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Andrews Plays Host to Habitat for Humanity 
Andrews University houses Habitat for Humanity volunteers who built homes for nearby Benton Harbor residents

BY ELIZABETH LECHLEITNER, student news writer of the Office of University Relations at Andrews University

undertaking the construction of 20 houses in one week may sound daunting, but that’s what a team of volunteers from around the world accomplished in southwest Michigan during Habitat for Humanity’s Harbor Habitat 2005. Under the direction of former United States president Jimmy Carter, volunteers arrived at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center, located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, on June 19 for opening ceremonies, a welcome dinner, and orientation. The team was also welcomed by Andrews University, located about 12 miles from Benton Harbor in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which did its part for the program by providing housing for many of the volunteers.

Habitat for Humanity is an international program, but each summer’s Jimmy Carter Work Project varies in location. This year, Benton Harbor served as the host city. As such, the surrounding community reaped the benefits of new housing but was also responsible for providing the support necessary to successfully complete the rigorous undertaking. 

HELP FROM THE PRESIDENT: Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter (pictured center, wearing white shirt), pitches in with the work of building a new house.
The project, which ran from June 19-24 and saw approximately 1,000 volunteers each day helping with the program, resulted in the construction of 24 houses in the Benton Harbor Hall Park area (four were built prior to the workweek). Following completion, each of the houses received occupancy permits from the city of Benton Harbor, which signified that the homes met area building codes. Within 30 days, ownership of the homes was transferred to eligible, low-income residents of Benton Harbor. Prior to move-in dates, the homes were dedicated during individual ceremonies led by each house’s respective construction director.

Andrews University, as part of the support team, provided resident hall housing for 240 of the volunteers. University Relations director Rebecca May was pleased for the chance to provide crucial support: “[Andrews University’s involvement] was a rare opportunity for our campus to support this internationally significant Habitat for Humanity project. We were honored to have the volunteers stay on our campus.”

During a June 15 project planning meeting, vice president for University Advancement Dave Faehner suggested that Andrews University extend “gestures of hospitality” to palpably express the community’s appreciation of the volunteers’ efforts. The results of the initiative, including a “welcome home” band and an after-hours ice cream feed, exemplified the “remarkable energy and attention” characteristic of Harbor Habitat’s support team, said Faehner. In addition to the university’s efforts to warmly welcome the volunteers, Harbor Habitat organizers also coordinated several fun activities, including a mid-week beach party and a barbeque at Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park.

With a demanding schedule that scarcely reserved eight hours for sleep, the volunteer team expressed appreciation for these “extras,” which exceeded their bed, bath, and breakfast expectations. Joe Boersma, director of both Global Information Services and Harbor Habitat for Benton Harbor’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, outlined the specifics of the volunteers’ to-do list. With transportation to the work sites leaving at 4:30 a.m., alarm clocks were ringing by 4:00. Breakfast was served at 5:00 a.m. sharp, followed by a short morning worship and announcement session. By 7:15, volunteers began construction. Aramark, which supplies food for the local school district’s cafeteria, provided the volunteers’ with three meals each day. It was up to the project’s support staff, however, to set up and serve the catered meals.

With the large team channeling its energy into the construction of houses for Benton Harbor residents, crooked nails and shoddy siding didn’t appear to be an issue. Nonetheless, what Boersma dubbed “elf crews,” worked 5:00-10:00 p.m. shifts to examine daytime construction and correct any inadvertent blunders or oversights. These crews, comprising local construction workers, were also responsible for completing the more demanding aspects of construction that exceeded the abilities of volunteers.

ANDREWS DOES ITS PART: David Faehner (far right), vice president for Advancement at Andrews University, met on-site with local Harbor Habitat officials.
“These volunteers were the most organized team I’ve ever had the privilege of working with,” said Carter during the work project’s June 24 closing ceremony, held on the campus of Lake Michigan College. Boersma also commented on the “outstanding attitude” and “single-mindedness” of this year’s volunteers: “It was a great experience to work with people having the same goal—people who were willing to do anything to accomplish that goal.”

“There was never any complaining; everyone just jumped in and did whatever they were assigned to do,” added Boersma.

The volunteers’ collective cooperation was also noted by Faehner, who was instrumental in Andrews University’s offer to provide residence hall housing and the comforts-of-home extras for the volunteers. “Each time I saw them,” Faehner said, “they displayed a Maranatha-like level of commitment and enthusiasm.” 

As part of Harbor Habitat’s support team, Faehner and Andrews University president Neils-Erik Andreasen were invited to meet the Carters, whom Faehner says reacted appreciatively to the dedication of all those involved and the high caliber of the project’s results. Faehner also said he had no doubt that the new Benton Harbor homeowners will vouch that Habitat volunteers donated their time and talents toward a most worthy project.


MARYLAND: Collegiate Quarterly Ventures Out of Sight, Into Sound
For the Collegiate Quarterly (CQ), communicating in print isn’t enough. This Bible study guide for young adults has ventured into the world of sound by compiling a CD, called “KaleidosCQpe,” featuring Seventh-day Adventist musicians. The “music styling is targeted to any genre that doesn’t have an outlet,” says Gary Swanson, newly elected associate director of the General Conference Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department and former editor of CQ, which began in 1979. “These are dedicated Adventists who don’t seem to find an avenue. The atmosphere doesn’t offer them the ‘oxygen’ they need.”

