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More Lights

03 March

Earlier this week, I started my work day as I normally do.  Check the emails, respond to any messages, outline my day, la la la.  I couldn’t help but notice that I felt a little off.  Maybe another cup of coffee?  That didn’t change the feeling.  How about a slice of pizza?  (Yes, cold pizza for breakfast.)  Pizza didn’t do it either.  I still felt something was off.  I checked in with many of my coworkers.  What’s my problem?

As I was checking in with everyone I realized what was bothering me.  Some of my work family aren’t here, so I can’t check in with them.  They are in Richwood, West Virginia, serving the community there.  I’m certainly glad they are there doing what they are doing and I am very proud of them.

Since I came to Hosanna, one of the big themes has been Community.  Do things together.  Work together, learn together, discuss together, laugh together, chances are you’re going to suffer together; but what a blessing it is to be together.  It’s always hard on me when the team gets “split up” for the sake of what needs done.  I just don’t like the feeling of being separated.  Did you ever put two different socks on- one kind of thick like a boot sock and the other thin like a dress sock- it kind of feels like that.  Just a little weird.

Then I remembered that Jesus didn’t always keep all of the disciples together, and that sometimes they had to go out in smaller groups or pairs, in order to multiply.  I remind myself that being separated doesn’t mean you’re less, it just means that the light has now been multiplied.  When we are all together as one big green machine, we are (when we have our heads and hearts in the right place) a bright light, and when we become separated- when the Lord needs some of us here and some of us there- the light doesn’t dim but it becomes more LIGHTS, to work in more places, and to touch more people.  How wonderful is that!  I think that I would rather have many bright lights on my Christmas tree than just one big shining bulb.

Amen to learning things!  Amen to lights!

Dear reader, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing; if you feel a bit lost or a bit disconnected, just let that light shine even brighter, and it will spread!

-Emily Cadenhead, Mission Worker

Katie’s reflection about teaching

26 December

A couple of months ago, I was given the privilege to work with students from Mars Home For Youth. I guess you could say I was consumed with faith, as I said yes to this opportunity, not knowing what I would be encountering during this experience. Donn and I were the ones that were chosen and asked to lead this particular engagement at the MHY facility, located directly across the Mars High School. We were to lead students in constructing 6 picnic tables and 3 park benches that would be placed in various locations throughout their campus.

Once Donn and I arrived onto the campus that morning in our bright green vehicles, we received plenty of looks full of intrigue and slight confusion. We were then greeted by one of the lead faculty members, followed by 20-25 students and a handful of teachers. The students came from various backgrounds, ages, skills, and learning abilities; but the one thing that they had in common was that they desired to be better individuals! This was one of the reasons that the Lord led Hosanna to MHY on this very day, at this very moment.

Photo Credit: MHY Family Services

Photo Credit: MHY Family Services

I’d like to express 2 occurrences that impacted me the most, and placed emphasis on why God called me to be a mission worker at Hosanna Industries.

Be open. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get myself into. I wasn’t sure at all what the environment would entail or how the students would interact or react to us being there. But I let my mind be open to whatever was going to happen, because I knew that God had intentionally led Donn and I to be with those kids. Not only was I being open to a new experience, but also being open to God, letting him use me how he wants. In turn, because we gave the kids the impression we were open to giving our time, most of them were open to learning and receiving the knowledge and skills.

Photo Credit: MHY Family Services

Photo Credit: MHY Family Services

Absorbing knowledge that’s being passed on to you, but also passing on that knowledge to someone else. When I came to Hosanna 5 years ago, I had never thought about going into the construction field. I didn’t even know how to hold a hammer the correct way. Today, I know how to use tools the proper way, shingle roofs, install windows, install flooring, minor plumbing and electrical, etc. I would have never thought I would have acquired these particular skills to the point where my family members call me for favors that involve home repairs. Not only have I learned hands on skills, but I have learned the ability to teach and how important is it to pass on the knowledge that was once exposed to me. Knowledge is extremely valuable and is a key to accomplishment and success. Because I have been richly blessed in being taught by some of the smartest people I know, how could I not pass on what I’ve learned to someone else? When I was presented the opportunity to teach these kids who had never read a tape measure, used a power saw, or used a hammer drill to drill a hole for a lag screw, I took full advantage of it. I used the knowledge that was once told to me, and passed it on to these students. Not only were these kids acquiring new ideas and concepts they had not yet been exposed to, but I was teaching myself how much I have grown over the past 5 years, and that I have the ability to teach what I was once taught.

