This past week, University of Texas-Austin Chi Alpha Director Scott Lansing and campus pastor Dave Giles co-directed their fourth annual Supreme Home Makeover project.
The makeover, which took place March 16-19, 2011, was focused on renovating three facilities at the Pleasant Hills Children's Home in Fairfield, Texas.
North Texas District Chi Alpha and North Texas Women's Ministries, along with the help of more than 215 volunteers, worked on two full children's homes, which included 41 rooms; two restrooms, which were made handicap accessible; new computer networking in the offices; a new basketball court; building a pipe-metal fenced horse corral and constructing 400 feet of new road. Volunteers put in 12-hour days, working on more than 9,000 square feet of property for this project.
"This year's North Texas District Chi Alpha's Supreme Makeover project was a great testimony of the power of Chi Alpha students working alongside [other ministries] and volunteers to serve Pleasant Hills Children's Home," says Gary Paschal, North Texas District Chi Alpha director.
While the majority of volunteers (170) were university students, the remaining volunteers were contractors and their families, as well as children and adults from 10 local AG church departments and ministries.
"I asked our former district superintendent if there was anything that he could recall where all of the different departments came together to work on a specific project, and he thought for a long time ... and couldn't think of any," Giles says. "So I think [the Supreme Makeover] is pretty unique in that way, that the departments are coming together to work on a specific annual project."
Although the budget for this year's makeover was $70,000, all finances, labor and materials/supplies were donated. According to Giles, funds come from local businesses, corporate sponsors, friends, individuals, community groups, churches, family members and students.
Chi Alpha students choose to serve over their spring break and contribute $75 toward the project.
"It is amazing to see these students give up their spring vacations to see what can be accomplished when the church works together," says Paschal.
"The makeover makes a lifetime impact on students - and many have come back to serve all four years that the makeovers have taken place," Giles says.
"The students gain a compassionate heart towards ministry that lasts a lifetime. They are students now, but when they graduate and move on, they will go to a church to serve with a compassionate heart ... that will invest in future leaders," Giles says.
"It is exciting to see our Chi Alpha students use their spring break to serve and minister God's love in so many creative ways," says Dennis Gaylor, national Chi Alpha director.
Giles believes the key to this ministry is a compassionate heart partnered with the gospel message.
"I find that if we don't have a compassionate heart, then it cannot be well received," Giles says. "If we have compassion ministries without out the gospel, then it's just a nice project that was done. When you bring the two together, gospel and compassion, it works and makes an impact on people that lasts a lifetime and for eternity."
Giles says the optimism for this project is contagious and his hope is that other churches, a section of churches or a district can take this idea, expand on it and make it happen in their communities. The previous makeovers have taken place across Texas thus far, and other districts have been invited to start their own projects in the future.
The Supreme Home Makeover effort began in 2007, when Lansing and Giles saw a need in a missionary family that had flood damage to their home. Asking the question, "How can we meet that need?" the two decided to gather a handful of students together over spring break to tackle the project.
"There were 52 students and volunteers that first year, and $25,000 was raised," Giles says. "So the idea came back in 2007, and first project came together in 2008." Giles and Lansing continue the projects to fulfill a desire to give college students an opportunity to serve others.
Plans are already being made for the fifth annual Supreme Makeover to take place next year. Giles and Lansing are leading the project along with Tim Ware, who is a U.S. missionary.
For more information about Supreme Home Makeover, click here.
Authors: Becca Dickson