Testimony of Homeowner Empowerment
The last several years we have been asking ourselves,
"How do we fulfill our vision to Empower Persons and Transform Neighborhoods?"
"How can homeowners be more involved in the process?"
"How can we seek a partnership system of two-way exchange rather than merely a one-way system of giving?"
Bob Lupton, of FCS Ministries in Atlanta, has greatly challenged the mindset of how we approach our ministry at SOS. Lupton says that handouts (one-way giving) can rob the receiving party of the power of an exchange and ultimately their dignity. If we at SOS insisted that we do all the work on a homeowner's house, there is a chance it could do more harm than good.
Thus we have been more vocal about encouraging homeowners to be a part of the construction process. Different homeowners can contribute in different ways. Some folks may not be able-bodied to be safe on a roof, so they improvise with their involvement.
Each week this spring, it was a joy to hear about the campers' experience who had the chance to partner with Miss Carol Rhea. She absolutely loved the college students who were sacrificially giving of their time to help make her home warmer, safer, and drier. Her gratitude was expressed through her words and her deeds. She was not able to be on the roof, but she insisted on cooking for the teams that partnered with her. She provided an excellent lunch almost every day of camp.
At one point, Big Dog (Assistant Construction Director) said that she was spoiling the campers and to stop if it was a financial burden. Miss Rhea said, "I could not afford a new roof, but I can afford to cook food!"
Her food was a blessing to all! Miss Rhea is such a wonderful example of Service Over Self. She retired several years ago, but even now is still working to help abused women.
Even more than full bellies, the campers who worked on Miss Rhea's roof were blessed by her kind spirit.
A highlight of the responses we heard following Spring Camp was a response by one of Miss Rhea's campers:
What was the highlight of your time at SOS?I have grown up in a racist family. I was so moved/humbled/honored/touched to affirm in my heart that skin color made no difference. Carol and her family felt like family to me. I felt no difference. I never felt I am white, they are black. There was just us. Kicking it.