Reflection

I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt this exhausted, but the house is FINISHED!  My parents came to our rescue last weekend, and it was Gary’s sweet mother who rescued us this time.  Thanks to all of them, we were able to hang the last curtain, make the final bed, and add a few personal touches without little ones at our feet.  We’ve only slept a few hours these past two days, but Gary and I have enjoyed our time together.  We’ve laughed, cried, grumbled, and spent a lot of time reflecting on the past year.  This experience has forever changed us; we have intimately experienced the goodness and faithfulness of our God, we have learned the value of friendship and community, and we now have a deeper understanding of what it truly means to love your neighbor as yourself. In a few hours, we will host an open house for all of the people who have prayed, encouraged, donated, and volunteered.  Then, tomorrow, the Sheyka family will call this place home.  I am so pleased with how the house came together, but what I love most is seeing the hearts of so many people when I look around; curtains from a friend, a table from a neighbor, a trash can from one of my favorite seven year old’s.  We have working lights, clean cabinets, and beautiful landscaping, because people were generously willing to live their faith.  What an experience this has been…and it is just the beginning.  My prayer is for God to use this ministry for His glory, and I can’t wait to see how He reaches...

Meet The Sheyka Family

After months of prayer and careful consideration, Gary and I are thrilled to introduce the Sheyka’s as the first official Restoration Initiative family.  Erikka is a single mother to two awesome children, Ryan (16) and Jordyn (9).  Gary and I have affectionately been referring to her as our guinea pig; reminding her that this is our first go at this, and we have absolutely no idea what we are doing! 🙂 While that is not entirely true, we do, in fact, have a Plan A, B, C, D…you get the picture, and much of this first year will be a matter of trial and error.  Erikka and the kids have agreed to come along for the ride, and we are so excited to be partnering with such a wonderful family. Erikka is a kind, intelligent woman with a beautiful spirit.  She is humble in every sense of the word, doing very little for herself and giving so much to meet the needs of her children.  Her kids are amazing as well; bright, compassionate, and polite.  Her 16 year old son, Ryan, is essentially the “man of the house”, and has happily assumed that role, taking care of the responsibilities that would typically fall upon a husband or father.  He cares for his younger sister while Erikka works evening shifts, and has willingly put off getting his driver’s licence, recognizing that the additional insurance cost would be a burden for his family.  Jordyn is beautiful inside and out.  She is warm and friendly, and our kids absolutely love her. Over the past several years, Erikka has battled domestic abuse, depression,...

A Weekend of Progress

What a wonderful weekend!  We have, once again, found unexpected blessing from a new church here in Warner Robins.  The Grove has been meeting for several months, and their numbers are quickly growing.  Their heart is outreach, and their members were eager to take on a service project.  After hearing about The Restoration Initiative, they decided that helping with our current renovation would be a great fit for their group.  We spoke with the pastor’s wife, Jessica, and decided to coordinate a volunteer weekend.  Unsure of what kind of turn out we would have, Gary and I put together an extensive list of projects that needed to be tackled, hoping that we might be able to cross a few off the list by the end of the weekend.  For two days, members of The Grove, most strangers to us, happily scrubbed, painted, landscaped, pressure washed, and completed any other task we assigned to them.  They wrote checks and dropped off donations, strangers became friends, and by Sunday evening, we had completed every project on our list.  We were able to accomplish more in two days, than Gary and I, using all of our free time, had been able to accomplish in months, and we were so encouraged! Gary and I have wonderful friends and families.  When we began this project, we assumed they would be the ones who would come alongside us and help turn our crazy idea into something God could use to bless our community.  We thought we would have things up and running in no time.  The truth is, things didn’t go the way WE had...

Blessings and Provision

God is once again providing for this ministry through the generosity of others.  We have witnessed it so many times over the past several months but are still overwhelmed by each blessing.  We are now two months into our renovation and Gary and I have been discussing our budget quite a bit lately.  We want to make this house beautiful; a place where our families feel safe, comfortable, and treasured, but we also need to ensure that bills are paid and food provided during the year. In an effort to stretch our budget, we decided to put a small informational packet together describing The Restoration Initiative and its mission.  We headed to our local Home Depot store in hopes that they might feel compelled to discount a few items for us.  We left our packet for the store manager, Mike, and received a phone call later that day.  He was touched by the mission, and rather than discount the items, Home Depot offered to donate all of our paint, flooring, and lighting…their generosity saved us thousands of dollars which will now go directly toward the restoration of a family, rather than a house!  I have no doubt that God spoke to Mike’s heart, and we are so thankful he responded.  It was an awesome reminder of God’s faithfulness and provision.  Needless to say, Home Depot is now our home improvement store of choice! 🙂...

Restoration Begins Here

  We are very excited to announce that after several months of house hunting we finally found the house our families will call home!  I was recently telling a friend that my kids have now seen every square mile of Houston County from the backseat of our family minivan, where I am still finding half eaten nuggets and empty juice boxes.  I cringe at the number of Chick-fil-A drive-thru runs I’ve made in an effort to keep them occupied as I drove from house to house…to house 🙂  Their most popular question became, “Do we get to go in this time?”  That was always determined by the amount of filth and destruction found inside. Nevertheless, the search continued with the help of our wonderful realtor, Ashley.  She faithfully unlocked doors, researched questions, and entertained our ever-changing idea of “the perfect house”, all the while knowing there would be very little personal gain.  I am still consumed with gratitude when I think of her commitment to helping us.  Thanks to her and several others, we closed on our “perfectly imperfect” house last week and walked away with a set of keys to a complete DISASTER…let me explain. Our original search began with the idea of a “move-in ready” home.  Realistically, we knew we didn’t have the time or expertise to tackle a complete renovation; at least not if we wanted a livable house in this lifetime!  God, however, knew differently!  To make a long story (which we’ll share later) short, He sent an incredible man named Bob into our lives.  Bob understood our vision right away and encouraged us to look at homes that needed some TLC, convincing us that we could get more for our money if we were willing to put in some...