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From May 7-12, 2017, I participated in a volunteer trip with World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) in Century, Florida to restore homes affected by the February 2016 tornado. Since I work for World Renew in the Canadian office, this trip was an opportunity to better understand the ministry being carried out by DRS, or more affectionately known as the “Green Shirts”. I was accompanied by three other colleagues -- Rhonda Elgersma (World Renew Canada), Carrie Elzinga (World Renew US), and Renate Smits (World Renew US).

While there, we heard stories from families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the tornado. They spoke about their hardships and challenges, but they also shared how their lives were been transformed as they rebuilt and repaired their homes with assistance from World Renew. What stood out to me most is how World Renew strives to help the people who are most vulnerable – many of the families we learned about could not afford home insurance or were not able to qualify for assistance from the government.

Joy was one of the women we met. Joy and her husband made the difficult decision to discontinue their home insurance three months prior to the tornado, to meet their budget needs. Their home was significantly impacted by the tornado and needed some substantial repairs. There were several Christian organizations that came to help them and through those conversations, her husband became a believer. She shared with us that “the storm was for my husband” and he is now going to church with her regularly. Her home has now been repaired and she is so filled with joy. Praise be to God!

It was an incredible experience to see DRS in action. To see photos from our trip, visit

To find out more and be involved in this life-changing ministry, visit

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