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Archive for December, 2011

29 December 2011 | Second to last home

29 Dec , 2011

I just had the distinct privilege of attending the closing for Ricky Mitchell and the house we built together with him in Long Acres in Raleigh.  Habitat is a partnership, not a charity give-away.  And with Ricky this couldn’t be truer.  Ricky himself was actively engaged in all aspects of the construction.  Ricky’s brother, a professional roofer, installed the roof shingles.  Ricky’s co-worker, a trim carpenter, installed all the interior doors in a matter of hours and then cut the baseboards which Ricky installed.

There in the downtown offices of Poyner Spruill (who by the way, perform nearly all of our house closings pro-bono!!), on the 19th floor of the RBC Tower, Ricky was realizing a long-held dream—to become the first homeowner in his family!  As all the papers were being explained to him, Ricky commented that this home in Long Acres was going to be his second to last home.  His last home, he said in his always good humor, “will be the funeral home!”

I wish you all could have been there to experience the true joy that Ricky knows so deeply and expresses so humbly.  At 51, it has been a long road for Ricky to this point, but now he can provide a beautiful home within his budget for the two children he is raising as a single dad.


20 Dec , 2011

“The Holy Ghost will come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35

What a blessed time of year where many turn their focus toward those in need.  I told a TV reporter yesterday that if every month were like December (in terms of fund-raising) we’d be able to serve twice as many families.  Wouldn’t that be great?!!

A talented writer friend of mine shared with me her reflections on the scripture above.  She focused on one word in the passage—overshadowed–and suggests that the scripture tells us a couple things.  One that God chooses the one to be overshadowed and that the child that is birthed of Mary is holy only because of that overshadowing.  Gayle writes that our work in the world “will only be holy—of any real help in healing creation” if we are, ourselves able to be overshadowed by God.

My prayer this Christmas season is that the great, transformational work of Habitat Wake that is enabled by thousands of volunteers and donors be overshadowed so fully that it is crystal clear to the community that the work being done is nothing less than God at work in our midst.  As God came to be with us in the being of Jesus, so to may God be incarnate through the work of humble servants building houses in partnership with those in need in Wake County.


4 Dec , 2011

“It is the unique and remarkable synthesis of partner families, donors, and volunteers that builds homes … and a world of hope for all of us.”

Amy Powell shared these words last night at her going-away after a 13 year tenure as the first employee and executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Chatham County.  Chatham Habitat has done remarkable work in their small, rural county, providing homeownership for over 100 families (over 90 during Amy’s 13 year tenure).  I’ll definitely miss Amy as a colleague, but was so pleased to celebrate with her and Chatham Habitat the great legacy of advocacy for those in need that Amy has provided.

Unique and remarkable.  Habitat is, at its core, a partnership—a working together to fill a need in the community and specifically in the life of a family.  It is a unique way to build homes—with mostly unskilled volunteers and upon the generosity of others.  It is remarkable when you think about it—how many pieces must come together—from the construction, to the family selection, to the funding and financing.

As screenwriter, Randall Wallace has said—it you want to remain complacent and uninspired, stay away from Habitat!

Habitat for Humanity of Wake County
2420 Raleigh Boulevard
Raleigh, NC 27604-2235
Phone 919.833.1999
Fax 919.833.8256
Habitat for Humanity of Wake County ReStore

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