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5 April 2013 | EXTENDED FAMILY

“Yesterday I hit the wall. All the hard physical labor had finally taken its toll on my body. After a good night’s sleep, I felt revived. However, I was cautious about overdoing it. It turned out to be a blessing. Although I worked hard making adobe bricks all morning, I focused on people for the afternoon.

The village children have been flocking to the work site every afternoon after school. They range in age from 1 to 14. Many of us have taken a break from our work to engage the children. However, today was different. They were no longer tentative. We were greeted with big smiles, hugs and the warmth you feel from friends. As we participated together working on crafts or playing soccer, the language barriers diminished.

During the week a local Habitat family was kind enough to share their bathroom with our team. Today, in gratitude, we planned a photo session for the whole family. What a great experience for all of us. Not only were they thrilled to have their portraits taken, but we had the opportunity to use our basic Spanish language skills to communicate to each other and share a little bit about our lives. Marisa and her family now feel like part of my extended Honduran family.”

Today’s blog comes from Michelle Pavliv, one of our great Habitat volunteers. She is part of our Annual Fund & Special Events Committee, as well as our Major Gifts Committee.

In this photo are Marisa, her family, Michelle and Diane Steinbeiser.

4 April 2013 | ENDURANCE

“Today was a day that I like to call a hump day. Our morning devotion, given by Nancy Hawk, was a good way to start off the day. She asked all of us the question “is today a day of rest or endurance?” I sat there and chuckled a little, but in my head I was thinking “can we just go back to sleep?”  Yes, we were tired, but it came down to accomplishing the task at hand. After listening to Nancy’s devotion, I kept in mind throughout the day “Endurance.”  This helped me push through. Because of our will to keep pushing through, we got the amazing opportunity to journey to a school that educates over 1200 Honduran kids. Their school was much different than schools in America. We are much more fortunate. I put on a jump rope show, and I witnessed some of the happiest smiles, and I hope everyone else in my group saw them too. Many kids would run up to you and just give you the biggest hug. It made me emotional that a complete stranger would just come up to you and hug you. Being there and interacting with these kids made their day as well as mine. I reflected back to the morning devotion and thought to myself “This is what mattered.”  Having the endurance not to move 25 pound bricks but to make a child’s day and create a moment they would never forget.   The need is immense, but with endurance we can make a difference.”

Today’s blog was written by Hannah Campbell, the daughter of Habitat Wake’s President/CEO Kevin Campbell. She is a 16-year-old student at Grace Christian in Raleigh. The photo shows Hannah jumping rope for the children.

3 April 2013 | PROMOTED ALREADY!

Today’s blog from Honduras comes from Chris Dupre, one of our regular Saturday volunteers.

“The masons were so pleased with our heavy lifting the first day that they decided to teach the team members some of the more skilled tasks. Some volunteers were taught to bend rod for re-bar, while others were taught how to tie it off.   The masons needed some re-bar beams for headers above the windows, doors and porch before the roof goes on. At first, 9 beams of re-bar didn´t sound like much, but it quickly became apparent that it involved a lot of work (added up to cutting 810 feet of rod, bending 405 pieces, and tying 1215 pieces of wire.) Daunting, but accomplished.

While half the group was being taught the basics of re-bar construction, the other half was taught to mix the mud for the adobe.  Basically, you stomp around in a mud pit the size of a kiddie pool while adding barrels of pine straw.  Good exercise and fun… but it can be tricky to keep your balance as the mud apparently doesn’t like being stomped on and will grab your boot any chance it gets.

The masons had a productive day as well, and after lunch needed 300 more adobe bricks moved to the houses.  No official count was made, but we filled up all the space they had for us. (I´ll call it 350)

Day two = success

The after work activities were lighter than normal; a short tour of a local cigar factory and some free time before dinner.”

In the photo are two team members constructing the re-bar beams. Wow – looks like a lot of work! At least they got to work in some shade.

2 April 2013 | FIRST WORK DAY

Dre Antono, another Habitat AmeriCorps brings us the rundown on the team’s first work day in Honduras:

“Our first day on the work site was both tiring and fulfilling. We quickly realized that the houses, however small, required some serious hard work!

Ten Habitat homes are currently in construction in the small community of El Rosario. After introductions with the crew at Habitat Honduras, we were given the challenge of the day – move 900 adobe bricks from the drying area to the houses in construction.

Everyone worked hard! Some ventured in the woods to gather pine needles, the secret ingredient for our adobe. Others jumped feet first into our mud pit, helping to mix dirt and water for future bricks. By lunch, we had moved 1000 bricks to the houses and cleared a bunch more to make room for new bricks.

In the afternoon, we visited an orphanage just a few blocks from our hotel. We spent a few hours playing with the children, which some would say was more taxing than the work site – just so much energy to match! Despite the language barrier, I think I can speak for the team when I say that our short time there was a joy.

