Hallelujah, We're Home
Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity helps change young girl's life.
"One thing I could say is 'Hallelujah'." Kristina Carpenter, age 15, said to volunteers attending the dedication of her home.
The three-bedroom home was a tight squeeze for the family of six that now lived there. Thomas slept in the furnace room, the twins shared a room, Diana had a small room as did her mother, and Kristina slept in the living room. While this living arrangement was far from ideal, the monthly rent she paid her mother was manageable and helped Diana afford other necessities for her children.
Diana works as a grain inspector for the Lewiston Grain Inspection Station but her income was never enough to qualify for a home mortgage through the usual channels. Hearing of the opportunity offered by the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to low-income families in the Lewiston area, Diana applied to the program. Her name was added to a list of families in serious need of decent housing. She waited and waited—for two years—and eventually the call came.
A Lewiston couple, Jack and Barb Dunaway, had generously donated a plot of land. The land is right next door to their current home and they view their gift as a legacy to Habitat and to helping others. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans had awarded a grant through the Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity alliance. This grant would cover 65 percent of the construction costs. Local Lutheran volunteers were ready to pound nails and to help raise the remaining funds necessary to build Diana's new home.
Ground was broken on March 10, 2007; excavation for the foundation happened on March 12; the house was a "blitz build,*" constructed during the week of April 9 – 13; final inspections were scheduled for June 19; the family moved in on June 22.
At the home dedication on June 2, Diana's youngest daughter Kristina read the following note that she had written in gratitude to all those who had helped build her new home and change her family's life forever:
Dear Volunteers, I try to remember exactly how it feels to sleep in a bed. Sleeping on a chair for 4 years with an exceptional 3 or 4 days, tends to make you forget. With no room in the bed[room] where my sisters sleep at my grandma's house, I sleep in the living room in a lazy boy chair.
I can't even describe how much it means to me to know that I'm getting my own room and my own bed. One thing I could say is "Hallelujah."
To see my mom this happy because she can call something "ours" makes me one of the happiest daughters in the world. I have a house, my family and friends, God, and my dignity. What else could I need?
Kristina, 15 years old.
* A "blitz build" is an accelerated pace of construction. All local construction codes must be met and required inspections performed and passed.