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93 Is Apparently The New 40

09 February

We are getting many calls this week following the recent rains in this area. One woman called to say her roof leaked so badly that her kitchen ceiling has fallen in destroying her stove. She went on to explain that her roof was 45 years old and had been showing “some signs of wear”. She said she has crawled up to patch it herself several times but recently her children have forbidden her to even try. She was rather incensed that they would tell her what to do; after all, she IS the mother! She is 93 years of age and the last time she patched the roof was LAST SPRING! I am sure we will be doing something to help Betty but I just wanted you to know that 93 is apparently the new 40! Have a blessed day!

-From an earlier e-blast (Sign up for our e-blasts at the bottom of our website.)

Just Listen & Choose Joy

10 January

Anna Jean needs a handrail on her porch as she is disabled and doesn’t have adequate balance. I asked her for some information as is my interview custom. She laughed and said,”Oh I’m sorry I’m not very prepared today. I am getting ready for my only grandchild’s first birthday party. My mind is scattered. It’s just that she brings out the joy in me!” We chatted about being grandmothers and the deep love it forms in us. She said,”I have had 22 back operations in less than 20 years.”

She matter-of-factly said,”Depression sort of set in when my husband left following the death of two of our children.” She explained that her 26 year old son went to bed one night and never woke up. To their utter surprise, the medical report indicated he died of a heart attack in his sleep from undiagnosed heart disease. Five years and three days later, one of her daughters was having a picnic in the back yard with friends. Anna Jean was inside and heard sirens. She went outside to find her daughter dead on the ground with a gunshot wound to the face. Her husband could not handle another tragedy and left her with her other two children; one now married with a little girl and the other living at home.

I was nearly speechless with sorrow for her. I conveyed my deepest condolences while silently praying for the right words to say. As I listened nothing was coming to my mind. I did ask if she finds comfort in knowing they are together now. She said,”Oh honey it gets me through the days when I wake up and wish I could die! They were VERY close and I am so comforted to know they are together again. I have no regrets. I told my children individually every day that I loved them.

I may never be happy again but I do find joy even in the darkest of moments. Like, I can barely walk today and I’m in pain, BUT I get to put a party together for my angel grand daughter! Then you called me and you said I can get a handrail but you gave me even more! You let me talk about my lost babies. Most people don’t want to hear it because it makes them uncomfortable. Thanks for letting me talk. I choose joy today!”

Lessons I learned from Anna Jean:

  1. Sometimes the right words are no words….just listen.
  2. Happiness is a feeling that comes from outside of you…sadness too…stuff happens. But you can choose joy…from within. When you have those dark days, sad times, lonely times, joy may be hard to find. Look within. It is there.

To all who support this mission, thank you for helping Anna Jean find her joy.

-From an earlier e-blast (Sign up for the e-blasts on the bottom of our website.)

Good Job With Great Compassion

09 January

I just got a call from a gentleman who lives in California. He got a call from his 94 year old mother who is a widow and lives alone. She informed him her hot water tank is leaking badly and she doesn’t know what to do. I explained our process and following a brief conversation informed him we can have a new hot water tank installed at no cost to her as he reported her annual income at below 10,000.

He said,” I didn’t mean for her to get it for free but I didn’t know who to trust. I called a Pittsburgh hotline and they told me if I want to rest easy knowing she is getting what she needs AND is cared for, I should call you folks. They said you are the best at doing a good job with great compassion.”

As always, I pass along the compliment to all of you compassionate people that support this mission, in some cases for 27 years, enabling us to assist sons and daughters to rest easy knowing their loved ones are well cared for with dignity and the love of Christ.

-From an earlier e-blast (Sign up for our e-blasts at the bottom of our website.)

A Circle Around Joe

13 December

Hosanna Industries has had a Christmas Gift Delivery tradition since we were founded.  It has been a part of our story from the very beginning.  The Women of the First Presbyterian Church of Bakerstown provide pre-purchased and pre-wrapped gifts to the households that we have helped earlier this year.  The Blair family provides beef from their cattle farm, and other friends provide other grocery items to send with the gifts.  Volunteers sign up to act as Christmas angels, and deliver the gifts and groceries to the households.  Often times these are the only gifts these households will receive, and many times new friendships are formed as the volunteers and gift recipients enjoy some Christmas fellowship.  On Saturday, we sent out over 100 volunteers to deliver to local needy households.  We ask that they let us know how their delivery went, and this is one response that we received on Saturday afternoon:

 

