Part of the American dream is to own a home. Building one is perhaps the biggest project in the life of most families.
The average house takes about six months to build. Jean and I have owned four houses. One of those we had built. I’ve often heard people say if a marriage can survive having a house built, it can survive almost anything.
Our experience was actually quite enjoyable, but it did take about six months and we found ourselves homeless before it was completed. That was because our old house sold in three months; long before the new one was completed.
Last week, we witnessed a miracle in Beauregard, Alabama. This was not a “snap your finger and watch it happen” kind of miracle, but a miracle born out of much planning and hard work.
This year that community has been the place of many miracles. As you most likely know, tornadoes ripped through the small community back on March 3. Twenty three individuals lost their lives. The fact that this number wasn’t much higher was a miracle.
How some crawled out of the destruction was almost unbelievable. How that community has rallied together under the slogan of “Beauregard Strong” is another miracle. How so many others, from all across the nation and even from other nations, have supported this small community is amazing.
Around 300 families lost their homes and hundreds more were severely damaged. Over the past seven months, several of those homes have been rebuilt. Eleven of them were built last week. Rome may not have been built in a day, but last week in Beauregard, 11 new houses were built in five days!
Can you imagine building 11 houses in only five days? Did I just hear you say, “It can’t be done?” Well, it has been done. I probably wouldn’t have believed it either had I not seen it for myself.
It took me longer than that once to build a toy house out of Lincoln Logs! I spent two weeks once just putting together a model car. It was a 1957 Chevy, but when I finished, it looked more like a cross between a Ford Edsel and a Massey Ferguson tractor than a ’57 Chevy!
These workers, who for the most part were not professional carpenters, put together 11 houses that looked like houses when they finished! In fact, they looked great.
This labor of love was spearheaded by The Fuller Center. MEND helped coordinate the efforts. Providence Baptist Church, once again, served as the base for the ministry. The necessary funding to buy the material was given by various churches, organizations and individuals.
The builders came from all over. Some came from across the street, some from across the county, some from across the country and some even from across the world. They came from 29 states and four countries. Some came for a few hours, others for a day and many for the entire week. A total of around 1,200 volunteers came. Most paid their own way, and they gave their time, labor and love.
Last Friday afternoon, dedications were held for 11 families, on site, at 11 new homes. The new home of the family of Ben and Megan Robertson was funded by the Beauregard Community of Faith. Dr. Rusty Sowell, Dr. David Dismuke and I were blessed and honored to have the privilege of leading that dedication service.
The front porch and yard were filled with people who were laughing, crying and applauding. That was a day the Robertson family will never forget, but neither will the rest of us who were there.