“I will build thee a house”
“I will build thee a house” 2 Samuel 7:27. These words were part of a report we sent to our supporters in October 2002. Words forgotten until a recent search through old TLC documents. Then it hit us! YES! God gave us a promise ten years ago and brought it to pass exactly 10 years later.
“I will build thee a house”
Ten long years during which we tried in every way hum anly possible to get/obtain/build/create/buy/procure/secure/beg a piece of ground on which we could bring our vision to reality. We just couldn’t do it. There was no way. We almost gave up. Every door was closed. How much disappointment could we endure? What else could we do? We were only human after all. The bottom line? We were human. We could not, but God could.
So here we are now. October marked the ten-year anniversary of that promise. We have a house. It is the house God built. It is the house most folks thought could not nor should not be rebuilt. It was a shell of a house. No electrical, no plumbing, no floor, a rotten back wall, no useable windows, doors that did not work, no interior walls, no kitchen, certainly no A/C or heating. In fact, it would have been easier to write about what was there: a decent roof.
How did God arrange for this house to be rebuilt? He brought together a church and a nonprofit. He took a congregation that had very few resources. He used a project overseer who had never rebuilt a building, He brought in a group of “grass root volunteers” who had no government backing. He brought in unemployed laborers. He brought in pray warriors. He brought in a community of people who caught the vision. He brought in creative ideas for fund raising. He brought in in-kind donations from the business community. He brought in people with energy and vision and hope and an understanding of why it is so important to help homeless young moms and their infants.
What does this house look like today? In all honesty, it looks pretty much the same as it always has if you were to drive by. But that is because you can’t see the roughed in plumbing, the newly installed electrical wiring, the newly installed A/C+ Heating unit, the water line connecting the well, the new floor, the studs outlining the interior walls. From the road you cannot see the materials stacked in every corner: the paint, the tile, the insulation, the wood for the handicap ramp, the kitchen counters, the material to cover the back wall. It is all there. Everything needed to finish the building.
Timing is everything. We have always prayed for God’s perfect will in His perfect timing. It is time! It is time to use all the materials. It is time to make this dream a reality. It is time to begin The Life Center’s program. Time to bring young homeless moms and infants in from the woods. Time to pour into their lives. Time to love them and point them in the direction they need to go. Time to end all the downward spiraling cycles that pass from one generation to the next.
To tell the truth, this newsletter was going to be more about the new A/C+ Heating unit. We were going to tell you we were blessed with a new unit at factory cost. How Senica Air responded so quickly to our need and in one day installed a brand-new unit supplying all the labor and duct work to complete the job. How our biggest hurtle was now passed and how we would now be able to move forward. How we just needed a little more work and a few more materials and a few more inspections and we would have our occupancy permit. Instead, we must tell you a more important message. God has built us a house.
It is a done deal now. Oh sure, we still need to do a little more work, but now anyone can easily imagine the finished home with the drywall in place and painted and the toilet and refrigerator hooked up. We want all of you to mark your calendars for our open house/ ribbon cutting ceremony at noon on December 20, 2012. It is a little bit like putting the cart before the horse, but we do have all the necessary materials and the volunteer labor to finish the job. We are cutting it close, but we want to open before winter sets in. Please join us that day at 19384 Ingram Street, Brooksville, just north of the fairgrounds.
We are now beginning to realize there will soon be a practical application to all the policies and procedures we have been working on. There will be a shift from raising money for construction, to raising money for the monthly expenses of operating a home. A shift from just knowing about moms and babies living in the woods to actually being able to offer shelter to them.
Our brochure says. “We envision a generation of young women who love and believe in themselves, who possess the moral character, self-discipline and courage to be productive members of their community and who will instill these traits in their children”
We envisioned it. We believed in ourselves, we possessed moral character, self-discipline and courage and we were productive members of our community. Now we are ready to instill these traits in the next generation.
