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Mountain Outreach Builds a Home for the Berta Family


Williamsburg, Ky. - University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Mountain Outreach (MO) Program has been changing lives for many years and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. MO recently selected Linda Berta’s application and are currently in the process of building a home for Ms. Berta and her three boys, Dirk, Jeremy, and Bryan.

Linda Berta is a single mother to three amazing young men who prove their good upbringing on a daily basis. The two oldest boys, Jeremy and Dirk, are students at University of the Cumberlands and are members of the baseball team. The youngest, Bryan, recently enrolled at UC and will be entering this fall as a freshman. Linda chose to move her family from Michigan to Williamsburg to be closer to family in hopes of finding a proper support system and a better sense of stability for her boys. The Berta family also found comfort at Wofford Missionary Baptist Church, where the boys are involved and active members of the youth group.

“The Berta boys are such well-mannered, respectful, Christian young men,” explained Mountain Outreach Director, Marc Hensley. “Their mother is who to credit for their wonderful upbringing. It isn’t easy being a single mom of three kids.”

Linda tried to quickly help her sons adjust to a new area and get them involved in hopes of moving forward with their lives. She found and maintained a good job and her boys were developing a stronger relationship with Christ through mission’s work. Last summer, the boys journeyed to Haiti on a mission’s trip and while they were gone, they received the gut-wrenching news that their mother had suffered from a double stroke and had been hospitalized. This was devastating to the boys and brought about a sense of complete helplessness since they were so far away and could not help her. One son made the comment to a worker that he was “ready to swim the ocean” to get to his mother’s bedside.

Linda recovered but her health had dwindled. She was unable to drive after the strokes due to her fading eyesight and she was laid off from work as a result of local budget cuts. With little to no income, she was having difficulty paying the rent and bills. Her boys did all they could to help but they could barely makes ends meet. She sent in her application to Mountain Outreach in hopes of them hearing her cries and being selected to receive a new home. In only a few short months later, the Berta’s were called for interviews and were later chosen by the students as their new home owner candidates.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” admitted Linda Berta. “Raising three kids alone and being a single mother is difficult and I worried a lot about things. When we found out this spring that we were chosen to get a home, I couldn’t believe it. That is what you called an answered prayer.” After much hard work, the Mountain Outreach team, which includes two of the Berta boys and other volunteers, have almost completed the home and will be ready to hand the key over to Linda. Linda was able to walk into her home for the first time and was amazed that it was her own home. “I don’t like it,” Linda said. “I love it!”

The home had beautiful new fixtures, shiny oak hardwood flooring, and the bedrooms were painted the bright colors in which the family had requested for their individual rooms. “I wanted my room to be pink and I got it,” Linda said. “I have three boys so I wanted something girly for a change. I really love the color and my new bedroom!”

As Linda walked through the home, admiring the blessing MO had helped her receive, she was in total awe of her surroundings. She could not believe it was hers and that someone would so selflessly give her such a gift. “It’s the little things that make me happy,” she said. “But this home is beautiful…absolutely beautiful.”

Mountain Outreach realizes that the Berta’s and the other home recipients must also be about to afford the up keeping of the new homes along with the monthly bills. They try to cut costs for the families while putting quality and safety first. “These homes are very efficient homes,” explained Marc Hensley. “They have high efficiency heating and air systems and are well insulated. Their new electric bill they will be paying will be cut in half compared to what they have been used to paying in the past. It is great to give these families homes but we have to make sure they can also pay the bills and maintain their homes.”

Mountain Outreach and their devoted team of UC students carefully read through the many applications they receive and decide who they feel in their hearts are in the most need and deserving of these homes. This is an outstanding program that MO has continued to carry out through the years and they have made lifelong changes one family at a time.

“Even with all their personal struggles they were facing, they never missed a day of church or youth group,” said former Wofford Missionary Baptist Church member, Dustin Rose. “They stayed true to God. Even when Ms. Berta got sick, God moved and always made a way for them. Even with all of this going on, the two older boys attended college (UC) and played sports. The youngest son will attend UC soon too. They are a living testimony to what the Bible says. If you stay true to God, He will stay true to you.”

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