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Local Church teams with Mountain Outreach to build church member a home


WILLIAMSBURG, Ky.—One year ago youth pastor Josh Bowman and 10 young people from Wofford Baptist Church were on a mission trip in Haiti. While there, three of the boys learned their mother had two strokes, leaving her unable to return to work and with inadequate housing. At the end of July, a group from the church joined together to pray for the Berta family and decided then to raise money and build them a home.

Fast-forward one year and the group is hard at work with University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Mountain Outreach, who came on board to help the family of three boys and their mom. Two of the boys are Mountain Outreach workers, and all three are UC students. Volunteers from Wofford worked on the house this past week hanging and sanding drywall and siding and painting. The Wofford group has also raised an undisclosed sum of money that will be paid toward the mortgage of the home, making the cost and monthly payments significantly lower for the family.

The Berta family is doubly invested in the home, with the two oldest boys working their entire summer break to build their home as well as another MO home. Jeremy and Dirk Berta, UC senior and junior, have put in hours every day for an entire month so far, and are happy to contribute to a home for their mother.

“It’s for my mom, so I have more energy [for the job],” said Dirk, who is new this year to the MO summer work, which he expresses has been “hard” but rewarding. As for his mom, “she’s excited,” he shared.

The MO work is difficult, the two summer months of June and July spent building homes in the sometimes glaring sun and occasional heavy downpours, but most of the MO team are veterans who keep returning because the work is so rewarding. This year it is more so, with half of the MO students being members of Wofford Baptist and friends or family of the Berta family.

MO’s student organizer Jonathan Bowman is a Wofford member, and his brother is Josh Bowman, a UC alum and the church youth pastor who began the push for a home one year ago. Although he has been involved in several mission ventures away from home, he found the work on the Berta home to be extra special.

“This is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life.” The family will move in to their new home at the end of July, a full year after the church began to pray and plan.

University of the Cumberlands’ Mountain Outreach is a student-led building organization that has been nationally recognized for its work: The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty selected it as one of ten charities to receive the Samaritan Award; USA Today noted the program in its “Make a Difference Day” competition; President George H. Bush honored Mountain Outreach as his 220th Daily Point of Light; University of the Cumberlands is ranked as one of the top schools by Washington Monthly because of the service its students provide to the community; and the University continues to be placed on the President’s “Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll” in recognition of our students’ commitment to community service. This is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for dedication to community-based service projects.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; 10 pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit