stories of Six Flags. Definitely NOT the buttoned-down conversation of business-dudes! Stealing a glance, I saw that, sure enough, these guys were part of that group. At last, my curiosity got the best of me and I HAD to ask them who they were and what they were doing.

It was a group of 37 men, having just completed a work week in Dallas, who were flying to Philadelphia where they’d go to a staging area. They’d be picked up on a bus, taken to heavy-duty (military issued?) tents where they’d be staying until December. Each day, they’d be assigned to work with local power companies up and down the east coast, helping to restore power wherever they were needed. So  here’s what struck me:

  • They were fired up, couldn’t wait to get into action
  • They had willingly left their own comfort, families, safety, in order to help
  • Regardless of politics (the ELECTION is this week) or football loyalties, they were a team
  • They had taken someone else’s loss, someone else’s disaster, as their own

And when, as we left the plane, I asked if I could take a team photo, they looked a bit embarrased and confused, as if to say, “We don’t see what the big deal is. . . we’re just regular guys. . .”

So, in case you’re like me and have felt that this week was pretty bad, I wanted to share with you some really great news. Americans really DO care for each other. People really DO take one another’s suffering to heart. These guys were GREAT news to me and my lights aren’t even out! I’ll lift them in prayer today, along with all those who’re awaiting their ministry. Hope you will too.