Six Days Later: New Home, New Dream

By Stan Friedman

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI (September 6, 2012) – Faith Covenant Church was the lead congregation on a project that built a home in six days for a family last month.

Three hundred volunteers worked around the clock on the house, which was built on an empty lot, as well as additional volunteer work on multiple beautification projects that began several weeks earlier. Faith Covenant members John Miller and Walt Cesarz co-led the effort.

The church worked under the umbrella of Life Remodeled, a Christ-based nonprofit that is building at least four homes in the Detroit area. Faith Covenant volunteered to coordinate the recent undertaking.

The ranch home is 1,200 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths. All of the material and labor were donated.

Professional skilled laborers did most of the actual construction. Other volunteers filled roles including hospitality ministries and making sure all of the necessary materials were available.

Following construction, keys were handed to Brad and Ann Goodwin and their daughter during a special ceremony covered by multiple media outlets. The Goodwins had been living with Brad’s mother since a workplace accident damaged his spine so badly that it was difficult for him to walk, often requiring the use of a wheelchair.

Local community leaders helped choose the family from more than 100 applicants. Families had to demonstrate their ability to pay taxes and related expenses connected with the property.

The Goodwins will receive financial, spiritual and family counseling to help ensure their ability to maintain the home and pay the utility and other bills. After three years, Life Remodeled will sell them the title to the house for one dollar.

The four churches and other volunteers actually started multiple beautification projects in the neighborhood prior to constructing the house. The area where the home is constructed has residences that range from old trailer homes to upper-middle class residences, said Miller, although most are lower-income.

After the project began, some neighbors started to help and also were inspired to do beautification work on their own homes, Miller said. Several city employees also worked at the site. The city manager worked almost every day and even pulled several overnight shifts.

Ekklesia, an area non-Covenant congregation, started Life Remodeled in 2011. They constructed one home and have continued to work with the family. The church asked other congregations to consider taking on projects.

Faith Covenant was the first to step forward and started considering the project about a year ago, says Miller. Once they decided to lead the construction, they held prayer walks through the community. The first was when Christmas carolers sang throughout the neighborhood.

Jacob Mathews, who attends Faith Covenant, told a local media outlet that he was excited to be working with so many people from different churches.

“You can have the American dream, but what is the American dream if your neighbor next door has lost theirs?” he asked. “For this, we all came together for Christ and God. It’s like a river – once you step in, the current just takes you.”

Through it all, the churches wanted the family and neighbors to understand one central message, said Miller. “We have a Lord who is head over heels in love with us.”

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