Dateline Madison

It’s been quite a whirlwind of travel over the past few weeks, and despite my best intentions I’ve had a hard time keeping up with the blog. I think it’s a discipline.   I was in Congo in mid August, Honduras at the end of the month, and in Indianapolis over the past few days. I need a new travel agent!
The trip to Congo was an adventure. It was my fourth or fifth trip there, and, like all the ones before it, full of surprises. People who operate on carefully organized itineraries would do well to avoid travel there—it is a place that defies the well laid plan. The trip was full and rich, and deserves a post or two of its own.
I traveled to Honduras with my old friend Frank Purvis and my new friend David Forehand. Frank and David have been building houses there for a number of years, and we’re going to team up to build some more. This was another trip that needs its own post, so I’ll write more about it soon.
This time, though, I’ll share some of our experiences in Indianapolis. Sheilla made this trip with me — it is a great joy to have her join me on some of these jaunts. The Fuller Center for Housing of Central Indiana is following up on their tremendously successful Millard Fuller Legacy Build last year by building two new houses and doing a couple of rehabs. With this project they will have put over 25 families into decent housing in the Fountain Square neighborhood. This is a true neighborhood renovation.
We got there in time to be part of the Miracle Mile Parade — an annual event that our board member Jeff Cardwell helps put on. We were honored guests for the event and had our own convertible to ride in — a first for us. It was one hot day, over 100 degrees, and that made it a little difficult. But it was great fun. Sheilla had been practicing her parade wave and made friends all along the route.
Monday the blitz build kicked off. There were over 100 volunteers on site, so there were plenty of hands to make lighter work. Both of the new houses were framed and trussed by the end of the day. One had its roof decked and was ready for the trades. Some of the old faithful were there — Elmer and Mary Hines from Ohio and Tim Dubois and Charlie Thell from Minnesota, among them.  It was exciting, though, to see the level of local support. There were church groups, a UAW team and representatives from our new friends at the North American Retail Hardware Association. The Indy Fuller Center has done a great job of mobilizing the community in support of their work.
The Fuller Center of Central Indiana is a covenant partner that would make Millard proud. They have no overhead — no staff, no office space, no phone — so virtually every dollar they raise goes into house building. They are truly faith-driven. They never seem to have all the money in place before they start a project, but always manage to get it raised before the project is done. They have developed significant partnerships with the city, with the Southeast Neighborhood Development group, with churches and corporations. I always get inspired when I visit Indy, which probably accounts for the number of trips I’ve made up here.
Sheilla and I are on the road, heading up to the north woods. We have family there and hope to get a little rest break in. I’m already a little itchy, though, to get back to Americus and back to work!

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