Saturday was a work day on Staten Island at Magde’s house in a nice neighborhood less than a mile from the ocean. Our site supervisor for the day, Frank and coordinator DaTiana from Tunnel to Towers welcomed us. The five of us got a lesson in hanging drywall, a task most of have never done. Frank was very patient as he taught and assured us that we could do it. Before we knew it the living room was quickly coming together.

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The home owner Magde who is originally from Egypt shared with us his incredible story of survival during Sandy and his eventual rescue. This is a brief encapsulation of his story: He and his wife returned to their home after beginning to evacuate but then remembered they needed their important documents so returned home before the rain actually began. Magde said, that in just the time span of four minutes, the rain came and began to flood the street, then water began to come into their home that’s raised up about 3 feet. Before long they realized that they were not going to be able to leave. The water crested about at about 5 feet inside of their home and while he and his wife were trapped on the second floor of their home in their bedroom, with the house swaying, they began to call loved ones to say their goodbyes. Magde shared that at one point as they looked out their window onto the street he saw a white figure and this somehow made him calmer. Help eventually came to rescue he and his wife – evacuating on top of a garbage truck. He reported that by God’s grace he was then blessed, after losing his clothing to the flooding that he was given clothing and shoes so he could return to work. He shared that his wife has had cancer, but is thankfully in remission. His own health has faltered after having 3 operations on his kidneys. He urged us all continue to pray for all the people in the area.

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We were all very blessed to have worked on his home and hope that tomorrow as we work on hanging some more drywall, we will be able to give the blessing back to Magde and his family.

Thank you all for your prayers as we serve God here on Staten Island.

Cheri Nixon