So be open– to any and all possibilities and opportunities that God leads your way. You never know what you will encounter or how God will use you.

Take in knowledge, and pass it on to others. It’s important to pay attention to the knowledge and the lessons that are being taught all around us; to grasp it and never let go. The opportunity may never come around again.

-Katie DeJournette, Mission Worker

Read more about our trade skill training programs here.

The Magic of a Mosaic

11 October

I started teaching a mosaic class the other evening and I began to show the students how to break glass safely and then place pieces together.  “You’ll find that even though these pieces of glass smash irregularly, they fit together somehow, and that’s kind of the magic of a mosaic,” is what I told the class.  As I said it I was really reminding myself that people, like pieces of glass, are irregular, the have sharp edges and brittle spots, strong points, and colorful surfaces, and with all these variables, people can fit together like a mosaic.

I just hosted an Open Studio last evening in between a painting job and a Bible study and I realized that as I worked with these people in the studio, all of us of different ages and orientations, different angles and edges, different colors and lusters, we found a common place there in the studio.  We fit.  It was simple.  It was important.  It will stay with me forever.

So rejoice in your sharp edges!  Your cracks, your splits, your unique shape and color, because you know what, you fit.  You will always find a place for YOU in the great big mosaic of life.  Love to you dear ones.  Come out to a class sometime and witness this cool thing that is happening.

The windows used for the window mosaic class are windows that we took out of needy households and replaced with energy efficient windows.

The windows used for the window mosaic class are windows that we took out of needy households and replaced with energy efficient windows.

Emily Cadenhead, Mission Worker

Hammers Hearts and Hands: September 2016

27 September

Hammers Hearts and Hands September 2016

At the mission’s Rochester campus, a large garden is planted every Spring that produces bushels upon bushels of food that is lovingly processed by our mission workers and volunteers in order that hungry people can be fed. I am always deeply amazed by the mysteries and miracles of a garden; how the soil can be properly prepared, furrows dug, seeds planted, and then the patient, watchful waiting for gentle rains, warm sunshine, germination, growth, blossoming, fruiting, and harvest. During the past several weeks, we’ve been harvesting and canning from time to time when we can break away from other work, and I have been astonished to see nearly 30 bushels of produce enter the kitchen from a patch of ground that just months ago was nothing more than fallow soil!

I think gardening is so meaningful to me because, beyond the food producing aspects of a vegetable garden, there is so much symbolism about life and faith, work and growth. In a way, all worthwhile enterprise is at least a little bit like gardening, and perhaps all of our lives are, as well.

The constructive building characteristics of Hosanna’s mission have continuously reminded me through the years of a garden’s cycles; how initiatives begin, how and in what ways growth occurs, the blossoming of effective effort into the results of work well done, the harvest-time as the seasons of collective souls change, and the important moments of reflection, preparation, the unending quest for better future methods when Winter comes to spread its white blanket over the restive ground.

For those who have dedicated themselves to God’s service through the mission’s work, we’ve often found ourselves contemplating the deep and various meanings of four cardinal values that we call “the 4 C’s” namely, Call, Charism, Compassion, and Community. I believe deeply in these values, and I think they are close to the heart of Hosanna Industries, but they are never easy to live out as they constantly challenge every one of us to rigorously pursue God’s will in our work.

God calls, but the divine call is never without consequence. When God calls a man or woman into some form of meaningful service, that call has a mysterious way of bearing heavily upon who we are, what we do, and why. In our changing and often self-centered world, I think that the thought of God’s call may be usually considered as a momentary, snapshot-like experience for the few overly-religious types out there in the human community, but I wonder if God’s call is actually something we all hear throughout all of our days like a beautiful song playing somewhere in the distance, too customary to stop and pay attention, too unnoticed to elicit obedience.

