MENNONITE DISASTER SERVICE / SUMMER 2023
Generations of service
A HEART FOR SERVICE 4 CREATOR’S TIMING IN RED LAKE 8 HOPEFUL IN CAPE BRETON 11 LIFE-CHANGING GIFT OF ANGELS 12
VOLUNTEER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE MDS U.S. 800-241-8111 Canada 866-261-1274 www.mds.org
“I was met with loving encouragement, gentle
guidance and grateful hearts that made me feel welcome, loved and allowed me to learn, learn, learn!” —Madelyn Unger of Leamington, Ontario, joined six youth from her church to volunteer in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
FEATURE — PENNSYLVANIA / MARYLAND Generations of heart for service 4 FEATURE — MINNESOTA It’s all in Creator’s timing 8 HOMEOWNER EXPERIENCE – NOVA SCOTIA From hopeless to hopeful 10 VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCES – CALIFORNIA The whole world seemed right 11 FEATURE A life-changing gift of angels 12
“It was good to see how easily we could all work
together with people we had never met! If we all have the same goal in mind, anything can be made possible.” —Peter Hildebrand of Leamington, Ontario, always wanted to serve with MDS, so when he heard volunteers were needed in Cape Breton, he signed up.
Notes from the field 14
ON THE COVER: MDS volunteers Kendra Beery and Wilda Wanger of Virginia frame Kay Welch’s new home in Crisfield, Maryland, after her old home was impacted by October 2021 tidal flooding.
director ’ s letter
VISION: We strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those affected by disasters. MISSION: We respond to disasters, rebuild homes, and restore hope by organizing and empowering volunteers in the U.S. and Canada.
God is great, God is good
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and hundreds of miles of surrounding communities. So much loss of life and property. At that time, it was one of the most destructive hurricanes imaginable. As the storm unfolded, the world watched in horror, wondering why more couldn’t be done to help. The commercial airline schedules were in shambles, so I flew down on a private plane piloted by Steve Craven, who, like so many people, helped at the drop of a hat. I will never forget what I saw on the ground. Unimaginable destruction. So much trauma. So many vulnerable people that even the most seasoned responders didn’t know where to begin. I did the best I could to assess the damages that week—a process that would ultimately take years—and boarded the private plane again to return home. I was handed half a sandwich. I had forgotten to eat that day. Overwhelmed and exhausted, I sat there in the single engine aircraft as we took off for home. Growing up on the family farm, we always bowed our heads to say grace before the meal. Instinctively I bowed my head to say a prayer…but there were no words. Except for the childlike prayer that rose to my lips:
CORE VALUES: Faith in Action Caring Relationships Working Together
Behind the Hammer is published quarterly by Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) and is available for free upon request. This magazine shares the stories of MDS work in the U.S. and Canada and of the more than 5,000 annual volunteers who are the core of MDS. The stories are meant to encourage people to continue expressing the love of God through the work of MDS. Printed on Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) certified paper using environmentally friendly plant-based inks. MDS Executive Director: Kevin King MDS Canada Executive Director: Ross Penner Communications Manager: Jesse Huxman Production Coordination: Jesse Huxman, Judith Rempel Smucker Writers: John Longhurst, Susan Kim Photographs: Paul Hunt, John Longhurst, MDS volunteers Designer: Julie Kauffman STAY CONNECTED If you have story ideas, need subscription information, want to donate or volunteer, please contact us:
God is great, God is good, And we thank him for our food. By his hands we all are fed, Give us, Lord, our daily bread.
In that hour of total depletion…it was like the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. That when I am weak…God is strong. As you read about the good works of people of all generations in this issue, it strikes me that they are remembering God. They are placing God in the center. As we care for people who have been affected by disasters, may we all, in our highs and lows, receive God’s incredible grace, which I believe gives us everything we need to become servant leaders. Even in times when we feel depleted, when we have no words, no strength, and nothing to eat but half a sandwich in our lap. May God give us our daily bread.
MDS U.S. Office 583 Airport Road, Lititz, PA 17543 USA tel: 717-735-3536 | toll-free: 800-241-8111 fax: 717-735-0809 firstname.lastname@example.org MDS Canada Office 200-600 Shaftesbury Blvd. Winnipeg, MB R3P 2J1 Canada tel: 204-261-1274 toll-free within Canada: 866-261-1274 fax: 204-261-1279 email@example.com
Kevin King Executive Director, MDS
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“I like the idea of actually putting myself to use for the good of other people.”
