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“You’d make a great MDSer.”

That’s what a long-time Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteer told Robert Prinse, a self-employed carpenter from Chilliwack, B.C.

That was in 2001. It took Prinse, 56, until 2014 to follow through on the suggestion. But since then he hasn’t stopped serving with the organization, which repairs and rebuilds homes damaged by natural disasters.

“My friend did a lot of service with MDS,” said Prinse. “When he couldn’t do it anymore, due to health and age, he encouraged me to go in his place.”

Over the past five years Prinse has done MDS service in Saipan, West Virginia, Michigan, California, Alberta and now in B.C. at Grand Forks, which experienced severe flooding a year ago.

For Prinse, the best part is being with other volunteers and hearing stories from clients. “I meet so many great people at every project,” he said. “God has blessed me,” he added. “Now, MDS is what I live for. It feeds my soul.”

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