The year 2020 presented a slew of challenges for our ministry, but it also served as a reminder that there are far too many families in the world trying to survive while living in poverty housing conditions. We had to be flexible, versatile and resilient in 2020 — something made possible by our loyal supporters and our experienced leaders on the ground. We persevered, and now we look ahead to 2021 with renewed hope and determination. But before we say goodbye to 2020, we’d like to know which of these stories you considered to be the biggest for our ministry this year. (Some of these summaries include links for more info.) We will share the results the week of December 28. Thank you!
NOTE: This poll was posted before Armenia reported crossing the 1,000-home milestone — a monumental feat that no doubt is a top story of 2020. You can learn more about that achievement here.
When the pandemic took root in the United States in March, it put a major dent in our volunteer programs. Yet, both internationally and in the U.S., our local partners found innovative ways to keep the building going and get families into simple, decent homes.
The pandemic also forced us to postpone our major Bicycle Adventure fundraising rides. With our Global Builders volunteer program also stifled, the two programs’ leaders got together and created the Global Home Challenge, a virtual fundraising, activity and building event that raised well more than its $200,000 goal.
Miguel Guigni (Superman shirt) was among those who joined the ranks of Fuller Center homeowners who have paid off their zero-percent interest mortgages to own their homes outright. Miguel actually did it in just seven years. And he’s thrilled to know that all of the payments he made were recycled and are being put right back to work building homes for others in his Shreveport community.
When Millard and Linda Fuller founded The Fuller Center in 2005, it was a return to the grass-roots, Christian principles with which they had begun the affordable housing movement. But would those same principles they developed under Clarence Jordan decades ago still work today? After 15 years, the answer is clear — those inspired principles not only work but serve as examples of how nonprofits can uplift and empower families. More at FullerCenter.org/15Years.
With contributions from our building partners in El Salvador, Madagascar, Nepal and Papua New Guinea, we developed an extensive Vacation Bible School program called “The Worldwide Mansion.” It features music, activities, lessons, food and more that reflects these unique cultures and helps children understand how similar they are to children in other countries and how God’s love extends to the entire world.
The 2020 hurricane season was a record-setter, and the state of Louisiana was particularly hard-hit. Fortunately, because of their many already established connections in the state, the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders were able to quickly set up a base in Sulphur, Louisiana — joining bases in Texas and North Carolina. All three of the locations are accepting volunteers to help families still recovering from disasters.
The filmmaking talent of Millard and Linda Fuller’s daughter Faith was on display as the outstanding and still-relevant 2003 documentary “Briars in the Cotton Patch” about Koinonia Farm was made available for free viewing, just as protests for racial justice were peaking in the U.S. Meanwhile, granddaughter Sophie was making the music scene with her debut “Storms” and the recent follow-up instrumental “Serenity.”
Most Fuller Center Global Builders teams range in size from several volunteers to nearly 20 — and the bigger the team, the greater the scope of the project they can tackle during their generally one-week-long mission trip. Countryside Mennonite Church from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada sent a massive 65-person team, mostly youth, to Peru in February. Of course, that was no record — the same church sent a 68-person team to Nicaragua in 2014.
Five new organizations started Fuller Center covenant partners or switched their affiliation from another nonprofit to The Fuller Center’s umbrella in 2020 — in Clarksdale, Miss.; Emporia, Va.; Othello, Wash.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Saranac Lake, N.Y. Clarksdale joins several Fuller Center partners in the Mississippi Delta, and that state now has the second-most U.S. partners with seven, second only to the nine in Georgia. Visit FullerCenter.org/locations for the complete list.
Not long before the pandemic postponed our spring and summer Bicycle Adventure rides, cyclists completed the inaugural Tour de Florida in January. It was our Adventure’s first-ever winter ride, and it won’t be the last. After a build day in Central Florida, riders enjoyed a warm ride from Orlando to Key West, where they enjoyed a day of taking in the sights and sounds before returning to the mainland via a sunset ferry