Have you been to www.lifecenterofhernando.com recently? If so, did you check out the pictures of The Little House? Did you wonder why we were bothering with such a dilapidated building? If so, you were not alone. Many people suggested we would be better off demolishing the building. But we didn’t do that.
Instead, we got a building permit and some donated material, and some volunteer labor and we began to make our vision a reality. Why did God bless us with such a broken-down skeleton of a building? We think we know. Check out what I Corinthians 28-29 says:
“And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence.”
If ever there was a despised building, this was one. If ever anyone thought a project was too hopeless, this was it. And now? Wait until you hear what is happening, then you will see what God has done.
How do we know the renovation was not just a bunch of hard-headed people plowing ahead against all odds? Mostly because those same people were not the ones working on the project this summer! Several key people were not available as work progressed in June and July and August. In their absence, new volunteers came forward to provide both labor and materials. No one can claim success for this project except God.
What success are we talking about? The plumbing has been roughed in and it passed the first inspection by the county! We have officially taken a huge step forward. Scotto Plumbing has committed to returning to install all the fixtures. What a blessing!
Another huge milestone is the new floor. All the old rotten floor joists had to be removed and replaced. At that point, you could literally see the dirt under the house. Now if you visit, you will be able to safely walk on the new plywood floor which is quite solidly attached to the new joists. 2x4s for the project were donated by Habitat for Humanity. They provided enough material to rough in all the interior walls. Tim Lane and Bill Davis provided the labor for the construction of those walls. If you visit the site now, you will be able to walk from “room” to “room”.
Of course, you can still see through the walls as the drywall is yet to come. But you can begin to imagine the bedrooms where the young moms will sleep with their infants. You will be able to imagine where the House Mother will stay. If you ask where the kitchen, bathroom and living room are, we will be able to point to specific areas. You can begin to imagine a young mom warming a bottle and rocking her infant. It will be a place where she can bathe her baby and wash his clothes. It will be a real home. There is a lot more to the program than that, but without the building, there would be no residential program. Without this building, young moms and infants would continue to be homeless in Hernando County.
It is heartbreaking to know we will have to turn away many who ask for our help. We already know our facility is too small to meet the need. Our only answer is that it is a start. A beginning. And we are determined not to despise a small beginning.
At Long Last!
The Life Center, together with Turning Point Church, is proud to announce that work on our new residential home can now begin. We finally have our building permit!
So many of you have asked what you can do to help, and the answer has been to simply wait. While waiting does build patience, it also causes a loss of momentum. We sincerely hope you will now join us with renewed enthusiasm to accomplish the renovations needed to this building so we can begin to minister to young, single moms and their infants at the earliest possible date.
Just how much work needs to be done? The best estimate we have right now is about a month’s worth. That is making a couple of huge assumptions. Assumption #1 is that we have willing, able volunteers who can lend a hand. Assumption #2 is that we can accumulate the necessary materials to keep those workers busy. This is a real opportunity for our community to pull together to transform a useless building into a home for those in need.
Not too sure how to proceed? Go to our web site at www.lifecenterofhernando.com and click on the page for “The Little House”. There you will find a list of materials we need. For your convenience we have included the estimated cost of each item so that you can “purchase” certain items without actually having to drive to Home Depot or Lowe’s or transport the items in your vehicle. Simply select the items you want to “buy” and then go to the donation page where you will find a convenient button that allows you to donate on line. Send us an email telling us what you donated and who you are. Your donations are tax deductible. We will thank you and send you a receipt for your records. To donate actual items or to volunteer labor, send us an email.
Moving right along… It has come to our attention that some leaders of non-profits make enormous salaries. We like money as well as the next fellow. Our volunteers, who have lives of their own, could always find a use for a little extra cash; BUT we are all exactly that: volunteers. No one connected to The Life Center receives any monetary compensation for the long hours we donate. We hope someday to be able to offer a reasonable salary to at least some of our workers; but, for now, that just is not happening. Every dime donated to this project will be used for the project. We have all given of our time and talents. We know how to make a little cash go a long way. Got any?
