A very popular question we receive here at Hosanna is “How did you get started here?” Well, the super short answer is God. I usually lend to the slightly less abrupt answer that I started out as a volunteer and fell in love with it. Here is the full story. I was a junior in college at Houghton College, a small Christian liberal arts school is western NY, and February break was fast approaching. I had decided that year that I wanted to do something fun for break rather than just head home for the week. The house of girls I lived in had made some plans to go somewhere together for a fun trip hiking and what not since we all like the outdoors. It didn’t take long for me to realize that one by one they were backing out and I was soon going to be left to figure out my break on my own. A flyer in the stairwell of the student union building caught my eye. The Habitat for Humanity club, which I was NOT a part of, was taking a trip to Pittsburgh area and anyone was welcome to go, with no cost involved. Free February break trip that didn’t involve going home, but involved helping others, sounded good to me. I went to the meeting and knew no one there. Now those of you who know me well, know that normally would make me cringe, but I figured I’d step out of my normal little comfort zone and give it a try anyway. So off we went to Hosanna Industries for the week. I can still remember a lot about that trip. From Hannah Bowman sitting on my lap during orientation in Hartzell Hall, to Dave Firek drinking YooHoo in the back of the van while listening to U2, to learning to fix a patch of carpet when someone sets the carpet iron down without the cover in the middle of the new bedroom carpet! We helped a family in Tionesta that week, Ray and Terry. They were nice folks who just needed a helping hand. It was cold and rainy, and I was working outside in the cold drizzle cleaning out mud pans for the staff as they mudded the newly hung drywall. It was not a glamorous job, and certainly not something you would think would make someone want to come back. I enjoyed the week, a lot! And when I heard they had a summer staff my ears perked up. I could see maybe doing that for a summer.
I had planned on working at SB2W (a summer Christian sports camp) that summer since I was a PE major who loved being active and loved sports. Somewhere in the midst of everything I seemed to have lost the application and wasn’t assertive enough to figure out what I had to do to get a new one, so after much time thinking, praying and after starting to dial the phone what seemed like a million times I finally called Hosanna to pursue the idea of working there for the summer. Fast forward a bit and I did end of working there that summer of 2001 and didn’t want to leave at the end of it. I just knew that was what I was supposed to be doing. Don’t panic, I did go back and finish my last year of school and graduated with a degree in physical education, but not before changing my major to a non-teaching degree and picking up a minor in youth ministry, which by the grace of God I was able to fit all the classes in within my final two semesters. I started full time after graduation in the summer of 2002 and have been here ever since. I know it’s what I’m called to do and wouldn’t trade any of these days for anything.
-Jen Schriefer, Mission Worker