Hi Amanda, and Hosanna Industries,

While it’s fresh on my mind, here is my delivery experience: I called Joe twice and got no answer, left voicemails. I thought maybe he was sleeping in on a Saturday afternoon, maybe working or out running errands. I was close by waiting for a call back and at 10:00 I decided to go knock on his door thinking he might not be answering an unrecognized number. I knocked, he answered with a who are you and what do you what attitude… I let him know my name and mentioned that I was an ambassador of Hosanna Industries and volunteered to delivery some Christmas spirit. I hurried back to my car to grab everything and passed it along to him and we talked at the door. I asked him how are things going, he went on about how life lock deactivated his account and he was mad. He said that he hated life and was thinking of taking a bunch of pills or shooting himself cause there was no reason to live anymore. I mentioned that God puts us all through tests and trails of life and that everyone has a story. In an angry voice he went on to tell me that he no longer believes in God and nothing ever works out. I replied, don’t do that and asked if he had family nearby. He said yes but they can’t help me and said that he thinks he is bipolar and schizophrenic.

That’s when I decided to share a story with him that may give him some hope… I told him that he was lucky to have family and that mine died, my Dad, my Sister, Mom, even my girlfriend. I  told him that I was mad at God years ago and use to whip the middle finger up to the sky and yell at God and that I didn’t believe in him either. The look on his face was now more welcoming and I felt that I had his attention, he calmed down, we continued to talk. He said that he hates the holiday’s, I said so do I. I wasn’t trying to argue or just agree with him but I wanted him to realize that he needs to stop and think of the things that he can honestly say that he is grateful for. I told him that I got a dog which has helped me, then I noticed a turtle crawling across his living room floor, we talked about that for a little bit. I told him to focus on the positive and they will come. To shorten it up, he did ask me 3 times to tell them (Hosanna Industries) thanks for fixing his roof and that it was a job well done. I said I will and mentioned there’s one thing positive…

Side note: I am a little worried about Joe with his comments about taking his life so I ask when all of you are together to say a prayer to have the holy spirit come rock his world a bit like it did mine

Thank you for letting me be a part of the Christmas delivery and Merry Christmas to all of you!!!

-Ken

This is our founder and executive director’s response:

Dear Ken,

Thank you for your willingness to serve as a volunteer for the mission’s annual gift delivery endeavor today. Thank you, at least as much if not more so, for writing your thoughts about your visit with Joe and for sending them to the mission workers, which have been forwarded to me.

There is power in the Word, and your thoughts have delivered a powerful message to me. It may be that the effect of your words may go on and on into the future and into the hearts of others beyond our ability to perceive. It is often so with the Divine Word.

You made yourself available this morning to deliver some Christmas presents to a needy man. Your presence was not received with warmth and graciousness. Another person may have driven away or left the packages at the door. You persisted.

Your visit was as uneasy as it will be forever memorable. Joe is unhappy, broken, perhaps unwell, and alienated. Upon hearing his story, it would have been convenient for you to casually wish him well and take your leave. Something made you linger. Some One made you stay.

Now the story you have told is being heard by others. It is gripping the hearts of people. At this moment, I can think of about a dozen people who are processing the story of Ken’s visit to Joe. Within a few hours, it may be that a hundred people will hear the Word within the story and discover meaning in it. By tomorrow, perhaps a thousand souls will hear the Christmas story told once again in a new a very contemporary setting, and as a result, they may never be quite the same again. This is the power of God’s Word.

You entered a home that is darkened by the influences of dreams broken, relationships severed, hopes torn, and health fractured. Your willingness to gently persist in conveying the quiet and positive message of another way is the essence of Christmas itself, for it signifies the Spirit of the One who comes into the world at the first Christmas and ever since. Your presence with Joe today is a reflection of Christ’s presence in and to this world.

He was sent as a gift from God, but the world was largely unaware of His birth. The shepherds came to the scene of His birth, and left rejoicing, but we know nothing of their witness ever again.

In the unlikeliest of times and places, He was born. Mary and Joseph were there, accompanied by a few disreputable sheep-herders who reported a vision of singing angels. Most analysts of the day would have considered them perhaps drunk or at least delusional. The world itself, 2000 years ago, had many more important things to do than to take note of the birth of an illegitimate baby peasant Jewish boy swaddled in cloths and placed in a manger crib.
Nothing seemed less significant.

With God, it is often so.

A little, vulnerable Light came into the world in Bethlehem when Christmas first happened. Anything could have snuffed out that Light. Jesus could have died of infant mortality as many children did back then, He could have been slaughtered in the military massacre that would happen in Bethlehem two years later. He could have been lost to child-traffickers in Jerusalem at the age of 12, He could have drowned in a river as a playful boy or as a young man of 30 about to be baptized.

Anything could have and indeed has threatened the Light, but even today after 2000 years, the darkness of this world has not overcome it.

Ken, you took that Light to Joe’s home today on behalf of a little mission that was born because many Christmases ago, someone else visited another home darkened by abject poverty, and in the despair of that moment, saw Christ.

