From November 3-9, a Woodland Hills short term mission team joined Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) in Wharton, Texas to help rebuild homes destroyed two years ago by Hurricane Harvey.
MDS is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches dedicated to rebuilding and restoring homes for vulnerable community members in the wake of natural and man-made disasters.
Hurricane Harvey was a category four storm that struck in August 2017, causing devastating floods and many deaths. It takes years to recover from a disaster of that scale, and this is where MDS comes in, offering help long after the news coverage has moved on.
Woodland sent a five-member team to do painting, flooring, and cabinet installs at two build sites. After the trip, team members shared their reflections:
Ken Barnes found encouragement in the story of Gideon. “God used Gideon’s small number of men to defeat Midian. It made me think of our small group that went on this trip and accomplished a lot through God.”
Dennis Stiles felt that this trip was especially suited to his gifts. “I feel doing this kind of mission trip is what God has given me the skills for, and allows me to share his love. For the amount of work I was able to accomplish, considering my age, I felt that God was with me always.”
Tedd Robb saw the beauty of volunteers “who love God and want to follow Jesus, being his hands and feet in some way, who gladly come and serve where, when, and how God could use them. I saw four men from our church give of their time, vacation, and energy. They worked hard every day to help move the projects along.”
By trip’s end, the team had completed more than anyone had expected: both houses were fully painted and floored—a big encouragement to both the local community and the Woodland volunteers.
If you’d like to learn more about MDS, check out their website and be sure to keep an ear open for future volunteer opportunities!