March 10, 2023
In eastern Kentucky, a visible reminder that God cares
By Don Yoder
As Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) dedicated a home for Paul and Vivian in eastern Kentucky, the day was full of visible reminders that God cares.
Paul and Vivian’s home was ravaged by a flood in July 2022. Most of their household items were swept away or damaged beyond repair. MDS began its work in January 2023.
Project Director Bob Martin began the service with a welcome and introductions. Phil Swartzentruber, a Breathitt County Long Term Recovery Committee member, gave a bit of background and introduced several additional community people.
Gifts were given, the Litany recited, and the song of thanks sung. Paul shared his deep thanks for the work MDS volunteers did on the house.
Then the surprise. Vivian asked, “Is it OK if I share a story?” Of course it was and she began.
“Right over there,” she said, pointing to a location in the new home, “a model of a church sat on a stand. It was in our house for many years at the same spot.”
She then described how she watched the flood waters rise in the house sweeping away her belongings. To her surprise the church did not move from its spot. Hours passed and as the water receded her belongings were gone but not her church.
“I believe it was a sign from God that Paul and I would be OK even in the middle of all the destruction,” she said. She took her model church out of the house and carefully cleaned it.
“I intend to put it back at the same location when we move into our house next week,” she explained.
For her and her family it will be a visible reminder that God cares for them.
Don Yoder is serving as the office manager for the MDS response in eastern Kentucky.