Tag Archives: disaster relief

March 2017 Newsletter / Hammers, Hearts, and Hands

05 April

March 2017 Newsletter

A few days ago, I stopped at the mission’s Gibsonia campus to check on a few things, and was delighted to arrive just as Amy and Emily were unloading the kiln from the previous day’s firing. They took a moment to show me the beautiful results, and I was thrilled to see the finished work of a dozen participants, most of them novices, who recently attended the mission’s four week clay construction class. Coffee mugs, trays, bowls, and other interesting and useful articles had been hand-crafted from clay, allowed to thoroughly dry, fired once, then glazed in a variety of colors and styles, and finally fired once again to melt the glaze onto the surface as a permanent glass coating. I was really impressed with the designs, the workmanship, and the final results. I hope you can become involved in one or more of the many programs offered there in the months to come, each of which is intended to further develop your God-given creative instincts in a setting that is focused on the One from Whom all blessings flow.

As I handled and observed these newly-fired ceramic creations, I thought about what they once were. Clay is a truly amazing substance. It comes from the earth. It can be wedged, formed, rolled into a coil or a slab, or thrown on a wheel. It can be shaped, while soft, into a countless number of shapes, forms and structures. When the shaping process is over, the item is left to dry thoroughly, until void of moisture content. At this stage, the item is called Greenware, and although it is hard and breakable, it can actually be reconstituted into pliable clay once again if exposed to enough water.

Once the first firing takes place, however, the Greenware is converted into Bisqueware. This is a physical transformation that turns the Greenware into a hard, brittle, glasslike substance that is no longer capable of absorbing water anymore. The firing process changes the clay into something it never was before, rendering impossible any chance of returning to what it once was. You can take a piece of the Bisqueware and grind it into a fine powder and mix it with water, but even in this state, it will never return to clay. This thermal process, known as vitrification, changes the clay forever.

A few hours ago, I had the privilege of listening to a newly posted podcast of a sermon preached by the Rev. Dr. Richard A. Morledge, then pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Bakerstown, on Palm Sunday, April 8, 1990. This sermon and nearly 30 years’ worth of others are being made available due to the graciousness of Dr. Morledge, the tedious efforts of our friend,Tom Shoup, who copied more than 1000 sermons from cassette tapes to a digital system, and the labors of Amanda Becker and Julie Wettach, both mission workers at Hosanna Industries, who are methodically uploading those sermons onto a newly established “It’s a Great Day in the Kingdom” podcast site which is linked to Hosanna’s website. We hope that these proclamations will be helpful to you in your own journey of faith, and I encourage you to frequently listen to these sermons as preached by a man whom I consider to be one of the greatest communicators of the Gospel in our lifetimes.

In the particular sermon which I listened to, Dr. Morledge described those whom he referred to as “Hosanna people”, those who are in desperate need, people who are crying out for God’s help. He taught that the word “Hosanna”, heard by Jesus on the first Palm Sunday 2000 years ago, was not really a word of praise as is commonly thought, but was instead a prayer. Its true meaning is, “Save us now.” Jesus answered that prayer in seven days. Later He sent His Spirit on the first Pentecost to equip the newly born Church to be His body in the world, continuing His great work of salvation.

Then Dr. Morledge went on to describe to the congregation of that great Church that a new mission was to be launched that day. Its name would be Hosanna Industries.

Following the sermon, additional words were spoken, announcing what this new mission was intended to do: “Whenever – wherever we hear as Christians the Hosanna cries of God’s needy children, our faith demands that we do something, representing a powerful Savior instead of an impotent theological idea. We cannot anymore bear the shamefulness of poverty that is unaddressed, nor can we bear mission mediocrity… this Church today in establishing Hosanna Industries is proclaiming loud and clear that ultimately some day the love of God in Christ will heal all the world’s ills.”

The mission was born as an outward expression of the Kingdom of God. It was born to proclaim the Good News by way of home construction, repair and rehabilitation for the poor; vocational training of the unskilled; small business development for would-be entrepreneurs; job creation for new and future mission workers; and volunteer mobilization, locally and beyond, to locations of impoverishment and calamity.

