Tag Archives: client story

Hammers Hearts and Hands, June 2017

22 June

One year ago, the little village of Richwood,WV was brutalized by the floodwaters of nature’s storms. This already struggling community, beset with the decades-long decline of coal-mining, lumber-mill slowdowns, economic drift, population loss and systemic depression, found itself suddenly torn apart by the raging torrents of the normally quiet Cherry River when more than 6” of rainfall burst the river from its banks.

Floods take a toll upon a town. The property loss, interruption in utility services, transportation problems, mud, stench, destruction, and disarray are nearly more than a human heart can handle. Moving forward is hard when you can’t see the horizon through the immensity of debris. If one were to try to describe the most manageable aspect of a flood, it would be the water itself in all its ferocious power. The hardest part of a flood is what’s left behind when the water subsides.

Hopelessness is the worst of human ailments because when a person loses hope, it’s hard to see positive potential in a sunrise. When a town loses hope, it’s hard to see tomorrow.

A year ago, we flew into the area on an investigative mission and landed at the closest runway at the Greenbrier Valley Airport, about an hour’s drive from Richwood. Geoff Smathers graciously piloted the Piper Lance aircraft that had been gifted to Hosanna Industries by Norm Carroll just a few years earlier. Mission workers Brian Hetzer, Julie Wettach and Amanda Becker accompanied me as we drove to Richwood to meet with local leaders for the very first time.

As we walked into the makeshift community-center in the heart of town, introductions were given and received, strangers shook hands, and we sat together in a little circle of folding chairs. We prayed. The first words uttered by Hosanna afterward were simply these,“We believe God has led us to your town. We are sorry for all that you have lost. We are here to find out if we can be of help, and if so, how we can best deliver that help to you.”

Much has happened since then. I just returned from Richwood after experiencing with many other people a new kind of flooding that is leaving its mark upon the town. It’s a flood of healing and helpfulness, a flood of hard work being done well by many hands that are coming to the area. It’s a flood of rebuilding, repairing, restoring, rejuvenating. It’s a flood of God’s grace happening in thousands of different ways one day at a time. It’s a flood of green trucks and green shirts communicating a message of hope and joy and love.

At this mid-way point in the year, and after numerous journeys to Richwood by our mission workers and volunteers, nearly 20 rehabilitation projects have already been completed. By the end of July, I am confident that we will meet the needs of 30 suffering households. By the end of September, I believe we will reach the goal of bringing assistance to at least 40 households in that community. In the course of doing all this work, the mission expects to spend some $650,000 in providing building materials, furnaces, washers and dryers, and the skilled labor required to get the work done. We have already hosted hundreds of volunteers in the local abandoned armory, which has been thoroughly refitted as an emergency volunteer base and charitable construction center, and we expect to work with hundreds more before year’s end.

Two evenings ago, while preparing to return home the next day to meet local commitments, I found myself privileged to address the nearly 90 volunteers from the Avon Lake United Church of Christ, and upon their invitation, to proclaim God’s eternal Word and to serve Holy Communion in the context of an armory-hall evening worship service. I preached from one of the great post-resurrection passages in the Gospel of John, Chapter 20, verses 19-23, emphasizing the words of the Risen Lord to the shocked and bewildered disciples of 2000 years ago. “Peace be with you,” Jesus said. “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” I reminded those gathered of the call of Christ, and how this calling is always personal and powerfully transforming, and perpetual in its eternal results. Then, humbly and quietly, I invited them to the Table of the Lord Jesus Christ, this one made of a piece of plywood with 2×4 legs and braces. We broke His Bread and outpoured His Cup, and as those dear young people already exhausted from the hard day’s work eagerly came forward with their adult leaders and our wonderful mission workers to receive communion, a tear welled up in my eye and I wondered about the fragile nature of life, how each and all of us are incomplete and broken, riddled with the damage of sin and pride and the floods of service to self.

Then I thought of another flood, the one of God’s gracious love, the one that provides healing to our hurts, forgiveness for our sins, redemption and meaning to our lives. I thought of how that flood provides fuel and trucks and workers and tools and machines and materials and even airplanes and pilots to answer the Hosanna cries in our world and the words from an old hymn came into my mind.

“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains…”

There are all kinds of floods in this world, dear friend. Most of them can lay a place or a person to waste. One of them can lift a person up to a new start, a season of reconstruction and building, a time of joy instead of sorrow.

Thank you, dear Hosanna friend, for helping in all the ways you do, to provide for the flood of God’s grace and love to this world of deep need.

~DDE

Read the rest of the 2017 June Newsletter here.

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

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

28 March

At Hosanna, we encounter hundreds of individuals every year: clients, volunteers, business men and women, etc.  Among those, usually at least a handful stand out in our minds.