– OWEN HORVATH, 18
Andy Hershey, Owen Horvath, and Ryan King serve together in Crisfield, Maryland.
Generations of heart for service
Three generations converged by surprise on an MDS job site. Not quite family—but nearly so—Ryan King, Andy Hershey, and Owen Horvath are part of a service mentorship circle that goes back nearly 20 years. Ryan King, who teaches construction at the Lancaster Mennonite School in Pennsylvania, supervised his students—all 17 or 18 years old—as they built 10 wall segments inside the classroom, learning in the process how to measure and cut, drill holes, drive screws, and allot space for windows. On June 6, the walls were transported to Crisfield, Maryland, where they were turned into a home for flood survivor Kay Welch, who had water up to the third floor of
Meaningful mentorship instills a service mindset that transforms the lives of disaster survivors
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Ryan King and O’Sean Quintana frame the walls of Kay Welch’s house at Lancaster Mennonite School.
“Never in my life— never have I built a house.”
her unsalvageable house. King traveled to Crisfield, on the arm of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, to help raise the house. So did Owen Horvath, 18, one of the Lancaster students who graduated in May. Horvath said it felt good to be able to build something that makes such a difference in someone’s life. “Normally when you’re doing construction projects, it’s just for something you’re not really going to think about after you’re done,” he said. “But, you know, with something like this, it’s really impactful to be able to know that you’re really doing something that’s going to help people. I like the idea of actually putting myself to use for the good of other people.” As King and Horvath arrived on the job site, they saw— by complete surprise—Andy Hershey, a former teacher from Lancaster Mennonite School who served as King’s mentor back in 2005, during King’s first year of teaching. “I was not expecting to see Ryan King at Crisfield,” said Hershey. “I had heard the house’s outside walls were being delivered to the site on Tuesday of the week I volunteered.” But Hershey didn’t know that King was in charge of the students making the walls—or that he would be on the job site that day. “We got to catch up on each other’s lives in conversations throughout the day,” said Hershey. “It is
– O’SEAN QUINTANA, 17
“I love the volunteers, the Mennonites, and everybody has just been wonderful,” said homeowner Kay Welch.
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“Now this is my time. And God has given me a beautiful new home. Something I never had before.”
– HAZEL CROPPER, PICTURED WITH MDS STAFF STARLA HESS
always special to meet Ryan, and this meeting at Crisfield was no exception.” King and Hershey first met on an MDS trip in 2004, when they cleared debris after wildfires in California. That’s when Hershey told King about Lancaster Mennonite School—which led to King’s current teaching job. Hershey recalled the days when he and King would meet once a month to go over questions from the school’s administration, expectations of parent-teacher conferences, questions about classroom discipline and other things that would come up—both expected and unexpected. “There were also informal conversations, on occasion, when he would stop in my classroom or I in his after the school day and we would talk shop,” said Hershey. King said he was grateful to see his former mentor—and also appreciative of the partnership Lancaster Mennonite School has with MDS. MDS provided the building materials for the class—which saved the school a lot of money—and also provided blueprints.
“It gets me so emotional because I’m just so thankful to you guys. I hope God carries you each and every day and blesses you all the way you’ve blessed me and my family.”
