American Church Team Helps Two Habitat Families To Build Homes In Bangkok

Second Fundraising Gala Supported By Long-Term Partners Such As Piaget, Citigroup And Dow Chemical

BANGKOK, 22nd June 2007: Demonstrating love in action, a U.S. church team recently helped Habitat for Humanity home partners in a Bangkok community to build their houses. The 15 volunteers are members of Cathedral of Faith and Faith Deliverance Christian Church, two churches based in Atlanta, Georgia. For two days, they worked on two houses in the Sueayai Ruamjai Cooperative community in the Thai capital where 88 houses will be completed by the end of 2007.

Handiwork: Volunteer Horace Marcel passing a bucket of cement to his team-mate Moses Afful as they help to pour cement into the pillars of the house.

All together now: Volunteers Eric Thompson (left) and Moses Afful mixing cement on the build site.

Despite the searing heat and humidity, the team worked on 12 pillars, mixing and pouring the cement alongside the home partner Porn Nadeluck and HFH Thailand staff.

For team leader Moses Afful, it was a chance to return to Bangkok where he had spent two years, from 2000 to 2002, working in international partnership liaison in the HFH Asia Pacific office.

“As an African-American church we see the world as a parish where we can take the teachings of Jesus Christ and put them to action where there is a need. Coming back to Thailand was a joy to meet old friends and work with Thai families who need a decent house,” he said.

“In 2005 our church donated US18,000 for tsunami affected families in Sri Lanka. Four members of our congregation traveled to Galle to help build houses for families who lost their homes in the 2004 tsunami, so we are deeply committed to working where the need arises.”

Pastor Arthur Mosley, 44, of Cathedral of Faith Church, said: “Our goal is to help families who need a decent home. It feels great to help them in the name of Jesus Christ.

“We are the first African-American Church from the U.S. to do this project. Our mission is to also provide assistance to other churches in the region, to encourage and empower them to become involved with Habitat for Humanity.”

The day after the build, Pastor Mosley and the team reflected on the work his congregation had completed.

“There is so much activity that goes into building a house. What we did was only one part. But we need to know that the goal is building a whole house. This way we can appreciate our own share.

“It is like our church in which we need to know the goal. This way we can fit it in the gifts and competencies God has endowed on each and every one of us.”

Volunteer Cynthia Stargell said: “When we get involved actively in our church activities, it is like corporations taking responsibility through serving the communities in need.

For Horace Marcell, a pastor, this was his first time volunteering with Habitat.

“When we first arrived in Bangkok I noticed many people sleeping on the streets in Bangkok. I was moved by this and thought of the how much work we need to do to solve poverty and homelessness.

“In America, we often become immune to seeing the homeless but once we travel to other countries and see the same thing we begin to see this is a worldwide issue that needs to be addressed.”

The day before he had been passing buckets of cement up to one of the team pouring the pillars. As the cement splashed onto him he closed his eyes and smiled. By the end of the morning the pillars were filled with cement and the work completed.

He had come in a clean white shirt but within a few hours his shirt and all the team’s were covered in cement and dirt. But the satisfaction of helping a family was worth it.

“I have never been so dirty but I feel just great,” said Horace.

“I was deeply moved by the experience of working on the project site. All of us worked very hard in this heat. This was the first time I have worked like this so it is something I will never forget. I cannot imagine how people work under such conditions when building in the heat and humidity.

“I really feel we accomplished something here and helped the families we built with. We feel we helped to strengthen the body of Christ through our work here. Our goal is to encourage other churches to do as we have done.”

On 14th June, the teams traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they will meet with church leaders to inspire them to support Habitat for Humanity projects in Malaysia and help to build confidence among the congregation toward volunteering.