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Gospel Music Association, artists, Habitat demonstrate Faith Works!

FRANKLIN, Tenn., April 7, 2004 – Faith works! Christian music artists know it! The Gospel Music Association knows it! Habitat for Humanity International knows it!

Working hand in hand, or better, hammer in hand, artists supported by the GMA, record label staff, GMA staff and Habitat for Humanity will come together April 12-16 to demonstrate that faith by helping a family build a simple, decent place to live.

“The GMA is honored to be partnering with Habitat for Humanity on this worthwhile project,” said John W. Styll, president of the GMA. “We look forward to many artists and their families and friends participating in the April build as we believe it is fundamental to our industry’s mission that our music is authenticated by actions that embody the gospel.”

Faith Works! begins with one foundation, one mind, one heart and one goal – to provide participants the opportunity to express their Christian beliefs, putting their faith into action to house a deserving family.

The week will begin with prayer and the raising of walls on a foundation for not only a house, but for a family’s future. It ends Friday, April 16, with the dedication of a home – handing over the keys to a new life, a new hope.

The family is the Khadartsevs, Oleg and Oksana, and their four children, Dennis, Angelina, Rouvim and Elizabeth. The family emigrated from their native Ukraine to Tennessee in 2000 to escape persecution for their Christian beliefs and to provide a better future for themselves and their children.

“People did not like Christians,” recalls Oksana. “Every time we had church, the police would come in and break up the church. If they caught people preaching or singing or teaching children, they issued a ticket.”

Today, the family lives in government-subsidized housing. Oleg works as a stamping machine operator at a metal parts plant, and Oksana brings in money by working as a grocery store cashier and cleaning houses while her children are in school. The family attends English-language classes at a local community center and church.

Although their apartment is more than they were used to, with 1,000 square feet and three bedrooms, the couple worries about the children playing in a rough area of town where gangs roam and crime is a regular occurrence.

Soon, the Khadartsevs will move into their new four-bedroom, one and one-half bath Habitat home, where they will pay a no-profit, no-interest mortgage of $400 per month, less than they paid for rent in government housing. There is a park nearby where their children can safely play.

The celebration continues as part of GMA Week, where the association will host and highlight the work of Christian artists putting their faith into action.

Faith Works! 2004 – April 12-16, Franklin, Tenn. Habitat for Humanity International, a Christian ministry committed to eliminating poverty housing, and Christian artists supported by the Gospel Music Association – faith into action for a family’s future!

Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 92 nations have built and sold more than 150,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.