NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) - On March 25, participants, leaders, and their director joined Mennonite Disaster Service's (MDS) work in South Texas. The project marked the first time in the history of the Service Adventure program that participants from all units across the country were able to meet in one place to work and worship together. The continued work by MDS in South Texas helps to build new homes and repair structures that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey, which struck the region in August 2017.
The Service Adventure group, as well as four Mennonite Mission Network staff members, were split between MDS locations in Bloomington and Rockport, Texas. The group of thirty volunteers spent the majority of the week painting, hanging and mudding drywall, as well as connecting with the owners of the houses on which they worked.
For most participants, the project was their first experience with MDS. "I feel like we received so much more than we gave," said Wiebke Broers, a participant in the Anchorage, Alaska unit.
"They [the participants] were eager to learn new skills and to see how much they were able to accomplish during the week," said Susan Nisly, Service Adventure Director. She expressed that the experience was strengthened by the opportunities to meet and hear the stories of homeowners who lived through the storm.
Sondra Tolle, a leader from the Albuquerque unit, explained that everyone in their group came with an attitude of service and compassion. "All were willing to be respectful and grateful to help those in need," she said. "Therefore, much good work was accomplished."
The week concluded on Good Friday with a group worship service, as well as a time for relaxation at Rockport beach before the units parted ways back to their placements in Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. Transportation for all five groups was made possible in part by a generous grant from the Fidelia Plett Foundation.
"I enjoyed spending time with the other Service Adventure units," said Lea Rossol, a participant in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania unit. "It was good to talk with them…and just see how different and unique all the units are."
Service Adventure, is a year-long service program for young adults who serve in a local placement, participate in a local church, and live in community with unit leaders who serve as mentors.