By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
DUNKIRK, Md.—Dunkirk Church members, comprised of youth, children and adults joined together to do an extreme act of love makeover for a church family.
The church’s missions development team was ministering in Regency Manor, a local mobile home community. Church members had a backyard Bible club in the neighborhood and were helping residents with light construction and yard work. The team found one home, that happened to belong to a church member, that needed extensive work including replacing the interior and exterior walls and the plumbing and electrical systems.
“The water heater was literally going through the floor,” church member and construction coordinator, Dave Walton, said.
It was a huge project, but the team was ready to take it on and allow God to lead the way and provide the resources. He did.
As the team labored, they discovered the need for even more significant repairs than originally expected. The tub fell through the floor while they were working and if they touched the washer or dryer they got electrical shocks. The bathroom floor was buckling to the point of blocking the bathroom door. But the group excitedly persevered. Amazingly, most of the team was comprised of third to fifth grade children.
“The kids probably did 70 percent of the work,” Walton said, though he added that qualified electricians and other specialists closely supervised the children’s activities.
Inspectors were shocked to see children on the job and even more surprised to find the kids so knowledgeable about the work.
“When they started asking questions the kids were answering,” Walton laughed. He explained that he has led many children’s mission trips through the years and found that the kids learn quickly, enjoy having real hands-on work to do and they grow in their faith as they help others.
Neighbors and other churches took notice of the project and they began to help. Some of the children’s families became involved, “adopting” rooms they wanted to help fix up and decorate.
“Once they saw the need, people wanted to be a part of it and they started giving their time and money.
“We got a brand new washer and dryer and an HVAC unit all donated,” Walton said excitedly. One family gave the team a large truck for storage. People became very generous. In fact, the project cost was over $35,000. Five thousand dollars came from Dunkirk and the balance from outside donations.
Church members paid for the family to stay in a hotel for ten days while the team feverishly worked to complete the extensive repairs. They also told the family not to even drive by. The finished project was to be a surprise.
Emmanuel and Christine Osborne, owners of the home and members of Dunkirk, were absolutely surprised, amazed and overwhelmed at the love and generosity of the church and others that helped.
“They completely redid it inside and out,” Emmanuel Osborne said. He and his wife, Christine, have four children ranging in ages from eighteen months to six-years-old. “It’s like getting a brand new home without paying money. It’s a real blessing,” Osborne said.
Now the Osbornes are anxious to help another family.
“Emmanuel told me, ‘The next time you do a project, I want to be there,’” Walton said.
This was a real step of faith, Walton commented. “God provided the resources and a lot of the work came from an under used ministry resource—children.”