Two pastors are making headlines after heroically rescuing 154 people during deadly snowstorms in Buffalo, New York, offering housing and resources to the afflicted during the horrific conditions.
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Al and Vivian Robinson, a husband and wife who pastor Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry in Buffalo, decided to go out and help people who might have otherwise frozen.
It was a stark diversion from their original holiday plans of welcoming home their nine children to enjoy the Christmas season with one another.
But the Robinsons’ bold quest came as they realized their church was the only local place with power. At first, Robinson said he didn’t understand why his church still had electricity.
“I’ll never forget asking my wife, ‘Why do you suppose God gave us power, and didn’t give other people power? I mean, why did he choose us?’” Robinson told NewsNation. “And then five hours later, I discovered exactly why our church still had power.”
Various numbers are floating around regarding who was fed and housed; he said 154 people were brought to the church.
“We just jumped into action and was able to deliver up to 154 people to the church, to not freeze to death,” Al Robinson told CNN. “I wish that I could say that for everyone.”
With 12-foot snowdrifts and frigid conditions, Robinson said he and his wife were glad to serve.
“We had people that were freezing to death,” he told TODAY. “You could not drive, and the wind chill factor dipped down into the negative 20s, so it hurts your face to walk around.”
The couple posted Facebook messages opening the church to locals and even started calling friends and neighbors to check on them.
Then, the floodgates opened.
“It started with, like, 10 people, two big families, and then it went to 30, then it went to 60, then went to 90, then it went to 100, 120, 128 was the last time I counted, but it went all the way up to 154,” Al Robinson told CNN. “We had people sleeping everywhere in our church, but we were the only ones with the electricity.”
The couple even got a friend to use his snowmobile to help rescue people outside and bring them to the church; he helped those people bring in their cats, dogs, and other necessary belongings.
Fortunately, the Robinsons had purchased two weeks’ worth of food for their family of 11 over the holidays. That food helped feed around 130 people, according to TODAY.
One of the most amazing elements of the story is the fact the Robinsons had recently sold a rehabilitation home in a bid to create a larger facility. In the meantime, mattresses and beds had been moved to the church — and those beds were available for the people to use.
All of these elements coming together to meet the people’s needs didn’t surprise Al Robinson, who told TODAY God equipped the couple for the moment.
“People need to realize that if God has given them the ability to help someone else, it is incumbent upon them to help someone else,” he said. “We weren’t expecting any of this chaos at all. God just knew what was going to happen before it even happened. And he already supplied the need before the need was needed.”
With dozens dying in Buffalo during the storm, many will forever remember the Robinsons’ goodness.
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