We never know what happens to light. It can be rejected and refused, but it can also be received. No matter what we do with it, light can never be destroyed.

So it is with Christ and Christmas. We can reject and refuse the Light that it graciously offers, or we can refuse it, but we can never destroy it.

We don’t know what will happen to Joe because you visited him today, we can’t determine what he will do with the Light you presented, but in a strange way, it really doesn’t matter. You already brought Christ, and Christmas, to one of God’s needy children in this world oppressed with the darkness of unkindness, violence, and greed. You shined Light in the darkness, and the darkness, no matter what may come, cannot destroy that Light, in time or in eternity.

The man who pastored the church where Hosanna Industries was born taught me a poem many years ago which he had learned from his father a generation earlier. Back in 1934, these words began to be used in a Christmas Eve candle lighting service, and to the best of my knowledge, they’ve been repeated, somewhere, every Christmas Eve ever since for the last 83 years:

“Lord, it is dark, and the road is rough to go,

I lift an unlit candle in the night, behold it Lord within my upraised hand,

Touch it to flame with Thine own heavenly Light.

This slender waxen thing that is my faith, fire it, Lord,

until its circle, ever widening at my feet, will light my certain path across the dark.

‘Thou will light my candle’, thus assured, I shall go forward through this unknown land.

The way shall never grow too dark, too long, for I shall bear Thy Light within my hand.”

Ken, on behalf of all who have served and are serving the One who has called us at Hosanna Industries, thank you for shining your Light in the darkness today. Nothing can ever be the same once Light has been given.

May the Light of this Sacred Season continue to guide your path,

-Donn Ed

Suzanne’s Tangled Mess No More

19 September

Last week I got a call from Suzanne. She and her two children, all wheelchair bound, needed our assistance with a ramp and other repairs last year so they could get outside for the first time in years.

She said, “I hated calling you! You already did so much for us! I tried other agencies and even my church. I finally called United Way and they told me to call you! I keep trying to maneuver onto my side on the ground to pull weeds but they are getting ahead of me. They are four feet tall in some places and I can’t mow the lawn.”

Becky immediately mobilized a group of willing volunteers to the home and transformed her lawn into a safe and beautiful yard she and her grown children can enjoy. Suzanne was relieved that the neighbors will not have to look at the tangled mess it was before.

THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who labored that day to make a difference!

-From an e-blast earlier this year (Sign up for our e-blasts at the bottom of our site!)

Lighthearted Dolly

11 May

A fax we received at the office:

 

Dear Amy,

I wanted to send you a thank you card but I do not have your address.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you! You have no idea what this means to me.

I sleep peacefully now, no longer cold and frightened of the situation I was in before this beautiful furnace.

Worrying about this cancer and not missing work was enough of a strain. I never asked anyone for anything before. I never had anyone who could help me with something as big as this.

I believe the stress that is gone helps me cope better with cancer.

People see a difference in me.  I feel a little more lighthearted.

You did all of this, and I will never be able to thank you enough!

Love,
Dolly

 

Our deepest appreciation to those who support the mission of Hosanna Industries. We thank you for helping to keep Dolly warm and for making her more”lighthearted” during a very difficult time in her life.

-From an earlier e-blast.  (Sign up for our e-blasts on the bottom of our website.)

First Day of Spring Break

21 April

It was our first day of SPRING BREAK. I had thoughts of sleeping in and being lazy.

But I was asked to help Hosanna Industries.  Callie and I were happy to get up bright and early, 9am to about 2:30pm.  In that short time, a ramp was built, a sidewalk laid, a roof replaced, some light landscaping and fellowship and prayer happened.

Volunteering with this organization gives you an opportunity to work hard.  BUT it also gives you an opportunity to see LOVE at WORK! Every person in the group belongs.  There is work for everyone to do.  Helping place shingles on a roof, raking up leaves, building a wheelchair ramp, visiting with clients, placing paving stones or simply picking up after the work is done–everyone belongs. The best part of volunteering with Hosanna however, is getting to know people and loving strangers–hugging someone you didn’t know before, listening to stories of life, laughing with a new friend, witnessing tears of thankfulness…

Christan & Callie (age 7), volunteering with Hosanna Industries on Maundy Thursday, 2017

The folks at Hosanna WORK HARD, but they LOVE even HARDER! And during this Holy Week, I wouldn’t have wanted to be any place else.  It is important to me to raise my daughter to know this kind of love.  I want to help her understand how God loves her, and the work Hosanna does mirrors how HE has called us to love.  You can see WHY they work so hard! HE is the reason! And the love is so true and genuine.

Thank you folks for being such living sacrifices! Happy Easter!

-Christan Baker, Volunteer