– NICOLE GILLESPIE, PICTURED WITH HUSBAND AND SONS
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“I cannot believe it. I say, ‘Lord, thank you.’” – LINDA BYRD, PICTURED WITH CRISFIELD MAYOR DARLENE TAYLOR (LEFT)
“It has been really easy to partner with MDS,” said King. “I think the schools are always looking for ways of serving people—and MDS does that! You are spreading the love of Jesus, but you’re doing it through actions. I think this is something that will be a blessing to students who see this because it creates this empathy for others.” King said this is the first time his construction class has partnered with MDS. “I have another construction class next year and I’m hoping we can continue this,” he said. “I’m so glad this came to fruition.” And homeowner Kay Welch is grateful that mentors and teachers are passing along not just skills but a heart for service. “I love the volunteers, the Mennonites, and everybody has just been wonderful,” she said. “I’ve never had a new house, and I’m so excited.” Lancaster Mennonite student O’Sean Quintana, 17, said he’s never built a house before—and he’s happy to do so for someone who really needs one. “Never in my life—never have I built a house,” he said. “I’ve helped people move—but building a house is just crazy!” Quintana said he learned it’s important to stay focused when he’s building a wall segment. “As I kept practicing and working on it, it just made more sense,” he said. “It’s a little stressful, but at the same time, we still make it fun.” And he’s certain the skills he’s learning will carry over into a job. “I’m just trying to make something of myself in my family, because I have to carry a lot of responsibility,” he said. Hershey urged other older adults to serve as mentors and encourage young people to serve with MDS. “To the young adults who say: ‘I don’t know what I want to do after high school’ or, after two years of college, ‘I really don’t know for sure what I want to major in,’ maybe we older adults could encourage them to take a year or so and consider serving through MDS,” he said. “Because, along with serving our fellow human beings, it is a great opportunity to grow as a person as well as learn skills in the building trade and in leadership.” — Susan Kim
“This will be a blessing to students who see this because it creates this empathy for others,” says Ryan King, Lancaster Mennonite High School Teacher, pictured with students who helped build Kay Welch’s house.
Watch a video of their experience:
College students Eliza Aleman and Keren Masinge prepare housing for MDS volunteers in Red Lake, Minnesota.
It’s all in Creator’s timing
“They’re doing a great job!” That’s what Edith Carr, Office Manager with the MDS response in Red Lake, Minnesota, said of the 11 Goshen College students who spent two weeks in May helping convert an old grocery store into a base camp for the organization. “Soon this place will be ready to receive volunteers.” The students, part of the College’s Environmental Disaster and Response course, were in the northern Minnesota community—called Miskwaagamiiwizaaga’iganing in Ojibwe—to help MDS get ready to receive volunteers who came this summer to repair homes damaged by a tornado in 2021. They were welcomed by Robert Neadeau, the Director of Emergency Services for the reservation of about 8,000 people. He had only been in his job for three months when the tornado hit. “The hail was as big as a softball,” he said, adding that the hail, together with the wind, damaged roofs and siding and broke windows.
Goshen College students experience hands-on service and exchange of cultures in Red Lake, Minnesota
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Neadeau was able to secure some funding from the U.S. government and from Lutheran Social Services to get started on repairs. But he struck out when looking for volunteers to fix the damaged houses. That’s when MDS became involved. The invitation came in a roundabout way, said Jeff Koller, MDS Region Three Operations Coordinator. “But once we went to Red Lake and met Robert, we knew we should play a role,” he said. The project, which is supported by the MDS Minnesota Unit, got started in February when small groups of volunteers came from Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa to start preparing the old grocery store to become the new center of operations. This included some Amish volunteers from Missouri, who framed out the bedrooms and hung the drywall. For Neadeau, who had never heard about Mennonites before, MDS’s involvement seemed miraculous. “Creator works in mysterious ways, Neadeau said. “It’s all in Creator’s timing.” CROSS-CULTURAL EXPERIENCE THROUGH MDS During their time in Red Lake, the students sanded, painted, built bunk beds, laid carpet and did plumbing and electrical work to make it a home-away-from-home for the volunteers who would follow them. The group was led by Kendra Yoder, who teaches sociology and women’s and gender studies at the College. For her, MDS fills an important need for the school. “Not all of our students can go overseas for a semester due to cost, time, or documentation issues,” she said of how the College traditionally has sent students to other countries for service and cross-cultural learning experiences. “We knew we needed more shorter-term domestic options. That’s where MDS comes in.” Through MDS, students can learn about other cultures closer to home, she said, noting previous groups served with
MDS in Florida and Texas. “They don’t have to go to another country to do that,” Yoder said. “They can cross cultures through MDS right here in the U.S.” Cameron Comadoll is one of those students. For the 21-year-old nursing student, the trip is a way to “learn more about Native American culture.” One special experience was attending a pow wow on the reservation. “None of us had ever been to one before,” opportunity to learn things about Native Americans she didn’t encounter in high school history classes. “We learned about the settlers and how the land was settled, but not much about the people who lived here before they came,” she said. It was the same for Regan Sheipline, 22, who is studying education. “We barely touched on it,” she said of her experience in high school when it came to Native American history. Through the course and experience in Red Lake she has learned more about Native American customs and ceremonies and how they see the world. The time spent in Red Lake “will make me a better teacher,” she added. Although the students didn’t get a chance to work on homes and meet homeowners, they felt positive about their contribution to the MDS response in the community. “We may not have worked on homes, but we were part of the bigger cause by helping to create the place where volunteers will stay,” said Sheipline. “That’s our way of helping the community.” For Koller, it was an important role. “The students make a valuable contribution to our response in Red Lake,” he said, noting their work will make it possible for MDS to repair as many as 60 homes on the reservation. “I treasure the relationship that has developed between MDS and Goshen College.” Glenn Giessinger, Chair of the MDS Minnesota Unit, agreed. “I am absolutely pleased by the work of the students,” he said. “Their work helped make this project possible.” Or, as Carr put it, “because of them, a tremendous amount of work was done.” — John Longhurst It was a privilege to be invited and learn more about Native American culture.” –CAMERON COMADOLL she said. “It was a real privilege to be invited.” For Katie Bollander, 19, also a nursing student, the trip was an
College student Syanne Mohammed with long term MDS volunteer Cody Hurst.
