I’m very excited about the release of Joshua’s Mission (releases TODAY!), which is book two in my Plain & Simple Miracles series. I have often been asked, “Why don’t the Amish participate in mission work?” The truth is that they do—through Mennonite Disaster Services. Today I wanted to share what I’ve learned about the Amish and MDS, which was the inspiration for this story.
1. What is MDS? According to the website, MDS is “a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches that responds in Christian love to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States.” MDS volunteers include people from all faith backgrounds, including Mennonite, Amish, and Brethren in Christ. Other mainstream groups partner with MDS to minister to people.
2. How did I learn about MDS? My husband and I enrolled in a certification class to become part of an emergency response team. While in that training, the instructor mentioned MDS several times. I cornered him afterward and peppered him with questions. Amish in Texas? Oh, yeah. They’ve helped families recover from tornadoes, floods, plant explosions, and wildfires, to name a few.
3. Do I have personal experience with MDS? My husband recently joined an MDS crew in Bastrop, Texas. This area has endured wildfires, floods, and tornadoes all in the last few years. Bob helped restore homes that had been affected by floods. He loved working with the MDS crew and plans to return this month as they begin building new homes for those left homeless from recent disasters.
4. Where do they minister? According to the MDS newsletter I receive, disaster relief work is currently being done in Washington, West Virginia, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado, and Florida.
5. Can anyone volunteer? MDS accepts volunteers from many faiths and backgrounds. You can sign up for their newsletter so that you will know of needs in your area. My husband recently traveled to work with them in Bastrop, which is only 100 miles from where we live. He was very impressed with their organization, the kindness of those volunteering, and the work they were doing.
6. Where can I get more information? The website for MDS is mds.mennonite.net. I also highly recommend the book, Mennonite Disaster Service: Building a Therapeutic Community After the Gulf Coast Storms, which can be ordered from their site or Amazon. You can also follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/MennoniteDisasterService.
Many aspects of Amish life have been portrayed in both books and television; however, few realize that the Amish participate in mission work both here in the U.S. and abroad. My goal in writing Joshua’s Mission was to highlight that work, to raise awareness for this organization, and to describe what a difference volunteers make for those dealing with tragedy.
I do hope you’ll pick up a copy of Joshua’s Mission—a story of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God that carries us through even the worst situations.
About Joshua’s Mission
Joshua Kline travels from his farm in Oklahoma to offer aid to an Englisch town on the gulf coast of Texas after a category 4 hurricane has ravaged the area. What will Joshua find when he arrives in Texas? A budding romance? A call from God? A possible healing of his relationship with his brother? Joshua’s Mission is a story of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God that carries us through even the worst situations.
Order your copy of Joshua’s Mission today!
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top Ten Fiction list. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband. For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com
Her latest novel, Joshua’s Mission, is now available!