Many stake members joined the Rodriguez Family and others for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, Dec 10. Janae Rodriguez was given the keys to the house, and then stake members helped her and her daughters move in—finally home for Christmas. President Moon emphasized the service and human warmth of the project, and how fitting it was that it culminated at Christmastime. He observed that when we remember our real home is with our Father in Heaven, and we yearn for and serve Him through the holiday season, it gives special meaning to the sentiment, “I’ll be home for Christmas.”
These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever. (D&C 76:62)
As the Alpine Stake leadership planned this extended service project of building a home, they decided to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Utah County in order to draw on the expertise and procedures that Habitat has in place for such a project.
Habitat for Humanity of Utah County explains that “through volunteer labor, professional expertise and tax-deductible donations, we obtain land and build simple, decent homes in Utah County. Families who meet our qualifications help build, then purchase the home at no profit to our organization. Their monthly payments go into a revolving fund to help build more homes. Families must have need, be able to pay, and be willing to partner with our organization. New homeowners have a unique pride in this home, which has given them a hand up, not a hand-out.”
This particular home is unusual for Habitat, because one group—the Alpine Stake—is providing nearly all the volunteer labor and financial donations required for the home to be built. For most Habitat homes, these resources come from multiple sources. For all Habitat homes, including this one, the chosen family provides significant sweat equity and assumes appropriate financial responsibility.
For further questions about the mission and processes of Habitat for Humanity of Utah County, you can visit their very informative website: Habitat for Humanity of Utah County.
With the backhoe working and a donated SAM storage unit being delivered, about 35 people gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of this home for Janae Rodriguez and her two teen daughters Sami and Yvette.
Habitat for Humanity’s local Executive Director, Kena Jo Matthews, said this would be the 45th home built or remodeled through their efforts in Utah County. Lehi Mayor Bert Wilson said he was pleased to have this home and what it represents being built in Lehi.
President Moon of the Alpine Stake explained that the stake presidency wanted an extended service effort for stake members, not a Saturday kind of project, but something that would nurture a more habitual attitude of service. He added that just as much as this family needs a home, members of the Alpine Stake need this opportunity to reach out and contribute to the larger community in a significant way.
Sami Rodriguez, age 14, read a letter and said how excited she is to be able to paint her room yellow. Yvette, age 19, read a poem about the fingerprints and heartprints people can leave on all they touch.
Finally, Janae, Sami, and Yvette joined President Moon, Todd Barney of the stake high council, and Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Matthews in throwing shovels of dirt in the air. They got to throw the dirt over and over again because there were so many cameras.
Mayor Wilson said (in a comment that many people from Alpine and also Logan, Utah, might dispute), “If you live right and die right, you’ll come back to Lehi when you die because you can’t get any closer to Heaven than this.” For the Rodriguez Family, this Lehi home will be a kind of Heaven.