Welcome to Home Repair Ministries, Inc.

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

What differentiates service ministries from other nonprofits which help people? It's the gospel! For HRM, prayer is a critical component of our gospel focus. Every week, our three staff gather together to praise God and lift our requests to Him. Prayer inevitably reminds us of the wonder of God’s grace to us. Often, we pray for our clients. We also make an effort to pray with our clients as we speak with them and serve them. As we lift up our new friends and their physical needs, it's very natural to work in the greater spiritual need, and the solution of the gospel, which they may or may not be aware of.

We have also developed a pamphlet which presents the gospel, and God's love, in a short, digestible format. It gives us something to leave behind with the homeowner, which they can look over and think about after we visit, and can prompt a further discussion. Check it out

We also represent the gospel when we do our work with excellence. Matthew 5:16 says, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (ESV) By doing our work with diligence, we show the homeowner that we care about her and that God cares, too. And as we labor and serve, we often get the question, "Why are you doing this?". We love that question! Talk about a hanging curveball and a great spiritual discussion starter!

We'd love to hear from you. How does your ministry keep the main thing the main thing? Leave a comment below and let us know.



Categories: Evangelism, Outreach, The Gospel Tags:

God's Heart for the Widow

Caring for widows is a big deal to God. You don't have to look far, in the Bible, to read about His heart of love and concern for them, or His mandate for Christians to serve them. In fact, a search for "widow" on Biblegateway.com yields 102 references (ESV translation), including:

  • Psalm 65:8"A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation."

  • Leviticus 27:19"Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow."

  • James 1:27"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."


In 1 Timothy 5, God clearly lays out which widows, in the church, are eligible for help. The standards are for her to be over 60, a faithful follower of Christ, have no family to support her, be actively serving in her church and truly in need. But what about widows who are not believers?

An elderly womanWe apply the same criteria of true need. It’s not hard to find widows in this state. The poverty rate for elderly widows is consistently 3x - 4x higher than for elderly married women (Social Security Administration, 2005). Widow’s houses are often in substandard, dilapidated or even dangerous condition. If you saw some of their homes, your heart would break. Just to make their homes adequate is beyond their financial means. The same is true for many HRM clients, such as abandoned or divorced single mothers and wives with very sick spouses, who are functionally similar to widows. We view serving widows, and those in similarly vulnerable states, as a Great Commission opportunity to reach out with home repairs and the good news of Jesus.

How about you? Does your church actively serve widows? Please leave us a comment and let us know how you serve this group which is obviously close to God's heart.


Categories: Outreach, Widows Tags:

Who is Your Neighbor?

How do we love our neighbors as we love ourselves? That’s a complex question, and the answer plays out differently for everyone, but it requires that another question be answered first, “Who is my neighbor?”. Jesus encountered this exact question, from a lawyer, in Luke 10:25-34 (The Parable of the Good Samaritan). The lawyer was asking the question to determine, "What people can I exclude from the list and how can I limit my responsibility?"

Jesus responds with a story and a question back to the lawyer, which destroys his expectations and is staggering in its scope. Jesus shows him (and us) that anyone in need is a neighbor, and that the Samaritan in the story, who sacrificially helps a wounded stranger and shows mercy, has loved his neighbor as himself. Jesus then instructs the lawyer "Go and do likewise." What a challenging mandate! How do you love your neighbor as yourself? Please leave a comment below to let us know!


Categories: Devotionals, Mercy Tags:

A Lifetime of New Beginnings

Spectacular New Year's Day FireworksI think that one of the reasons why people view a new year as such a big deal is that we all long for new beginnings and a fresh start. I know I have bad and unhealthy habits I’d like to get rid of and improvements I'd like to make. I'm not alone, judging by all the resolutions people make. Maybe those resolutions are a subtle recognition that we recognize things in ourselves are not what they should be. Kind of like our relationship with God. Our rebellion (sin) has broken our connection to Him, and we desperately need that to change.

