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A house that the Lord has built


Koffi and Tonya worked to raise the walls on their new Habitat house.



Volunteers worked through rain and blazing sun to build Koffi’s and Tonya’s house.

At 3 p.m on Sunday, August 14, Habitat for Humanity dedicated its 200,000th house, which homeowners Koffi Kouassi and Tonya Harper will be moving into Monday morning. Their new front yard was crowded with volunteers, media, Habitat staff and interested community members, all there to help the family bless its new home. The ceremony also honored the months—and years—of planning and labor that made this day possible, both by Habitat and the Kouassi-Harper family.

”This is their house,” said HFHI CEO Paul Leonard. “They’ve earned it with their life and their hard work.”

A week of sweat, sore muscles, blisters and tired bodies raised the house at lightning speed. But this effort was only the by-product of something Knoxville HFH board President Marty Brown called “Habitat kindness.”

”Habitat kindness is volunteers in the sweltering heat,” he said. “It is the giver of resources to ensure these homes get built.”

The theme of kindness wove through the dedication ceremony as well as the build week. Kelle Shultz, Executive Director of Knoxville HFH, reported that when rain poured on Monday, she asked for 20 volunteers to brave the bad weather and install siding. Twenty-four showed up.

But this is the Habitat way: A need is seen, and people respond no matter the inconvenience. It has been this way for nearly thirty years, and it is what made possible this 200,000th house and all the others before it. It is what is making possible the 200,001st house in Kanyakumari, India and all the others after it.

Congressman Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee identified the source of this kindness—the faith of those who have participated in this and all other Habitat builds throughout the years.

”It has to be a house that the Lord has built,” he said.