March 16, 2022

“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”   – Jesus.  (Mark 10:43-44)

Growing up on the farm with six brothers, I can hear my mother singing in the kitchen as I took my turn washing dishes. It's a familiar song, composed by Michael Ryan, “If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, learn to be the servant of them all.”

Perhaps my mother wanted to make sure I absorbed these words as I dreamed of being a great Philadelphia Phillies pitcher or winning the Nobel Peace Prize. She said to get to being a fastball pitcher or ending world hunger meant you had to learn how to shell lima beans, scrub the kitchen floor and polish shoes for Sunday.

Sixty-three years later, I never made the Phillies nor ended world hunger. But as Executive Director of MDS I sure see a LOT of great Kingdom servants. Who are they? Just in my last two weeks of travel I saw them. They are volunteers from Barto, Pennsylvania prepping an old American Legion building in Crisfield, Maryland for arriving weekly volunteers to build new homes after an unnamed flood last October. Work involves unclogging toilets and repairing leaky faucets.

It involves meeting with local town officials to get the building permits in place, painting the office space and cleaning the oven and refrigerators. It involves meeting the first three homeowners and giving them the good news: we are coming to build you a new home.

They are volunteers from Ohio who worked in the cold rain installing decking on the 310-foot private access bridge in Clendenin, West Virginia. Now 14 families can safely cross the Elk River.  That is service. That is greatness! Come join MDS – it is one way to give up the dream of power and fame in service to others.
Executive Director
Mennonite Disaster Service
“The stars and God—that’s all we got”
 “We lost everything,” said Abraham Parfait. “My wife even lost all her baby pictures.” 

Then he contracted COVID-19, spending more than a week in the hospital. 
When he finally felt well enough to clean up his damaged home, a cold snap brought subfreezing temperatures. 

“We spent some time living in a tent with the kids,” he saidt. “I mean, bad after bad after bad. Every step we took, it was like getting pushed back again. If there wasn’t bad luck—there was no luck.” Then MDS showed up.

Fraser Valley Church and MDS Canada
 partner for disaster recovery in B.C.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it can also take a community to help someone recover from disaster.

That’s what’s happening in B.C.’s Fraser Valley as the South Abbotsford Church, MDS Canada and MCC B.C. team up to help Trina Enns recover from last year’s devastating flood.

Musician gets his banjo back
with help from MDS Canada
Emmelot could only take a few things when he waded out the door. Among the things the 66-year-old left behind were his prized instruments—accordion, ukulele, guitar and banjo.
“I play on the music team at my church, and for people in a local personal care home,” said the amateur musician. 

When Emmelot got back home after the flood, he found all the instruments had survived—except the banjo. 
“It didn’t look salvageable,” he said of how it was waterlogged and stained. “I didn’t have any hope it could be played again.”

MDS is hiring

MDS currently has several opportunities to join our team in the U.S. We have opportunities within our volunteer team, our communications team and our field operations team.

Mennonite Disaster Service recruits, organizes, and empowers volunteers to repair and rebuild the homes of those impacted by disasters in the United States and Canada. We have opportunities for you to volunteer with MDS at various projects this spring!
Thank you for your support!
MDS has volunteer opportunities for Winter and Spring 2022.
Your continued support helps with recruiting volunteers, moving equipment, setting up accommodations, replenishing supplies, and many other things needed to get going.
MDS Binational Office
583 Airport Road,
Lititz, PA 17543 USA

T: (717) 735-3536
T (toll free): 1-800-241-8111
F: (717) 735-0809
MDS Canada Office
200-600 Shaftesbury Blvd
Winnipeg, MB Canada R3P 2J1

T: (204) 261-1274
F: (204) 261-1279