Text by Jonathan Hollon, Volunteer
I have worked on a number of houses for 6 Stones through the Community-Powered Revitalization (CPR) program. I don’t really remember dates or seasons, but I do remember the houses and I do remember the people. The first was in Bedford. The homeowner ’s daughter and granddaughter lived with her and their backyard had major water runoff issues.
A month or so after the blitz, my LifeGroup leader from church asked if I would go mow her lawn. I did and that was pretty much the last time I saw her. She was very grateful. She thanked us on multiple occasions and just seemed relieved to have a little help.
As my CPR experience grew I was asked to serve in a larger role as a Homeowner Liaison, visiting homeowners before and after the blitz. It was at this time that I realized how much need existed within my community. These were people that lived less than a mile from my home. We had problems at our house but our fence was still standing. We didn’t have water coming through the back door when it rained.
A lot of these people were elderly widows and single moms. Just having someone mow the lawn was a huge blessing to them. My time as a Liaison helped me to understand how great the need is right here at home. It also taught me something about myself.
Serving with 6 Stones helped me to discover how much joy I receive from being able to help people. Scripture says to love your neighbor as yourself and that GOD loves a cheerful giver. I clung to those passages during this time. But volunteering meant more to me than that.
It's Not the Projects… It's the People
I developed relationships with some of the people I met and served. People like Nick the Plumber, whose parents’ house was burned to the ground. He had no one to help him until he found 6 Stones. Nick had no money to even have the house mucked out, and the city was threatening to condemn the property.
A group of us got together and filled three large construction dumpsters full of rotted and burned debris. Nick worked right alongside of us. You could tell at the end how much our work meant to him. You could see the relief he had all over his face.
A few years after we helped Nick, Nick helped me. My family and I were in need of a hot water heater and were seriously stretched for cash at the time. Nick came and installed one for us. He didn’t charge us any labor. We still use it today.
Andrew, my Site Captain on one house in Watauga, has become one of my closest friends and confidants. Valerie, the single mom whose home we worked on, ended up being the PTO President at the school my son goes to.
So, why am I writing all this down? Well simply put, ‘cause Steven at 6 Stones asked me to. But beyond that, I want you to understand what I’ve learned over the last few years: The Big Event that we call CPR, those “blitzes” we do twice a year, are really just a start to the work that our community needs.
Beyond Community Powered Revitalization
Most people need way more than a coat of paint. The typical blitz averages something like 1300 volunteers during the weekend. That really is something to celebrate. But then what? There is still need. Some of these little old ladies just want someone to come visit them. Some projects actually don’t get completed during the blitz and 6 Stones needs people to help finish them.
There are all kinds of programs out there in our community to help these people, but sometimes they need help navigating through all of the processes and paperwork. Just praying for someone in their home can be so valuable. It brings hope. Can you imagine what would happen if just 10% of the weekend’s volunteers stepped up to help after the blitz? The impact would be huge.
6 Stones has a follow-up process in place, but the role of caring for these people after their houses have been restored really falls to the volunteers. We are the ones that did the work. The ones they saw joyfully giving of our time to help them. We must be the ones to deliver the hope that only exists because of GOD’s amazing grace.
What Can YOU Do?
With all that said, we are all in different seasons of life and busy-ness is a real thing. I myself have been guilty of overcommitting more than a few times. But you don’t have to restore a whole house to remind someone that you care. What about simply taking time on a Saturday morning after the blitz, like I did when I mowed that lawn years ago? Why not take your homeowner a gift card to a grocery store or to a restaurant? What if you became the Catalyst of Hope for that person?*
My hope lives in Jesus, but thank GOD I get to be His hands and feet. Thank GOD He allows me the opportunity to love and serve those that He loved first. He tells us GO! So, what are you doing the morning of April 28th? What are you doing in the evening on May 2nd? What are you doing next month on some random day? Wouldn’t it be worth it to plan on a little spontaneous service?
You’d be amazed at what happens when you just say, “how can I help?” And then go do that thing!
Jonathan Hollon has served as a Homeowner Liaison and volunteer with 6 Stones since 2011. He and his wife, Shelly, helped us to connect with and serve homeowners all over the City of Watauga. The text above was edited and revised for clarity by 6 Stones staff, but the ideas and opinions expressed therein are Jonathan’s.
*Editor's note: Every homeowner is different. Some of them prefer anonymity, and some want to jump right in and help out during the blitz. We hope that you form friendships during CPR — with homeowners and with your fellow volunteers — but we also ask that you please respect the individual wishes and privacy of the people we serve. Your Site Captain will be the best point of contact here.