The first five young mission workers were called forward from the congregation. The first assistance project was to begin the very next day, less than a mile away from the church, at the home of an elderly woman and her disabled daughter. Their income was less than half of what the government defined as poverty level. A newly donated used pick-up truck was parked outside, donated by the late Frank Reese, president of North Pittsburgh Telephone Company, painted Hosanna green by Bart Williams, president and owner of Parks Moving and Storage and serviced by Tom Henry of Tom Henry Chevrolet.

Then, as this unique worship service drew near to its ending, Dr. Morledge asked the mission workers to kneel at the chancel, he asked the more than 500 people in attendance to rise, and he asked all to join hands.

At that moment, a Spirit of quiet holiness descended upon that assembly of believers. Some people shed tears. As I listened to the recording, I sensed a nearly palpable silence in that place 27 years ago. Then, with his voice momentarily breaking, Dr. Morledge offered the following prayer:

“Father, in faith we reach out to try to follow You, and like Abraham of old we’re not quite sure where we’re going but we go now to be your people in this community and clear to the uttermost parts of the world. Father, thank you for these individuals whom we set apart in Your name, please indue them with your Holy Spirit and empower them to be people who reach to the Hosanna people and in ministering may they be ministered unto, and as we join hands as a great church, Father, bind us in this time of faith, not with criticism but with our love, to try to grow and become even greater the people that you want us to be. We thank you for all of the blessings of the past and now we ask a special blessing. So please Father, to these six individuals, whom we now set apart and commission as mission workers of Hosanna Industries, thank you Father, thank you, please place Your Hands upon the heads of these particular missioners. Thank you Father, we feel Your Presence, we go out in faith in Christ’s name, Amen.”I knelt with those five young men that day, and remember the first sounds a new-born mission heard were those of the organ, beautifully phrasing,“Hosanna in the Highest!”

We were clay then. Soft, pliable, malleable. We were ready to be shaped by the Potter’s Hands.

I suppose the years have vitrified us through the hard and often difficult firing of work, striving, learning, succeeding, and sometimes failing. Whatever we may or may not be, I’m certain we could never go back to become what we once were. Though we’ve learned much, and tried hard to refine our efforts into a vessel of grace useful to the hands of God in this world, I still hope that something within the heart of Hosanna is yet soft and pliable, ready to be shaped at the Master’s bidding.

Over the years, Hosanna Industries has been privileged to help more than 3400 needy households. We’ve blitz built almost 200 new homes. We’ve received more than 160 mission workers, each one leaving a mark, some weaving at least a part of their hearts into the mission’s own heart. In the past 27 years, the mission has travelled about 2 1/2 million miles, moving more than 60,000 tons of material, working with about 150,000 volunteers, in spending less than 16 million dollars to get almost 60 million dollars worth of work done. We’ve had a presence in 35 states, provided disaster relief work in nearly a dozen locations, and given assistance to more than 40 charitable organizations who needed help. We’ve provided intensive trade-skill training for hundreds of people, and we’ve witnessed the creation of at least ten small entrepreneurial businesses that were an outgrowth of our influence. On occasion, the Lord has sent us abroad to five different countries, and we have hosted volunteers from a half-dozen nations and all 50 states in the United States of America.

Just a few days ago, I held a newly fired ceramic cup in my hands and admired its beauty. I can estimate the time when, not long ago, it was nothing but a lump of clay, but I could never know for how long it may be of future service to someone who finds it useful.

I believe God inspired the birth of Hosanna Industries. I’m grateful that His hands have molded and shaped this mission into the vessel of His choosing. I’m very grateful that the commissioning prayer of Dick Morledge 27 Palm Sundays ago has been answered innumerable times.

The cries of the Hosanna people have been heard, not ignored. I don’t know how long this vessel called Hosanna will be useful to God’s hands, but I’m so deeply grateful for your part in it, and for all who have gone before. Without you, and all the other wonderful, gracious, generous, believing people like you, I don’t think God could have ever shaped the mission His hands have made.

Happy 27th birthday, Hosanna! And thank you, dear Hosanna friend!