The idea came from Falvo Fowler, who teaches a CQ class at Spencerville Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. He also produced the project.

CQ has an emphasis on participation, Swanson explains. “What CQ has been about from the start . . . is giving people a chance to participate in ministry.”

A lot of young people haven’t heard of CQ, Swanson says. This CD is “by young people for young people. We’re hoping the CD will get people interested in CQ.”

The CD is a sampler, which intentionally highlights different styles of music and international flavor, featuring 16 artists from Australia, Denmark, Singapore, Canada, and the United States. In this way it reflects the CQ style of studying the Bible. CQ encourages young adults from around the world to contribute to the lesson studies, allowing different perspectives.                                                                      --Adventist News Network/AR.


ENGLAND
: Newbold Students Reach 300 for Christ

As a result of an evangelistic series held in Kenya this past summer by a team of 15 students and two sponsors from Newbold College, almost 300 people made a commitment to give their lives to Jesus and be baptized. Many of those who attended the outdoor meetings walked more than 10 miles each day and sometimes sat through heavy rains to hear the messages presented by the young adults.

During their time in Africa, the team members and local volunteers, also helped to build a new church in the region, which was financed by Adventists in the United Kingdom.            --British Union Conference News/AR.


PALLAWAN: PUC Students Preach on Island of Pallawan

This past summer, during the middle of the rainy season in the Philippines, retired pastor and PUC professor emeritus Warren Ashworth, nine Pacific Union College (PUC) students, and one parent traveled to the island of Pallawan to hold an evangelistic series. They worked under the auspices of Global Evangelism (now called Share Him), with the support of The Quiet Hour, the Northern California Conference, and PUC. Each participant presented17 sermons within a two-week period, and more than 300 people made decisions to be baptized.

Senior theology major Nick Metcalf said, “It was the greatest feeling I have ever had, to see people I had shared the gospel with and whom I had befriended raise their hands and say they wanted to accept Christ into their lives and be baptized.”                                   --Pacific Union College Public Relations Department/AR.


CANADA
: Adventist Named an Officer of the Order of Canada

Lorne Babiuk, director of the University of Saskatchewan Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) and a member of the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center Board, has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor.

“Lorne Babiuk has made tremendous contributions to the field of vaccinology nationally and internationally, as well as to the University of Saskatchewan research community and our unique life sciences cluster,” says the university’s president, Peter MacKinnon. “He is a fitting recipient of the country’s highest civilian honor, and I heartily congratulate him.”

A professor in the department of veterinary microbiology, Babiuk holds a Canada Research Chair in Vaccinology and Biotechnology and has received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada honors Canadians who have demonstrated high merit, achievement, and service to their communities.

--Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Saskatachewan/AR.


MARYLAND
: Teamwork Strengthens Adventist Relief Efforts for Katrina-Rita Survivors

“Our primary purpose is to multiply our ability to provide emergency supplies to as many disaster victims as possible, and our warehouse operations and donation distribution centers help us to achieve this goal,” says Joe Watts, national disaster response coordinator of Adventist Community Services (ACS).

ACS Disaster Response volunteers have worked to supply survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita with food, water, temporary shelter, and other basic necessities for families in need. Emergency supplies are stocked in massive quantities at the ACS warehouse and redistributed to donation distribution centers located in the heart of the devastated communities for volunteers to hand out to the hurricane survivors. ACS, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is managing multiagency warehouses in New Iberia, Louisiana; Houston and Crosby, Texas; Lumberton, Louisiana; and Mobile, Alabama, as well as nearly 200 donation distribution centers throughout the Gulf states. According to Jerrica Thurman, communication coordinator of the NAD ACS, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, ACS directors are projecting that they will need to continue managing warehouse operations for at least six to eight months following the hurricane disasters.

One positive outcome of the disaster-relief efforts is a partnership established in September with ACS and Aid Matrix Foundation to launch the Inventory Control System, an internet-based software that allows donation distribution centers anywhere in the United States to go online to learn what is available in the warehouse and to order goods online to be delivered. This unprecedented software program will also eventually be available to assist other volunteer organizations active in disaster relief to manage their inventory system and to help build a national inventory network.

“It’s a very stressful time, individually and in the community by and large, and at a time like this we really come together,” said Sung Kwon, ACS national executive director, referring to the overall involvement of Adventist church members and organizations such as Maranatha Volunteer International, Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries, and North American Division Ministries Department, who have joined the disaster relief efforts. “Collective teamwork is the key to effectively bring restoration to our devastated communities. We will work to clean up, repair, and rebuild churches and homes with a mission to touch lives and help people regain faith and wholeness.”

To donate to hurricane relief, go to www.communityservices.org, call 1-877-ACS-2702, or mail to NAD ACS Community Rebuilding Project, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.

For more information about ACS, go to www.communityservices.org 

--NAD Adventist Community Services Department/AR.


 
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