April 19, 2023

Hello Jesse,

"As I sit here composing this e-mail, I am asking God to give me the words to adequately express our gratitude for all the help that your organization has provided. What you have done to help is so big, we do not have words available.” That’s how a note from Caroline Purnell of Cape Breton began.

Caroline sent the e-mail to Roman Heuft, our Response Coordinator in Cape Breton. Through it, she wanted to express gratitude for how MDS had come alongside her daughter, Rosalyn Purnell, whose house in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, was damaged last fall by Hurricane Fiona.

The past few years had been challenging for Rosalyn, who works hard as a nurse and is a single mother to her four boys. Money was always in short supply. Then came the hurricane—“the final straw,” as Caroline, put it. The hurricane damaged the roof, causing rain to leak in every time a new storm came along. For Rosalyn, who couldn’t afford to fix it, the situation seemed hopeless.

The situation worsened when her insurance company gave her a deadline of the end of April to fix the roof or they would cancel her homeowner’s policy. “I went to see Rosalyn after she received the e-mail from the insurance company,” Caroline said. “She was sitting on the floor crying. She thought she should just give up her job and kids and go on welfare. She thought her children would be better off in care with some stability—if she lost the house, she didn’t know how she would look after them.”

That’s when they reached out to MDS. Roman readily agreed to provide Rosalyn with a new metal roof, along with fixing some damaged windows and porch railings. When Caroline received that news, everything changed. “When you said you would do the repairs, not only were you helping someone with a leaking roof, you were changing the outcome of an entire family's life,” she said. “I have seen my daughter go from hopelessness and despair to gratitude and hopefulness for her future,” she said, adding Rosalyn is in “disbelief for the help from MDS in getting a new roof.”

For Caroline, what MDS did “was a miraculous answer to prayer and a source of encouragement to everyone who hears how you answered God's call. Please thank everyone who has been involved in this process, let them know how grateful we are.”

For MDS, this is a reminder that we just don’t rebuild homes—as important as that is. We also rebuild hope for those who feel hopeless after a natural disaster. Thank-you for your support in making this rebuilding work possible! Your continued donations to our Cape Breton response will help more people like Rosalyn find hope. Go to www.mds.org to make a gift.

P.S. Thanks to all who have volunteered to serve in Cape Breton! We now have enough volunteers to take us through to the end of the response in August.

Director of Canadian Operations

Mennonite Disaster Service

Retired Saskatchewan couple wants to do "as much as we can" through

MDS RV program

The Olsons—they’re both 76—are dual U.S. and Canadian citizens who live in Waldheim, Sask. They have been doing the RV program for three years now; previously, they served in Texas. Their home away from home while doing the service is a 30-foot Sunset Trail Reserve trailer.

Click here to read more

Easter hope in Florida:

MDS changed the course of our future

“The integrity of these volunteers is astonishing,” said Amber Scott. “They were the most kind people—the most hardworking.”

The volunteers did far more than repair a home, she added. “They changed our lives and inspired my children,” she said. “They showed all of us what’s possible when God stands as the foundation.”

Click here to read more.

MDS has volunteer opportunities for you!

See the full list of volunteer opportunities when you click here.

  Contact [email protected] or 

call 1-800-241-8111 with any questions or to schedule a week. 

Click here to volunteer
Thank you for your support!

Your continued support helps with recruiting volunteers, moving equipment, setting up accommodations, replenishing supplies, and many other things needed to get going.

MDS Binational Office
583 Airport Road,
Lititz, PA 17543 USA

T: (717) 735-3536
T (toll free): 1-800-241-8111
F: (717) 735-0809
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MDS Canada Office
200-600 Shaftesbury Blvd
Winnipeg, MB Canada R3P 2J1

T: (204) 261-1274
F: (204) 261-1279