There are many events in the works for the months ahead. Keep reading the newsletters. Today it is hard to concentrate on anything other than: NOW WE BEGIN. There have been many other milestones along the way, but this is the biggest to date. Please be a part of this exciting new work.
THE LIFE CENTER OF HERNANDO NEWSLETTER #8
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped to make the recent event at Brian’s Place a grand success.
As you probably already know, on March 8th The Life Center held a benefit dinner at Brian’s Place in Hernando Beach to raise funds for the “Little House Project”. “The Little House” is the future home for the young, single mothers who will be the first residents.
Thanks to all of the following for a successful evening:
Chef Brian, Bob and their entire staff
Suzi and all the models from ENVY and their parents
Marty and the Nice Guys in that band
Eileen Graber with her violin
Heather Francis correspondent for Hernando Today
Every business who purchased ad space
Every business who donated an item for the silent auction
Every person who bid on or won an auction item
Every diner who purchased a ticket
Every person who donated to “such a great cause”
All the TLC representatives who sold tickets & promoted the event
Everyone who told someone else about the event
Everyone else who helped but got overlooked in this list. (Sorry).
Yes, that is a long list, but it goes to show how many people worked to make this event a success.
Thanks to all of you, The Life Center was able to present a check for $910 for the building fund! That puts us one step closer to our goal.
Perhaps it is time for an update.
The building permit will soon have the final signature on it.
We have workers lined up. We just need a foreman (unlicensed OK).
There is enough money in the building fund to begin work.
Several needed items have been donated
It is true we have been spending a lot of time raising money. Without a building, we don’t have a residential program! Therefore, we need to get the building ready for the moms and their babies. This month alone, we have received requests from 3 different sources to please provide shelter for a young mom. And The Life Center does not have a single bed!!!
Where do these homeless young women go with their babies? With anyone who will take them in- sometimes a boyfriend. Is this a good solution? No. Is it a permanent solution? No. Are the moms and babies safe? We doubt it.
Some time ago, it was decided not to announce anything until it became a reality (the building is real). So just because you don’t hear about our efforts in the community, don’t think we are not working really hard! Recently, we negotiated for another location that was “ready to use”. That didn’t work out and we are sad about that because we know the need is so great. Now we are putting in a proposal that would allow us to begin a series of Mommy and Me classes in an area where these services are really needed. If it works out, you will hear all about it. If not, we will keep reaching out into the community and making our needs known.
What’s the bottom line?
* We are willing to volunteer our time
We have a program
We have a house mom
We have volunteers
We have enough financial resources to pay for insurance and utilities
WE NEED A LOCATION.
Ideally we need a place with a lot of bedrooms. Maybe an old apartment, school or assisted living facility. Ideally this place won’t require rent. Ideally, it will be near public transportation or at least in town.
Not sure if what you have to offer is perfect? PLEASE talk to us. We aren’t looking for perfect. We are hoping, first, to be able to offer a safe permanent home to young women who have no other good place to raise their infants.
Do you remember the kids’ story about the poor traveler who arrived at a village empty handed? He was hungry and the prospects of a meal did not look particularly good in this improvised village.
He picked up a stone and announced he would make “stone soup” for everyone. All he needed was a container of water and a fire to heat it. The villagers had a pot, water and fire which they provided. They watched in silent wonder as the traveler lowered the stone into the water with great ceremony. He began to sniff the air and announce what a great meal they were all about to have. Little by little he would comment on how much better the soup with be with just a pinch of salt, a few carrots or even a potato. Once the momentum got going, the villagers couldn’t wait to contribute to the pot and eventually everyone had a delicious helping of soup.
What does that have to do with The Life Center? Think about it.
One day, with nothing more than a stone, we announced we would provide shelter for single moms at risk of becoming homeless. All we needed was a building. Our local community had a building. You have all watched in silent wonder as we trusted in the stone and waited for a miracle. We announced what a great success we were all about to experience. Little by little, we have communicated to you how much better the building would be with just a few 2X4s, a sheet of plywood or even some sheetrock. Now that the momentum is going, folks can’t wait to be part of this project and eventually we will all have a home for our most vulnerable citizens.
