Joshua’s Mission – The work of MDS in Texas
About the book: 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.
Thank you for allowing me to visit your blog today. I’m very excited about the release of Joshua’s Mission (2-1-16), which is book 2 in my Plain & Simple Miracles series. Much of this story was inspired by the work that Mennonite Disaster Services has done in Texas, and I wanted to share some of that with you today.
Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS). According to their 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.
- How I first learned of MDS. My husband and I enrolled in a class to become part of an Emergency Response Team. While in that training, the instructor mentioned MDS several times. I cornered him afterwards 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.
- MDS in Bastrop, Texas. A massive wildfire struck Bastrop State Park on September 4, 2011. It burned until October 10th. The most destructive wildfire in Texas history—the Bastrop fire destroyed 1,691 homes, killed two people, and caused $325 million of insured property damage. Since that time, Bastrop has endured floods and a tornado. Through each of those disasters, MDS has worked to minister to the people in the area. They continue to work there today.
- Volunteers. 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.
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.
You can learn more about MDS and contribute to their ministry at mds.mennonite.net. I do hope you’ll pick up a copy of Joshua’s Mission and learn more about this wonderful organization.
Now I’d love to hear from you. Are you aware of any MDS work in your area? Do you know of other religious organizations who do ministry work? If so, give them a shout-out now. We’d love to hear about them.
***Thank you, Vannetta, for sharing with us about Mennonite Disaster Services.***
Vannetta Chapman has kindly offered to give away a copy of Joshua’s Mission to one commenter on this blog post.
(Open to US addresses only due to shipping costs)
To enter: Simply comment on this post with your name and email in a non spam format. We’d love to hear your answers to Vannetta’s questions about religious organizations who do ministry work or if you have heard of MDS before.
Giveaway begins on 1/26/2016 and ends on 2/2/2016 midnight CST. Winner will be emailed and announced on the blog on 2/3/2016.
To connect with Vannetta:
How interesting! I never knew this about the Amish and Mennonites.
Hi Christine. You’re not alone – a lot of people don’t know about MDS. Thanks for stopping by!
When I was working at our local hospital we had groups of Mennonites come and volunteer for several weeks at a time. They have a house they use and groups rotate in and out. I worked with one of the ladies at a reception desk and she brought homemade cinnamon rolls for everyone to enjoy, but it was my day off!
Wow. I didn’t realize they worked in hospitals. Thanks for your comment, Gail!
I read Joshua’s Mission through Net Galley. It was a great read. You can leave my name out of the hat.
Thank you for stopping by!
I have not heard of this but know they would help if they could in most situations. thanks for sharing your book and your comments on this site.
You’re so welcome!
I love reading Vannetta’s books! Helping others is very important; everyone can do something to help someone in need.
Thank you, Donna!
I knew that they went in groups to help in catastrophic situations, but I didn’t know they had a name for their group.
wfnren at aol dot com
Hi Wendy. Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for allowing me to learn more about such an amazing ministry!
You’re so welcome, Janice!
Thanks for bringing awareness to MDS; I had no idea the Mennonites had an organization like this. There is a church, I believe it’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where their young men are required to do a year of mission work when they graduate high school. A friend I graduated with was sent from Arkansas to California, and several years ago I met two young men from Utah that were sent to Oklahoma. I think they are set up with local churches and they do all kinds of things, from helping with house repairs for the elderly to volunteering at shelters.
imaclogger23 at yahoo dot com
Yes, you’re right. Thanks for stopping by!
Very informative. I learned a lot by reading this blog. Also, very interesting. The teacher in me loves to learn new things. I’d love to read this book!
Susan in NC
Thank you, Susan! I learned a lot writing the book.
Love her books.
Thank you, Kim.
This sounds VERY interesting. I have heard of the Amish and have read several fictions on the topic. I read one Amish non-fiction and it was a book about child upbringing that my mom left lying around. I don’t recall the title, because the book no longer exists at home (IDK why, because it was interesting to me). I’ve never heard of the Mennonites; that is something I would look into now.
I do not know of any MDS around me. But I am sure there are several groups that minister this way.
Thanks for sharing! I would love to read this! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for stopping by, Hadassah. Check at your local library – I”m sure there are a lot of Amish books. They are an interesting group of believers.
Never heard of this but it’s perfect an like it more than some of the others! Lady in office by me has 3 Christmas trees with money on them to help Africa!
That is very cool, Donna. 🙂
I have never heard about the MDS organization. Would enjoy reading about them in your book.
I had not heard of MDS until Vannetta Chapman mentioned them. 🙂 Looking forward to reading this story. ahenderson312(at)gmail(dot)com
Thanks for stopping by, Melissa!
