Battle Creek, Mich. – March 27, 2003– The sounds of construction are familiar here on Wilkes Street. A handful of new houses are going up, and many of the existing homes in this Battle Creek neighborhood are in need of repair.
|Kiera Knappman nails vinyl siding to the peak of a Habitat for Humanity home during GO Battle Creek.|
Known as “Cereal City,” Battle Creek is the home of the Kellogg Company and an active affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. They expect to construct 12 new homes this year, according to Art Pearce, executive director of the Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity (BCAHH).
“God was at work in Battle Creek long before we got here,” said Michael Norton, a Union enrollment counselor and the leader of GO Battle Creek. “He has invited us to join Him in that work.”
The group arrived on March 22, and by Wednesday, they had already accomplished more than had been expected for the entire week, said Dirk VanStralen, construction manager for BCAHH. “You can tell right away that these are Christian kids,” he said. “You can tell it by the way they talk, the way they act and the way they work.”
“If you add up the man hours they have contributed, it amounts to about one-fifth of a house,” Pearce said.
Even though the trip has been primarily focused on manual labor, the students consider it a spiritual experience. “We have seen the glory of God revealed through the building of a house and the fellowship we enjoy as believers,” said Sam McMinn, a junior at Union.
|Amy Edge and Sam McMinn hang drywall in the attic of a Battle Creek Habitat for Humanity home.|
The physical demands of the project seemed intimidating for some of the ladies in the group at first, but those difficulties were quickly overcome. “I’ve done things this week that I never thought I could do,” said sophomore Katie Grashot. “Everything I do, I stop and say ‘I can’t believe I just did that.’”
“It’s been incredible how God has provided for us by keeping up our strength and giving us the fun-loving spirit to do this,” said Union sophomore Sarah Orr.
While this kind of labor may not seem evangelistic, some of the students were reminded of the words of St. Francis of Assissi. “Preach the word at all times,” he said, “if necessary, use words.”
“A lot of times, I don’t have the words,” said India Hickman, a junior, “but I can use my hands to tell people about Christ.”
For more information on Union University or its programs, including Global Opportunity Trips, call (731) 668-1818.
By Chris Allen
Director of News and Media Relations