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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

Mesmerized by the Possibilities

28 August

So I was outside earlier and it started to rain. It was so refreshing after being in the sweltering kitchen all day! I looked around at that beautiful property and just marveled at where I was standing and how I got to be there and all of the great work that has happened there already with those tremendous volunteers. I wandered over to the middle pond and watched the rain bounce off the water. I could’ve stood there all evening and watched that. It was totally mesmerizing. I’m standing there staring just zoned out out kitchen sweat and raindrops and I thought to myself, “wow, my feet hurt” and then I thought to my self about how much that pond with those refreshing raindrops is like life. There is so much going on, over here, over there, right in front of you, right next to you, there is always something happening and you’ll never notice it all or appreciate or experience it all but you can, now and then just sit back for a moment in awe and let yourself become mesmerized by all the possibility and wonder that surrounds you.

Hosanna Industries Gibsonia Campus

Stay tuned for more information about programming at this gorgeous Gibsonia campus!

Emily Cadenhead, Program Director

 

Three not-so-easy points for a person trying to Improve

23 February

We recently hosted a group of volunteers and we certainly got a whale of a lot of work accomplished for the Lord! It was also the coldest week of winter so far, and not one complaint from the youthful group. Throughout the week, the staff shared the responsibility of morning devotions with the volunteers. Many of us choose to read from the inspiring book written by Dr. Morlege, “It’s a Great Day in the Kingdom!”.

As I was commuting to work, I was inspired to choose a different mode for devotions. I presented a mini-sermon with three points. I emphasized that the points were for anyone who wanted to improve as a person and believer of the Lord. The points were inspired by things that I personally need to be reminded of, and I think that’s what made the sermon so easy! What were they?

  1. Patience
  2. Have an open mind and heart
  3. Let the Spirit lead you (hopefully into action!)

None of these points are easy, especially when trying to initiate them at the same time. But our Saviour lived these daily and so we must try to also. Thank you Perinton Presbyterian for teaching me many things last week, and I hope you learned a few new things also!
Blessings,
Becky Hetzer, mission worker

Why I do what I do -Katie

16 July

Why I do what I do

Homewood – one of the areas in western Pennsylvania that has become an area Hosanna Industries finds itself visiting on a regular basis. We have helped a lot of households in this particular area over the past several months. One day we were working on an elderly lady’s home in Homewood, doing some drywall patching, painting, and installing laminate on her kitchen floor. I was outside cleaning out the mud pans and knives when a lady, walking up the sidewalk, happened to stop and glance at our green tool truck. She preceded to ask me who is Hosanna and what do we do. I told her that we are a non profit and help needy households. She nodded her head and continued to walk. She then stopped again, turned back around and asked me the one question that definitely got my attention, “Why do you do what you do?” I have gotten asked this question more recently than I have over the past two years of being at Hosanna. My simple response that seemed to have caught her off guard was this, “because it’s what God has called me to do, to help people who need help.” This is why I do what I do; it’s part of the ministry of Jesus.

-Katie DeJournette, mission worker