I’ve never heard of MDS.
Now you have. Thanks for stopping by, Chastity. 🙂
Interesting sounding book
Thanks for the information, I guess you’re never to old to learn something new.lol
That’s what I keep telling myself, Sue. 🙂
Wow….that is interesting….I live near Amish communities here in western PA……I am not surprised by their involvement in helping in disaster though. They are a humble hardworking people who live their faith visibly. One of the men in my church is involved in the Emergency Management Team and has actively been involved in disasters. He was just in Greece a few months ago. Praise God for the many folks who go above and beyond to help all people……that is after all the Gospel in motion💕
Thank you so much for your comment, Dale. I believe some of the folks working down here in Texas with MDS were Amish from your state!
Wow, interesting post. Didn’t know any of this. Thanks for sharing.
You’re so welcome, Karen!
I have worked a little with The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief organization, but I don’t remember hearing of MDS. I do remember that when we lived in KY, our local Mennonite store had a clothing collection box out front for mission work. That might have been for MDS, but I couldn’t say for sure now.
Hi Laura. Thanks for stopping by!
I had not heard about MDS. I look forward to learning so much more about the organization. Blessed Be
Hi Debbie. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
I had never heard of MDS until I saw it on Vannetta’s fb page. I know there are several places like that here. kayt18(at)comcast(dot)net
Hi Kay. Thanks so much for following me on Facebook.
I have not heard of MDS before, but this was very interesting to read about. Can’t wait to read your book!
Thank you, Tiffany!
No, I hadn’t heard of MDS and this interview was very enlightening. Thank you for the chance to win this book.
You’re so welcome, Connie.
Love your books,,thanks for a chance to win
Thank you for commenting, Martha!
Wow-looks like an awesome read! My mom grew up Mennonite but I’ve never heard of MDS before either. Thanks so much for doing this giveaway for your readers! Have a Blessed day!
I’ll bet your mom has heard of them, Wenona. Ask her! 🙂
I have never heard of MDS but it does sound quite interesting and I would love to read the book. Thank you for the offer.
Thank you, Jo!
No, I haven’t heard of MDS, can’t wait to read the book. Love your books Vanetta.
I appreciate that, Alisa.
How interesting. Have never heard of MDS. Thanks for a chance to win this book.
Thank you for entering, Juanita.
I have never heard of MDS, it sounds like such a wonderful program and benefits so many people.
Looking forward to reading another one of your great books.
Hi Cindy. I’m waving wildly. 🙂
I haven’t heard about MDS until now. I knew about the Amish and the Mennonites.
Thanks for the review and the giveaway!
Glad you stopped by, Susie.
I also have never heard about MDS but will keep them all in my prayers.
Thank you, Janet!
I know of the MDS. They helped people affected by Superstorm Sandy. I also am giving a shout out to the Texas Baptist Men and their mobile kitchens that helps those in disaster situations.
Amish fiction is my favorite and I would love to read Vannetta’s book.
Yes. The Texas Baptist Men often work side by side with MDS. Both are awesome groups.
A very interesting and informative article/interview. I was not aware of MDS. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.
Thank you for stopping by, Mary Ellen!
There are fine Mennonite men that live in our area and I have known of them gathering up their equipment and going to work in disaster areas.
Vannnetta is a fine author and I would love to read this book. Thank you for the opportunity.
mauback55 at gmail dot com
Thank you, Melanie!
I am so looking forward to reading this book! I bet the MDS even helped after the OK tornadoes in 2013.
Thank you for stopping by, Debbie!
I can’t wait to read this book – I never knew about the MDS before. Always love your writing!!
Thank you, Marla! Glad you learned about MDS!
I’m waving wildly at you all. Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing your experiences. I think when we make people aware of mission work, they’re much more likely to support it. Blessings to each of you.
Such great comments! I have enjoyed reading all of them, too. Thanks so much for stopping by each day and “talking” with all of us, Vannetta!
I have never heard of MDS even though I live in an area that has Amish and Mennonites in it. It’s wonderful to see this group coming together to help so many in need. Thank you to them and all hepers in situations like this. I would love to read , Vanetta Chapman’s newest book. Her books are so inspirational.
Cnnamongirl at aol dot com
Love all your books, Vannetta!
I was unaware of MDS, but, from what I understand there aren’t really any Amish communities in Washington State and very few Mennonite. I think that’s why I enjoy Amish Fiction so much. It’s not anything I grew up around. I live in a conservative Christian town founded by Dutch Reformed families. In fact, I can’t even count the number of various reformed churches that make up our small town. I, actually, go to a non-denominational church that has a very large outreach and service to the community. tlhcoupon(at)hotmail(dot)com