Yesterday, all three of us arrived at the job site at 8am and Andrew got to work on finishing the tile in the house he's been working on. Bobbie and I set up in the food tent where we would spend most of the morning with the volunteers and Habitat employees. Around lunchtime, the food tent started changing into a ceremony tent, all the tables were moved out and the chairs were set up in rows. We went down to the neighbor's house to change our clothes and came back to our families and friends being there to support us and lots of other people.
The ceremony was so beautiful. The pastor from North Coast Church was there to open in prayer and a few Habitat employees spoke about the week. The superintendent from Swinerton Homes, that actually built our house, spoke about their experience, and the Mayor of Oceanside spoke as well.
We were called to the stage, along with the Presley family who's house was also built this week, and we were given the keys to our house, a new family Bible, and a beautiful framed canvas picture of us that was signed by all the volunteers who worked so hard this week. We were able to say our thanks as well and then we headed over to the Presley's house to watch them cut their red ribbon and then walked two houses down and cut our red ribbon. When we walked in the door of our new home, there was one more surprise waiting for us. Swinerton had filled a laundry basket full of home goods with a "Welcome Home" card for us! Unbelievable!!
Then we had a crowd of people come walk through and see our new home. It was amazing. People were so impressed and so happy for us! We were interviewed on camera for a video Habitat will be making of the whole week for us as a momento, and we just hung out while people enjoyed our house!
As I said, its hard to put into words how we feel. Definitely excited! but also just so humbled and thankful. God has fulfilled, once again the scripture from Ephesians 3 that "He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think according to His good work." We do not just have a basic standard house, we have a beautiful house with high quality upgrades. And Swinerton added finish details that make it even more beautiful. Our floors are large tiles in earth tones. We have high quality carpet in the bedrooms and upstairs. We have three appliances, refrigerator, range and dishwasher. Swinerton donated a $4000 air conditioner to us. They used upgraded moulding around the door frames and put an extra decorative piece on our banister. We have chrome doorhandles instead of brass. We have recessed lighting and even recessed fire sprinkler heads (with caps on them so they don't show).....there are probably countless other upgrades that we will continue to find as we enjoy our new house. As I said, we are so humbled and thankful. Here are a few pictures from yesterday.
|Discussing what we're going to say in our thank you speech|
|everyone gathering inside the tent|
|Joe Carton arriving (he's the senior construction superintendent)|
|Opening Prayer by the pastor from North Coast|
|The Mayor's speech|
|The superintendent from Swinerton Homes who built our house|
|Our family and the Presley Family|
|Swinerton presenting us with the ceremonial key to our house|
|The pastor presenting us with a Bible|
|Habitat had our picture put on canvas and all the volunteers signed the bottom.|
|Its a priceless piece of art we will keep forever|
|Jason Presley giving his thank you speech|
|Andrew giving his speech|
|I wanted to say thank you too......too bad I cried through it|
|Walking with the Mayor|
|The Presley's cutting their red ribbon|
|Cutting our red ribbon|
|The basket full of goods Swinerton gave us|
|The Superintendents from Swinerton|
|Being filmed for the Habitat video|
We have made lifelong friendships this week. Not only have we met and love our new neighbors, the Presley's but also all the other homeowners on our street...our soon-to-be neighbors as well. We have formed friendships with the Habitat superintendents and the men and women who come regularly to volunteer and work on the homes. We are so grateful for all of the servants of God and we know that we will be spending more time with all of these people. We plan to work for Habitat as volunteers long after our required 500 hours are fulfilled. We love that we have found this Christian organization and are blessed that we have been chosen to be a recipient of what they do. We only want to pour back into them a little of what they have poured into us.
|Bobbie playing with our new keys. Its ok if she puts them in her mouth, they're brand new!!!|