by Deborah Streahle
For the past several Saturdays, individuals from many local churches and faith groups have congregated at 832 Denise Drive in Bryan. But they haven’t come for religious services. They’ve come to build.
The Davenport’s new Habitat home is sponsored by a unique group of religious organizations whose aim is to put their faith into action. The Interfaith Build invites all groups of faith to join the effort to provide volunteers and funds for the construction of a new house for a family in need.
The Davenport home is the second Interfaith Build and the first located in the Faith Subdivision, a new neighborhood of Habitat homes in Bryan. A recent grant from Habitat for Humanity International helped fund Faith Subdivision’s infrastructure – establishing roads, sidewalks, underground electrical service, gas, water, storm drains, sanitary sewer lines and road lighting. The Davenport’s house will be the seventh home completed in the new neighborhood. There will be 20 by the end of the year and 24 when the subdivision is complete.
I visited the construction site – a corner plot amid a colorful assortment of neighboring houses – on a beautiful Saturday morning in February. The day’s schedule called for painting the exterior and the interior trim and caulking. Volunteers carrying ladders and paint cans passed me as I looked for future homeowner Chakira Davenport. I found her in conversation with a woman who was halfway up a ladder.
Chakira and I introduced ourselves and she offered to show me the neighborhood. As we walked she told me about her experience with Habitat. For Chakira, faith has played an important role in her life and journey toward homeownership. She first heard about Habitat from three separate members of her church. When she applied and was approved, she was thrilled.
But when Chakira toured the building site in Faith Subdivision, she wondered if this was the right place for her. “I didn’t get the feeling I was expecting. It was a difficult decision,” she explained. So Chakira turned to her faith. “Faith has played a major role with my Habitat experience. While coming to my decision about the Faith Subdivision, God spoke this word to me so many times.”
After discussions with her family, friends and pastor, she decided it was the right place for her home. She asked her pastor to bless the property, and soon construction began. The walls were raised January 19th and the house will be completed in April. Chakira hopes her decision to become part of the Faith subdivision will serve as an inspiration. “My faith has really grown throughout this process, and I want to reach out to others and help build their faith.”