David Snell shares perspectives from world travels in “The Tattered Passport”

David Snell shares perspectives from world travels in “The Tattered Passport”

(Photo: David Snell with friends in Bolomba — a jungle village in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he has a “street” named for him.)

Fuller Center President David Snell’s travels in this affordable housing ministry have given him an opportunity to see the world as very few do. He has realized an early dream to see exotic Nepal, visited some of the world’s oldest Christian churches in Armenia, journeyed into the heart of the Congo jungle and witnessed life inside reclusive North Korea … a few times.

During his visits to these and other countries around the world, David has kept journals — both to make sure he never forgot the unique experiences and to occupy his time during breaks in the action. As others at The Fuller Center heard some of his stories, someone finally said, “You should write this stuff down.”

“Actually, I have,” he said.

We convinced David that these rare perspectives were too good for him to keep to himself and that he needed to share. So, we’ve taken many of those journal entries and turned them into a paperback book that you can order exclusively on Amazon.com at this link. Proceeds from the $15 purchase price go to The Fuller Center’s work of offering a hand-up to families around the world who need simple, decent places to live.

In it, you’ll see North Korea, Nepal, El Salvador, Peru, Haiti, Nigeria, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Armenia, and Nicaragua through his eyes. From traveling in rattling hand-me-down Soviet-era planes to eating things most Americans could not imagine, David gives us a unique look into places you can only truly get to know off the well-trodden tourist paths. One of the primary takeaways from his travels is that once you break down barriers and get governments out of the way, you find that people have more similarities than differences.

order “The tattered passport”

Two-home project brings two Fuller Center groups together in Louisiana

Two-home project brings two Fuller Center groups together in Louisiana

The Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing and The Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders have been teaming up this summer on a pair of new home builds in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has a report on the projects that should be complete in a few weeks.

click here for article and slideshow

Millard Fuller’s law office, first Habitat headquarters, donated to Fuller Center

Millard Fuller’s law office, first Habitat headquarters, donated to Fuller Center

As Linda Fuller strolled through the building that once housed Millard Fuller’s law practice and the first headquarters of Habitat for Humanity on Church Street in Americus, Georgia, she reminisced about the simplest of times at the birth of the affordable housing movement.

She noted the dust that had settled on the desk where she once sat and tried to remember which landline phone was ringing — the one for Habitat or for the law practice. She was glad to see that the curtains she fashioned from bed sheets were still intact and that the cobweb-covered bell on the front door of the building still worked — well, every now and then, after a few tries.

That door — that blasted door! Literally, Linda Fuller blasted it with everything she had to remove layer after layer of paint as they spent three months getting the property ready to open for business. She ruined many of her work clothes in the process. Then, when it was ready to open, she realized she had another problem — she didn’t have anything to wear at the office.

“We had just come back from Africa, and I had left whatever clothes I had over there for people to have,” she said Wednesday of their 1973-76 stint building homes in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). “I had to go out and buy myself a dress. We didn’t have much money, so I wore the same dress every day.”

Habitat for Humanity International has donated the historical site at 417 W. Church St. to The Fuller Center for Housing.

Millard and Linda Fuller — co-founders of both Habitat and The Fuller Center — purchased the property for $4,000 in 1977 from the Rev. Jim Jackson to serve as Millard’s law office. A small section of the law office served as the headquarters for the then-fledgling Habitat for Humanity, just a year old at the time with its only paid staff a part-time typist. Volunteers, including Linda and the Fullers’ children, assisted with Habitat’s early correspondence and newsletters.

“Millard Fuller’s affordable housing ministries were born at Koinonia Farm,” said David Snell, President of The Fuller Center for Housing. “His law office on Church Street was their nursery. It was there that the partnership housing concept that Millard and Clarence Jordan were inspired with took form becoming Habitat for Humanity and later The Fuller Center for Housing.

“We’re delighted that Habitat has turned this property over to us to ‘keep it in the family’,” Snell added. “We’ll honor its history, preserving it as a museum of the affordable housing movement, a movement that began right here in Americus, right here on Church Street.”

From those humble beginnings, Habitat would grow and move its headquarters more than once — although all within walking distance of the original office. Despite the simple roots they were planting, Linda knew something was growing even before former President Jimmy Carter joined the ministry and gave it star power that would almost instantly make Habitat for Humanity a household name.

