Although the new tiny house adventure has its own demands, sometimes you have to set aside personal goals for a bit to help others. Okanogan County is the poorest county in Washington State, and in both 2014 and 2015 this county was devastated by wildland fires.
Foolish me! I thought between insurance and help from the State and Federal governments that folks losing their homes would quickly be housed again. Well, my friends, I was wrong. If you are wealthy enough to afford insurance, then you might get your house back. If you are poor, and you couldn’t afford insurance, well you sure aren’t going to get much help from the government. And, in case you hadn’t noticed it is winter out, and there are a whole bunch of people in one of the wealthiest states in America living in ramshackle camper shells and trailers. So who helps you?
Interestingly it is churches. We leave a lot of heavy lifting in this country for the poorest people in America to the contributions made by churches. While we can all sit here in amazement that our tax dollars aren’t quickly putting people back in homes after a disaster, the good news is that at a slower rate the churches fill the gaps. Some churches, such as the Methodists (big shout out here in WA), tend to supply the bucks while other churches largely supply the labor.
I have worked with the Mennonite Disaster Services a couple times now being the labor to build homes. I must say my dear friends in the Anabaptist religions (look it up) are absolutely the hardest working and happy people I have ever met! Note to file: never, ever challenge them to volleyball or a game of rook. You will lose! Likewise if you challenge the mayor of Pateros to arm wrestle, you will also lose!
This past week, in the winter, we worked on three more houses that we will soon complete. Whether it was skinnying through a crawl space to insulate a floor, hanging sheetrock, or getting your snoot full sanding mud, these crews worked their hearts out to bring homes to the poorest of the poor. The call to service is strong! Working with these volunteers renews my faith in humankind, at least until the next silly political statement finds its way through my barriers.
I am proud to call them friend! I am proud of what we can do as team!