Not many high-level businesspeople would have considered an alternate career in carpentry. But Marty Cuellar did.
Throughout his 40+ years as a quality professional, mainly in the food industry, Marty has always had a desire to serve – and a love for carpentry. It’s what’s led him on numerous missions trips over the years.
“At one of our previous churches, we took regular mission trips to Honduras, where we worked at one particular orphanage, doing construction and repair projects, so I’ve always had an interest in and heart for that sort of work,” Marty said.
“My gift is hands-on doing. I don’t necessarily have to know the people I’m serving; what matters to me is that I know I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. And my internal compass says I need to be doing or making something.”
His career eventually landed him in Georgia, which led to Marty and his wife attending Perimeter Church, where Frits ten Pas introduced him to Home Repairs. Marty began volunteering – and hasn’t stopped.
“I remember seeing the conditions in the orphanages in Honduras and in Jamaica, and it’s enough to make a grown man cry,” he said. “If people saw the conditions we see people living in, even here in America… We’ve been in homes where people have lined their toilets with plastic bags because they can’t afford to have the water turned on, and homes where there was nothing in a kitchen cabinet between the sink and the dirt floor below.
“People see what’s on the surface, but you don’t know what’s going on in people’s homes.
“Sometimes people just don’t know who to call, or they do but they’re not in a position to pay for it. It may be easy to say ‘Just go get a job’ or ‘Dust yourself off’, but that’s a very simplistic way to look at complex issues. We’ve been given an opportunity to help, and if it’s within my ability to help, I’m obliged to do so.”
And for Marty, while he loves serving homeowners, he also views his work as a kingdom investment.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. When I show up at the gates of heaven, Jesus will want to know what I did with what He gave me, and I want to have an answer.”
“I look forward to doing this work, and we do good work, too. I often step back and look at our work and just think ‘Here you go, Lord; it’s for You’.
In addition to his love for woodworking, Marty enjoys home improvement, gardening, and spending time with he and his wife Linda’s four children and four grandchildren. He and Linda, an occasional Home Repairs volunteer, herself, also love traveling.
“Linda helped me lay a floor once on a Home Repairs project. And another time, when my back was injured, she got up on the ladder with John [Mandersheid, HRM volunteer] and painted a bathroom,” Marty said.
Marty’s experience with Home Repairs has been one of true brotherhood and making deep connections with the men he regularly serves alongside.
“We have interesting theological discussions while we work; it’s so great to work alongside them. Just being around them has made me a better individual,” he said.
Because of the role Home Repairs has played in his life, Marty invites people of all ages and skill levels to join the team and volunteer:
“Retirees, come and work with us. Young people, if you’re homeschooled or even looking for a trade career: I’d love to see Home Repairs be able to help train you in the basics of plumbing or electricity or repair work. Not to mention, there’s a lot of wisdom to be gained through spending time with our volunteers.
“Even if you don’t know which end of the hammer to hold, come and work with us,” Marty laughed. “You don’t need extraordinary skills to serve others. If we’re doing a tile job, for example, we may have someone cutting the tile and someone running tile up the stairs. If people are willing to serve, we’re willing to put them to work.
Interested in serving with Home Repairs Ministries? Click here and learn more about getting involved.