God gives all of us gifts, charisms, in abundance, but it is so easy to think that these resources are of our own fashioning, instead of the One from whom all blessings flow. Our personalities, our memories and histories, our greatest triumphs and deepest sorrows, our talents and special skills, our uniqueness as individuals all created in God’s same image, all these and so much more are gifts given to be employed in God’s service, and yet we tend to use these gifts, and misuse them, according to our own designs and directions rather than the Lord’s.

We live in a hurting world, and we ourselves are not at all impervious to injury and yet God’s Word instructs us to be compassionate toward others, always striving to set aside our own burdens and sufferings as we aim to remove these from the shoulders of others. Sometimes, it is easy to be compassionate, but though I have never found it easy to be always compassionate, I know in my heart of hearts that until and unless I do learn to be consistently compassionate, I’ll be standing as a stumbling block against God’s grace instead of serving as a bridge toward that grace.

Born as we are, usually as single individuals, we soon learn the lessons of walking and talking, thinking and being as though the meaning of life was contained in the small sphere of our private selves. The concept of community challenges us to consider an entirely different way of being. Community never degenerates the value of the individual person, but lifts the individual self into a higher form of living in which we think of others more highly than we think of ourselves, we discover our own personal value within the fabric of relatedness rather than alienation, and we learn that the best which life has to offer benefits the most instead of the least. Community can never really happen unless we are truly willing to sacrifice the sovereignty of self for the sake of others.

Call, Charism, Compassion, and Community, this is what we work with at the mission all the time, even as these issues work on us continuously through the influence of God’s Spirit. If Hosanna has a garden of the soul, these are the resources that make it grow. I cannot think of a better example than Jesus Christ, who dealt with and wrestled with the same ideas of Call, Charism, Compassion, and Community, and who in another garden called Gethsemane decided once and for all to discard His own private will in choosing the will of God which embraced the welfare of the whole world. It has been said that His apostles turned the world upside down. I think what made that possible, then, was the silent, solitary maneuver that Jesus employed in Gethsemane when He prayerfully turned upside down the “M” of “Me” into the “W” of “We”. That act may be the most important and life- saving work that any man or woman could ever do.

Soon, dear friend, the leaves will be turning, and the beauty of Autumn will be upon us. Much of the year’s work will be done. If Winter comes, there will be time for quiet reflection and rest as God’s garden lies fallow for a while. Peace to you in the days that lie ahead. Thank you for the very important things you do to keep the mission moving forward. Please pray for us, always. Get your favorite sweater ready, maybe take a walk through the soon-to-be falling leaves with a friend, light a fire, and remember, the difference between “Me” and “We” can make all the difference in the world.

-Rev. Dr. Donn Ed, Founder & Executive Director

Glass Reflections

10 June

Last evening I had finished with work for the day (although it’s never truly done) and I had done some chores around the house (they are definitely never done) and I thought I’d reward myself with a little treat of working on a stained glass project.  I went over to the workshop and got all of my supplies and tools set out.  I had selected some beautiful varieties of glass, all different, all perfect, all important to the composition of this piece I was working on.  I had everything ready to go- the cartoon had been drawn a few nights prior, the fence was square and set, the iron was hot, the solder and flux were in reach, I had cutting tools, I had nails, I had lead, I of course had the glass, and I even had music playing!  It was a perfect scene for me and my project.
This particular piece is made up of various sizes of squares and rectangles.  Pretty easy?  That’s what I thought, and of course, I was totally wrong.  You really have to make sure those little pieces are square, as in a perfect 90 degree angle.  No problem, I can handle that.  I found some other tools in the shop that would make this part of the project go well and I got started.  It was going swimmingly!  The pieces were square, they were cutting well, tap tap crack!  A perfect score!  Wow!  I’m so good at this and my original plan is working!  All of the components are fitting.  This is good.  This is about as good as stained glass can go.  What’s this?  Oh, a beautiful, I mean BEAUTIFUL piece of glass.  It looked like it was extracted from the palette of a Monet.  Blues, greens, cream, purples, all delicately blended together, it was going to be the perfect addition to this project.
I squared the piece up, drew my lines with marker, scored them with a cutter, and tap tap tap, SPLIT!  The line I had carefully scored and tapped and gone totally haywire, it went crazy goofy and the piece wouldn’t work now.  That’s ok.  Deep breath.  I can try again.  That’s what I’ve always been taught.  Perseverance. Be industrious!
Ok.  Got it.  Start over with this one.  Square.  Line marked.  Line scored.  Tap.  Tap.  CRACK!  Perfect!  AhHA!  I knew I could do it!  I knew I could make that thing work!  Now to fit it into the project, put it in it’s place, surround it with lead and solder it in.  Easy enough.  I’ve already don’t that a few times.
Uh oh.  What’s this?  The lead I am using (and have been using for this project) is not big enough for this glass.  The glass, this beautiful perfect piece of glass is too thick.  But I wanted in my project, and I tried so hard, and I did a good job, and it broke and I tried again!  I did everything I was ever taught.  I was careful.  It didn’t matter.  The piece wasn’t, was not, going to fit in my project.

