It is not very often that one can drive down a street and see tangible results of their volunteer work. But this is a gift I receive by volunteering with Christmas In Action – Spartanburg, a small nonprofit that aids the elderly, disabled and veteran homeowners in our county with free home repairs. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matthew 22:39) is one of my favorite verses and words that I strive to live by each day. My husband and I were familiar with the great work of the Christmas in Action chapters around the country, and we started a Spartanburg chapter when we moved here in 1997. With support of my family and church, I have had the opportunity to share God’s grace with hundreds of fellow neighbors that simply need a hand-up and not a handout. As a local realtor, I understand how a home impacts a person’s psyche and typically, impoverished homeowners go without; living in homes with leaking roofs, electrical problems that can trigger a fire, rotting floors, or insect and rodent infestation. Like the mold in the house, these problems spread, affecting the health and well-being of the homeowner as well as the community at large. For over twenty years, this is how I have been able to share God’s message with those who need it most. One of homeowners that touched my heart the most was a single elderly woman who did not have access to hot water. Our volunteer team installed a new hot water heater and purchased new towels, washcloths and shower curtain for her first hot shower in her home. The tears that streamed down her face when she placed a washcloth under the faucet and felt the warm water is an image that I will carry for the rest of my life. I want to provide hope for those who feel invisible. There is always a real challenge for real estate professionals to balance time but for me, God always comes first, then family and then my job. But Christmas In Action is my way of showing God’s love and it is a ministry. It’s what I do.
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