“The Little House” at Turning Point Church will one day be a success story our community can be proud of. It is going forward inch by inch. The process is painfully slow to watch, but we know timing is everything. We know once our community begins to “smell” success, materials will pour in, and the work will speed up.
Do you want to contribute to our success right now? You can. No contribution is too small. No contribution is too large. Help according to your ability to give. We are sponsoring 2 events in the next 30 days. Pick the one that best suits you and join us for an evening of fun, food and fellowship.
Our web site now has a pay pal button for your convenience. www.lifecenterofhernando.com
Please forward this information.
Saturday, February 25, there will be a spaghetti dinner at Turning Point Church on Ingram St. near the fairgrounds in Brooksville. Cost is $5. Take-out available. Call Mary Kay at 352 238-9561 for more details.
Thursday, March 8th there will a 4-course dinner at Brian’s Place on Shoal Line Blvd. In Hernando Beach. Cost is $35 per person or $60 a couple. Silent auction and entertainment. Call Barbara at 352 597-0119 for ticket reservations or more details.
Happy New Year!
A great time of new beginnings and reflection. Let’s reflect a moment.
When did TLC begin? What was the spark that began it all? Does anyone remember that first comment, that initial seed that began it all? When did events inspire the first person to say, “We need to do something”? Who was that person? Who had vision before there was a board, a steering committee, a partnership with Turning Point, faithful volunteers, and supporters?
Her name was Roberta (Bobbe) Cummings. She used to drive up from Clearwater to Spring Hill to volunteer at Baby Love, a pregnancy crisis center. She saw the need for a more comprehensive program for new moms and their infants. She had the courage and compassion to express this idea and at that moment the entity that was later named The Life Center was born. Bobbe is not with us today. She passed away on Dec. 28th, 2011. Her list of good works is extensive, including the seed she planted which is now TLC. This newsletter is dedicated to her memory.
So, what happens when a good seed is planted in good ground and fertilized? It grows. TLC is growing. It is no longer just a concept. There is an actual location we can drive to and see an actual building where moms and infants will one day live. All that is needed now are some building supplies and some labor. To be perfectly honest, getting building supplies donated has proven to be a much bigger hurtle than expected. It may be due to the sluggish economy we are all dealing with; but, whatever the cause, businesses have been terribly slow to respond to our requests for materials.
Wait, that is not entirely accurate. A truer statement would be that we have not gotten any building material donated yet. It has not been for lack of trying. Times are tough. Which makes the flip side of the picture even prettier. Individuals have been extremely supportive. That is all of you, our faithful readers. You have donated cash, supported our fund raisers, and offered your prayers. You have made the difference! We are not discouraged, we are encouraged. We thank each and every one of you for your past support. Keep helping us in the new year and we will achieve success together.
Many people have asked what they can do to help. Later on, we may ask for volunteers to help with construction or to be mentors to the moms. Here is a list of current activities that will help TLC move forward right now:
· Continue to pray for God’s perfect will and His perfect timing
· Continue to read these newsletters and talk about TLC with others
· Go to our web site at www.lifecenterofhernando.com and check out the new items
· Remind friends with unwanted vehicles to donate through our website
· Find TLC on face-book and “like us”
· Join us on 1/5/2012 at Turning Point at 5:30 pm for a special prayer time for this project
· Come to the Texas Road House on 1/23/2012 and have a meal there any time from 3-10 pm. Mention TLC and 10% of your total food purchases will go to this fundraiser. 12935 Cortez Blvd.
· Mark your calendars for 3/8/2012. Brian’s Place at 3430 Shoal line Drive in Hernando Beach has offered their new location for TLC’s big, big, big event. Ticket sales will begin soon. You don’t want to miss out on this event! This will be a fantastic evening. Watch your emails for updates.