By LYNDA STRINGER
Local ministries, businesses and individuals continue to dip brushes into green paint and hands into wallets to help families in Mozambique realize the dream of owning a home.
Inspired by Habitat for Humanity, Christian Relief International (CRI), based in Rockwall, created the Green Door Home project. To date, more than 100 homes have been constructed. The project plans to expand to Haiti in the future. The color green symbolizes the gift of life that God created in Genesis Chapter 1.
“Painting the front door green signifies an act of completion and is a witness to Christ in the neighborhood,” explained Jeremy Thomas, pastor of Center Church, which partnered with Jo’s Coffee Shop to launch a fundraising campaign for the project this past spring.
The church and coffee shop in downtown Mount Pleasant painted its front door green as a way of promoting the initial two-week effort to raise $5,000 to fund two homes.
“It’s ongoing and our door is going to stay green because it symbolizes that the Gospel light has arrived in that home and is flowing out,” Thomas said. “I think we have to keep it green because that’s what we’re all about.”
The ministry partners raised the funds through the coffee shop register. A portion of sales went toward the campaign to raise money to build Green Door homes for two women, both named Maria.
“We got to choose who we raised the money for and one of the women; her home was washed away in the rains and she was living on the street,” said Jo’s Manager Heather Kimball. “The other Maria is 19. She had one wall standing and has three children. She wants to be a physician so she can help people and she hasn’t been able to study with her house exposed.”
Kimball heard about the Green Door Home project and CRI through her sister, Holly Green, of Rockwall.
“My sister got involved because three years ago she prayed, ‘I don’t know what you want me to do, Lord, or where you want me to go’ and he opened this door for her,” Kimball said.
Green is a hairdresser and after she’d prayed for God’s direction, a customer told her about CRI, which was just two doors down from her salon.
“She said, ‘Tell me about it’ and she just fell in love with it,” Kimball said. “The funny thing is, her last name is Green, so she said, ‘OK, Lord.’ She was booked on the next flight to Mozambique.”
Green, who has made four trips to the country since then, is now a Green Door Home advocate sharing about the ministry and her husband is now a full-time missionary for CRI.
“It’s amazing that they can build these houses in seven days. They’ve built 100 homes so far,” she said. “The cool thing is they don’t send teams to build the homes. They employ these families and Mozambicans. A lot of times, Americans think we should go and build these homes, but honestly, it’s taking jobs away from these people.”
The Green Door Home project is set up so the homes are passed down to the next generations of the family.
According to CRI, the recipients, who are usually widows and orphans, are chosen by a local committee.
“We ask these new homeowners to help as they are able with construction and to attend home stewardship classes,” the CRI website states.
The Center Kids ministry also got involved by baking and selling cookies and raising money to purchase cooking utensils for the women.
Thomas said it was fun to see the kids’ eagerness to help when the project was presented to them during their Wednesday night activities.
“They were on the edge of their seats,” he said. “We were showing them where Mozambique was on the map and told them each house would cost $2,500. They just jumped right in and said, ‘Let’s do it.’”
Mount Pleasant City Council member and local business owner Michael McGahee knew more people needed to know about the Green Door project. So McGahee teamed up with Titus Regional Medical Center Board of Managers members Francis Rundles to begin offering quarterly community meetings designed to educate local citizens about important causes.
“When I was visiting with people campaigning for the City Council election (2016), several people in the minority communities expressed to me that they sometimes felt that they were left out of city and community events including not being asked to participate in charities,” McGahee explained. “That’s really how the community meetings were born–town hall-style meetings that were intended to be educational and include sharing information about charities across community lines. The meetings have been a huge success and we now have many people participating in local charities such as CASA and the Green Door project that did not before–not because they did not want to help but because they did not have the information to help or did not even know the needs that existed.”
McGahee knew he needed to share with others the needs of the Green Door project so he invited Green to speak at the last community meeting this past spring. She also shared videos about the program during her presentation.
“I heard a brief presentation on the Green Door project and before then I’d never heard of it,” McGahee explained. “I was so impressed and the great stories and pictures were so touching that I knew it was something that needed to be shared. Sometimes when you contribute to a charity you don’t really know where the money is going or what it is used for and that is one thing I like about the Green Door project. You know the names and see the pictures of the work being done and the finished projects. It is local people that bring back pictures and stories and the documentation of God’s work that’s being done.”
In a Facebook Live announcement for the Center-Jo’s effort, Green shared that the driver taking her to a dedication of one of the homes called the area in Mozambique “The Lights” because the light of Jesus is in the Green Door homes.
“Green Door is very ministry minded as they build these homes. They are speaking the Gospel into these people in a very practical way,” said Thomas, who admitted he was overwhelmed by the response.
“I knew we could pull off one home, but after about four days, we pretty much had one funded and still had 10 days to go,” he said. “God showed up and people showed up.”
For more information on this project, go to www.childrensrelief.org/green-door-homes.