God has made it possible to have a personal relationship with Him by offering the blood of His only Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins. All we need to do is put our faith in Jesus and in His finished work of redemption for us (If you'd like to know more about how this works, please send us an email. We'd be honored to answer any questions you may have.). One of the cool things about being a follower of Christ is that he doesn't just change our relationship with Him, He changes US. In fact, the believer in Christ is being made new day-by-day. Every day truly is a new beginning for a Christian. Here's how the Bible explains it:

  • Revelation 21:5"And He (Jesus) who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true.'" (NASB)

  • 2 Corinthians 5:15"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV - emphasis mine)



Categories: Salvation, The Gospel Tags:

Keeping the Vulnerable in Their Home

Replacing a Deck for an Elderly WomanCan you imagine being uprooted from the home and community you have lived in for decades? That is the dilemma many HRM clients face. The issue could be a crushing fine for a housing violation a fixed-income senior can't afford. Or an inability to safely get out of or around a home, due to a disability or the ravages of aging. Or a water leak deteriorating the structure of a home. These are just some of the scenarios low-income homeowners face, and they can lead to injury, health risks, liens being placed on the home, eviction, foreclosure or even institutionalization. Here are the stories of two homeowners who faced situations like these.

One was a disabled couple whose water heater was pouring water into the basement. This presented multiple problems. One was the safety risk and damage caused by water in the basement. The other was the specter of having multiple-hundred dollar water and gas bills. The homeowners' best solution was to hook up a hose to dump the hot water outside. We explained how to shut off the water heater until we arrived, then replaced the drain valve. It saved them from more unaffordable water bills. We also wrote to their water company, to let them know what happened, and request a write-off of the current bill.

The second was a woman, with Multiple Sclerosis and little use of her limbs, had extensive rotted trim around her windows. Having seen problems arise when citations are issued by homeowners' associations and counties, along with fines and threats, we worked to prevent the process from ever starting by repairing her trim. Together, her church and HRM have served her several times, helping her to stay in her home.

Generous, compassionate supporters empower us to serve hurting people. In fact, they will help HRM complete more than 230 projects, and help an estimated 575 people, in 2017. Will you join with them and help show and share Christ's love to vulnerable homeowners, by making a donation to HRM?


Mary's Story

We received a call about Mary, a middle school principal, recovering from surgery to remove glioblastomas (brain tumors which are usually highly malignant). There were several situations around the house that were adding to her stress. A leak in the roof, causing mildew stains on a section of wall and ceiling in her bathroom, was her chief concern. The problem was isolated to one area, a fairly steep section of the roof over the second story.

Mary ministered to us more than we did to her. What an example of simple trust in the Lord's love for her, and even with her diagnosis/prognosis, was resting in His grace and mercy. After praying with, and being encouraged by her, we set a day the next week and replaced an area of rotted roof decking, reinforcing and shingling to complete the repair. Mary was almost speechless with gratitude for the help.


Want to Help Us Serve More Homeowners Like Mary?

Make a Donation

Volunteer on a Project (if you live in the Atlanta-area)

Categories: Mercy, Project Stories, Why We Serve Tags:

Food, Mortgage or Repair - The Crushing Choice

Imagine that you don't have enough financial resources to meet your basic needs - food, shelter and bills. Then you're hit with a critical home repair need affecting safety, or your independence is threatened because your ability to access the home is jarringly impacted because of aging, disease or disability. Or your already scant funds are being drained through utility problems, like leaky plumbing. Think these are just isolated cases?

A Critical Home Repair Need35 million metropolitan homes in the United States, or 40 percent, contain one or more health and safety hazards.1 An October 3, 2012 survey by HomeServe shows that one in five homeowners faces a repair expense they cannot afford.2 To give you some context from our part of the country, according to Families First®, “1.8 million Georgians do not have enough money to meet basic needs, such as food, housing and medication.”3 People facing these needs are forced into a very difficult decision. Do they cut a necessity or live with a known safety or health hazard in their home?

What Can You Do?

Our experience has been that homeowners in these situations are typically widows, single mothers, seniors or people with disabilities. There are a couple ways you can help them.

First, if you are a member of a church, and you have some handy skills, probably the most effective thing you can do is start your own team. Sound daunting? It doesn't need to be. In fact, you can start small, perhaps handling lawncare needs for seniors in your church. We provide no-cost resources that can help you think through starting a team. Home Repair Ministry Resources

Second, if you live in the Atlanta area, join us on a project. We have much more need than we can meet!

Third, invest in the lives of struggling, low-income homeowners by making a donation to Home Repairs Ministries. Last year, HRM completed over 200 projects in the community, a new record. Some of these projects were for other nonprofits/service agencies, enabling them to serve more people in need with repairs and/or facility modifications (here's one example). This is the third straight year of 120+ projects completed!

