The Albuquerque, New Mexico Service aDventure Unit: Judith Penner, Marie Saleh, Kristin Jantzen, Jon Voth, with unit leaders Sondra and Bob Tolle. Photo by Susan Nisly.

By Sondra Tolle
Friday, May 18, 2018

God's Promise to Sustain (GPS) as seen from my perspective last week in Coastal Bend at the MDS [Mennonite Disaster Service] work site was a grateful blessing. Grateful to have Ike and Priscilla lead the site as project managers, Helmut and Karin to organize and cook all meals for all diverse nutritional needs, and grateful for MDS to accept 30 individuals who are directly involved in Service Adventure. None of these individuals came to the site with more than an attitude of service and compassion. Most of us had done some painting. All were willing to be respectful and grateful to help those in need. Therefore, much good work was accomplished.

The GPS, as the world uses the term, was used by us many times to both drive to Texas and drive back to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where our unit house is located. While leaving Rockport, Texas, a picture was taken of the GPS instructions so that we could get where we needed in case we were too far from Internet service. Unfortunately, at our first big turn, the road signs had not been replaced, and so we did not make an important turn. We were grateful that we could still get the Internet to locate where we needed to turn around to get back on course again.

To turn around and get back on course is what MDS does for the volunteers. I saw destruction from a mighty storm, and volunteers who have never helped in such an important way. Together, we were able to both serve those in need as well as hear their stories. Where did they go with an impending disaster? Did they stay and ride it out, or did they leave and call back into the neighborhood to find out the extent of the damage? Each person we helped was willing to share their story and leave a memory.

I was able to get back on course and have deep conversations with the four individuals listed above. I learned from Ike, Priscilla, Helmut and Karin, all who gave a full month of time to serve God while serving others in Texas. Their perspectives included the amount of change they had seen in the past four weeks. Oftentimes, I just look at what is, instead of what was. The change is an important part of the project.

Gods Promise to Sustain is like that with us. Psalm 119:116 says, "Sustain me, my God, according to your word so I can live: Don't let me be put to shame because of hope." I'm grateful for my opportunity to serve others.'s-promise-to-sustain-in-South-Texas

​Sondra Tolle and her husband Bob are Service Adventure leaders in Albuquerque, New Mexico.





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