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The Purnell family of Cape Breton: Caroline, Aonghas, Rosalyn, Lachlann and Eoghann.
From hopeless to hopeful in Cape Breton
“As I sit here composing this e-mail, I am asking God to give me the words to adequately express our gratitude for all the help that your organization has provided. What you have done to help is so big, we do not have words available.” That’s how Caroline Purnell of Cape Breton began her note to MDS for the help her daughter, Rosalyn, had received fixing up her house after Hurricane Fiona. The past few years had been challenging for Rosalyn, who lives in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Money for the nurse and single mother of four boys was always in short supply. Then came the hurricane—“the final straw,” as Caroline, put it, damaging the roof and causing rain to leak in every time a new storm came along. For Rosalyn, who couldn’t afford to fix it, the situation seemed hopeless. Things worsened when her insurance company gave her
a deadline of the end of April to fix the roof or they would cancel her homeowner’s policy. After she got that letter, Caroline found her daughter “sitting on the floor crying. She thought she should just give up her job and kids and go on welfare. She thought her children would be better off in care with some stability. If she lost the house, she didn’t know how she would look after them.” That’s when they reached out to MDS. Roman Heuft, MDS’s Cape Breton Response Coordinator, readily agreed to provide Rosalyn with a new metal roof, along with fixing some damaged windows and porch railings. When Caroline and Rosalyn received that news, everything changed. “When you said you would do the repairs, not only were you helping someone with a leaking roof, you were changing the outcome of an entire family’s life,” Caroline said. “I have seen my daughter go from hopelessness and despair to gratitude and hopefulness for her future.” For Caroline, what MDS did “was a miraculous answer to prayer and a source of encouragement to everyone who hears how you answered God’s call. Please thank everyone who has been involved in this process, let them know how grateful we are.” — John Longhurst
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The whole world seemed right
Paul Miller, a carpenter from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, penned these reflections two weeks after returning from Paradise, California, where he served March 15 through April 15, 2023. What a great fulfilling month! Working on a project that life prepared just for me, or so it seemed! I was breathing, living, and working in my comfort zone on this MDS assignment. When I left Lancaster, Pennsylvania, bound for the Paradise, California, project, I was more than a little apprehensive about fitting into rigid California building practices and also frankly, the MDS standards of operations. However, two days into my role of Construction Supervisor, I called home to my very supportive wife Patricia to say: ”I got this, babe…the work is right in my wheelhouse!” I relished the role, working on four houses that were in various stages of completion. In spirit, I was reliving a life from 30 years ago, scrambling around in my pick-up, going from job to job, answering questions, solving problems and fetching supplies. The whole world seemed right! Paradise, California, was a personal affirmation, reminding me of who I was and maybe more important… who I am! I am a product of a distinct Amish/Mennonite culture, a culture so embodied by the many hard-working, fascinating people I encountered during the month. In summary, at age 70, the month was a life-giving and rich experience, affirming the value of vibrant shared community! Thirty days spent on a mountain ridge in Northern California, receiving much more than I spent.