Footnotes:

1 - Article by Wendy Koch in the September 30 edition USA Today, entitled "Mice, leaks, holes: 40% of metro homes have hazards" (McLean, Va.: Gannett Co., 2013)

2 - Source: HomeServe survey cited in October 3 Fox Business News article - www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/10/03/do-need-added-homeowner-insurance/

3 - Families First® Overview 07-06-14 (Atlanta, GA.: Families First, 2014), 5. Downloaded from
http://www.atlantaregional.com/File Library/About Us/committee agendas/ELUC/ELUC Subcommittee on Poverty/Families-First-Overview_7-16-14.pdf



The Forgotten All Around Us

I sometimes wonder how some seniors make it from one day to the next. We recently served one who has a split-level house with many problems and struggles with numerous physical ailments. Just recently, she was hospitalized and had surgery for chronic nose bleeds. All of these things have contributed to severe financial hardship. In fact, at one point, she had no water or gas at her house, and was using firewood for heat.

There are people like these all around us - forgotten, overwhelmed and unable to even maintain decent living conditions in their homes. A home repair ministry at your church can serve people in these kinds of situations. Can you imagine what an encouragement it would be to show them, and share, Christ's love in a practical way, as you remind them that they are not forgotten, and help make their homes safer? Do you have some handy men or women in your church who can be turned loose for Kingdom service? If so, we can help you get started! We have some no-cost church ministry resources available to help you organize a team.

What kind of impact can you have? We have been able to serve this senior on multiple projects, over the years. It's probably not overstating matters to say that, because of our volunteers and donors, she has been able to stay in her home. Some of the projects we have worked on include:

  • Insulating between the main floor and crawl space

  • Re-siding the chimney frame

  • Patching of several roof leaks

  • Repairing burst water lines from not having heat in the house

  • Replacing and enlarging her deck - it was too shallow to allow the storm door to safely open

We have been able to do all of this because God has brought multiple volunteers with varied skills. If your church doesn't have all these skills available, let us encourage you to start where you are. Somewhere in your church and/or community are seniors who will be blessed immensely by it. If you want to support Home Repairs Ministries work to serve low-income homeowners, you can choose your option here.



The Power and Hope Behind Service Ministries

The triumph over death and resurrection of Jesus is the good news that drives service ministries like ours, and many of our financial supporters, to love our neighbor in practical ways. He also pushes back the corruption of sin where houses, lives and hopes are in decline, while offering the promise of a permanent new home where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, ESV). This is good news for anyone still alive, as we have the opportunity to repent and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and God. The resurrection does three things that can radically change our lives and perspectives:

1) It fulfills Jesus’ many prophecies regarding Himself: In the words of Matthew, “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things . . . and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Matthew 16:21, ESV)

2) The power of God over death was demonstrated: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20, ESV). Colossians 2:13-15 says it beautifully, "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him (Jesus), having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him." (ESV).

3) We have the awesome promise that we, who believe in and follow Christ, will also be raised: “...For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.“
(1 Corinthians 15:52, ESV)



Categories: Devotionals, Salvation, Service, The Gospel Tags:

Connecting the Two Great Commands

I’ve heard it said that Christianity is simple, but not easy. That’s a very profound truth. You can boil the essence of the Christian life down to two commands:

1) Love God with all you’ve got.

2) Love other people as you love yourself.

Serving an Elderly HomeownerThat’s a paraphrase of an answer Jesus gave to a question posed by religious leaders of His day (Matthew 22:34-40), and there is a lot of important detail which goes behind each of those commands. For now, we'll just look at the "50,000 foot level". Here are two important principles - following the first command is often (but not completely) achieved by living out the second command, and caring for the hurting, marginalized and oppressed is a big part of fulfilling the second command (see Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25 for more).

That should be an encouragement to those of you who are involved in service ministry, tying together Word and deed to minister to people who are hurting. That's right in line with the second command. If you're interested in some ideas for how to serve people in your community, please leave a comment below or send us an email. We'd love to connect with you.

If you do already have a service ministry, would you share some of the ways in which you help people in need? Just leave a comment below.



Categories: Devotionals, Mercy, Ministry Impact, Service Tags: