‘The hand of God did this’

By Tim Lilley

The Message editor

Volunteer Marcia Martin, left, Cynthiana Town Councilman Steve Sims and furuter homeowner Brenda R. turn spades of dirt on the site of Brenda’s future home during the Nov. 25 ceremonial groundbreaking in Cynthiana. Brenda’s will be house No. 2 in an effort to bring new Habitat for Humanity homes to North Posey County. No. 1, located in Poseyville, has already been completed; the homeowners have moved in and are enjoying it. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

Future homeowner Brenda R. fought back tears Nov. 25 as she talked about the path that brought her to a lot in Cynthiana where her Habitat for Humanity of Evansville house will spring up. 

She said, “I am overwhelmed and very grateful. The hand of God did this.” After finishing her brief remarks, Brenda joined Cynthiana town councilman Steve Sims and volunteer Marcia Martin to turn spades of dirt for the official groundbreaking of the build.

Deacon Mark McDonald of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Poseyville and St. Wendel Parish in St. Wendel explained that Brenda’s is the second Habitat build in North Posey County – and it is fully funded. In front of dozens of Habitat supporters and volunteers who attended the Cynthiana groundbreaking on a sunny-but-chilly morning, Deacon Mark said, “House No. 1 is fully funded, and it’s built and already being enjoyed by a family. 

“This is house No. 2, and it is fully funded. House No. 3 is fully funded, and we already have more than $20,000 toward full funding for house No. 4.” Deacon Mark explained that house No. 1 is in Poseyville, close to St. Francis Xavier Parish. In addition to the lot for Brenda’s new home, he said that the group working on the North Posey builds has already secured two other lots – one each in Cynthiana and Poseyville.

Deacon Mark thanked pastors of congregations in North Posey County for their unwavering support for the movement to bring new homes to the area. He said, “These small towns must not die with a whimper. They must grow.”

Habitat for Humanity-Evansville Executive Director thanked Deacon Mark for leading the North Posey effort for the past four years. She said, “This is a tremendous testament to what can happen when one person gets things started and the people who have supported the effort.” 

Beth said the staff at Habitat had run the numbers to get a look at the impact of the program, which offers qualifying families no-interest loans on their new homes. She said, “Every homeowner must invest at least 300 sweat-equity hours as part of the program. As a result, and at current rates, we know that they are realizing savings of about $171,000 over the life of their loan. Habitat does not provide a handout; it provides a hand up.”

Deacon Mark thanked everyone who has volunteered to date. He said, “The only problem we have encountered to date is a very good problem to have. Every time was ask for 10 volunteers to help with something, 39 show up! Without that kind of social action, our communities don’t live.”

Pastor Mike Douglas of Fair Haven Christ Fellowship in Cynthiana opened the groundbreaking with prayer, and Father Ed Schnur, Pastor of St. Francis Xavier and St. Wendel parishes, offered the closing prayer and blessing.