David deFreese
David deFreese, Former Vice President of Church Relations and International Programs

Mosaic Is a Blessing to the World (And to Me!)

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

Thank you, Mosaic! As retirement looms on the horizon, my heart is full of gratitude for Mosaic’s impact.

As a 7-year-old boy, my Sunday School class toured Bethphage Mission in Axtell, and I was absolutely mesmerized by how people were treated. It was fascinating to meet Barbie, a person who lived with hydrocephalus and could not lift her head from her pillow. Her caregivers helped her change into beautiful dresses twice a day, because she “loved colorful dresses.” Mosaic lived the wonderful grace of recognizing each person as created in the image of God; capable of seeing the person first, not their limits.

Years later during college, I was invited to fill in for the Chaplain, who was taking a summer break for continuing education. As inadequate as I was, it was a privilege to live in a community built on kindness, empathy and hope. Day after day, I witnessed people fully alive, caring for one another, excited about their work and relationships.

A year after being at Bethphage, an invitation came to serve at Martin Luther Homes as an assistant to the Chaplain and as a teacher. Again, to live in a community of diverse personalities striving to live abundant lives was a gift. I was taught and caught a theology for living that lovingly empowered each person to live out their potential.

Returning to serve these past ten years through Mosaic has been a joy. Mosaic’s mission and efforts continue to be life-giving and life-changing. Fueled by faith and driven by purpose, Mosaic strives to meet needs and hopes.

As congregational life is evolving, it has been delightful to offer them Mosaic’s partnership in living out our shared calling. This has been a paradigm shift from asking for help to offering our expertise in enhancing their ministries. Also, we have diligently sought to enable congregations to move from charity to dignity. This means empowering the people Mosaic supports to serve side-by-side with others in contributing to our society. Far too often, charity keeps the recipient in a condescended posture, rather than being an active partner. I believe deeply that the ministry of Mosaic and like social ministries are the hope for the future of faith in our culture. It is genuine faith in action that invites others to experience God’s grace.

Working with our international program has been a special benefit. In concrete ways, Mosaic’s “Building a Caring Community” in Tanzania has energized and invigorated life not only for individuals and their families, but it has impacted a whole society. It has been a dramatic movement from years ago, trying to find children who were hidden away in villages due to a misunderstood theology depicting a punitive God. Today we see our children cheered on as they participate in community events. One mother said it plainly: “Without BCC, I would be dead.” This is not hyperbole. We have seen in palatable ways the difference this mission has made.

Thanks be to God for Mosaic’s impact! Through all the many experiences, God has used Mosaic’s mission to bless so many of us. I am most grateful.

St Paul expressed it best: “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing.” Philippians 1:3-5

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