Thursday, August 20, 2009

Walt's House

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

My father died in June of 2008. In June 2009, his farm where my siblings and I grew up in Northwestern Ohio, was sold at auction. We were glad that the farm was sold to the farmers that had farmed the land for probably twenty years and maybe more. My dad and the farmers mutually respected, admired and enjoyed each other.

Dad was an uncomplicated, good man. He always had a desire to serve God and do the right thing. When Dad married my stepmom 20 years ago, he moved to town and rented his house. Sometimes we would ask Dad, how are the renters doing? Are they paying the rent? Frequently he would admit that he had not received any money for several months—one time as long as nine months. Yet, he always believed that they would eventually pay. It was just that times were bad or they had just lost a job or gotten a divorce or any number of similar reasons. We marveled at his patience but also recognized that he was glad to help people with needs.

After retirement, Dad worked for many years part time at Sauder’s Museum in various capacities. His favorite was making buckets in the cooper shop. For most of his years of employment, his supervisor was Cecily Rohrs. She felt the Lord calling her into a fulltime ministry with homeless individuals and families and opened a home in 2002 called Friendship House.

Dad also volunteered in his church and wherever he saw needs. Someone encouraged him to get involved in prison ministry and so he went regularly to share his faith and try to encourage the men in jail.

This week we received an email message from Cecily Rohrs. “Your dad was always so supportive of me and the people I serve, I just had to tell you some good news. The Rufenacht boys (the farmers) that bought the farm had no use for the house. They were going to remove it and farm the land. Then someone, inspired by God, no doubt,” suggested that the house be offered to our local ministry. The farmers offered and it was gratefully accepted.

"The home, called Walt’s House, will house up to four males that have made bad choices and want to start over making better choices," Cecily Rohrs explained. “The Shepherd's Circle, a community-wide mentoring program, has taken the project under its wing.” The first resident moved into the home on Wednesday.

“It's a great, great opportunity. And surrounded only by fields and factories, the men with their checkered backgrounds won't make any neighbors nervous. Each will have a mentor (and most will have a parole officer.) Since we have been given the house, we'll only pay some land taxes and the utilities. It's a gift beyond all gifts!”

Cecily went on to say, “Knowing the kind of heart your folks had, and particularly your father, I just wanted to let his family know! We are so tickled .”

“The blessings continue to not just shower but flood us with confirmation of God's presence and power here! God is good. ALL the time!”

The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. Proverbs 20:7


Donna's Book Nook said...

Very well written. Lynn had tears in his eyes when I read him the e-mail from Cecily. We continue to be blessed by the heritage that Dad left us of integrity, compassion and generosity. What a great example to follow.

Mummy McTavish said...

What a wonderful gift those farmers have given. For those men that will live there it may be the different between getting on their feet and falling back into old patterns. What a great example your dad gave!

Rebecca. Harlan, IN said...

You must be very, very pleased. Donna's words sum up your heritage so well: "Integrity, compassion and generosity." I have copied this to send to my parents so that they get the story "straight" :)

Wanda said...

Brenda, Your family must be very proud of your parents and how they led their lives, that is such a wonderful "ending" for your must be so very thankful!


Anonymous said...

Brenda...what a beautiful post about your loving Dad. Of course, I cried as I read it, and wish that I could have known him personally....but will see him one day in Heaven. He accomplished a lot in his life in his quiet way...I can tell that from your post about him. To not turn the tenants out when they couldn't pay...and I'm sure the list goes on and on. He sounds like a humble man, and your post is a sweet tribute to him. The farmhouse is beautiful, and I will pray for each man that enters...hoping that as he leaves, he will leave with a new beginning.
Do you have any of the buckets that your Dad made? I love the photo of him as he was working. Such a sweet smile...such a sweet man. Hugs to you, Brenda.

Brenda said...

Brenda, that is a beautiful, inspiring story, not only that the house (and memories) is left intact, but that it is used for God's Glory on top of that. How special is that?!
God bless.

Bernie said...

Brenda, I have to say I have tears in my eyes and goose bumps as I read your story of your dad. How beautiful was that, and wouldn't he be proud to know his old home is being used to help those who need it most, the same kind of people he took time to mentor. I say a wonderful thing has been done here and I give three cheers for "Walt's House"
I am sure he is very proud of you for sharing his story, I know I am blessed to have been able to read it. Have a wonderful weekend....:- Hugs

Diana said...

Wow how neat Brenda. A wonderful legacy to your father by giving to those with needs. Wonderful story Brenda, you must feel very good about this!
Love Di

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful legacy! I so enjoyed reading this post & it brought to mind the 2 different occasions I had visited with your dad in his workshop at Sauder's Museum. Such a special guy. Judy N.

Jacquelyn said...

What a beautiful story! Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful man! I love the way you described him as "uncomplicated". That's how I would also describe my own dad, who passed in March '08. To see what has happened with the house must fill you with joy and satisfaction. God is so good!