“The work is right in my wheelhouse!”
– PAUL MILLER
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Rebekah Scott and her siblings enjoyed playing and going fishing with volunteers during their visit to Lancaster County.
Each day of construction on their house, Rebekah and her family left messages of encouragement on the windows for volunteers to see in the morning.
A life-changing gift of angels
home, which was dedicated in March 2023. The week that the second wave of volunteers arrived at the Scott’s, Amber’s husband, Joe, was recovering from the effects of his last cancer treatments, and Amber, a teacher, was working every day. Both were caring for their children, ages 16, 13, and 10. “They showed our children what hard work and fundamental qualities of character can do for you,” said Amber. “It was life-changing.” “They rebuilt our whole home out of the goodness of their hearts,” said Joe Scott, who had to give up his business because of his health. And they did it in five days, he added. As he told this story over dinner—after his first time on an airplane—he said coming to visit the MDS volunteers was one of the only reasons he’d Lancaster County volunteers repaired the Scott family’s home .
Good food and warmed hearts. This MDS tradition was taken to new depths when the Scott family from North Port, Florida, traveled to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to visit the volunteers who rebuilt their home after Hurricane Ian pummeled
The Scott family from Florida visits volunteers in Pennsylvania who rebuilt their home
it nearly into the ground in September 2022. The gathering at Ezra and Barbie Byler’s family farm in June felt like a family reunion to the Scott family and volunteers alike. Over a catfish and onion blossom dinner, Amber Scott explained how her family formed such a close bond with MDS volunteers. “The connections made were because of the quality of the people who stepped onto our property,” she said. The first time, Ezra Byler went to southwest Florida as part of an MDS Early Response Team to remove downed trees. He recalled “it looked like a war zone at the Scott’s place. We were happy to help them.” Later he returned with 25 young people from his community to repair the Scott’s
fly. “I’m way out of my comfort zone and here I am in Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s just beautiful.” Joe also shared how hard it was to accept help at first.
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At the reunion gathering, Amber Scott (left) helped Barbie Byler (right) make Onion Blossoms with fresh onions picked from Barbie’s garden.
“I’ve never cried and these guys made me cry,” he said. “The young men and women that came—they just changed my life, my children’s lives.” Ezra Byler said that repairing the Scott’s home was one of the most meaningful volunteer experiences he’s ever had. Byler expressed his gratitude to MDS for the opportunity to volunteer. “We didn’t go down there to try to impress anybody,” he said. “It’s a way to help.” “The young men and women that came—they just changed my life, my children’s lives.” — JOE SCOTT
And it’s a way to get youth involved, he added. “It’s the most rewarding work for youth anywhere from 16-22 years old,” he said. “The youth really connected with the Scott family just by interacting.” Because of that, he and fellow MDS volunteer Ben Zook decided to raise donations to fund a trip for the Scotts to come to Pennsylvania. “We wanted them to come,” said Zook at the reunion dinner. “And lo and behold—here they are!” Amber Scott remarked about the ongoing joy of being around MDS volunteers. “God sang through their hearts every day,” she said. That joy is an offset to the memory of going through the very dark times brought by Hurricane Ian and her husband’s diagnosis and treatment. “The overwhelming amount of things that lie ahead of you—you crumble under it,” she said. “What MDS has done for us—you created space to breathe.” The family is now moving forward again, she said. “It was just a mangled mess of hopelessness,” she said. “You pray for the relief—and all of a sudden, a gift of angels swarm around you. No words can ever describe the amount of affection we
The Scott family visiting Lancaster County, Pa.
have for you.” — Susan Kim
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notes from the field
More updates at www.mds.org
Cooking for a crowd at MDS Annual Celebration
Clendenin, West Virginia
Ohio youth breathe new spirit into MDS Family Project
bridge, many of them from Disaster Aid Ohio, said Wendy Beaver, MDS case manager. “When I saw that little camper they were living in—I was pretty much all in,” she said. After working to build the home in the small town of Clendenin, West Virginia, MDS volunteers surrounded Lisa with expressions of love and blessings on the front porch during a dedication on April 29. MDS volunteers also constructed a new driveway bridge so that the Englands can easily access their home across the Jordan Creek. Through tears, Lisa said, simply: “I appreciate y’all. You’ve done a wonderful job.”
