A mission team from Andrew and Danielle Holstine’s church in California had arrived in Clayton, and now the work began in earnest to turn a homestead into a home for veterans and their families.
During the groundbreaking ceremony at Heroes Homestead on May 6th, the mission team gathered around to celebrate and record the historic event. Andrew Holstine’s shovel bit through the resilient sod while Danielle jumped on hers with no success, perfectly demonstrating how each member of the couple has their own strengths and weaknesses, and how the Holstines are committed to working together.
As the Holstines share their story with you, it’s easy to see how they’ve built a network of supporters and friends who are ready to help them create a safe haven for other veterans. Veterans who, like Andrew, suffer from PTSD and the family struggles that may accompany the wounded warrior’s personal battles. Andrew was a serving member of the United States Marine Corps when nineteen of his fellow Marines were killed in a helicopter training accident. After a long and difficult journey to save their marriage and family, Andrew and Danielle are ready to share what they’ve learned with fellow veterans and their families.
Heroes Homestead is a day-use farm and 501(c)3 organization with upcoming Cherry Jubilee events, Apple Orchard days in the fall, and Date Night packages all offered for free to veterans and their families. The Holstines will use the farmland, animals, and produce to make families feel welcome and loved as they getaway from the difficulties of daily life and prioritize their relationships.
From May 6th-11th a team of more than a dozen adults from the Warehouse Church in Whittier, CA worked at moving a chicken coop, removing an old fence, building a new fence, beginning a new driveway, building a new firepit, and getting the 40-acres of Heroes Homestead ready to welcome its first heroes. Kurt Fuller, Pastor at the Warehouse Church, led the team, based on his years of experience leading mission teams around the world in a plethora of construction projects. His can-do attitude was backed by a hard-working crew who obviously loved serving together. While eating dinner with his team, Kurt proudly passed around his phone to show off pictures of a new baby a member of his congregation had just messaged him in celebration.
The Holstine family also includes three young children: Abigail is 8, Ben is 6, and Baron is 2. The three kids are fully involved in the life of the farm as they cuddle baby goats and do their chores.
Additionally, Abigail has already begun following her parents’ example and is creating new opportunities to serve families and help her peers connect with their parents.
On June 8th at 2pm, community kids were invited to attend ‘Abigail’s Garden Party’ along with a parent or guardian. They learned about sharing ‘hard and joyful feelings’ with their loved ones. Kids were also invited to bring a plant to place in the Victory Garden so that families in need or crisis can harvest produce from them this fall. This event has Abigail’s own journey and life lessons threaded throughout it.