Tag Archives: mission

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.

November 2016: Hammers, Hearts and Hands

05 December

As I write these words, our nation pauses to celebrate Veterans Day in grateful recognition of the thousands upon thousands of men and women who have protected our country’s unique freedoms. One of them, a sergeant by the name of Joyce Kilmer, fought during World War I with the 165th Infantry far from home in the European theatre. He was killed in action near Ourcy, France on July 30, 1918, at the age of 32. Though his loved ones had to suffer the heartbreak of his loss as many do, Sergeant Kilmer left these words which have remained with us for nearly a century –

I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.

Our world couldn’t exist without trees. They cleanse the air and provide oxygen for us to breathe. They hold the soil against erosion and offer habitat for innumerable birds and other small wildlife. They shade the earth from the scorching heat of the Summer, and paint the landscape with breathtaking beauty in the Fall.

Like all living things, they are born to live, they grow, and one day die. Poplars grow twice as fast as oaks, but live only half as long. Even in death, like a poet’s words, trees contribute great value to our lives.

They provide fuel for our fireplaces to heat our homes in Winter. Most of our houses, even if they show a handsome suit of brick, are framed up with wood. The paper you are holding right now came from a gracious tree. The pen I am using was fashioned out of wood. The old rocking chair in my study that I am sitting in right now was once a tree more than a century ago. The bookshelves nearby and all the volumes they hold that have been my teaching companions through the years, all these came from trees. Around the world over, experts tell us that there are more than 23,000 varieties of trees that are an integral part of our planet’s cyclical ecological system.

Wood is a substance unlike any other in our world. It can be split, chopped, rived, and cut. It can be turned, planed, joined, shaped and sanded. It can be burned as fuel, converted into other useful products, or finished with a protective coating intended to last for hundreds of years. Without wood, our music would be limited to the sound of brass.

Once, 2000 years ago, a tree was felled halfway around the world. Its wood was crafted into an old rugged cross upon which the Prince of Glory died. Only God could have anticipated the particular purpose of that tree.

A year ago, when the mission acquired its new facility in Gibsonia and began to re-purpose that property for a new chapter of God’s work, my daughter Emily took note of the beautiful trees there that had lived, while others died, and while others still emerged beneath tall boughs as tiny saplings. In the Autumn she saw how the majestic oaks dropped thousands of acorns upon the ground, each one holding the potential of becoming, one day in due time, another tall oak tree in the forest of our lives.

Nobody but God can make a tree.

It’s been another amazing year at the mission, dear friend! Thank you for all you’ve done in providing the blessings that God used to make all of this possible! We used thousands of 2×4’s and sheets of plywood, swung a lot of hammers, and drove a lot of nails in helping many of God’s needy children during the course of 2016. Much of what was accomplished came from trees that God purposed for such work.

When a little tree is born, perhaps only God can be aware of this new life and all the potential worth that lies within that delicate, fragile structure.

Centuries ago, an unknown carpenter from a far away land took wood from a fallen tree and crafted, with adze, mallet and chisel, a primitive trough. It was built to hold hay for the feeding of animals, but it became the first cradle of a new-born swaddled child whose angel-announced name was Jesus. He would grow up to become Savior of the world.

Soon you may be joining with countless people around the world in decorating your home for the upcoming holiday season. Perhaps a different kind of tree, a Christmas tree, may adorn your own dwelling place. Upon its branches, an unknowable variety of ornaments may be hung, each reflecting its own particular meaningfulness.

Enclosed within this newsletter mailing is our little gift to you. This year, a simple ornament made of wood and stamped with the impression of an acorn. As you hang this little handmade ornament upon your tree, may you be inspired to prayerfully reflect upon the worth of your own God-held life, how you like a tiny acorn, have grown into the great person you are and are yet capable of becoming still!

Only God can fully plumb the depths of potential that lie within an acorn. Only God can know the fullest potential of what yet lies within you and me. Only God can grow greatness.

While all the world slept, a little boy was born to a world aching for God’s love. On that silent night, He was born to “raise the sons of earth, born to give us second birth!” His unique life blessed this world forever, and because of that, so can we if we so choose.

Thank you, dear Hosanna friend, for who you are and for all the good you’ve done. May God’s love surround you throughout the Christmas season and always.
-Donn Ed, Founder & Executive Director of Hosanna Industries

Read the rest of this quarter’s newsletter, here.

Glass Half Full

29 June

The first call this week was from Edith. She is an elderly widow with some plumbing issues and a cracked sidewalk. When I briefly explained that we have a long list of homeowners in need, I was interrupted with, ” Well, my husband died in the war and I had to raise my children with no help. No one has suffered like me and I should be a priority on your list!” I gently told her that I was sure she would not want to trade places with anyone on our list and though I am sure she has suffered grievously, she may have to wait a bit for our services. She was none too happy but less angry after we completed her application and said goodbye.

As I took a deep breath the phone rang again.  It was Marcia. She had a leg amputated as a child after a bout with cancer. Later in life she battled both breast and bone cancer. She was clear of the dreaded disease for five years and then hit again. She once again battled successfully. Through her ongoing fight with illness, she held down a job. But five years ago, she found the years of intense chemo therapy left her stripped of any energy and she had to quit working. She had to sell her home of many years and move to a mobile home park. She was calling because the mobile home needs a new roof and she needs a ramp due to her disability. She kept saying she is blessed to be alive and the rigor it has taken to negotiate the waters of disability has made her a better person. When I was filling out the application I asked her her marital status. She chuckled and said,” I’m single…not a widow…most of my life I have been broken and bald, (chuckle)…I have never had the love of someone that I could hurt over if they passed…so, I guess that’s a blessing, right?”

I wanted to give her Edith’s phone number. Instead I swallowed the lump in my throat and continued the application to provide a new roof and ramp for a one legged bald lady living in a leaky mobile home holding a glass that in her mind has always been more than half full.

-From an earlier e-blast (Subscribe to our e-blasts below.)

Conscientious Objection

24 June

Have you heard of the new FLSA laws that will be taking effect December 1, 2016?  The laws that double the minimum wage for employees to be considered salaried workers?  The laws that make everyone who earns less than $47,476 to have to keep track of their hours?

Oh man is this a frustrating law for someone who has chosen to give her life to a mission. I’m not talking about someone who has a job and is trying to figure out how to make ends meet. I’m not talking about some young administrative assistant whose boss takes advantage of her time because she needs a job and so when he asks her to stay late three or four nights a week she wearily agrees. I’m talking about a mission worker. I’m talking about someone who is called to serve the needy. I’m talking about someone strong and qualified and capable who wants to give her life answering cries for help just like Jesus did 2000 years ago.

I’ve done quite a bit of research and there doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room for a person like me within the new FLSA laws. For years when I’ve given my personal cell phone number out for work purposes I’ve told people they can call anytime between 6:30am and 10pm. For years I’ve been contacted by colleagues on what some would call my “day off”. Guess what?  People in ministry, people in mission, don’t have days off. Remember when Christ asked the people if they would pull their ox out of a ditch on the sabbath?  I think He was okay with that. I think he was actually encouraging those Pharisees to take care of the needy around them on their “day off”.  I think he was telling them to be less rigorous with keeping track of the details and more compassionate toward the people around them.

Now some 2000 years later, after 18 years of serving the Lord, of helping people anytime of the day or night whenever they need me most, of living my life right here in Southwestern Pennsylvania as a missionary serving some really needy people, now I have to start keeping track of my hours? Really?  So when I’m making dinner for my family and a colleague calls with a question do I start the clock?  I’m making dinner for my family at the same time. Does that count for anything?  Do I keep track of half the minutes that I’m on the phone?  When one of the young men I helped a few years back finds my number and calls to see if I can help him get some new glasses and interrupts my evening with my husband but I chat with this young man and ask about his family and he asks about mine, am I working?  Am I helping a friend?  What if I’m preparing a mailing to go out to friends and supporters?  Am I allowed to fold those papers while I watch the Penguins work for the Stanley Cup?  Start the clock, I’m folding quickly now because there is a break in the action. Stop the clock. The Penguins are on a power play and I want to see every second of that. Start the clock. There’s a television time out. Stop the clock. We scored. I need to cheer and watch the replay!  Seriously?  Seriously?!?

How am I going to keep track of my hours?  This changes everything. I’ve given my life to this little mission. I’ve chosen to serve the needy in our community even when it isn’t convenient, even when it makes life a little crazy sometimes, even though I could be making double my income if I’d have chosen to use my college degree instead of helping the poor. And now I have to keep track of my hours??  Ugh.

