With help from Disciples churches and other faith communities, Habitat for Humanity reached an important milestone on Nov. 13 as the philanthropic organization commenced building its 300,000th home. The house is being constructed in Naples, Fla. More than 1,380 Disciples congregations have been involved with Habitat for Humanity projects, and Disciples have donated more than $2 million to the international housing ministry.
Habitat for Humanity International was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller after the couple served as Disciples missionaries to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The Fullers began their housing ministry in Mbandaka, an impoverished community in western Zaire. Before they left Africa, the Fullers had overseen construction of 114 houses. After returning to the United States, they began the ministry of Habitat for Humanity to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ by building homes in partnership with families in need.
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.
"Throughout this journey, so many lives have been changed – from the families who now live in decent homes to the volunteers whose hard work and compassion have helped build them," said Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity International Jonathan Reckford. "However, as much as we have to celebrate, we are equally humbled by the extent of the housing problem worldwide. We realize we have so much more to do, and we’ll continue building upon the momentum that each of these 300,000 homes has helped generate."
Disciples and Habitat have partnered in building projects and in disaster recovery efforts following hurricanes, tornadoes and floods in the U.S. and elsewhere, including Indonesia and El Salvador. For example, in 2004 Week of Compassion pledged $10,000 in support of the FaithWorks program, a project designed to serve rural areas in North Carolina. Disciples pledged $525,000 for Operation Home Delivery rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast region in 2005, and $253,000 for disaster recovery following the tsunami in Asia in 2004. The Christian Church also provided a denominational grant matched by local churches to help fund a house as part of the 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project in Michigan.
By James Patterson; [email protected]