California church helps Thai family move from “house with one wall” to decent home

California church helps Thai family move from “house with one wall” to decent home

Toward the end of their workweek on a Fuller Center Global Builders trip to Thailand in January, volunteers from Berkeley, California’s First Presbyterian Church were asked if they had ever seen a house with one wall. The team, led by Tim Buscheck, was intrigued.

The house belonged to an electrician named Jareorn, who had performed work on several Fuller Center homes in Lampang. In his early 50s, he lived there with his mother, Boonma, who is in her early 70s.

What the team saw when they arrived at Jareorn’s house was indeed a structure with just one wall. It did have a solid roof held up by strong posts, but its floors were dirt, and there was just one partial solid wall. In lieu of walls in other areas were woven bamboo and other screen materials. Sleeping areas were protected by mosquito nets.

Though Jareorn’s income as an electrician is modest, it was enough to qualify for a Fuller Center home. The challenge, though, would be securing funds to quickly build a new home. Fortunately, upon returning home Buscheck’s team enlisted help from their First Presbyterian Church family and raised the funds needs for a simple, decent home — with four solid outside walls.

In late April, local construction workers who had labored alongside the church volunteers earlier this year started the new home with solid foundations, a concrete slab floor, concrete block walls inside and out, a steel roof frame and corrugated concrete roofing. The outside and inside walls were stuccoed and painted, and the floors all finished in ceramic tile.

The completed new home — with real walls, two bedrooms, a living area, kitchen and indoor bathroom (instead of the outhouse they formerly had) — was dedicated.

“Many deep thanks to all who helped make Jareorn and his mothers new home in Thailand possible in such a short time,” said Boots Walker, a native of Lampang, who started The Fuller Center’s covenant partner there with her husband, Ramsay. “We especially thank the generous friends from and all those associated with First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley.”

RELATED LINK: Volunteer witnesses “expansiveness of God’s love” on Global Builders trip to Thailand (Jan. 2018)

Slideshow of Jareorn and Boonma’s former and new home:

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FAITH IN ACTION: Expansiveness of God’s love clear after Thailand trip

FAITH IN ACTION: Expansiveness of God’s love clear after Thailand trip

(This is the latest installment of our “Faith in Action” series. If you have a story of how involvement with The Fuller Center has impacted your faith, please let us know at this link.)

Fuller Center for Housing founder Millard Fuller saw the affordable housing ministry he and wife Linda started in the early 1970s as a worldwide movement. He knew, as most do, that God’s love extends to the entire world. Millard did not just read that in the Bible — he and Linda witnessed it while traveling to all corners of the world.

Reading and believing that God’s love reaches beyond man-made national borders is one thing, but witnessing it is for yourself is a perspective-altering experience that lasts a lifetime. Sandy Buscheck of Orinda, California, knows it.

Though her husband, Tim, had been to Thailand several times, such a long journey was not exactly her idea of a good way to spend free time.

“I’m someone who usually resists leaving my safe and secure world,” said Sandy, whose town has been ranked by Forbes magazine No. 2 on a list of “America’s Friendliest Towns.” (Who’s No. 1? That’d be Sammamish, Washington, according to Forbes.)

It was only when a team of 10 people from First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley signed up to work with The Fuller Center’s Global Builders program in Lampang, Thailand, that she reluctantly tagged along with her husband.

And she’s forever glad she did, as are their Thai homeowner partners — a husband and wife with two daughters, who moved from a bamboo shack to a safe, new Fuller Center home (pictured above).

Sandy & Tim Buscheck

“I’m a mother of three sons I occasionally took camping while they were growing up,” Sandy said. “Living outdoors for a short time is fun, but I cannot imagine raising children who live on a bamboo platform with no walls. I loved being able to help homeowners with two daughters move to a house with four outside walls, windows with screens, doors, a roof, a kitchen and a bathroom.”

The family’s dire need for a simple, decent home was made even more clear during their trip when one of the homeowners’ daughters fell ill with a fever.

“I am so happy that if one of the daughters is sick again, she will be able to be inside in a comfortable room recuperating,” Sandy said.

While Sandy helped provide this family with the safety and security of a decent home, she is thankful for the opportunity to have stretched outside of her California comfort zone.

“The safety and security that house will provide for those girls remind me that God surrounds me with His love,” she said. “Meeting the family, cooking and eating meals with them and seeing how their lives will improve makes God’s work in the world real to me. I know this family now and I can pray for them. I see that God is at work in Thailand, and He is at work in opening my eyes to His care for all people.”

DID YOU KNOW? It costs only $6,500 to sponsor a new
Fuller Center home in Thailand. Click here to learn more!

Interested in a Fuller Center Global Builders trip to Thailand? Click here!

