House built by 'divine favor,' human hands

By Greg Miller

STAR STAFF

   The house at 107 Church Street may have been built by human hands from many states, but some people believe God had a hand in the home's construction. Valerie Redd, along with her daughter, Valnessha, and her son, Vince, moved into the house before Thanksgiving. On Sunday, the house was dedicated to God.
   Last year, Hale Community Ministries was having summer missionaries, said Becky Brumitt, ministry director. The volunteers were looking for various repair jobs to complete.
   "A big team from Lithia Springs, Ga., which had more than 100 people, called me. The man kept saying, 'We can build a house. We've built houses before.' I said, 'We're not in the business of building houses, but I'm sure there's something we could have your team do.' This was early in January 2001.
   "Not long after that, I went to Carter County Community Services council meeting, which is the service agencies in Carter County that meet primarily to plan the Christmas basket program. But a lot of those agencies referred families to me that needed some home repair, some elderly, some widows." At one of the meetings, Brumitt asked for referrals for the 22 teams that were coming here. Redd, who works for the First Tennessee Human Resources Agency, gave Brumitt some referrals and asked about the possibility of receiving help for her rental property.
   Brumitt asked Redd, "'Have you lived there a long time?'. She said, 'I've lived there 13 years.' I said, 'Are you going to be there long term.' I'll never forget the look on her face, because she just looked at me so honestly and said, 'No, I'm not. The Lord has led me to buy a piece of property. One of these days, I'm going to have a house on it.'
   Redd also told Brumitt, "'I want a home of my own that my children can always come back to if they need to.'"
   During the conversation, Brumitt kept thinking of the Georgia man's statement about building a house. "I started crying, because I felt so powerfully God saying that this is what He wanted done," she said.
   Last March, the group from First Baptist Church, Lithia Springs, Ga., told Brumitt that if the block could be laid and the foundation could be in place when the team arrived, they would put the house under roof. When Redd met Brumitt the following week, Redd had brought her house plan and had gone to the bank to see about getting her construction loan.
   God, Brumitt said, told her to call Walker Roberson, the pastor of Unaka Baptist Church, who also does construction work. Walker met with Redd the same day.
   Ground was broken for the project last June. Local Baptists and other residents dug out the crawl space and laid the block. The first team that came in put the sub flooring down. The Georgia team put the house under roof, Brumitt said.
   The outpouring of love which resulted in the building of the house elicits emotion from Redd. "It's been wonderful, and it's been an experience, too," Redd said. "It went from me just praying and waiting on God to it actually unraveling all around me. Then it was really hard for me to believe. I said, 'God is this you? Is this you?' This house was a blessing from God. It was a spiritual miracle, God's blessing."
   For Redd, who attends Phillippi Baptist Church, the house is both a place to live and a ministry headquarters. She has hosted dinners for church members and visiting ministers' families.
   "I've seen Valerie make this home open to her children's friends," Brumitt said. "You can't be here and not see that her children's friends are welcome here. They're at a good place to be here. They're going to see God while they're here. She tells everybody whose path she crosses that this house was a gift of God."
   Redd can now have a bed of her own. While she was still renting, she slept on the sofa so her children could each have a bed. She was a student and working full time. Brumitt said, "She was a single parent. She was able, she worked, she had good credit, she could get a construction loan, but the labor cost would have made it almost impossible for her to have done this on her own.
   "Valerie's faith and love for the Lord, I think, is what brought God's blessing on her, and He knew that she would never, never take credit for this place on her own, that she would always give God the glory and the benefit of it. I have heard her do that. Every single time that somebody has talked to her about this home, it's God's blessing to her and her family."
   Brumitt "definitely" believes the house is God's divine favor on the Redds. "We can't look at it any other way," Brumitt said. "God blessed her. I've seen from day one that this is God pouring out his favor and blessings on this family. She tells people all the time, 'God can do this for you, too.' She believes it, and I believe it.
   "God pours out his blessings. He has his reasons, and He tells us, 'You won't understand my ways. I won't understand yours, but this I do because I love you.' And He loves this family. God loves this family."
   "This has strengthened my faith in every way," Redd said. "I always put my trust and faith in God. When I was trying to move my kids into a house, I was persistent. I kept on and kept on and kept on. I told God what my needs were. I didn't ask for anything like this. I just wanted to get my kids into a home, even if it was renting, the last year before Vince's senior year. I asked for this house, and God blessed us with it. That's why it's so important that we tell the story about the house so that people realize and understand that God is still working and He still is in control.
   "I asked for something and God delivered it in such a way that everybody around me witnessed it. I'm a single mom, and I don't make a lot of money, but God had a blessing for us. He delivered it, and we received it. I was at the right place where God wanted me to be to receive my blessing."