By Kirk Lyman-Barner
Director of U.S. Field Operations
I’m writing my final blog report from this 2,750-mile journey from our home town of Americus. The feeling of arriving home after such a long trip is wonderful. As I was turning onto Lakewood Avenue, I thought about how blessed our family really is. I imagine that that’s the way our partner families feel about their new and fixed up homes, too.
My final stop was at a wonderful restaurant called El Rio Grande which is located on the Millard Fuller Memorial Highway in Lanett, Alabama. Visiting Millard’s boyhood hometown was a fitting conclusion for a road trip upon which I met people who are carrying on the vision Millard challenged the world with over 40 years ago.
I had a great conversation with some members of the Chattahoochee Valley Fuller Center Project and their dynamic leader, Kim Roberts. Though this was my 6th visit to Lanett, Kim and I had never had the opportunity to get to know each other very well. So we visited for 3 hours on Wednesday and made a pledge to talk with each other by phone at least once a month.
One might have reasonably expected Kim to be quite tired after working so hard helping Brenda Barton with Henry County on the Millard Fuller Legacy Build, to be followed by the completion of two new homes and dedication of a third home in Lanett. You can read more about their amazing work here. But Kim was not visibly tired. In fact, just the opposite: She was very animated and shared story after story. Her passion for the families being helped by her local Fuller Center covenant partner and the global effort and reach of our ministry is what drives her.
Pulling into my driveway at home, I remembered on amazing story Kim shared about her receiving a call about a little girl who was being bullied by her classmates because they said her house looked haunted. Kim went to visit her and seeing the awful living conditions her family lived in almost broke her heart. The girl showed Kim her bedroom, which was very dark and overrun with cockroaches. The girl asked Kim, “Can you really make my house beautiful?” Without hesitation, Kim replied with a huge smile, “I sure can!!!” And she did. With the help of a local church every room in the house was “flipped” and made beautiful just as Ms. Kim promised.
No child, especially in our great nation, should ever have to be embarrassed about where they live. But we know too many are.
My final reflection on the journey is that I came away very encouraged about our Fuller Center ministry. The groups I visited were at many different levels in their development. We have sophisticated seasoned groups and new ones just getting started. Yet, without exception, there are people with the spirit of Millard and the compassion of Kim Roberts working hard for the people in need alongside with the people who are blessed in every community where we have Fuller Center partners. As Millard would say, “It is a beautiful sermon of God’s love.” Can I get an Amen?