Recently in my life there have been pieces that didn’t fit, no matter how badly I wanted them to, they just didn’t.  I cared for them, I tried in so many ways to make it work, and it just didn’t.  I thought about that for a moment as I struggled with my project.  I thought about how glass and people are kind of alike in some ways.

Some glass is just pretty, there’s no way around it.  It’s beautiful no matter where it is.  Some glass has been in a basement or barn for a while and is covered in dust and cobwebs, but boy, once you wipe it clean, even a little bit, you see those colors and textures come through.  Some glass is dark, doesn’t really look like much laying on a work bench, but when you allow light to come through it, look out!  It’s a whole different piece of glass.  Some glass, cuts smoothly, and easily, some glass spars and splinters, and it hurts, trust me.

So, thanks for reading this.  I guess what I’m trying to say, what I learned the other night, via a little project in an old workshop, is don’t give up, not on the whole thing.  And of course it never hurts to try more than once, but some pieces just won’t work.  It hurts, it’s frustrating.  You took the time to make a nice piece, but don’t give up all together.  Now, I won’t have THAT particular type of glass in my project but I will promise you, it will be functional, and it will be beautiful, and it taught me a very valuable lesson.

Emily Cadenhead, Mission Worker

 

stained glass hosanna industries

For more information on how you can learn stained glass at our Gibsonia campus, contact Emily. Currently, classes are being held on Monday evenings in June.

 

You can own a house & still be homeless

22 April

What does it mean to have a home?  Think with me about this for a minute. It is more than four walls and a roof. It is safety and security. It is a little bit of pride. It is a place for hope to grow and dreams to flourish. It is peace.

second chance quote-3

But what is a home when the roof leaks and the plaster crumbles?  When the furnace stops working and 41• is the standard temperature all winter?   When trouble strikes and handicap accessibility becomes an unaffordable necessity?  When windows rattle, when plumbing leaks and floors rot, when electric panels are outdated and unsafe?  What then is home?

Suddenly home isn’t safe and secure anymore.  It is humiliating and scary and difficult. It is a place to return to. It is a spot in the world to land at the end of a day.  It is four walls and a roof but not much more.

When you live your life in houses that meet the needs of the people inside, when the roofs and windows, the furnaces and plumbing all do their jobs, it is easy to forget what all a home brings to your life. The sense of safety and security becomes standard. The dignity that comes from having a home is expected. The ability to hope and dream is unremarkable. You might start focusing on how to make your house nicer – what new things you can do to make it more beautiful or peaceful or spacious. But you don’t spend much time thinking about how much having a home means.

Hosanna Industries before

Before

The elderly widow who is eeking out her existence on social security whose roof starts to leak suddenly begins thinking how very much home means to her. The hard working, low income young couple whose furnace gets red-tagged knows how important a warm and safe home is for their little family. The middle aged woman whose husband left her struggling to provide for her two teenagers recognizes the need for a home that provides safety and hope and dignity even as she has no idea how she will replace the floor in her bathroom and repair the ceiling below because the plumbing started to leak. The wheelchair bound man whose wife has to carry him down the steps whenever they go out because a ramp is too expensive knows the value of a place of rest.

Very quickly, home isn’t taken for granted anymore. Home is so much more than where you land at the end of the day. So much more than a place to lie your head.  So much more than four walls and a roof.

