Dorothy Rice, a 74-year-old widow who used a wheelchair, was homeless after a flood of the Moira River in Tweed, Ont., made her house unlivable in April 2014.
“Dorothy’s house was badly damaged by the flood,” said World Renew Disaster Response (DSR) regional managers Tony and Jennie DeWeerd. “It was the most serious situation we encountered in the Moira River response. Dorothy clearly needed a new, accessible home.”
Just six months later, Rice’s house was repaired, thanks to volunteer labor and donated supplies from nearby Christian Reformed congregations, neighbors, friends, World Renew DRS volunteers, and others.
Rice received the keys to her restored house and was able to celebrate Christmas 2014 in her new home.
The DeWeerds decided to check in on Dorothy Rice this spring to see how she was doing.
“When we called Dorothy in March to see how she fared over the winter,” Tony said, “her daughter Karen answered the phone. She told us that her mother was not doing well. Dorothy had been diagnosed with cancer in January and then had a round of radiation therapy that was not effective.
“The news was shocking and greatly saddened us,” Tony DeWeerd said.
“We reached out to the pastor of Tweed Presbyterian Church, Steve Brown, to find out more about how Dorothy was doing.
“We met Rev. Brown while we were working on Dorothy’s home, and he spoke ‘the blessing of the house’ there in December 2014. We asked Rev. Brown to visit Dorothy after we left Tweed, and he ministered to her faithfully.
“When it became apparent that she would not recover from the cancer, he visited every day to read the Bible to her,” DeWeerd said.
The DeWeerds learned from Brown that Dorothy Rice gave her life to the Lord, publicly professed her faith, and became a member of Brown’s church in mid-March 2015.
Through the witness of World Renew volunteers from Maranatha Christian Reformed Church, Rice’s son, Barry, was also attending church at Tweed Presbyterian.
Dorothy Rice passed away on March 30, 2015, and a celebration of her life was held at her home in May.
“World Renew DRS makes a difference in the lives of many people who are struggling to recover from a disaster,” the DeWeerds reported. “While we repair homes in Christ’s name as his ambassadors, God is working to repair lives.
“We are thankful that Dorothy and her family are experiencing God’s faithfulness and love for them in life-changing ways. We are looking forward to seeing Dorothy again someday because of Jesus who is the resurrection and the life.”
This is what the work of World Renew DRS volunteers is all about. The name of the Lord be praised!