Report: MERCYworldwide Day of Service!

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give than receive.”Acts 20:35

The tone for the 2013 Day of MERCY was set by a preceding Day of Prayer & Fasting. This day of prayer and fasting refocused our hearts and minds from self-focus and selfishness to hearts ready to give and serve others.

This year the New York City MERCY ambassadors willingly took on the challenge of serving the communities of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

MERCYworldwide collaborated with the Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation for the second consecutive year. This non-profit group “focuses on strengthening communities by instituting meaningful life lessons through education, raising awareness and encouraging positive self-esteem to children.” They allow children in the community to plant seeds, grow fruits and vegetables, and sell them at a very low price. This enables families who have little to afford to purchase produce. Jonathan Pedican coordinated the efforts of 25 MERCY volunteers from the Brooklyn and Bronx ministries. They painted benches and tables, assembled growing beds for plants, pruned trees and weeded at the Powell Street Gardens in Brooklyn.

MERCY ambassadors also renewed and strengthened relations with HELP USA New Horizons Shelter, located in Brooklyn, with whom we partnered last year. HELP USA’s mission is to provide housing and the supportive services necessary to become and remain self-reliant, receive employment training, and job placement. Their services are geared toward the homeless. 30 volunteers, under the supervision of Kwaku Sarkodie, served by weeding the garden associated with the homeless shelter. Anthony Graham, the Executive Director for the New Horizons Shelter was present at Sunday worship the day following the Day of Service to share the mission and scope of HELP USA and to personally thank MERCY volunteers for their ongoing service.

MERCY undertook serving Staten Island by helping in the much-needed, still-ongoing clean-up and repair after Hurricane Sandy. 9 volunteers, working in conjunction with the “Steven Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation” served individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy by cleaning up and repairing the devastation left in the wake of this storm. Hurricane Sandy ravaged several areas in New York City, but Staten Island was one of the hardest hit areas with downed trees, flooding, prolonged power outages, gas shortages, and millions of dollars worth of structural damage to homes and businesses. The home worked on by our MERCY ambassadors had been filled with up to 8 feet of sea water during the height of the storm. The family was able to be evacuated to safety, but lost everything. MERCY volunteers placed insulation and drywall with the direction of two former military servicemen. Under Michael O’Donnell’s supervision, volunteers finished their project earlier than expected. They have been invited back to help with additional work to the home.

The fourth project, and possibly the one dearest to the hearts of the disciples here in the New York Church, took place in Queens. It was a MERCY MAKEOVER of the home of Marilyn LaRose. Marilyn is a single mom and a cancer survivor still receiving chemotherapy. Since becoming a disciple 15 months ago and despite obvious health issues, Marilyn has been a joy to our fellowship and has demonstrated perseverance through many life challenges. Marilyn LaRose was presented with a MERCY MAKEOVER certificate, fashioned after the well-known Publishers Clearing House check and designed by Eva Peterson. The original thought had been to makeover Marilyn’s living room, which she indicated was the room she most desired to see changed. Joshua Koralek was given the challenge to oversee this project and enthusiastically undertook the makeover of not only the living room but the entire apartment. 23 volunteers worked tirelessly from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm cleaning, organizing, throwing out furniture, installing new fixtures and furniture and transforming Marilyn’s home into a bright and cheerful retreat. Special thanks to Victor & Nina Rivera who encouraged the weary troops by serving lunch to everyone, Jake Studer who helped direct efforts using his home improvement skills and Joette Fernandez who entertained Marilyn for the day while her home was receiving the makeover. Not only were the disciples rewarded for their hard work by the smiles of joy and appreciation on Marilyn’s face on seeing her home, but a neighbor stopped by and was herself absolutely amazed by the transformation.

Thanks to all the MERCY volunteers for your labor of love.

Drs. Kenneth Chin & Cheryl Harris-Chin (MERCYworldwide NYC Representatives)