New Yorkers know snow. However, a storm that hit Buffalo just before Christmas and lasted for five days left parts of the state covered with over four feet of snow.
This was combined with strong winds, making it impossible to get anywhere. The winter weather left people stranded and killed dozens.
"People didn't know the severity of it. They thought it was an average snow weekend here in Buffalo," Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry co-pastor Vivian Robinson explained. "This snow stopped you in its tracks."
"It was disorientating. You didn't know which way to turn. It was bright white in all directions," said Al Robinson, wife of Vivian and senior pastor at Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry.
The pair decided to purchase groceries and stay put until the storm was over. Al started phoning people in the community and their church members to make sure everyone was okay. After settling down and preparing to rest, Vivian felt called to open the church doors.
"People started coming in left, right and centre," said Vivian.
In total, the pair were able to save 154 people from the deadly snowstorm.
"It felt like the Lord endowed us, at that time, with gifts of the spirit we never had before. And if we did have them before, it was on levels of magnitude," Al explained.
"Gifts of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, love, and discernment. All of it came out at once."
The pair says it was incredible to see the energy from the life in their church versus the grip of death outside their doors.
"Instead of them unwrapping presents, they unwrapped Jesus. We unwrapped love. We unwrapped hope. We unwrapped everything according to the word of God, and that was the best and perfect gift that those children received on that day."
Al and Vivian share their powerful story today on Connections.