I believe I have met a couple of them already this year!  One homeowner in particular stands out for me so far this year.  She was the daughter of the homeowner.  She had been through a lot in her life, more than any of us ever endure, and yet she greeted me with a smile and bright attitude when I met her for the first time upon inspecting the home.

It ended up that we would replace 8 windows for the household.  Sometimes at Hosanna, plans change quickly.  I phoned Diane the evening before we were planning to come and she was very excited.

Upon arrival the next morning, all the window treatments were down and lunch was being prepared while we installed the windows.  She was also receiving a new gas oven to replace her 30 year old appliance that very same day!

At one point, Diane had mentioned that she didn’t sleep much the night before preparing for us and shopping and preparing food.  She looked exhausted by lunch time.  It was one of the best lunches we’ve ever had made for us by a homeowner!

At day’s end, I commented that she worked harder than us and she said, “Well isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?” I was taken back by such a comment.  As we live in a society where most everyone expects much with little to no input, Diane stood out like a beautiful rose in a field of tall grass.

It was an honor to serve Diane, her mother, and Diane’s daughter and to provide them with warm safe new windows.

Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow!

-Becky Hetzer, Mission Worker

Thanks a buzz-illion

30 January

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The greeting included with this surprise I received earlier this week read:

Hi Amy,

A token of gratefulness for my new furnace that warms my home and will warm my heart forever. With much love. God Bless.

This dear homeowner is an elderly widow living on about 11,000.00 per year. She has no family left in this world and she said she had no where else to turn for help as the only number she was given was Hosanna’s. I assured her we could and would help her and within a few days her furnace was replaced at no cost to her. Her heartfelt expression of appreciation moved me to tears. Please know that your support and donations to Hosanna Industries help to keep people like Rose warm as the bitter winter approaches.

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

Sandra’s story

21 December

I’d like to think that after answering the telephone here for 26 years I would be used to the sad and tragic stories I hear every day. But I got a call from Sandra that just hit me hard.

It began with a request for home repairs because water pours out of outlets when it rains and the walls are spongy and crumbling in the kitchen from a chronically leaking roof and clogged gutters.

As I began asking questions I soon realized that Sandra is one of those amazing people with a loyal heart and a strong back and spirit. She has been married for 35 years. 34 years ago her husband of 1 year had a massive brain hemorrhage and has needed 24/7 care ever since. She became pregnant in that first year of marriage and has a 35 year old daughter who recently dropped her two year old son off at Sandra’s and said, “I can’t raise this child. You take him,” and promptly walked away and out of their lives.

Sandra worked for years hiring people to care for her husband during the day, but had to quit because she could not afford the cost of the daily care and now has to care for both her husband and grandchild too.

Her voice sounded exhausted but not bitter or angry. She said, “I never asked why me? I figured why not, but I just don’t know what to do now. I have bounced so many checks trying to keep up!” I told her we will help her. She said,”Well, forgive me if I believe it when I see it, but I’ve called so many places and some don’t call me back and the rest that do say they can’t help me. I’m feeling a little hopeless. I’m not pitying myself, but I’ve always counted on myself to get things done and I’m running out of steam.”

I said, “I aim to restore your hope. It is what Hosanna Industries is all about.” She broke down and sobbed. Through her tears she said,”How do you do this…and why?”

How? Through divine guidance and generous support.
Why? Because God’s work is everybody’s business.
On behalf of Sandra and those like her, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

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

Catherine’s story

21 December

I spoke with Catherine yesterday. She is 90. She lost her 3 brothers and her husband all in 1997.  She lost her only sister in 2004. She lost her son and daughter in law in 2009.

Their son had completed rehab for drug addiction at that time but relapsed after the tragic accident that claimed the life of both parents. He is now in outpatient rehab and Catherine has been taking care of all of his expenses and allowing him to live with her for now.

She receives 1,300.00 per month.

She opened the call with this, “My name is Catherine and I’m 90 years old and I am so embarrassed to have to call you. I have always taken care of myself and family but I just can’t keep up with my grandson living here.”

When I asked her what she needs she said,” Well, my toilet keeps overflowing and its hard for me to keep cleaning it up and well….I could use some food.”

I told her we will fix the bathroom issues and make sure she has food. I  urged her to not be at all embarrassed as we all need help from time to time and at 90 it just might be her turn.

She said,” I never knew people like you existed! I guess I watch too much news. I feel better just talking to you and knowing people are being nice out there. If you can help me I will be so grateful but if for some reason you can’t I sure do send blessings your way anyhow.”

Thanks to your generous support, we will be able to help Catherine and many more like her.

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