We look forward to another day…”

(Pictured are Nancy Hawk and Michelle Bailer.)

1 April 2013 | HONDURAS DAY 1

Honduras team member and Habitat AmeriCorps Nancy Hawk tells us about the team’s first day in Honduras:
“Today, we visited the remote Honduran village of Belen Gualcho and a 500 year old Catholic Church.   It was apparent that the local Easter celebration had already occurred.  The floor was scattered with fresh pine needles.  The statue of Jesus was adorned with beautiful flowers and garlands.  A few reverent locals were seated quietly inside.  We took the opportunity to reflect on the different styles of Easter celebrations.  Thanks to our team member Diane’s technology, we were able to hear a familiar Easter hymn played on a grand organ in this simple mission.  Great preparation for the work ahead.  Work begins on site in El Rosario Monday morning.”

28 March 2013 | HONDURAS FOR EASTER

For the second year in a row, I’ll be spending Easter in Santa Rosa de Copán in Honduras.  This year, I’m leading a large team of 19 individuals who will be spending a week working with Habitat Honduras to continue building homes that we started last year in the 31-house El Rosario project.

I’m excited this year that my daughter and wife will be joining me and also three board members from Habitat Wake:  Steve McCulloch, Carolyn Baxter, and Delores Parker.  We also have four of our Americorps members on the team:  Dre Antono, Sarah Edwards, Nancy Hawk, and Matt Bailer.  All told with this trip (our 3rd), we’ll have had 40 folks from Wake County take part in the life-changing work of Habitat Honduras.  We have some other regular construction volunteers and some super committee volunteers joining us as well.  We are aged 16 to 60+ and one of us even travels on a French passport.

This year, through our “tithe” to Habitat International, we’ll fund the construction of 30 homes in Honduras—one for each home we build in Wake.  The cost of a Habitat Honduras home is $4,500, but I can assure you that the difference that home makes for a Honduran family is much greater than the difference experienced for Habitat Wake families.  The poverty is just so extreme, that a 450 square foot adobe brick home with concrete floor and tin roof is seen as a gift from God—something that the Honduran families never expected to achieve.

Happy Easter to all of you!  Please keep our team in your prayers for travelling mercies and for open eyes and hearts as we serve next week in Honduras.  Look for blog updates from team members throughout the week.

20 MARCH 2013 | THIS IS THE BODY OF CHRIST…

…broken for you.  We shared these words on a building site this past Sunday as members of Christ Episcopal Church and Highland United Methodist Church gathered for a “Framing Frenzy” event.  For the first time in my 25 years at Habitat, I was part of a Holy Communion celebration on a building site.  And how appropriate!    Starting Saturday morning and finishing mid-day Monday, members of these churches gathered in partnership with Ty and her family to build a home that is the answer to Ty’s prayers.  By noon Monday, the home was totally complete on the exterior!  Work will continue on the interior over the next couple months when Ty will be able to realize her dream of owning a home of her own.

The Body of Christ came together in East Raleigh and left some tangible evidence of God’s love behind.  Practical and tangible evidence.  Amen.

7 March 2013 | LOVE SO AMAZING

We are in the Christian season of Lent.  The 40 days prior to Easter.  We think of Lent as a season where we give up something important to us in order to place our focus more intently on God.  In our Christian tradition, Jesus gave up his life to pardon all of our sins.  I have to ask myself what can I sacrifice in my life that others might be able to experience God’s love in their life?

At Habitat, we see this sacrifice all the time, all year around.  People give up their free time to volunteer, people give up their resources to help fund our important work.  And through it all they are able to proclaim that through all of their “loss”, they gain more than they give.

In worship this past Sunday, we sang a song very familiar to my Baptist upbringing, The Wonderful Cross.  These lyrics have stayed with me and provided for a daily meditation since:

“Love so amazing, so divine.  Demands my soul, my life, my all.”  Indeed.

27 FEBRUARY 2013 | WELLS WE DID NOT DIG

At a recent house dedication in Augusta Crossings, Pastor J. Vincent Terry of SE Raleigh’s Mount Peace Baptist Church shared with us a quote that really spoke volumes to me:

“We all drink from wells that we did not dig and we eat fruit from vines we did not plant.”

At that dedication we had two families who generously shared their abundance with us and were the sponsors of the homes being dedicated.  And we had two very blessed families that were excited to become owners of a home for the very first time.  Pastor Terry’s words are unifying, aren’t they?  No matter our financial resources, we are all blessed by and rely on the work of others for our daily sustenance.  This is very obvious in Habitat, but it’s all around us everyday.


18 FEBRUARY 2013 | NC STATE PARK SCHOLARS!

We love our home sponsors!  They come to know first-hand that Habitat is not just about building a house, but building relationships.  Check out this great article about the home recently sponsored by the NC State University Park Scholars in partnership with the Siu/Roo family in Augusta Crossings.


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