Two Oklahoma City churches, Emmaus and Exchange Avenue, teamed up to help a family in need of a more secure living condition.
The family of two adults and five children was living in a rundown house of about 700 square feet, according to Jim Lehew, associate pastor of Oklahoma City, Emmaus. Lehew said they learned about the family through a ministry of which members of Emmaus and Exchange Avenue participate, helping school-aged children.
“They found out a girl did not have a bed,” Lehew said, referring to a member who became acquainted with the family. Emmaus made it possible to get a bed for the girl, but when the bed was delivered, church members found out this family had many more needs.
“There was a blue tarp on the roof,” Lehew said. “The sides of the house were off the foundation. At first, we intended to put a roof on the house but realized the structure itself was not good. We just determined to tear the property down and start over.”
A contractor worked it out to get floor plans. Other church members were generous with their time and resources. Lehew said they worked it out for the family to live temporarily in a rent house close by while they worked on building a new house.
Lehew said the father is a bricklayer by trade. Bricks were donated for the new house, and the family was involved in bricking the whole house. “It’s fun to see them taking ownership,” Lehew said.
Building the house is not all the church members of Emmaus and Exchange Avenue are doing.
“This isn’t just a build it and leave,” Lehew said. “Our prayer is that we’re going to be connected with this family. One of the daughters wants to be a police officer, so our police officers have worked with getting her enrolled in a cadet program. She is a junior in high school.”
Both churches also are helping the children with schooling. “Education has been important to them,” Lehew said. “It’s been exciting to see others come alongside them and give them some encouragement along the way, so the kids are getting what they need.”
The family lives close to Exchange Avenue, and Lehew said church members are encouraging the family to get involved at Exchange Avenue. The purpose is to share Christ with the family as they help them with the provisions of the new house, which is 1,200 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“My prayer is that, during this relationship, we’re going to help them to continue to seek discipleship,” Lehew said. “We are hoping to make this a long term investment, not with this family but with the community.”
Lehew appreciated working with Exchange Avenue as both churches loved on this family.
“Exchange is doing a great job of reaching people in these neighborhoods,” he said. “It’s exciting to see this happening, knowing how God is growing them in this area. It’s a fun way to see God at work.”
Pastor Jon Johnston shared his appreciation for working with Emmaus in helping this family.
“Through our partnership, we are better able to serve our community,” Jackson said. “We truly are better together than we are apart. We could not do this on our own. This is a unique ministry opportunity to love and serve this family in this way.”