A Personal Story From the Field

April 19, 2016

A personal story, written by HFI Reservist Stan Slager, father of HFI staff member, Laura Stoltzfus

Joey and Laura Stoltzfus and kids were driving back to Tennessee from South Carolina on January 31st, after another week of working on homes damaged in the floods of October 4, 2015. Laura called me on her cell phone to invite me down to do some sparkling — probably not expecting me to respond positively; and...I didn't initially!  But the next day, I made some phone calls to young people in my church. Three girls and two guys set personal agendas aside -- and on Wednesday, we drove the 875 miles from New York. I'm sure that Hope Force International volunteers have to "rough it" many times — but we were welcomed into a very comfortable double wide mobile home with attached bunkhouse.
Joey.blogOthers joined us besides Joey— including his uncle and aunt who have spent many weeks there working and giving -- Chuck Duby from Hope Force and Mike Stroud, a Hope Force chaplain. Uncle Jerry (Joey's Uncle) is a powerhouse at the work site —  bringing tools, skills, energy and joy into everything he does. Five working days followed for us, with a break on Sunday for church (and the Super Bowl).  We sheetrocked, spackled, painted, sprayed to kill mold, replaced windows, and raked the yard. The house where we spent most of our time was green with mildew when we arrived. The girls washed and scrubbed the whole house, and at the end of that day, the house was blue.

Two highlights of our week were attending celebrations and dedications. One was at a house, and the other a church. Both had been badly damaged -- and now the renovations were complete. Joey honored and thanked a number of people who had contributed funds, supplies, and labor. These were emotional gatherings.

Hope Force is aptly named: bringing hope and help where lives and homes (and churches) have been devastated and hope is almost gone. Then you come along, and stop and say,  "Let's see what we can do."  Hope revives -- probably pretty weak at first, opportunities lie ahead, and Jesus is glorified.

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