At Hope City, our mission is “Rebuilding Homes and Restoring Lives.” When teams are in camp, most of their attention is focused on doing the physical labor of building homes. It’s usually at Family Night on Thursdays that our teams really have a chance to hear our homeowners’ stories. That doesn’t mean that our teams don’t do what they can to leave encouragement for our homeowners, and one of the sweetest ways is leaving messages in their homes.

Everyone loves getting little notes, either with your lunch, or a nice letter at the holidays. One of the ways we are proud to bless our homeowners is by having our volunteer teams write little messages all through out the house as they build. One of our homeowners, Ariel, has been cataloguing as many as she can as drywall has gone up throughout her home. There are names on walls studs, underneath siding, door frames, rafters, anywhere a volunteer could reach with a permanent ink pen. It is a home imbued with love.

Late in 2019, volunteers from Fannie Mae SERVE came to donate their time and talents in Lake County. It was this crew that installed Ariel’s insulation and began putting sheetrock up throughout her newly rebuilt house. As everything was being buttoned up, Ariel made one last trip over to photograph some of these messages before they became little prayers she couldn’t see. One volunteer, sharpie in hand, said she was thankful to meet Ariel, and see her excitement at the progress in her home. 

The Fannie Mae SERVE volunteers hailed from all across the U.S. The company offers these deployments as a way for their employees to get out in the field and see what the work of housing and rebuilding is like in the wake of a disaster. This deployment included people from Washington D.C., Atlanta and Texas.

“I’m so glad I was able to take some pictures before they get covered up. They are just so encouraging. They will be part of the house forever,” Ariel said. She calls them her “sweet notes,” and she continued snapping pictures of messages she hadn’t seen yet. Ariel said, “Capturing them before they get covered up is the happiest home inspection spot ever!”

“Home is where the Heart is.” 

“May your home be filled with Love and Happiness, it was surely built with it.”

Love and Hope and Kindness. These are all of the intangible elements that go into a home rebuild. The Hope City model seeks to meet not just physical needs, like shelter, but the emotional and spiritual needs that are so important after a traumatic event. We want to invite you and your church or civic group to join us in Rebuilding Homes and Restoring Lives.

For more information, email Travis Cox at [email protected] or text him at 5743337728