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

“Embracing God’s call to serve in the world…”

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.

Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once asked a group of pastors: “Is the parish your world or is the world your parish?”

Mosaic gratefully celebrates pastors who live out their calling by serving the needs of others. Two such pastors have made a profound difference for two people supported by Mosaic in Southeast Kansas. Pastor Doug Mund and Pastor John Dixon have more than enough work in serving their two congregations, but they embraced God’s call to serve in the world and the impact has been incredible.

Some time ago, Pr. Doug noticed a young man idly spending time outside a dilapidated, ramshackle house on a corner he regularly drove by. It bothered him to see a person seemingly lost and lonely, without purpose.

One day he stopped and engaged Billy in conversation. He sensed a desperateness in Billy and wanted to help. He got Billy a bike, but a day later it was gone. Billy’s mother had scrapped it and sold it for the metal. Pr. Doug also noticed obvious burns on Billy’s hands and legs, which Billy explained had come from a wall heater when he was young and left alone. Billy shared that he had a very rough childhood and there was still not enough money, even for food.

Pr. Doug realized that Billy’s mother was not capable of caring for him, and Billy was not living in a safe environment. Pr. Doug reached out to Pr. John, who helped him secure an apartment for Billy. When the two pastors moved Billy, they were allowed into the house for the first time; they observed filthy plywood flooring and a toilet leaking so badly the floor was caving in. Billy slept on a soiled mattress on the floor, covered in bugs. The pastors referred to it as an “ecosystem.”

Still anxious, lonely and worried about the days ahead, Billy was withdrawn.

The pastors recognized that Billy needed much more than clean clothing and furniture. This is when they turned to Mosaic and Ben Ames, the Direct Support Coordinator in Southeast Kansas. Ben organized Mosaic’s response. Staff regularly checked in on Billy. He started attending Mosaic day services, making friends and getting out.

Billy spoke of longing to have a job, so Mosaic connected him with vocational rehabilitation. Today, Billy is a stocker at G & W Grocery. Billy’s manager told Mosaic he is a valued employee, and Billy’s self-confidence has gradually risen.

Today, Billy’s life is full and vibrant. He enjoys friendship with Pastors Doug and John. He and his girlfriend attend church every week. He rides his bike around town, attends concerts and recently went to the State Capitol in Topeka to advocate for people with disabilities. It is an amazing turnaround that is life-changing and life-giving.

But there is more to the story. Billy’s brother, Brandon, was tucked away, hidden in a back room of that dilapidated house. He spent his days on a dirty mattress, twirling string for entertainment. Adult Protective Services was called in, and Mosaic began supporting Brandon, as well.

At first, Brandon was detached, nervous and had self-injurious behaviors. He would hoard and hide food. Over time, in a caring atmosphere with compassionate training, Brandon’s trust has grown, and his personality evolved. He was taught to clap his hands, rather than hit himself. Food became less of a focus, because there was enough.

Today, Brandon lives with a Mosaic at Home provider, who previously worked in a Mosaic group home. His days are abundant, filled with activities like swimming, bowling and going to movies. He has become affectionate, with an ever-present smile.

Two lives, dramatically, significantly changed. Two pastors who cared and acted, who responded to God’s call to serve in the world. Great partners for Mosaic. Pastors we appreciate!

“Embracing God’s call to serve in the world…”

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