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It was a week before the project closed at the end of September at the Red Lake First Nation in northern Minnesota, and Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers were in a hurry to get the last few houses finished before closing for the winter.

MDS was in the community in response to a tornado and hailstorm in 2021 that damaged many houses in the community.

Cooks for the month were Lois Wenger, 66, of Port Henry, New York and Mim Martin, 77, of New Holland, Pennsylvania. Since both had done other kinds of service with MDS before—Lois has served a dozen times, Mim has served 11—they volunteered to help out by painting siding.

“I do MDS because it’s fun,” said Lois, who worked in the computer department at a hospital for 25 years and also taught other staff how to use a computer. “I get to see new places and meet new people.”

Added Mim: “Through MDS I’ve learned a lot of things like how to do electrical, flooring and drywall—and painting!”

Like Lois, Mim likes seeing new places and meeting people. When she went to the MDS annual celebration in Pennsylvania last year, “it was like a big reunion, meeting people I’ve served with.”


John Longhurst, MDS Canada

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