Blog

By David Snell,
President, Fuller Center for Housing

I’ve reached that point in life where time seems to pass faster and faster, losing its steady pace in an ever-accelerating spiral.  When I feel like it’s getting out of control, though, I just take a minute to look back and I’m always amazed at how much activity filled those fleeting days and weeks.  Summer is the high building season for many of our covenant partners here in the States, and what a summer it was!

Things got off to an early start with April’s Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Louisville.  Over a hundred volunteers spent a week rehabbing six houses there, a project that helped the Louisville team receive the Mayor’s Spirit of Louisville award just this month.   These events are just like family reunions (except everyone pretty much likes each other and there aren’t any crazy uncles).  We had a great time in Louisville.

In June we hosted the Toolie Build right here in Americus.  To celebrate her 50th birthday,  our friend and supporter Karen “Toolie” Warkentien raised the money and mobilized the volunteers to build a house with the Battle family.  Being on the hosting side of the event took Sheilla and me back to our earliest Habitat days, when we cut our teeth putting together the Jimmy Carter Work Projects.  It’s a lot of work!

The summer Bicycle Adventure took off from Atlantic City in June for their 3,600-mile jaunt across the country.  Their fundraising goal was to cross the million dollar mark and they made it!  We joined up with them on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, my old stomping grounds, and got to share in the spirit that makes this so much more than a cross-country bicycle ride, as if that weren’t enough — a great group of dedicated souls spreading the word about our work all across the country, and having a good time doing it.

By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications

In the past few months, the Ebola crisis has gotten more and more attention — and rightfully so. It's tragic to see the toll it has taken on thousands of families in West Africa and terrifying to think of the “what ifs.” What if we can't stop it? What if we can't contain it? What if it mutates and becomes more than we can handle?

When I think of the “what ifs,” here's one you may not have thought about: What if the Ebola outbreak had begun in a Haitian tent city with families crammed together in unsanitary conditions, more than four years after the devastating earthquake there? I believe it would have be even more devastating and would spread even faster.

Here's another “what if”: What if we stopped such outbreaks before they started? One critical element in that equation is decent, healthy housing. That's why we remain committed to helping our covenant partner in Sierra Leone, in the heart of the outbreak, as they strive to provide decent homes for families and move them away from the unhealthy slums of crowded cities like Freetown. If you would like to contribute to that cause, click here.

Housing is a key component to having healthy families and healthy communities. Studies have clearly shown that children who grow up in a decent home are healthier, happier and do better in school. That's why we're thrilled with each Fuller Center home built or repaired. And we're even more thrilled to see entire communities of Fuller Center homes.

And that's what we're seeing in Haiti, where an entire healthy community of decent homes will be completed during a Global Builders work trip Oct. 19-26 of this month. Haiti is a nation desperately in need of the kind of help The Fuller Center provides — help that empowers instead of creating a culture of dependency. This community sets the standard by which all nonprofits should operate. President David Snell will join volunteers on site for this momentous occasion and will share his thoughts from the experience with you. Click here to meet some of the dedicated volunteers who've helped make this possible and who will be revisiting Haiti this month to help us complete the place we call Lambi. They are some pretty impressive, service-minded folks!

Now, let's catch you up on some of the Fuller Center news you may have missed in September. (Like us on Facebook to make sure you never miss any news.) Click the links for each story:
 


If you’ve watched our Facebook photos very closely, you may have noticed some interesting stickers on some of the riders’ bikes. Here’s what those are all about… and how you can get your very own!

After years of giving riders trophies or medals for finishing a ride, we’ve decided to do something a little different. The idea is that unlike medals or trophies that collect dust on a shelf, these are something that we can put on our bike or helmet, and will be with us every time we ride. They’ll be more visible to others, giving us opportunities to share about the Fuller Center and our adventures and they’re a way to memorialize our years with the Bike Adventure -- kind of like feathers in a cap or college football stickers on a football helmet. Also, they’re quality outdoor stickers like bumper stickers, so they should survive for years through rain, hail, and even massive headwinds (as some 2014 riders may be able to confirm!).

How it works:

1. They're earned: they will only be given to riders and support volunteers. We have other ways to thank church hosts and others.

By David Snell,
President, The Fuller Center for Housing

When Jesus counseled us to reach out to the poor, He probably didn’t mean for us to make them dependent, rob them of their self-esteem and take away their initiative. Unfortunately, that’s just the effect that much charitable giving has. The Fuller Center for Housing offers people of goodwill a more enlightened way of giving.

Our spiritual founder, Clarence Jordan, wrote that, “What the poor need isn’t charity but capital, not social workers but co-workers.” That simple sentence guided Millard Fuller’s housing ministries and guides The Fuller Center to this day.

We provide capital and construction help to those in need, allowing them to own a home. Partner families are selected on the basis of three criteria — need, willingness to partner and the ability to repay costs on terms they can afford, over time and with no interest charged or profit made. In most cases this means that a family can own a simple, decent home at a much lower monthly cost than they would pay in rent for a lesser dwelling.

by Lydia Huelskamp

Along this ride I was handed a quote. This quote said, “It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

Today as we came over the last hill and saw the Pacific Ocean I realized how true this quote is. Feeling the sand and seeing the mass of blue stretching for miles would have meant nothing if it hadn’t been for the miles ridden to get there, the strangers turned family around me, and the experiences had, and the memories made along the way. We have pushed ourselves through headwinds and pulled each other in pace lines. We have ridden through rain, construction, and days that couldn’t have been better. We have done archery, water skied, and floated down rivers. We have painted, built, and done yard work for others. We have teased each other, laughed with each other, and encouraged each other. We have turned these nine weeks from simply getting to an end into a journey worth remembering.