Investing in a Dream
When we saw the unfinished floor, the shower sitting in a box, and his living room full of drywall dust, we understood that, although fulfillment of Gerard's dream had begun, there was still a long way to go to completion. Our men's prayer group at The Gathering Church expressed a desire and, we believed, an obligation, to act - to invest our time and resources in the ambitious renovation project to make Gerard's home fully wheelchair accessible.
Pastor Jim and his son were soon helping to remove some old carpet from the home. Others mowed the lawn, removed drywall, painted, sanded, applied tape, and all the while, the dust flew! A Conestoga College student offered to draw plans for the exterior ramp and a government grant to pay for material was approved. Other groups such as the Independent Living Centre and the Volunteer Action Centre offered help. By autumn, the main floor was livable.
Part of Gerard's dream was to renovate the basement into an apartment so that he would have some income and someone to help care for his home. He was turned down for a much-needed construction loan by a traditional bank. The Mennonite Savings and Credit Union stepped in with a loan. Church and community members agreed to personally back Gerard. This space would be his lifeline.
Today, Gerard has a nice bathroom, including a new drive-in shower and matching sink. His kitchen sink is new and his floors are installed and almost paid for. The covered ramp is built and now we pray for God to show us the next steps as we wonder where the necessary resources for his basement apartment will come from. One thing of which we are certain, The Gathering Church is invested in this project, offering people power and, at a recent meeting, unanimously approving a gift of $5,000.