~DDE

Rev. Dr. Donn Ed, Executive Director & Founder

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

West Virginia Flood Relief Update

15 September

Hosanna Industries will be traveling to Richwood, WV September 18th through September 23rd to help rebuild after the flood.  We will be leading over 100 volunteers to provide framing repairs, electrical work, insulation and drywall to five households, and we will be collaborating with the Rebuild Richwood team, which includes World Servants.  Over $15,000 has been raised for our West Virginia efforts, and we are grateful for the generous support so far.

All are welcome to join us as we send off the mission workers on Sunday, September 18th at 2PM at Hosanna Industries, 109 Rinard Lane, Rochester, PA 15074.

 

Hosanna Industries Raising $1.5 Million for West Virginia Flood Relief

12 July

Hosanna Industries is planning multiple trips to the Richwood community of Nicholas County, West Virginia.  Plans include building 15 new homes for impoverished households that lost their homes to the flood, repairing 30 homes with new drywall, electrical, insulation, etc., providing 30 furnaces and 50 hot water tanks, as well as other household appliances, miscellaneous household items and tools.  Hosanna plans to refurbish an industrial building in the community for housing volunteers, storing materials, feeding people, etc.  Total costs are around $1.5 million, all of which will be provided through donations.

Richwood, WV has a poverty rate of 46%, according to the Nicholas County Community Foundation, and many are recently unemployed due to the coal mining operations being shut down.



Donate online via credit cardOR

mail a check payable to Hosanna Industries to 109 Rinard Lane, Rochester, PA 15074.  Mark gifts “West Virginia,” and all gifts received will go toward rebuilding efforts there.

Contact Amanda with any questions, or if you would like to set up a donation drive.

West Virginia Flood Relief Hosanna Industries

 

On Saturday, July 9, Hosanna Industries flew to WV to determine the needs, and how we could help. We flew in the plane donated from a friend of the mission 5 years ago. This plane was donated for just this purpose, and we are grateful for the gift.

On Saturday, July 9, Hosanna Industries flew to WV to determine the needs, and how we could help. We flew in the plane donated from a friend of the mission 5 years ago. This plane was donated for just this purpose, and we are grateful for the gift.

Richwood WV

Richwood, WV has been devastated by the recent flooding, and has left people in the community living in tents or camper trailers.


 

Hosanna Industries planning West Virginia relief

30 June

HOSANNA INDUSTRIES PLANNING WEST VIRGINIA RELIEF

Charity fundraising and organizing to rebuild for impoverished households after recent flooding

 

Hosanna Industries is exploring opportunities to help relieve the horrible suffering that has resulted from the catastrophic flooding last week in West Virginia.  The mission is currently investigating possibilities and developing key relationships with local people of faith who are influential in their communities.  We will shortly be sending ambassadors to the area to identify particular needs.

Current needs:

  1. Please uphold the mission in prayer as Hosanna Industries discerns the directions we believe the Lord is leading, and please remember all of the people in the Southeastern WV region who have suffered so gravely.
  2. Donate online towards Hosanna Industries’  future work in West Virginia mail a check to 109 Rinard Lane, Rochester, PA 15074.  Mark gifts “West Virginia,” and all gifts received will go toward rebuilding efforts there.
  3. Contact Hosanna Industries (724-770-0262) if you know of anyone who was underinsured or living in poverty and was affected by the recent flooding in West Virginia.

Hosanna Industries travels to areas of disaster to help with the mobilizing of large groups of volunteers to build and repair homes damaged by tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, or other catastrophic events to bring hope and restoration to hurting individuals and communities.  In 2005, we assisted over 500 households with rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Ivan flooded parts of the Pittsburgh region.  Hosanna Industries has done work after multiple disasters, including Hurricanes Andrew, Floyd and Katrina, among others.

Media and Fundraising Contact: Amanda M. Becker

About Hosanna Industries: Hosanna Industries was founded in 1990 as a faith-rooted, non-profit mission whose work involves a variety of charitable initiatives aimed at helping our impoverished neighbors.  By the grace of God and through the mechanical and aesthetic arts, mission workers at Hosanna Industries build and repair homes for needy households; teach and lead classes and workshops in art, nature and spirituality; and train young people in construction skills.  Its typical single client household last year had an income of less than $20,000 a year. Since its founding in 1990 Hosanna Industries has provided around $52 million worth of charitable work to the community for around $15 million.  It depends on the generosity of others to complete its work.

