It’s not very often you hear, “That’s perfect . . . a lousy house in a great neighborhood!” But that’s what Rev. Bill and Daphne Foster say all the time. Bill, of Habitat for Missionaries, is directing this ministry that is raising impressive amounts of money to support missionaries.
Of course, the missionaries don’t really live in the homes. Habitat for Missionaries buys a house, usually a stressed house in a great neighborhood, and also buys the repair materials. That’s where a local Wesleyan church partner steps up. Members work together to fix it up, with guidance from Bill, and then it is resold. 90% of the profits from the sale go toward the missionaries that the church is supporting. And it is usually $10,000-$20,000 or even more.
How can a smaller congregation respond when God calls not one, but two young adults into missionary service right from their congregation? The Wesleyan Church in Bridgeport, Ill., found that they could do a lot more through Habitat for Missionaries. Today the members are saying “Size really doesn’t limit what God can do.”
For the past year, Rev. Dale Munsell, pastor, has been reminding the Bridgeport congregation that God can do amazing things through their smaller church. It began with increased faith-promise giving. In one year, their annual missions giving grew by 150%. However, the biggest increase is being achieved through the donation of time and talent.
Bridgeport Wesleyan is just the latest congregation to partner with Habitat for Missionaries in a renovation project. About 30 people there have formed a happy team working on the “fixer-upper” right now, and 90% of the profits will go toward their missionaries once it is sold. The remaining 10% is paid forward toward the next Habitat renovation project.
One of the most exciting things about the Bridgeport, Ill., project was the house itself. A retired minister owned the dilapidated property, valued at about $18,000. Bill Foster asked him if he would be willing to donate half of the value, and he also explained to the gentleman the purpose behind the project. The minister replied, “You can have it! I don’t want anything for it!” Praise God!
Another part of the ministry that is exciting to Bill and Daphne is seeing how the local church community pulls together and grows when they work on a project like this together. It is a win-win-win, because the missionaries are supported, the church unites and does more than it ever thought possible financially, the community gets a lovely house in place of an empty, stressed one, and the new owner gets a great deal!
Rev. Bill and Daphne Foster may look familiar to a lot of Wesleyans. They were long-time Wesleyan missionaries to Australia themselves, before finally returning to the U.S. and starting the visionary Habitat for Missionaries idea.
Bill uses his skills in building and construction as well as his passion for missions to make this ministry a success, not only for Wesleyan missionaries, but also helping other sister churches. Visit them and see video testimonies at www.habitatformissionaries.com.
Pictured: -Bill and Daphne Foster -Pastor Munsell with missionary candidates -Habitat for Missionaries partners