Why do we do it?

Why do we do it?

There are charities literally across the nation and the world. Most are good-hearted and giving organizations. They see a need and they brainstorm on ways to fill that need. That’s what we did so many years ago. But the inspiration for this ministry is a more subtle and simple story.

The Founder of Tradesman Hope Builders, Tom Sheltraw, was fortunate to be raised in a Christian home in Michigan. He moved to California at age 13. He accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior soon after and started Street Evangelizing. That will make a great Blog Post in the future, but not today.

It was during this time that he was given an opportunity to return to Michigan and visit his Grandparents, his mother’s parents, along with his Dad. The purpose of the trip was to do a few much-needed repairs on the Grandparent’s home. Oddly enough, this contributed to his future career path as a contractor.

But another significant point in this story is that during the visit back to his roots, he had the opportunity to visit a most unusual church, just one block from his Grandparent’s home. That church was a converted single-room school building that his mother attended as a young child. The school room/building had been vacant for more than a decade, but someone looked at the building and saw a church just waiting for a Sunday gathering.

That schoolroom in its day might have seated 24 children but was now a church with, possibly, 35 adults in attendance: a small altar and chairs very close together. Fortunately, they were not the original students’ chairs!

The service differed greatly from the Sunday services that Tom had attended in the Mega-Churches of Southern California. People sang Praise Songs that reached the heavens, with no music. Preaching with no sound system was still heard by all. Warm welcomes after service with handshakes and smiles. Cheerful people feeling good about praising God and hearing his word preached. No one was in a hurry to leave the church. No refreshments, no food or drink, and no freebies to give out. Just cheerful people being God’s people.

I hesitate to mention a minor detail, but it seems germane to the story. Tom and his dad were the only white people in the church. After being in California mega-churches that reach for the sky, this was the church that impressed Tom and his dad. So real and so filled with the spirit.

And so, it could be suggested that this visit back to Michigan served as a launching pad for not only a contracting business but also a church re-building ministry. Remember, see a need, and fill it! And that is what Tom has done. At the time this post was published he was on Church 23. And is it surprising that those rebuilt churches in Kenya are reminiscent of that small schoolroom conversion in Michigan so many years ago? Well, God’s ways are not our ways. Usually!

This blog post was written by Tom’s father, Tom Sheltraw Sr. I’m pleased that I was asked to write a guest post for Tradesman Hope Builders. It’s remarkable to think that Tom has built 22 churches in Kenya Africa as the General Contractor and done it all from 10,000 miles away. With God, all things are possible.

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