Written by Pastor Rhonda Bostrom
“All my dreams are coming true…”
Abdelkarim said these words in the opening dedication for his family’s new Habitat for Humanity home, Sat., June 2. Abdelkarim, his wife Sailwa and their four boys happily greeted representatives from several church congregations, the Islamic Foundation, Thrivent Financial, friends and family. It had rained on Friday night and the lot was muddy, but it was a joyous occasion. Several volunteers from Sheridan gave of their day to help with the wall-raising. By the end of the day all exterior walls were secured as well as some interior walls put in place. This week the roof trusses go up and the roof soon follows.
For a few years, Abdelkarim and Sailwa have been living in a home that suffered landlord neglect. Their living conditions were not good. They worked diligently through Habitat’s application process, advocating for a better home for their family. Finally this summer, their dreams are coming true with a Habitat home!
Abdelkarim works half the year as a taxi driver in New York City and the other half of the year he studies accounting at Southeast Community College. Sailwa works at Goodwill part-time, manages their home and raises their children.
Joining with volunteers, the family must provide 400 hours of “sweat equity.” They need to work at least 400 hours on their home as part of the process of the build. Pray for this family as they diligently work for a better home – where dreams are coming true!
Written by Cathryn Breutzmann
We arrived to the site of the home ready to work. We slogged through the mud to grab our hammer and nails and got started putting walls together. Koren, Lora and I joined a group of ladies from another church transporting wood to be added to the walls. We definitely needed teamwork to get that done! Some of the regular volunteers gave us orders and we started hammering 2x4s. We worked alongside Darrel and other members of Sheridan that we had never met before. We had a grand old time thinking of the most creative ways to hammer a nail including left handed, between the knees and with our eyes closed. We picked up some skills and tips, and we got faster (and more sore) as the day went on.
Mid-morning, we were invited to participate in a wall raising ceremony. We met Abdelkarim and Sailwa, the homeowners along with their four sons ages 2-11 who were dressed in their Sunday best. Abdelkarim spoke about his gratefulness towards Habitat, Thrivent, and the church volunteers who were working together to make their dream of home-ownership a reality. Representatives from partner churches, including Pastor Rhonda, read Bible verses and symbolically scattered dirt from our respective churches onto their home site. We prayed blessings on the family and their new home, blessings led both by a Christian pastor and by a Muslim spiritual leader. How cool that our group could offer prayers to one God but in different languages and from different religious traditions!
It was inspiring to hear the story of the new homeowner. He worked alongside us all day long as he had previous days with other groups. At lunch, he set out a wonderful meal his wife Sailwa had prepared for us to share. This family was working hard and is so grateful for this opportunity to work towards their own home.
Looking back at the pictures, I am amazed at how much progress we made in one day. Thanks to the knowledgeable and skilled regular volunteers, the motivated homeowner and the willing church volunteers, we got all of the exterior walls put up along with some of the interior work! We were happy to know that despite our inexperience in construction, we could make a difference in this family’s life and home. We were blessed with new relationships with other Sheridan members. We left sweaty, sore and feeling fulfilled, knowing that we had contributed in some small way to showing love to a community in need.
If you want to volunteer for the build, contact email@example.com.