Farewell for now, our friend

It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I share the news of the passing of our beloved brother, Kevin Fichter. Kevin faithfully served on every ONE FAMILY ONE PURPOSE job-site from 2012 to our most recent project in Iowa in late 2019. He was instrumental in the growth and success of OFOP from the very early stages of the organization. His passion for the young ministry helped pave the way for years of successful builds that followed.

Kevin was a servant in the truest sense of the word. He understood the value of silent wisdom, and the capability of actions rooted in Christ’s love. For Kevin, life was more about “doing” than “saying.” He was quiet, but when he spoke, he spoke with conviction and the authority of the Spirit that filled him.

Over the years Kevin recruited dozens of volunteers to serve on the job-sites, including many family members and friends. Kevin’s circle of friends grew every year as those around him on our projects grew to love and appreciate his strong character and love for Christ. He was a pillar of strength and consistency for all of us, and he will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.

While we grieve his passing, Kevin smiles in the presence of his Savior. No one deserves the welcome he is currently receiving in paradise more than him. We love you Kevin, and we all look forward to the day we see you again.

Please keep his family in your prayers, as I know he would do for us.

Prayers needed

We’ve just received word that a missionary friend is in need of prayer. Many OFOP volunteers have served in Mexico alongside one of God’s servants named “Gator.” Today, Gator fell off scaffolding while working in the mountains in Mexico. Please join us in prayer for our brother.

CAN IT REALLY BE THE END?

It’s really hard to say goodbye, but that time is near. The house will likely be finished later tonight, and the keys will be handed over tomorrow at 10am (or noon if we need a little extra time). The Lord has focused our minds this year on restoration. The lives of the volunteers serving are examples of the most grand restoration–restoration by the blood of Jesus. We may never fully comprehend what all he’s done here in Hamburg during the days and Shenandoah during the evenings, but we know He has done plenty, and we thank Him for letting us witness it. Thank you Jesus.

We’ll post pictures of the complete home tomorrow following the 10am dedication.

Friday update

The volunteers have made great progress. Today they continued to side and hang drywall. The first layer of mud is going on now, and another half day of siding should wrap up the exterior. Have I mentioned that renovations take time? It’s a lengthy process, but the volunteers continue to smile and praise Jesus for the renovation that has happened in their own lives. It’s a pleasure to serve a loving God.

Oh and it was also laundry day for the volunteers who have been here for a week. 😬😷

TUESDAY UPDATE

I talk a lot about the progress on the house, but I want to take a second to celebrate what happens after dark at our post-dinner discussions. Devotion time is always a very special time for us, but this year I’ve asked a few Godly men to share their testimonies (one each night) about how the Lord has brought them to where they are now, and how He continues to work in their lives. Last night was our first testimony, and if it’s any indication of how the evenings are going to go, we are in store for some powerful nights.

As I was typing this message a young man with construction experience named Dan pulled up and introduced himself to me, and told me he’s here until Friday to help out in whatever way he can be used. God has done some amazing things in the last 12 hours. Not only did Dan show up, but we also received word from about six others in all, who have decided to come in tonight and tomorrow to help for the next few days. I can’t even explain how perfect this timing was. Just as we prepare for siding and dry wall to kick off tomorrow, seven willing men respond to their God-given desire to serve. Thank you God for your perfect plan. Thank you for allowing us all to take part.

Hamburg

Most of the towns we visit have been decimated by natural disasters, so it’s difficult to imagine what they were like pre-disaster. Twisted and stripped trees and beat up vehicles are a common sight on our annual tornado relief trips. This year there are no twisted trees–only dried mud-covered streets dividing abandoned home after abandoned home. The now condemned South side of Hamburg, where Betty Travis called home for 30 years, has been left a ghost town. The city now owns the land, and there is talk of making the sight a community lake–something beautiful made with the same substance (water) that wrecked the town earlier this spring. The South side will no longer be the quiet neighborhood Betty fell in love with all those years ago, but there is hope of beauty once more.

A little further North on Jefferson St, there are already signs of life. There are loving servants wearing hands on their chests, scripture on their backs, and Jesus in their hearts, who are creating another sanctuary for Betty–her childhood home. Unlike the home she lived in on the South side, this home is salvageable, and the volunteers are honoring the promise made to her earlier this summer when we first met her.

We are honored to bring a little life back to a town and a family that has been through an incredibly challenging year.