Incredible. If there is one word that would best describe the past week at the children’s home that would be it. It was incredible. Like I had mentioned in my last post, the Student Ministry from Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa Oklahoma spent the past week doing various constructions and renovation projects at the home. When we started the week I had a page full of projects and things that needed to be done and by the end of the week 98% of the work was done. The students and leaders couldn’t have done a better job and we were so blessed to have received them. Since there is so much to talk about I thought I’d list just a few of the projects that this team completed and the impact that they will have (or already had) in the lives of the children and workers at the home.
The biggest project that was tackled by the team was the installation of a new roof over the courtyard area. The courtyard is one of the main areas of the home and is architecturally very important. It allows plenty of natural light into all areas of the home as well as provides ventilation for the spaces as well. It also gives the children a place to play and just have fun. But the downside of the courtyard is that during the rainy season (which is roughly half the year), the area is unusable. The children have no place to play since everything gets wet. On top of that when there is even a hint of wind, the rain splashes into the adjacent hallway making walking in the home dangerous.
So when we decided that it would be best to cover this area we had to take into consideration all these things. We wanted to cover the area, but at the same time still allow natural light and ventilation through as well as make it visually appealing. The only answer was a colonial/patio style roof with beautiful wood beams and a tinted transparent roof. And, in my opinion, the outcome is spectacular. For one it looks amazing. It doesn’t look industrial, but rather homey and warm. Plus it couldn’t have come at a better time since while the team was here it started to drizzle! In just a few weeks when the rainy season begins, instead of having to avoid the courtyard, the children will be able to play in it. They’ll be able to walk the hallway without being afraid of slipping and falling. It’s an incredible blessings and one that will benefit the children and staff for years.
Before & After
Another project that was equally incredible was being able to do an extreme makeover in Ruth’s room. As director of the children’s home, she lives at the home and make sure that things are constantly running smoothly. For 16 years she has endured a less than ideal apartment. For example, there is a shower but no shower head and a toilet but no toilet seat. And obviously due to how busy she always is, she didnt have any time to paint the walls, change the water stained ceiling tiles, or even do some general decorating. But the team from Asbury changed all that and spent the week transforming her apartment. They painted, changed the ceiling tiles, gave her a new shower head and toilet seat. Then they toped everything off with some vinyl lettering on the walls that spelled out some Bible verses and other decorative touches. On the last day, they presented the room to Ruth and her reaction was one of awe. If you’ve ever seen Extreme Makeover Home Edition, you have an idea of how she reacted. Her mouth dropped and her eyes began to tear up. She could hardly believe it. The only words she managed to mutter were, “Gracias, Muchas Gracias”
Ruth’s new apartment will be a much needed refuge for her and hopefully will become a place where she can truly rest. A special thanks goes out to Ruth Brower and all the other ladies that helped make this possible. They spent their time and money doing this project and it couldn’t have turned out better. Here are a few pictures from her new room.
One of the many change we are implementing in the home is trying to instill a sense of individualism and independence in the children. Before all the clothes were stored in one place and all the toys were stored in another. But we wanted each child to their own areas within their rooms where they could keep their toys, books, and other odds and ends. We also wanted them to be able to walk into their own rooms and play, read a book, or just spend some time alone. So with this team we set out to build furniture for each of the rooms where the children could put their clothes and toys. So after a lot, and I mean a lot, of assembling, sanding, staining, sanding some more, and then some more, the students were able to get the furniture built. After it dried we put the furniture into the rooms and showed the children and their reaction was kind of unexpected. I thought that they would be happy and pleasantly surprised but instead they were ecstatic! They ran to the bookshelves and picked up books (the same ones they have always seen and read), and looked at them like they were brand new. They ran to their toys and played with them like it was Christmas all over again! I wasn’t really prepared for such an emotional response but it was incredible. And probably the biggest proof that this was a great idea was when we were leaving I peaked into the girls room and there they were, sitting at their new table reading books! That’s exactly what we hoped would happened.
So that’s just a little bit of what went on this past week here at Hope For Tomorrow Children’s Home. I didn’t mention the upstairs storage room that was cleaned out and redone, the downstairs storage room that was painted with a special sealer so that it wouldn’t be as humid, the playhouse that they repainted, the staff shower that was fixed, and many other things. What this team accomplished during this week was nothing less than amazing and we are all grateful for the time and money that they invested into the lives of these children. God bless you Asbury!