Hosanna Industries after

After

Homeless people often live in tents or boxes under bridges. We might avoid those places but we know what homeless looks like for these folks because we’ve seen pictures and heard stories. But I’m pretty sure you can own a house and still be homeless. I’m pretty sure that when the house doesn’t provide security from the elements, when it isn’t safe because ceilings are crumbling and floors are rotting, when it is too embarrassing to let anyone visit, a house is no longer a home. I’m pretty sure you can own a house and still be homeless.

Thank you to all who help Hosanna Industries make houses into homes, who restore hope and peace and dignity, who help keep hopes and dreams alive. We are forever grateful.

-Julie Wettach, Mission Worker

Don’t let yourself be insulated

05 January

I recently read the story of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke Chapter 16 in the Bible. In case the story is unfamiliar to you, Lazarus was a poor beggar covered in sores and an unnamed rich man wore purple linens and feasted sumptuously every day. Lazarus sat outside the rich man’s gates and begged. Eventually both men died and Lazarus went to heaven and the rich man went to hell. The rich man begged for comfort from Lazarus but Abraham reminded the rich man of how things were when they were alive and explained that a great chasm now existed and there was no way Lazarus could come to the rich man to bring him even a drop of water. The story goes on further but this is where my mind began to wander. The rich man knew poor Lazarus. He saw him outside his gates whenever he left his home. He saw his pain. He saw his weakness. He knew Lazarus’ name and his needs.  And he chose not to help.

It struck me that I am much more like the rich man than Lazarus. That most of us are. Most of us have food on our tables (we even go out to eat once in a while), most of us have clothes on our backs – even quality, brand name clothing, and most of us have comfortable homes. It also struck me that I don’t see many Lazarus’ today. No one sits near my home sick and hungry and begging for my help.

You see, in this first world country that we live in, we are insulated from the needy. The government provides food stamps and welfare checks and medical assistance. Non-profits give food and clothing and home repairs and counseling and job skills training.  In this wonderful country I call home, I rarely meet Lazarus. I don’t know what his needs are. I don’t know how I can help. I don’t even know his name.

And I’m not really sure what I should do about this. I know what the rich man 2000 years ago should have done.  He should have bandaged Lazarus’ wounds and given him food and water. He should have welcomed him into his home and taught him a useful skill so Lazarus could have supported himself or even hired him as a servant.

But today when we don’t see Lazarus, when we don’t know who he or she is and what his or her needs are, what are we to do today?  I’m really not sure.  For me, I’ve chosen to give my life to a place where “rescue me now, please” is heard every day and where I can be a part of answering those cries.

When a woman calls our office because her hot water tank hasn’t worked for months, or a young parent reaches out because their furnace stopped doing its job, or an elderly widow calls because her roof is leaking and her ceiling is caving in, I know my work is making a difference.  When I hear about an impoverished single mom raising her child with special needs by herself or a widow trying to get by on less than $10,000 a year or a woman carrying her disabled husband from the car to the house because they don’t have a wheelchair ramp and can’t afford one I know that I am right where I need to be to help God’s children.

We live in a world that insulates us from the needs of others.  Shootings in the ghetto neighborhoods of Pittsburgh seem so distant even though, in reality, I can visit those areas within a half hour after leaving my home.  People living without heat or hot water seem so far away – maybe in a third world country – but in reality, my children go to school with kids who don’t have these basics in their home.  Lonely widows who have no money for a Thanksgiving dinner and no one to share the meal with anyway aren’t visible to me but, in reality, there’s at least one living right down the road from my house.  Kids who don’t ever get to celebrate their birthday because there’s no money for such things, who think that the only kids who do receive birthday gifts are kids on TV, live pretty close to me, too.  And although I believe wholeheartedly that the most precious gift came to us on Christmas morning a little more than 2000 years ago, I still believe that having a gift sitting under a Christmas tree today is pretty important whether you are 3 or 93 and I know that even though I don’t see their pain or hear their quiet pleas that there are people in my own community who haven’t received such a gift in years.

And so when you hear the stories from Hosanna Industries or other mission organizations, when your eyes are opened to needs around you, when you heart feels the pain of another person’s hurt, please do something about it.  Don’t let yourself be insulated any longer.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Make a difference in the world.  Don’t make today’s Lazarus wait until he or she is with Abraham to be comforted.

Julie Wettach, Mission Worker