Sunday was our second work day at Magdi’s home on Staten Island. We continued on the installation of the drywall board and made excellent progress. Sue and Wanda worked with our site supervisor for the day – Trevor to do the very tedious work of fitting drywall in beside the existing stairs. Wanda used her transferable skills to make a template for the second board to get the stairs marked out on the drywall which helped them to slip the board in. The rest of the team moved on to the kitchen, getting one side done.

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Magdi joined in on the work on and off after he went to church, right around the corner. He repeatedly said that we were a miracle and that he thanks God for us. We wrote him a message on the drywall that will remind him of us for at least another week or so until the seams get mudding and then it gets covered up with primer and paint. Tunnel to Towers is hopeful to get Magdi and Catherine into their home at Christmas time. Magdi would really like to see us back for the Welcome Home event that he promises will have Egyptian food – that I think is really yummy.

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Tunnel to Towers staff, DaTiana reported that there are about 500 people waiting for assistance from their organization. She emphasized that it’s only through volunteers that the work will get done; while they have AmeriCorp workers, they can get much more done with a crew of people that are willing to give their time and energy. Our team toured around the area a bit on Saturday AM and found that homes looked okay on the outside, but it was clear that the insides were gutted. A few of the AmeriCorp workers that we met over the weekend were from “the island” and reported how there were areas where there was at least 10 feet of water and then other areas, in different elevations where there was no flooding. Flooding was indeed the cause of most of the damage that homeowners are dealing with and is the hardest because of insurance and other bureaucratic issues.

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Magdi spoke to a few of us about just such challenges that he’s had to deal with, leaving him in a position where he had to ask for help from Tunnel to Towers. It’s hard for any proud man to have to admit that they can’t take care of things themselves. As we left, we all recognized the transformation of our hearts that Pastor Mark spoke of on Sunday, Nov 3rd. Thanks be to God for his love and the blessings of the gifts he’s given to us.

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Please watch for opportunities to join us on a trip back to Staten Island soon to be God’s hands and feet to the world.

In his service,
Cheri Nixon