April 12, 2023
MDS RV program “a way to keep serving” for retired Michigan couple
Joe and Roxanna Livermore serving in Welsh, La.
For Joe and Roxanna Livermore of Germfask, Michigan, the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Recreational Vehicle (RV) program is a way “for us to keep serving.”
For the couple, members of the Germfask Christian Fellowship, home away from home while serving for three months in Welsh, Louisiana is 36-foot Holiday Rambler motorhome.
“We like having our own space,” said Roxanna, 69, who is a non-participating member of the program—an old neck injury prevents her from doing regular repair work.
“But I still feel part of the project, and people make me feel welcome,” she said, adding that she spends her days praying for the volunteers and homeowners and making dish cloths to give away.
While Joe, 68, is away working, she also has the company of Andy, their 14-month-old cocker spaniel—he gets to travel with them in the RV, too.
“Everyone loves him and comes to pet him,” said Roxanna, who worked as a substitute in special education for a career. “We call him our ‘dash-hound’ since he always sits on the dash looking out at the world. He’s our project mascot.”
They both like the more relaxed nature of the program; volunteers serve four days a week, six hours a day. And they also like how family feel of the project. “You really get to know people when you spend this much time with them,” said Joe, a retired truck driver.
Getting away from the colder temperatures also is a benefit, they acknowledge. “It’s nice to escape winter for a bit,” Roxanna said.
Now in their fourth year of doing the MDS RV program—they served in Florida and Texas before—the Livermores are looking forward to serving more in the future.
“We will keep doing it as long as we can,” Joe said.
The MDS RV program is designed for older adults who want to serve in the southern U.S. during the winter. More laid-back in nature than traditional projects, volunteers work four days a week, six hours a day, usually on lighter repair projects. The term of service is one month or more. Hookups are provided in local campgrounds.
For more information about the MDS RV program, visit https://mdsorg.wpenginepowered.com/rv-volunteer
John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications