What do two retired gentlemen, a construction worker, a housewife, a couple of unemployed people, and an employee of C. F. Sauer have in common? Bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia.
On Wednesday the First Baptist bus came to a stop in front of 3300 T Street, in Richmond’s Churchill district. Seven of us, all church members, stood in the chilly early morning air, awaiting our assignments for a day on the job with Richmond’s Habitat for Humanity.
We came ready to work, not knowing what the day would bring, who we would meet, or whether we would be working outside or in. Our assignment was to paint. Three homes awaited their first coat of paint. Ceilings, and closets, and walls, Oh my! And we weren’t prepared to paint. Most of us donated perfectly good clothes to the cause, as we rolled, cut in, and trim-painted the three homes.
We worked side by side with a young man who is the owner of a previously built Habitat home, just 5 doors down. The people who apply for Habitat houses are required to put in 320 hours of “sweat equity” on their homes, with at least 100 hours on the construction site. This man, Jose, told me that working on the houses gave him a sense of pride, and ownership, and that he prays for his new neighbors-to-be. His family is very careful to keep their home in good, clean condition, especially since they know how much work goes into each one. Sitting and sharing our lunch with him made my heart swell.
On Wednesday seven of us answered the call to get off the bus and onto the mission field, to do our part in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia. Talking with Jose helped me see just how much difference our efforts can make, and yet I came away feeling that I received much more than I gave.
Here am I, Lord. Use me.
Photo: Stacy Hansen, Bob Palmer, Roland Evans, Millie Barnes, Lori Knapp, and David Humrich take a well-deserved break on the Habitat job site.