Building More Than a House
Buddy Jent knew how to tackle tasks on his wife’s “I love you more if…” list. He could paint, install floors, and do simple repairs, and for years, he’s repaired antique clocks as a hobby. Yet, the retired pharmacist had no idea how to build a house when he clicked on the Unleashed App to volunteer with a Habitat for Humanity project not far from Southeast’s Elizabethtown Campus.
As he announced the campus’ special Empty the Jar initiative for this year, Elizabethtown Campus Pastor Michael Kast explained how the project fit the church’s vision to love people one at a time. Later, as volunteers gathered on a cold March morning at the worksite, Buddy knew this was what he had in mind when he and his wife came to the Elizabethtown Campus almost two years ago.
“I decided if we were going to attend Southeast, we were going to get involved,” Buddy said.
First, he signed up to be a greeter. It is a great fit for Buddy, who soon learns everyone’s name.
It’s where he met new friends like Bradley Vinson. He, too, came to Southeast with serving in mind. The two talked often as they served on Sunday mornings and again at Man Challenge, a group of men who gather weekly for Bible study and prayer.
“We both love to meet people as we serve,” Bradley said. “Those who serve are the nicest and happiest people you meet.”
Bradley, who also signed up on the Unleashed App to help at the Habitat for Humanity house, volunteered mornings, since he works afternoons, while Buddy volunteered all day during the week.
Mia, the homeowner, worked hundreds of sweat equity hours on her days off from her job at the Amazon Fulfillment Center. In return for an affordable mortgage and financial education, Habitat for Humanity requires would-be homeowners to invest hundreds of hours in their own home.
Construction continued from March through July—some days cold, others hot, many in between. Under the kind guidance of Habitat for Humanity “pros,” volunteers learned to frame the house, install drywall and electrical wires, put in kitchen cabinets, and finish bathrooms and flooring.
They loved watching the house come together day by day.
“It’s such a pretty house,” Buddy said. “We’re so pleased the way it turned out. This project made me feel part of the community and the church. I love helping people get into good homes.”
Buddy, Bradley, and other volunteers gathered with Mia, her daughter, and her grandmother on Sunday, July 24 to dedicate the house.
“Hopefully this will change Mia’s life,” Elizabethtown Campus Engagement Pastor Chris Garrett said.
“I’ve never in my life owned anything like this,” Mia told Chris one afternoon at her new home. “I’m overwhelmed by it.”
Chris reminded her that she earned it by working hard, saving, taking classes, and putting in plenty of sweat equity hours.
A favorite moment at the dedication happened when Southeast volunteers gave Mia a Bible. Her grandmother loved that.
“You have to live that out, girl,” she told Mia.
That’s exactly what Mia intends to do.
Volunteering made a difference for Buddy and Bradley. Buddy has already joined a Habitat for Humanity home build on the lot behind Mia’s house, while Bradley is volunteering to help rebuild homes in Western Kentucky that were destroyed by tornados last December.
“Serving is a great way of life,” Buddy said. “There are so many benefits for everyone involved.”
Click here to download the Unleashed App to learn about various serving opportunities.