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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'ET' is home

This is the house that youth built

Traffic slows down and neighbors peer curiously from curtained windows. The sounds of saws and hammers ring through the air. What are those youth at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Charleston, S.C., up to? A new youth room, extra office space? No, they're building an "ET."

ET is short for "Elderly Transportable," a program started by the United Methodist Relief Center, Charleston. Using old mobile home chassis as foundations, volunteers build small homes on their organization's site. When finished, the center transports the home to a needy elderly person or family in the area. The center provides the entire cost of construction while the host church or volunteer group supplies the construction site and labor.

Redeemer's youth, who have worked with Habitat for Humanity, learned about the ET program and thought it would be satisfying to build a dwelling from start to finish. The project requires a reasonably level construction site (Redeemer used an auxiliary parking lot); members with trade skills (the congregation used professional contractors, an electrician, a real-estate developer, and some serious do-it-yourselfers); a coordinator; and volunteers.

Redeemer was sensitive to any concerns the neighbors might have in regard to construction noise, so they met with the civic club to explain the project before they began work.

The project involved the whole congregation, which held a "housewarming" shower to celebrate the ET's completion. Interested members donated curtains, a rocking chair, quilt and other household items for the ET's resident, Mattie Nesbitt, 92, of Huger, S.C.

"The Spirit shapes many ministries of compassion and outreach," said Paul Aebischer, a pastor of Redeemer. "The faithful at Redeemer have especially enjoyed helping the ET project take shape."


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