By: R.D. Hight
In the Highlands neighborhood of Longview, on 18th Avenue, is an empty lot on which Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans are combining to build a duplex for two needy families. The Habitat for Humanity share is an Apostle's Build project, meaning that 12 local churches have agreed to support it with money, volunteer labor, and prayer. East Hills is one of those 12.
Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976, is a Christian ministry that uses contributions to build or renovate houses and sell them to low-income families for no profit. The eventual recipients help work on their house, as do volunteers. For the past several years, we have given Habitat the use of our facilities for meetings, but we have never taken part in their construction projects.
"I developed a connection to them and thought what they did was a great opportunity," Pastor Nick said. "We got an Apostle's Build letter from them last summer. Last fall, we discussed as a leadership team that this might be a good way to help our community."
The project starts the last Saturday in March, the 21st, when we have the first of our work days. Habitat is hiring skilled contractors, but we will provide grunt labor on several Saturdays throughout the six months of construction. We are also responsible for feeding the crew on those days, so there's more involved than just construction tasks.
Our part of the cost comes to about $6,500. Rather than pay it like any other bill, Nick wants to fulfill that commitment through purposeful donations to build ownership and involvement. On that kickoff weekend, we will take a special offering toward "our" house and begin making it a special, temporary item, just as we have done in the past with overseas church plants.
We have also taken on a responsibility to pray. Nick has not received any specific prayer requests yet, in part because Habitat is still working through the process of locking in a partner family for this house.
"We want to have a relational connection with this family by getting to know them in ways that go beyond these six months," he said.
For East Hills, the goal is not just to assemble resources to make someone's life more comfortable. In these bad times, the secular conversation is immersed in financial matters. This project gives people a route from where they are to where they need to go, from material things to spiritual ones.
"I think it's a real practical way we can live out our values," Nick said. "We've put it on our sign -- 'We exist to impact our communities with the love of Christ --' and this is one way to get involved in our community, by helping build a house."
Any of the staff can explain more about our construction job; Jason Hoover is the Habitat liaison and can also answer questions about it. Beginning this weekend, you will be able to sign up for work days in the Welcome Center.