November 2015 Newsletter
We’re living in a time when it’s easy for things to fall apart. All across the board of our culture, it seems like disintegration has become the new norm. Whether in the changing values that weave our national fabric or under the rooftop of a home that shelters a family, the evidence is abundantly clear that it’s becoming harder and harder for people to hold it together in these ever-changing times.
I’m not sure that anything is insulated from this trend. Businesses, churches, schools, government agencies, civic organizations, clubs, families, and friendships all seem to be prey to this permissive and unfortunate cultural climate.
Of course, at the end of the day, nobody really wins, and while voices are raised and fingers are pointed, all of us are losing something as precious as life itself: the sense that we really do matter to one another and that, whatever the cost may be, we can always discover new ways to hold it all together.
We learn a lot about holding it together at Hosanna Industries. As we daily build with hammers and saws, we learn in very practical ways that every board needs a nail, every block needs mortar, every part and piece of a structure needs a fastener in order to be properly and meaningfully placed in relationship with all the other pieces so that the whole house can be held together.
More than 20 years ago, when the mission was in its earliest years of learning how to master its craft, I met a man on a new home construction site up in Mercer County. He was an old and experienced builder, and he showed up to offer his assistance to a little young mission that was really trying to do its best. I learned a great deal from this friend, and during the course of my learning, he taught me how to use a transit in establishing the perimeter of a home.
This exercise is absolutely vital prior to construction, establishing the actual dimensions and outer limits of a structure before it is built, and the method involves the use of a 360° calibrated telescope situated on a dead-level platform that is supported by the three legs of a tripod. Beneath the level platform is suspended a plumb-bob on a line, the sharp point of which is lowered until it just touches the head of a physical point which is driven into the ground. As I watched this master builder perform this operation for the first time, I marveled at the proficiency and experience which guided his every move, and as he gently adjusted the plumb- bob line so that the index point could be accurately referenced, I wondered how he would hold the two ends of the lines together so that everything could be fixed.
Expecting him to tie some kind of knot, he surprised me by reaching into his pocket to locate a little device I had never seen before. He called it a line-cinch, and he showed me how to use it to hold the lines together. I was so impressed by its usefulness and simple design, that I inquired where he got it so that I could get one too. He smiled at me and explained that he invented it years earlier when necessity required it, and then quickly began to make me one from a scrap piece of copper wire, a little length of tubing, and a pair of pliers.
I’ve carried that little keepsake in my pocket for more than twenty years now, and it always reminds me of an old friend, now gone for quite a few years, who knew how to hold things together.
2015 has been an astonishing, amazing year for Hosanna Industries. We have been blessed to help 142 households with pressing needs through the course of the year. We have been blessed to labor with more than 1500 volunteers who came from far and near to be a part of the mission’s work. We have been blessed to pursue and raise $881,196.70 against our expenses of $960,188.86, and we are so grateful for all that has been so graciously given. We have been blessed to celebrate our 25th anniversary year, which I never anticipated would or could happen when the mission was first starting out, and as unexpectedly as any of the many miracles Hosanna Industries has witnessed through the years, we have been blessed to acquire a new auxiliary mission campus consisting of 9 beautiful acres of land in Gibsonia, PA, essentially doubling the
physical capacity of a mission that was born to hear Hosanna cries and to help all kinds of needy people learn new ways to hold it together. Through every hour of this past year, I have seen God’s hands hold the mission together, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
According to our now 22 year long tradition, we have included in this newsletter a Christmas tree ornament, handmade by the mission workers of Hosanna Industries. It is a gift for you, from our hands and from our hearts. It is a line-cinch, identical to the one given to me years ago. I hope it will remind you of the significance of holding it together as you place it on your tree. Maybe, after the holiday season, you’ll choose to keep it in your pocket.
Of course, in a very big way, that’s what Christmas is all about. The disharmony and despair that has always plagued the human race, isolating ourselves from one another and alienating us from God, is not only exposed but eradicated because of Christmas. Christ is the solution. Christ is the one who can teach us how to hold it together if we listen to His Word. At Christmastime and always, He teaches us to forgive, to try again, to go another mile, to give, to pray, to suffer sometimes, and to always love.
Jesus is the world’s line-cinch, and He’s yours and mine as well! Merry Christmas, dear Hosanna friend, and thank you for all you’ve done to help God’s hands hold Hosanna Industries together.
Read more here: 2015 November Newsletter