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CBC Serving with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS)

By Katie Wray, First Year Biblical Studies Student shares about her experience in Paradise, California

Over reading break a group of students from CBC had the privilege of going to Paradise, California to serve with MDS (Mennonite Disaster Services) and help with the rebuilding of houses that got destroyed in the fire. A few years ago there was a terrible fire that passed through Paradise and destroyed most of the houses in the town. MDS has been working in that area and slowly rebuilding houses for people who are in need of help. It was such a privilege to be able to go down and help with the projects there and see the impact that MDS is having on that community. The day our team arrived in Paradise, we walked around and explored a little bit and met some people from the community and it was really awesome because the people from the town were already thanking us for coming and helping before we had even done any work. We got to meet a couple of the home-owners and hear their story and what they experienced when the fire came through and it was really eye-opening for us all. I think this trip positively impacted each one of us in a different way. It was such a blessing to be able to go and travel down to California and be able to serve the community in Paradise. It was a really unique experience for our team. Many of us had never done the construction work that was needed so each of us had to step out of our comfort zone and trust that God put us there for a special reason. We grew closer together as a team and saw God work in many ways. Personally, I sensed the presence of God often while we were there in many different ways. I believe God had His hand of care upon us the whole time while we were there. Every day we had morning devotions and worship and it was really refreshing to be able to start the day with God’s Word and begin the day with the right mindset. One element that really stood out to me was how kind and welcoming the MDS staff in Paradise was. It really touched my heart seeing how they acted towards us and treated us like we were part of their family. The crew leaders who were there showed us so much patience and were so good with teaching us new skills that we had never done before. I felt like God was teaching me to move past my fears and limitations on what I think I can do and simply trust in Him and know that I am capable of doing great things with His help. I am sure I can speak for us all when I say that this trip was so rewarding and refreshing to be able to do this experience and I would definitely serve with MDS again in the future.