Welcome to Home Repair Ministries, Inc.

Archive

Author Archive

God's Heart for the Single Mother

There are many Bible passages which affirm God’s heart for single mothers and their children. In 1 Kings 17:7-24 and 2 Kings 4:1-7, God miraculously provides for single mothers through Elijah. Psalm 68:5 states, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.” In Zechariah 7:10, God commands, “...do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor... ” Exodus 22:22-23 says “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry...”

A Single Mother's Testimonial

A Single Mother's Testimonial

A single mother’s life is not an easy one, but it’s probably more difficult than you think. The poverty rate for single-mother families with children, in 2013, was 39.6%, nearly five times more than the rate (7.6%) for married-couple families. The rate of extreme poverty rate was 20.6%.1 Of particular interest to HRM, one third of all single-parent families spent more than half their income on housing,2 which is generally considered the threshold for “severe housing cost burden.”

However she became one, the single mother is often functionally, if not actually, a widow. She is vulnerable and may find herself desperately needing help beyond her resources. That’s the situation all of us are in before God, and why we celebrate what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us. He met our most critical need, one we absolutely could not meet ourselves, providing the payment for our sins and offering us eternal life in His presence, claimed by faith and trust in Him. He gives those who accept the offer His righteousness and takes their punishment.

HRM serves single mothers, as well as other people in need (typically widows, seniors, people with disabilities and the poor), to thank God for serving us, the undeserving, and to model the love of Jesus to them. I love 2 Corinthians 9:13 - “By their approval of this service, they (single mothers and those we serve) will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them . . . “

Would your church like to show Christ's love to single mothers and other homeowners in need? If you live in metro-Atlanta, Join us on a project. Or, if you'd like to start your own ministry wherever you live, sign up for our free resources.

You can also help us provide critical repairs, affecting safety and quality of life, and modifications to make a home safer and more accessible, by making an investment in people in need, through HRM. Make a Donation

Footnotes:
1 - National Women’s Law Center, “insecure &unequal - poverty and income among women and families 2000-2013, by Joan
Entmacher, Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Julie Vogtman, and Anne Morrison

2 Joint Center For Housing Studies Of Harvard University, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011” (Table A-5) ©2011 President and Fellows of Harvard College.



What Legacy Will You Leave?

Have you ever thought about what kind of legacy you hope to leave? It's a great question, isn't it? We hope that, after looking at this blog, you'll share what legacy your church, nonprofit or organization hopes to leave! And if you'd just like to share what legacy that you would like to leave personally, that would be great, too!

As far as Home Repairs Ministries goes, in the simplest terms, we want God to be glorified among the hurting and those watching, especially in the midst of an increasingly skeptical, and even hostile, generation. Specifically, we’d love for HRM to be remembered for:

1) God’s love being shown and shared, and accompanying professions of faith, from many homeowners with diverse backgrounds. HRM makes a point to try and share why we are serving the homeowners we work with - to say “thank you” to God for His undeserved gift of salvation and eternal life, through Christ.

2) Churches starting their own home repair teams, helping them to take better care of their own. As a result, the world will see a beautiful witness of Christ’s love through volunteers sacrificially serving other followers of Jesus. John 13:35 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (ESV) What a powerful statement - the world will see Jesus’ love in how His followers love and care for each other. Additionally, we would love to see these churches serving those in need in their communities.

3) Many HRM Hubs (service areas like we have here in Gwinnett and North Fulton counties), in various regions across this state and the country, starting a mercy ministry movement that makes a difference for the Kingdom.

4) Hundreds of faithful volunteers and supporters impacting the community and making the growing efforts of the ministry possible.


Categories: Ministry Impact Tags:

Attempting Community Transformation

As a nonprofit, ministry or church team, have you ever embarked on a new endeavor so big that you had no idea how it would turn out? Maybe you had a vision to help the homeless get integrated back into society, or to be a catalyst to help raise school test scores in under-resourced areas. Recently, we began to attempt something like this ourselves, by starting a new inner-city and urban Atlanta focused service area (what we call a Hub; you'll see why in a minute) to meet the need for critical home repairs for low-income homeowners and people who typically can't make repairs themselves - widows, single mothers, the elderly and those with mobility challenges.

We want to not just serve individual homeowners, but to help transform the community to collectively impact more people than we ever could alone by showing and sharing the love and gospel of Jesus Christ to those we serve.

Have you ever attempted something like that? What has been your experience? I hope that you'll share your learnings by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.

We act like A HubHere's our model for attempting this. We've used it in our northeast-Atlanta suburban Hub. Much like the Hub of a wheel with many “spokes”, our new inner-city Hub Director Andre will connect disadvantaged homeowners with the following organizations or groups:

Spoke 1) Churches - HRM helps churches start or grow their own home repair teams to serve their congregations and communities. We also coordinate and rally volunteers from churches on projects we lead.

Spoke 2) Other nonprofits and agencies - We receive referrals, often pre-screened, from other community service organizations, and if there’s a need a homeowner has that we can’t meet, we try to return the favor by referring them to nonprofits and agencies we have a relationship with. HRM also makes it a priority to serve these organizations that help the hurting, with repairs or upgrades, so that they can serve more people, better. The community, and people with needs, win!

Spoke 3) Businesses - Community-minded businesses sometimes offer materials discounts (on occasion donations), grants and financial support.

Spoke 4) Individual financial supporters - Donors provide the "gas in the tank" that lets us go. Although they may not directly meet the many people we serve, donors enable us to do the work we do to make their homes safe and accessible!

This model has helped us complete over 120 projects two straight years, in the suburbs, and it’s one reason we’re so excited about the new Hub. Of course, nothing is ever certain in a new venture and area. If we need to make adjustments, we will! As we mentioned above, please let us know how your adventures have gone in serving the community by leaving a comment!



Practical Love - Serving People with Mobility Needs

If you have read our newsletter for very long, you have likely seen articles about wheelchair ramps, lifts, track systems, walkways, widened doorways, grab bars, loose railings, and other ways to address people’s mobility needs.

Elderly Homeowner Gets Access to Her Home BackWhile the means to the end can vary wildly, the end always remains the same - showing and sharing Christ’s love with people in a highly practical way, helping them gain more use of their homes and independence while improving their quality of life. That is loving our neighbors as ourselves and thanking the Father who demonstrated His love to us in the person of Jesus.

Want to know what a difference mobility can make in someone's life? Here are some real-life examples we have encountered:

  • People in unsafe situations and facing their homes being condemned, which could result in institutionalization, stayed in their home because repairs were made.
  • Others, released from rehab centers, could go home because it was made accessible. They also now had a way out in the face of a fire or other emergency.
  • Bathrooms were adapted to allow people to get in and out on their own, preserving dignity and independence.
  • Home repairs were made that enabled caregivers to physically move their loved ones in, out and within the home and prevented lifting injuries to both the caregiver and receiver.

So what do you say? Do you have a couple handy guys in your church who could make life a little easier for someone with a disability? Sometimes the homeowner can pay for the materials and sometimes they can't. There are other creative ways to pay for projects like this that we have posted on our website for churches that register for the site (it's free!).

Or, can you help people with disabilities by supporting HRM's work to make homes more accessible? Partner with HRM



Valentine Day God's Way

Valentine's Day affords us an opportunity to consider how we are viewed by the Author of Love. Consider what Jesus’ love compelled him to do.

Crown of Thorns

Image Provided By FreeImages.com/Patrizio Martorana

The abuse before the cross was horrific and the cross itself among the worst tortures ever devised by men. But there was something far more terrible. Having to face the righteous wrath of God for our sin. My sin and yours. He suffered wrath enough to pay for every person’s sin who has ever lived. Across all time… All the pain, murder, hate, greed, lust, and more put on one man in one moment. All so that anyone who puts their trust in Him, as Savior and Lord, might be forgiven of their sins and have a right relationship with God. Or, as the Bible puts it, “...so that he (Jesus) might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27, ESV). Truly, we are loved beyond comprehension. So let love overflow to those around us as exemplified by Christ himself — all year long.



Categories: Devotionals, Salvation, The Gospel Tags:

Unity - Why We Serve with Many Denominations

You may have noticed that Home Repairs Ministries (HRM) seems to put a high value on getting the Body of Christ together. Some of that is based on this passage from Ephesians chapter 4: 1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (English Standard Version)

The passage has a mind-boggling number of possible applications and mis-applications but here is what jumps out to me.

Serving TogetherVerse 2 addresses our attitude toward other believers (I read denominations, persuasions, etc.). It states that there is a unity of the Spirit. Gathering to serve is not the basis of unity, but is a result of it. We are to walk in a manner that maintains oneness and we should do it eagerly. Do you find joy in crossing the lines drawn between Christians? I have finally begun crossing lines after repenting for years of drawing lines.

The basis of the unity is the fact that Christians share the same:

  • Lord (Jesus) through faith in Him
  • Baptism through which we are identified with Him.
  • God and Father, the omnipresent Ruler who lives in His children through the Holy Spirit

That should be more than enough to maintain unity.

Churches serving togetherWhat about questions where we may disagree, such as when and how we baptize? Rather than disputing about ideas which are important, but which are not vital to our relationship with God, can’t we find our deep commonality in the cross of Christ? With that connectedness, we can move to the “Do’s” and find that God has called us to “...do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” Micah 6:8. Those three phrases certainly draw us together, especially when we are humble with one another and with God.



Categories: Churches Serving Together Tags:

Serving the Hurting - Meet Thelma

When we met Thelma, she was a 72-years-old, and also a grandmother and a strong Christian. She had rescued her six- and seven-year-old grandchildren from the foster care system in New York. One of these children tested positive for prenatal crack cocaine exposure, and she thinks that the other one was exposed, as well. She was working to adopt them, and had already paid a large sum in attorneys' fees. She also had been hit with a large, unbudgeted repair for her septic tank drain field. So, when a sliding glass door rotted and fell off the track, she did the only thing that she could think of - jam it closed from the outside with a wooden wedge. Now she had an inoperative door, no rear exit from the house (a significant safety issue), no budget and no idea where to turn for help. This is just the sort of scenario that we love to get involved with!

First, HRM talked her through enrolling as a client of Gwinnett County Senior Services. They authorized the funds for a replacement door. We often talk about the importance of partnering with other nonprofits and agencies, and this situation shows why - together we can do much more than we could separately and make a bigger impact on the community! HRM installed the new door at no cost, and was helped by a young man serving mandatory community service hours.

Thelma is thankful to God for providing HRM and meeting her many challenges. Your support help us to invest the time, skill and sometimes money for materials (though we often find someone to make the purchase or deeply discount the price), that homeowners like Thelma need.

These stories are not possible without the generous support of many people. As the year draws to a close, will you prayerfully consider a year-end gift to HRM to help us continue the work of serving homeowners in distress and showing them the love of Christ? Thank you and God bless you!

Make a Year-End Gift to Help People Like Thelma


Interesting Ways to Build Threshold Ramps

I was walking through a DIY home store and asking myself what material to use for a threshold ramp. I received an idea, and got some PVC 1x4, cut it to length, countersunk a couple of screws deep into the PVC and into a board beneath, then took a power planer and cut the ramp with a series of passes until it was the needed shape. No rot, no curl, white (no paint), etc. I built something similar with ironwood (Ipe) at a beach house, where we wanted to remove the threshold for sweeping so sand could be swept straight out without catching it in a dustpan.

Another idea came to memory where a guy took some aluminum and made a removable threshold ramp to be used only when needed. I like that.

Either of these would be removable. I’ll bet you could even use hot glue, for a more temporary ramp, to hold it down, if you didn’t want to screw it into tile or sheet vinyl.


Categories: How-to Tags:

A Day in the Life, Part 2

In Part One of this blog series, we took a look behind-the-scenes at some of the work and networking that takes place for the ministry's work to get done. Today, we'll look at a service project day.

Day 1 - Project Day


Serving HomeownersToday is Saturday and it's our usual project day (if you live in metro-Atlanta, and are interested, please join us on a project. We need you!). I wake up early, pray, read some Scripture and think about today’s devotional for the crew.

I grab the pile of tools, boxes, compressors and hoses, extension cords and the cooler with drinks and load the truck. I am out the door by 7:30 a.m.

On site, I greet volunteers as they arrive, get waivers signed by the new ones, explain how the project should go and find out who is comfortable going up on a ladder. We have a devotional and a prayer with the homeowner and volunteers and the work begins. I always try to finish by early afternoon, if possible.

We found rotten studs behind the drywall we are patching. Sometimes projects grow in scope right before your eyes. I arrive home late, due to the surprise with the studs. I rest for a bit, then unload everything I can’t lock up in the truck. It’s been a tiring but rewarding day! Thank you, Lord!


A Day in the Life, Part 1

November 2012 Roof Project 2As I'm sure is true in many of your jobs, it can be challenging to nail down an "average day". Since we're a small organization, at least in terms of staff, we do what we have to to get the job done. We hope that you can get a sense for what running your own nonprofit, or home repair ministry (in a church), can be (it certainly doesn't need to include all of the things listed here!), and maybe stoke some ideas. Part 1 will be more focused on running a service nonprofit, and Part 2 will be show you things that happen on a project day (which will be of special interest to churches). Nevertheless, to give you a bit of an idea what we do and how we operate, here is an attempt. Please note that this average day is representational, designed to show you some of the many things that are done to run a home repair ministry.

Day 1 - Preparing for Projects and Running the Ministry


Today is a Wednesday, so Jim Eschenberg, our Director of Communications and Development, and I have staff prayer time in the morning.

I ask several team leaders from churches, serving a widow, to recruit a few people each so we can blitz the roof project and get it done in one day. We have relationships with churches all over our area, each with people that love to serve God, with tools, by helping under-resourced people.

It’s time to see what emails have come in since last night:

  • Jim requests information on a donor and copy for a newsletter.
  • Several volunteers report the results of projects and another asks for some advice on how attach a grab bar in a tiled shower.
  • A reply from a pastor indicates that he would like to meet about organizing some handy people in his church for outreach.
  • I’m reminded to make a reservation for a networking opportunity.
  • A home health agency calls about a client who had a stroke and now can’t climb stairs. A trip to the site shows me what he needs (a wheelchair ramp) and his financial situation. Now I can start thinking about design, estimate materials needed, set a budget, consider funding sources, and see whether we can get materials discounted or at cost.

  • With a quick call to a ministry in urban Atlanta, we set up a time to meet about a problem on their building that we might be able to tackle with volunteers.
    With time left, I return phone calls.
    Please come back next Wednesday for Part 2!