​Service Adventure participants Sara Schowalter, with the Colorado Springs, Colorado, unit, and Jessica Buckwalter, with the Anchorage, Alaska, unit, paint the interior of a house. Photo by Susan Nisly.

By Inga Haglund
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

From Mar. 25-30, our Service Adventure unit, along with all other units, traveled to Texas to help in restoring homes for those who lost theirs due to major hurricanes that hit nearly a year ago. Serving with MDS [Mennonite Disaster Service] was a new experience for most of us, and not knowing fully what to expect going into it, I believe that I can honestly say it is something that I, along with my unit, would love to be a part of again. During the week, not only did we get to meet and interact with all other Service Adventure participants and leaders, but also, we got to be a part of a project that helped to restore homes and lives.

My group worked all week on spackling and sanding drywall in a house that had been almost completely rebuilt due to mold and water damage to almost all rooms. Currently, there are six family members living full-time in an RV parked in their yard, along with one family member in and out, and a girlfriend with a baby on the way. While working, we got to know the family more. It was obvious that they are very grateful for what MDS is doing for them to get them back into their home. The mom expressed how devastating it was to come back home, after being evacuated, to a house that was almost completely ruined by the storms. She expressed how blessed they are to have people set aside their time to help rebuild her home for her family. Not only did she express how much having her house rebuilt meant to her, but she has also been grateful for the relationships she has developed with the volunteers working through MDS. After hearing her story, we realized we weren't just working on a house; we were working on a home and a place full of memories.

Along with working with MDS all week, we had the opportunity to get to know other Service Adventure participants and leaders, as well as spend the week with the Colorado Springs unit. One thing that amazed me about each participant was their story of how they got to Service Adventure. There were so many lives and stories that led us all together to Service Adventure, and it was amazing to hear how each one was different, yet somehow we all ended up there together. Along with the amazing opportunity to get to know the other units better, it also helped each of us to appreciate our own unit in different ways. I think that each of us realized that we really do love where we are and who we are with.

The trip to Texas was a great chance for a change in scenery. Not only was it especially nice to take a break from the cold and snow, but it also gave us the opportunity to get to know and meet the other units. Most importantly, though, we got to do so in a way that benefited others. We looked forward to this trip for so long, and I can honestly say that I think it turned out even better than each of us intended. I hope the units in future years get to experience this same opportunity, too.





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​Inga Haglund is a Service Adventure participant in Anchorage, Alaska.




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