Everyday Disaster Relief

08 April

timeline

I was asked to make a timeline of Hosanna Industries’ work since our inception. It was going to be the guestbook for our 25th anniversary dinner. I was told to put in the major events in Hosanna’s history because people were going to sign in near the year that they first became involved with the mission. So many new friends find Hosanna when we are working on major projects that having these on the board would help people to know when they first joined the mission in case they’d forgotten.

And so I did my research. I came up with a list of major events. Almost every year there was something really big that the mission workers and volunteers had tackled. I wrote the events on plain paper and took them to my Sunday School class. The children drew a picture of each event and I transferred them to a board and added some color.

Then I stood back. I looked at the work. I have to admit, I was a little surprised at what I saw. It isn’t unusual for me to tell people in the course of my work about Hosanna’s disaster recovery. It almost rolls off my tongue – we helped people in Florida after Hurricane Andrew; St. Genevieve, Missouri after the flooding in the mid-90’s; in Arkansas after the racial burning of churches in the late 90’s; in North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd; in our own area after Hurricane Ivan; in Gulfport, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina; in Haiti following the earthquake; and in Joplin, Missouri after the tornado. To see it on the timeline was amazing though. I had just drawn the major events in Hosanna’s history and there were five hurricanes, two floods, an earthquake and a tornado.

In my mind when I think about what Hosanna does, it isn’t the disaster recovery work that comes to my mind first. It’s the elderly widow who is all alone and her roof is leaking into her bedroom. It’s the single mom whose windows are drafty and rattling. It’s the young hard-working dad who can’t afford to replace the furnace in their home to keep his wife and kids warm. It’s the disabled person who needs a wheelchair ramp to allow him or her access to the world outside.

If this is what I think of when I think about Hosanna and I’ve been working their for 17 years, why did my timeline look like a history of natural disasters? It didn’t seem right.

But it was right. People rally together to solve major crises. They come out offering what they can – a day, a week, a dollar, a thousand dollars, a pan of brownies, a meal for 40 volunteers, a 2×4, a pallet of shingles. They see the tragedy on the news. They talk about it at work. They wonder what they would do if disaster struck their own home and neighborhood. And they respond. And miracles happen.

The problem is people experience their own storms, their own disasters, their own tragedies all the time. A motorcycle crashes and a young mom is now raising two kids on her own. Cancer strikes and someone’s world is turned upside-down. A wife walks out one day and never returns. A child is born with severe disabilities and the house suddenly becomes too small for this young life and all the necessary medical equipment. An elderly man passes away peacefully but his widow’s income instantly drops to 1/3 of what it was the day before. Multiple sclerosis demands that a home be made wheelchair accessible. And so on and so forth.

Thankfully a young wife and mother once asked her husband, “Who is going to help the people in our own backyard.” And thankfully he responded by giving his life to a little mission that can help people through these storms in life.

I am thrilled to see people respond to others’ needs when hurricanes and tornados, earthquakes and floods strike. But it stirs something deep in my soul to see people respond to those quiet but desperate cries of Hosanna – “Rescue me now” – that are just as real and just as pain-filled and right in our own backyard. Changing these hosanna’s into hallelujah’s is what Hosanna does every day. Thank you to all of you who allow these miracles to happen!

-Julie Wettach, Mission Worker

Hosanna Plane Dedication

16 July

Hosanna Industries received a surprise donation of a Lance airplane in December, 2011. The plane will be used primarily to fly mission workers to areas of disaster and poverty. The Lance has been recently updated, inside and out, and Hosanna plans to dedicate the plane in a short service of thanksgiving. Refreshments will be served after the ribbon cutting. All are welcome and invited to Beaver County Airport 15 Piper Street Beaver, PA 15010 on Sunday, July 20th at 2:00PM. Contact Hosanna at 724-770-0262 if you have any questions.