“It was great having it as a mom-and-pop operation,” she said of Habitat’s first year in the law office. “But I had an inkling with Millard’s vast success in business (in the 1960s before the Fullers turned from a life of wealth to a life of service) and the way he was pushing, pushing as he always did, that it was going to grow pretty fast.”

After being forced out of leadership at Habitat, they would go on to found The Fuller Center for Housing in 2005 as a return to the simple, grass-roots principles with which they started. Linda recalls Millard’s final years of leading The Fuller Center until his death in 2009 as some of the happiest years of his life.

Today, The Fuller Center’s work continues to grow and Millard’s dream of eliminating poverty housing remains alive — and The Fuller Center for Housing remains headquartered in a small building that was donated by John and Sue Wieland, just a couple miles from the simple law office in which the Fullers’ ministry began.

417 W. Church Street Slideshow:

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President David Snell sat down with Linda Fuller in the historic building on August 29, 2018, to talk about the early days of the affordable housing ministry. Check out their conversation below:

 

League of American Bicyclists features blog by Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure founder

League of American Bicyclists features blog by Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure founder

The Fuller Center for Housing was recognized in May by the League of American Bicyclists as one 114 new Bicycle Friendly Businesses in the United States. One of the factors in the certification was The Fuller Center’s Bicycle Adventure, which raises funds for The Fuller Center’s work in addition to spreading awareness and making new friends during their annual rides. The league invited Bicycle Adventure founder Ryan Iafigliola — also The Fuller Center’s Director of International Field Operations — to pen a blog post explaining what the Adventure is all about. You can read the post in its entirety at the link below:

League of American Bicyclists blog

The Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure’s 2018 summer rides ended on August 10 & 11. The two summer routes for 2019 were recently announced and can be seen below. If you would like more information about the Bicycle Adventure’s spring, summer and fall rides, click here to visit the website.

 

Fuller Center’s Ryan Iafigliola talks with Go Abroad about his work and spiritual motivation

Fuller Center’s Ryan Iafigliola talks with Go Abroad about his work and spiritual motivation

(Photo: Ryan Iafigliola at a Fuller Center project in Haiti.)

When Ryan Iafigliola graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2007, he did not expect that more than a decade later he would be The Fuller Center for Housing’s Director of International Field Operations, helping guide this nonprofit housing ministry’s work in more than 20 countries. However, inspired by his mentor Millard Fuller, he has chosen to make a career of helping families have simple, decent places to live. Go Abroad — a leading platform for connecting people with international opportunities to work, study and volunteers — chatted with Ryan about his work and what motivated him to join The Fuller Center, as well as what continues to drive  him to help others in an extensive interview that you can read in its entirety at the link below:

Go Abroad interview with ryan iafigliola

WKTV-TV reports on Bicycle Adventure’s stop in Herkimer, New York

WKTV-TV reports on Bicycle Adventure’s stop in Herkimer, New York

WKTV-TV caught up with one of our Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure’s summer rides as it made a stop in Herkimer, New York, where they stayed overnight Monday at First United Methodist Church. This group started in Oregon and will finish their route Saturday in Maine. The other group began in Ocean City, California, and will finish this weekend in Ocean City, New Jersey. You can view WKTV’s report below:

Catholic News Service: The Fuller experience of helping in Puerto Rico

Catholic News Service: The Fuller experience of helping in Puerto Rico

The Catholic News Service has an extensive new report on a team of 18 volunteers from St. Francis Builds, a program based in St. Camillus Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, who recently spent a week working with The Fuller Center for Housing’s new covenant partner in Puerto Rico through the Global Builders program. The group worked in the town of Maunabo’s Calzada sector, which was not evacuated before it bore the brunt of Hurricane Maria last year. In the story, volunteers talk about their experience helping hurricane victims repair their homes, and The Fuller Center’s local leaders in Maunabo talk about how they made a connection with The Fuller Center’s ministry.

complete catholic news service story

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More newspapers catch up with cyclists as summer rides near their end

More newspapers catch up with cyclists as summer rides near their end

The Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure’s two summer rides — one from Ocean Beach, Calif., to Ocean City, N.J., and the other from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine — will conclude this weekend. Each of the rides is helping spread the word about The Fuller Center’s work through its church visits, build days and speaking with media representatives. Among recent reports is this one on the Port to Port Ride from The Norwalk Reflector, as well as this one on the Ocean to Ocean Ride from The Allied News. If you would like to know more about The Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure’s current and upcoming rides — including the Dirt to D.C. Ride that begins September 14 — visit FullerCenterBikeAdventure.org.