Larry and Debbie Zell needed a new house—and soon. Their mobile home was showing its age, yet they didn’t have the resources to purchase a new home or to have one built. But they did have land.

The Zells are members of the Ava Church in Missouri, and for a number of years fellow members have helped fix up their mobile home. However, the helpful members foresaw a day when repairs would no longer be enough. So when the Zells asked for assistance again in early 2014, church members knew they would have to look for a more permanent solution.

That’s where the story goes back to the land the Zells owned. Larry and Debbie told the church board they could sell some of it and use that money to buy materials to build a new house on their property, but they wouldn’t have any extra funds for labor costs. The church board voted that their members would supply the labor so the Zells could have a permanent, durable home.

In July of 2014 ground was broken and two months later, after the rain stopped, the foundation was poured. Retired Ava Church members Eck Ulrich, Jim Porter, Ed Kennedy and Ray Hoffmaster selflessly devoted three days a week to building the house. They also received assistance from members Fred Perlee, Mel Cline and Ava pastor, Craig Wiles, among others.*

Larry and Debbie picked out the paint colors and counter tops, Larry’s family bought the appliances and they were in their new home by January 2015.
The Zells are extremely grateful for the generosity of their fellow church members and the crew couldn’t be happier with how the house turned out.

Michelle Hansen is communication director for the Iowa-Missouri Conference.


*UPDATE 9/9/15: Our sincere apologies to Jim Calkins (pictured center) and Homer Roberts, who are not mentioned in the article but, as we’ve learned, also helped with the project.