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Wharton, TX – Weekly Report – Mar 25-29, 2019

April 3, 2019

This last week of March was also the last week of the Wharton project for the 2019 season. So there were several items all competing for attention simultaneously. We had jobs to complete; we had house blessings to plan and to contact the appropriate persons for that; we had site clean-up in preparation for the blessings; we had farewells to say; and we had disassembly and cleanup at our quarters. We had much to manage and it all got done! Much credit goes to our Long Term Volunteers.

A family group of 8 from Port Angeles, Washington, assisted us with these tasks, along with a MDS veteran from Kalispell, MT. This was a smaller group than usual, but a semi-local man from Smithville, TX, responded to the appeal for more help. Dennis Moniger, himself a recipient of a MDS home from the LaGrange project, helped us for 2 days. That was encouraging to all of us. This group also took ample opportunity to use the fire pit and sit around the fire, telling jokes, stories, and having fun together.

This week we focused on houses 1 and 2, attempting to get as much accomplished as possible. The dry weather assisted as we completed the ADA accessible ramps and railings. The flooring was laid, doors installed, and trim completed. Unfortunately, the countertops were backordered, so they and the plumbing could not be finished. These two houses are very close to completion.

The highlight of the week was the house blessing, held Friday at 1:00pm. Because the two houses are side-by-side, we had a blessing for both houses together. Unfortunately, Ms. Willia Allen could not attend, as her mother is in the hospital. However, Ms. Sarah Butler was present with her family and friends. Also attending was the entire Long Term Recovery Team, the Mayor of Wharton, the Town Council, Team Rubicon (a disaster response group who specialize in demolition), neighbors, the press, and other interested people. Approximately 50-60 persons attended. During the service, Ms Butler’s Pastor had a prayer, we had a simply litany, one of our volunteers, Maylon Peters, sang “Bless This House”, and we were able to present Ms Butler with a Memory Book of photos and a MDS wall hanging which she had chosen. The Recovery Team also provided a reception, with a cake thanking MDS.

So, after all that, we have the task of packing up the project and putting it in mothballs for the summer. The Long Term Recovery Group is anticipating the return of MDS next season, and is already welcoming us back!

For this season, MDS has assisted in building 5 new houses and has repaired or assisted with 10 others. That is a good accomplishment for these 3 months. May God be praised!

MDS has built a lot of good will in this community, and has truly given people hope that they can overcome the tragedy which befell them. 22 new houses are now fully funded for the future, with more funds coming in to the Recovery Group. One person said, “success builds success”. We are pleased that MDS could assist in this endeavor.

Lois and Wayne Hochstetler, on behalf of the Wharton Team