It was the beginning of fall, my favorite season, and I woke up excited in anticipation for the changing weather and colors. However, I had another reason to be excited that day because I was attending my first home dedication with Habitat DeKalb.
After a quick drive, I arrived and joined the other staff and volunteers who were moving about and setting things up. It was clear that everyone else was feeling the same way as me. We all want this to be a special moment for the Arnolds. Once we finished, more volunteers, board members, sponsors, and neighbors began to gather in the driveway waiting for the arrival of the family.
People were mixing and mingling learning how others came to be involved with Habitat DeKalb. Soon after, the homeowner arrived excited, nervous, and amazed by the moment. His mom and uncle, following a distance behind, graciously made their way to their soon-to-be home.
They walked up the driveway and stood by the front door decorated with a large red bow and ribbon, eager to begin. The homeowner’s mother expressed gratitude for everyone who helped her family move into a safer home. She used to worry for her brother being left alone or walking outside in their previous neighborhood. Out of love for him, she left her job to care for him and ensure his safety. In their new home, she able to go back to work again knowing her brother is safe. She paused for a moment as she became emotional in her deep appreciation for God’s provision in their lives. It truly was a beautiful moment to witness.
One by one, those who were involved said a few words and a presented gift for the family. They moved to stand behind the ribbon and together they held the scissors to cut the ribbon. Everyone cheered.
The homeowner received the key, opened the door, and stepped into the home he and his family helped build from the ground up. “Thank you to everyone who supported us and helped us to build this house,” said the homeowner. “It’s truly been a blessing seeing it all come together, especially knowing what we put into it.” I was touched when he committed to being a loyal volunteer with Habitat DeKalb to always pay the kindness they received forward.
Next, attendees began putting on their footies to tour the home allowing space for the family to experience their home together.
We enjoyed some light foods and cake to celebrate with the Arnolds. A few more neighbors also arrived and gave warm welcomes to the family. Eventually, people began to leave and the home was empty again. Staff are cleaning and packing up, satisfied with the entire journey of getting this home built to finally dedicating it. This was my first time seeing a home get built in this way, and relying on support from the community to pour into a family in need. It was an honor to both show and witness God’s love being put into action. To the Arnold family, thank you for choosing Habitat DeKalb and allowing our community to support you. May God continue to bless you and provide for you as you embark on a new journey in your home. And we’ll see you on our next home build!