After living for nearly a year in a small trailer with no running water or electricity, Lisa and Gary England opened the door to a new home. They need a safe place to rest. Lisa has just started dialysis, and Gary recently had heart surgery. Their daughter has been hospitalized with congestive heart failure.
They drove 27 hours straight to clear downed trees, spruce up living quarters, refurbish a volleyball court, and more at Camp Palisades, tucked in the beautiful Targhee National Forest in Idaho. In the process, young people from the United Dayspring Mennonite Church in Berlin, Ohio kicked off the MDS Family Program in a big way. Fifteen-year-old Fred Schrock said volunteering made him feel anything is possible. “We probably could have gotten this whole camp fixed,” he said. Alongside the hard physical work, the young people said the week was also spiritual. “The way it strengthened my faith was seeing how people come closer when they work together—and also being out here in nature, seeing the mountains, seeing how big everything is,” said Abigail Schrock, 22.
Their home was damaged by flooding in 2016, then all but destroyed in 2020 floods. The
Englands moved into a trailer, which burned on Thanksgiving Day 2020, with Lisa barely escaping. After that, the Englands lived in their car before taking refuge in a tiny trailer on their property, which gave them a roof over their heads—but not much else.
Hundreds of MDS volunteers have worked on the home and the
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church tradition,” Zehr said. In an era in which MDS is trying to build its volunteer base, Zehr insists we shouldn’t look at “nones” as a problem to solve. “The vision at MDS is that we strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those affected by disasters. MDS is uniquely positioned.” In its simplest form, he added, Jesus is the center of our faith. “We all agree: helping people who cannot recover
Sydney, Cape Breton
Repaired home, new mattresses in Cape Breton Repair the roof, replace the second- floor ceiling and walls, new floor due to mold. That was the job given to MDS volunteers at Brianna Fraser’s house in Sydney, Cape Breton. But volunteers who were working at the single mother’s house in June noticed something else: The mattresses in the children’s bedrooms were musty and old and needed replacing. That wasn’t on the job card, so they took it into their own hands by raising the funds among themselves to get new mattresses for Anthony and John Michael. “It’s another amazing MDS story,” said Peter Thiessen, who served as Project Director in May. “Jesus loved children, and so do we. Volunteers were just reflecting Jesus when they provided new mattresses.”
on their own get back into safe housing is a very Jesus-y act.”
Spending a week volunteering for MDS means working hard, getting sweaty, giving of yourself, and switching gears. “We also offer a way to participate in reducing inequity and injustice while working at climate mitigation practices—like building bridges that don’t sweep away when the crick rises,” he said. “We offer a place where differences are left at the door for the sake of the mission.” It’s the theology of the hammer. “I hope that we are all building bridges into our community,” said Zehr. “We need people willing to serve who are also willing to invite ‘nones’ to join them.” “First, listen to the stories of others and, then, when invited, tell your own,” Zehr recommended. “We need to listen deeply.”
Camp Palisades, Idaho
Youth group leader Kevin Miller said serving with MDS brought the group even closer. “One thing I always enjoy about mission trips and being with the youth is the bond and closeness it creates with a group, when they spend time and have fun working together,” he said. Camp Palisades is a ministry of First Mennonite Church in Aberdeen, Idaho. Gary Krehbiel, a member of the church who serves on its campground committee, said the youth group has been a real blessing. “It seems like our congregation is all getting a little bit older and we can only do so much,” he said. As he visited the camp to see the progress, he added, “I could not stop smiling. I don’t remember the last time it looked so nice.” Michele WhiteEagle, who is serving as project director of the MDS Family Program, expressed how incredible she thinks the young volunteers are. “They’ve volunteered with excitement and adventure,” she said. “Now not only MDS families but families from the church and from the community will be able to experience the camp as well.”
In an era of “nones,” what can MDS offer? In a seminar at MennoCon
(Mennonite Church USA convention) in July, MDS Volunteer Development Coordinator, Terry Zehr, explained what this might mean. “It has become clear that a higher percentage of the population, when polled, checked off the box ‘none’ for religious affiliation,” he said. “People are leaving the church,” especially young people. “Many of these young people come from a long, deep generational
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