Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Habitat Homeowner Mar'Lyn Bland Give Thanks & Reminds us Why we do What we do

New Habitat homewoner, Mar'lyn Bland gave a moving speech to volunteers last June as we gathered for a block party in San Pedro to celebrate the completion of 16 news homes. Her words remind us why we work so hard. We hope you'll be equally moved and encourage you to share her speech with friends and family.

The Bible tells us to give thanks unto the Lord, from whom all blessings flow. Today, I stand before you all with a heart of thanksgiving and gratitude.

I truly count my experience with the Habitat for Humanities program as a blessing from God. Without God, none of this would be possible.

I am thankful for all of the hard work of the Habitat staff, volunteers and families. Everyone has worked so hard and diligent throughout this project. Your effort is appreciated and will not be forgotten.

I was listening to a talk radio program and the caller made mention that she had just purchased a house from Habitat for Humanities. That immediately sparked my interest. I rushed home from work and typed in Habitat for Humanities in the search engine on the Internet. The Carson office was listed. I wrote down the number and called the very next day. That was in 2006. I had just missed the application window, but I gave Sylvia my information to be put on the mailing list for the next year.

In 2007 my husband and I set out to go to the orientation. I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant. I didn’t know if we would qualify or not. But, I sort of set myself up for failure before I even began. With the urging of my husband, we decided to just go for it. (I learned that it’s always good to listen to you husband).

We quickly learned that there are many steps to the application process. It was always a sigh of relief when we were told that we were going to the next phase.

We found out on June 22nd of 2007 that we were one of the families chosen to receive a new home. When Erin made that announcement on the microphone, it was like a wave of emotion just came over me. I cried and cried and cried. My children were asking me what was wrong, my husband was excited and smiling, but all I could do was cry. At that moment God came and lifted that weight on my shoulders off. This had been seven years of wanting and needing a place of our own for our family.

The journey after that has been a pleasant one. Working alongside the volunteers and families was a unique experience. The Jimmy Carter Work week let me see people at their best. I worked side by side with people I didn’t know, who didn’t know my family, my situation or me. People who came to build on the house that I would live in and didn’t ask for anything in return. People who actually thanked me for the opportunity to work on my house. It was fantastic.

Through out this experience I’ve learned how beautiful it is to help others. It is truly a wonderful thing to do for others and not ask or expect anything in return. To give from the heart, not based on status, looks, prestige, honor or class. All that God has given us; we are to give to others – freely.

I leave this final thought with you….We haven’t told our children the details of our new home. We’ve decided to wait until we were able to furnish the house – as much as possible, gather them all up – all seven of them and introduce them to their new home in a most spectacular way we possibly could. Imagine seven tiny people with smiles covering their faces. Imagine the laughter, the tiny footsteps running from room to room and up and down the stairs, as they explore the home that they will call theirs. Imagine that first night sleeping in their own rooms – the peaceful sleep they’ll have snuggled in contentment. Imagine the first morning as the run downstairs for breakfast. And, thereafter…Lord willing, many joyous days to follow.

I pray that God will richly bless you all for your effort, energy and time you put forth to help build a home for the Atlas family.

Thank you.