And you know what is even more frustrating and disconcerting?  New folks. New young people who come on board with our mission. We could offer them $47,476 as a starting salary so they don’t have to keep track of their time and they can learn to eat, sleep, and drink mission work. They can be immediately immersed in giving of oneself to others. But where is the sacrifice in that?  $47,476 is a lot of money for a kid just starting out. It’s not a sacrifice to earn that kind of money. It’s an awfully good job for a 20 year old. See there, starting out with a salary of $47,476 immediately takes out the calling of Christ on one’s life and makes the same work a job. My labors for the past 18 years have been the work of Christ, the work of a mission worker, the answering of a call. But anyone we hire to work alongside me will be thinking that this is a pretty good job; you don’t even need a college degree and you can make a real good living. Well that changes the whole ethos of this organization that I have been a part of molding and shaping for almost half my life. This changes everything.

Ok so instead of giving these young people a salary now we choose to pay them by the hour. We tell them to give their lives to answering the call. We tell them how important it is to be ready to serve whenever there is a need. We tell them that they need to listen for God’s word. And now we are also going to say, “and don’t forget to punch in whenever you need to respond.”  When that phone call comes at 10:30 at night, start the clock. When you take a tool to be repaired on your way to the grocery store to get some food, make sure the clock is running, I think. Actually, I’m not really sure. Are you working while you are driving toward the grocery store or only as you are heading to the tool repair shop a quarter mile further away?  Let me get the rule book and see. If I text you after you’ve clocked out for today because something came up and the plan for tomorrow needs to change, do you clock back in while you read and respond to my text?  Give your life to Christ. Answer the cries for help that you hear all around you. Do it sacrificially. Oh, and keep track of your time while you do it.

FLSA blog

Don’t get me wrong folks. I believe people should be treated fairly. I believe they should earn enough money to take care of themselves and their family. I believe in time to work and time to rest. I know that mission work isn’t for everyone.  Sometimes mission work is hard. Sometimes it requires incredible sacrifice.  Sometimes even the most committed mission worker gets tired and needs a break. But guess what?  I wouldn’t change it.

An elderly man used to carry his middle aged son in and out of his house everytime they left the home because his boy was disabled and they couldn’t afford a wheelchair ramp. An elderly lady used to sleep with buckets on her bed whenever it rained because her roof leaked right onto her bed everytime it rained. A woman suffering from cancer didn’t have running hot water in her home for six months because her hot water tank had stopped working. A young family was living with their coats on, their oven door open, and a couple of space heaters for weeks in the winter before my mission learned of their plight and sent someone to replace their furnace.  And what about the husband, wife, and teenage boy whose only food was a head of lettuce and two apples when we entered their home?   Or the lady with diabetes whose insurance changed and without our help couldn’t get to her dialysis appointments anymore?  The list goes on and on.  3200 needy households served in 26 years.

Giving yourself sacrificially to a mission might be difficult but it is nothing compared to the suffering experienced everyday by so many people we help.

There have been many changes throughout the years that have affected our mission. Workers compensation adjustments, health insurance changes and significant price increases, licensing requirements, new taxes, so on and so forth.  Many of these have been expensive changes. They have required us to spend donated dollars that otherwise could have been used to help the needy. None, though, in my estimation, have affected the mission like these new FLSA laws. These affect the ethos of the mission. These take away the opportunity for our mission workers to give of themselves sacrificially without seeking reward or compensation. These teach new staff members to think of their time, their needs, their desires above the needs of hurting households crying out for help, above the needs of the mission, above the call of Christ.

I don’t know what to do about the new FLSA laws.  I don’t know how to keep track of my hours and I certainly don’t know how to teach a young person to give their whole heart, soul, mind and strength to the Lord and His work.  But I will continue to try.

– Julie Wettach, Mission Worker

Maybe it is just because you gave me hope

18 May

I just spoke to Valerie on the phone today. She is a 70 year old grandmother and legal guardian of 6 year old Aaron who is severely autistic. His mother abandoned him when he was an infant. His father, Valerie’s son, died 2 months before Aaron was born and Valerie’s husband died a year prior to that.

Her voice sounded weak and tired. She herself suffers from spinal stenosis and she needs shoulder surgery but cannot afford it. She said her double wide mobile home has a roof leak and it is causing electrical issues. She broke down explaining about the roof and said, “There is just so much. I am overwhelmed. I don’t know how to ask for help.” I told her she just did, and with no loss of dignity, because we all need help at some time in our lives. We continued with the application process and when I finished telling her how our program works she was silent and then through tears said, ” Everything is still a mess, but somehow I’m not overwhelmed. Maybe it is just because you gave me hope.”

you gave me hope

-From an earlier e-blast (Subscribe to our emails below.)

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