Men (and women) with a mission

By on December 10, 2018
Ralph Mowen (far right) with a group of workers and the man whose home they restored (front).

Ralph Mowen (far right) with a group of workers and the man whose home they restored (front).

Four members of Lititz Church of the Brethren spent the week of Oct. 14 to 20, in Lumberton, N.C. volunteering with Brethren Disaster Ministries’ Rebuild Program, a service ministry of the Church of the Brethren.

Zach Rowe, Ralph Moyer, and Udo and Janice Sommerhoff traveled with a group of volunteers from Wilmington, Del., Church of the Brethren and one person from Lancaster Church of the Brethren, working with Brethren from other states for the week in Lumberton. BDM currently has teams working in both North and South Carolina, with housing and meals provided at a church in Lumberton. The teams are helping with clean-up and debris removal from Hurricane Florence and still repairing homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Steve Keim and Udo Sommerhoff work on a restoration project.

Steve Keim and Udo Sommerhoff work on a restoration project.

Brethren Disaster Ministries’ Rebuild Program engages volunteers to repair and rebuild storm damaged homes for some of the most vulnerable disaster survivors, thereby easing trauma and promoting recovery. By demonstrating Christ’s love and putting their faith in action as they restore damaged homes, volunteers also restore broken lives.

BDM Rebuild projects are supported by a network of volunteers from across the country who reduce the recovery costs for homeowners by providing free construction labor. At each rebuild project site, BDM partners with local Long Term Recovery organizations who are working with their community to identify unmet needs after a disaster, including home destruction or damage cases that BDM can help repair.

Ralph Moyer (right) and Betty, a fellow BDM volunteer.

Ralph Moyer (right) and Betty, a fellow BDM volunteer.

Trained construction leaders and household leaders provide volunteer orientation and instruction on the work site, as well as meals at the volunteers housing. Unskilled volunteers willing to learn are invited to work alongside those who are skilled and willing to teach. Volunteer housing is provided, often at local churches or community buildings, where weekly volunteers and leaders stay, eat and become more connected with the community.

(Left to right) Ken Hackett, Udo Sommerhoff, and Shawn Carroll on a job site.

(Left to right) Ken Hackett, Udo Sommerhoff, and Shawn Carroll on a job site.

BDM will continue to assess needs in all the affected areas. Volunteers are currently being sought for projects in the Carolinas, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Those wishing to support BDM work financially can donate to the denomination’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). A number of congregations and districts are already doing special offerings. Additional information about Brethren Disaster Ministries can be found at brethren.org/bdm.

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