The first time I ever heard of Habitat for Humanity was in September 1984, and I remember it well. I had a baby daughter, and I was giving her a bottle as I sat in a rocking chair watching the NBC Evening News with John Chancellor. The last story of the broadcast was a profile of ex-President Jimmy Carter volunteering with Habitat on a 19-unit apartment building renovation in New York City, which was completed in July 1985.
As I recall, the project team slept on cots in a Baptist Church basement and President Carter was down there, too. An ex-submarine man from the Navy, he probably didn’t mind the close quarters much, but I’ve always wondered what his Secret Service detail thought about it.
There was plenty of footage of the President and project team hammering and sawing. Mr. Carter sat for an interview and after he explained Habitat for Humanity’s mission, the interviewer asked, “Mr. President, do you consider yourself a good carpenter?”
Carter shrugged and replied, “Not really, but I work well under supervision.”
That’s kind of the model for our home builds on our Fresno team- working WELL under supervision. How else can you explain starting and finishing a home in four months, working only on Saturday mornings, with most of the work done by volunteers, many of whom have never worked construction before?
It’s good supervision. When you have a good supervisor, your work matches the supervisor’s direction.
The Israelites had a good manager in Nehemiah. Jerusalem’s walls had been pulled down, leaving the city with no security, roaming will animals, and no basis for an economy. But when Nehemiah’s vision and management came into play, with the backing of Persia’s king, everyone moved in the same direction, and the wall was finished in a very short time:
“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6).
Habitat for Humanity Fresno County has a good supervisor.
His name is Rick O’Daniel, and he and his volunteer coordinator, Ashley Hedeman, just completed a build plan for the next eighteen months, with not a day wasted.
We have lots of houses to build. We have to work well under supervision.