Professor uses Global Builders trips to broaden students’ perspective

Professor uses Global Builders trips to broaden students’ perspective

For Associate Professor of Business and Economics Henrique Cezar, Fuller Center Global Builders trips are more than just a chance for his students from Vermont’s Johnson State College to practice civic engagement and do some good in the world. They also are an opportunity to expose the students to diversity and cultural differences.

After leading students on Fuller Center Global Builders trips to Thailand, Nicaragua and, last year, Armenia, Cezar will take his team to work with The Fuller Center’s covenant partner in Trivandrum, India, this coming May.

Johnson State College’s student newspaper, Basement Medicine, has an outstanding piece about this service trip, featuring interviews with Cezar and students who will be making the trip.

Click here to read the complete article

Vote in the Fuller Center Global Builders’ annual photo contest

Vote in the Fuller Center Global Builders’ annual photo contest

Photos from Nepal, Haiti, Nicaragua, Thailand and Peru are among the 17 finalists in the Fuller Center Global Builders’ annual photo contest, and contest organizers would like your help in selecting the winner. The final two will be revealed on Friday, December 16 for the deciding round of voting.

Click here to see the finalists and vote

Suburban Cleveland newlyweds spend honeymoon building home for family in Thailand

Suburban Cleveland newlyweds spend honeymoon building home for family in Thailand

Mike and Annamarie Campisi tied the knot on July 16 and then set off on an unusual honeymoon.

They didn’t fly to Hawaii, sail off to Jamaica or drive up to some mountain cabin hideaway. Instead, they went to Thailand … to work.

The Campisis spent a week with several other service-minded volunteers on a Fuller Center for Housing Global Builders mission to build a simple, decent home for a family in the small community of Lampang in northern Thailand.

“My first thought was, oh boy, I don’t know about that,” said Annamarie, noting that while she has always been service-minded, she had never traveled internationally. Mike, however, talked her into it.

“I’ve gone on three Global Builders trips — the first was Armenia in 2012 — and I’ve loved every single one of them,” he said. “I’ve always had such a good experience, a different experience, and Annamarie had never had the opportunity to do one.”

As the couple planned their wedding, they continued to consider their options for a Global Builders honeymoon. They talked with Fuller Center Director of International Field Operations Ryan Iafigliola, who attended the same high school as Mike and whose older brother Brett was Mike’s friend. Iafigliola told them there was a group headed for Thailand, one of The Fuller Center’s newest Global Builders destinations, just two days after their wedding. The more they learned about the trip, the more determined they became to have just such an alternative honeymoon.

“I really wanted to go to Italy, but I think that we made the best decision of our life,” Annamarie said. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As I started to learn about what The Fuller Center does on these mission trips, it became more clear to me that this was definitely what Mike and I had to do because we both love to do volunteer work, we both love to do things in the community and give back. I couldn’t see another way of doing it than doing this and molding our lives together as husband and wife commitment to community service and helping others. It was good to put somebody else first. I had a blast.”

Annamarie is thankful that her first international travel experience came through The Fuller Center’s Global Builders program, which not only provides families with eager volunteers to help them build their homes but also offers those volunteers an opportunity to experience the world and authentic cultures off the beaten tourist path.

“I learned what it was like to travel overseas, how they build, the types of food and language and traditions and culture,” she said. “That gives you perspective. You can’t get that perspective by just walking out your front door and walking about the block.”

“The trip leaders made it more than a mission trip — it was a life experience that I want to do over and over again. … I know that my hard work and sweat went into that house, and a part of me will always be with Thailand and that family.” — Annamarie Campisi

Is it an experience every newlywed couple should try?

“If you’re looking for just sitting at a beach and you don’t want to do anything, that might not be the best decision,” Mike said. “But anybody that is willing to work and wants to experience a whole other culture and give back … it’s really a great experience that you hope to get again and again.”

While it might not be the perfect honeymoon for every couple, Annamarie insists it was perfect for her and her new husband.

“It was the best thing Mike and I could have done because we grew closer together as a couple because we did something together that’s going to make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. “The trip leaders (Carla Foster and Surayyah Hasan) made it more than a mission trip — it was a life experience that I want to do over and over again. … I know that my hard work and sweat went into that house, and a part of me will always be with Thailand and that family.”

As they were leaving Thailand, they were making plans for future Global Builders experiences before they even boarded the flight home. They even asked Thailand site leader Boots Walker when they could bring their future children.

“It would be nice if we could get in one or two more trips before we actually start a family, but it also would be nice to actually bring them to a whole new culture of really appreciative people and just that whole experience that I’ve had multiple times and Annamarie has now had and want to experience again.”


Hear the complete phone interview with Mike and Annamarie Campisi below:


view a photo gallery from the trip

learn more about the
global builders program