I recently visited the Dominican Republic with a group of builders from around the country to see the work of Esperanza International, HOPE International’s partner in the Dominican Republic. Our first day, we visited an Esperanza client named Henry in Santo Domingo. When we arrived at Henry’s business, I was surprised to learn that he was also a pastor, and his business was also a church.
After welcoming us into the sanctuary, Henry shared his personal testimony – Like the woman at the well in scripture, he was living an unfulfilled life, so he prayed to a God that he didn’t know to ask for help. Little did he know, God would answer his prayer, and within 24 hours he would lose everything he had. Three month later, Henry would give his life to Christ.
While facing the challenge of starting over, God revealed to Henry that the love of money was the root of all evil. During this time, he was hoping to start a new business, and he asked God for wisdom to build his business for His Kingdom and not himself. God would answer his prayer by giving him a vision for a water purification company that also acted as a church. Also, it was at this time that the Esperanza Loan officer Maximo was touched by God to enter Henry’s business and to seek him out, leading to Henry his first loan.
Today, Henry now runs and owns a water company that houses a church where he serves as the pastor. His business now employs 16 people from his community and provides affordable access to clean drinking water, selling his water at half of the price of his big brand competitors. With the sales from his business, he is able to provide for his family’s needs, enabling the church’s tithes to be used for other purposes. So he is essentially, he is a pastor who works for free.
Looking forward, Henry has ambitious plans to grow his business to 50 delivery trucks and open 5 more churches that house water purification businesses.
As our day came to a close, we asked Henry how we could pray for his business and his church. He responded with, “Ask God to send me five men of vision to open five water station churches in the surrounding communities.” Before we parted ways, Lance Wright of CastleRock Communities led the group in prayer for his specific request.
We also invite you (the reader) to join us in praying for Henry’s request.
We are proud to announce a new Home for Hope video made by DiscipleMedia, featuring footage from the Dominican Republic and highlighting our partner McCall Homes. McCall Homes completed their first Home for Hope in 2014, and succeeded in bringing together 38 trades and suppliers to raise $169,000 for HOPE International. Aiding HOPE in impacting the lives of an estimated 5,600 clients according to HOPE International’s empowerment index.
In May 2011, a catastrophic EF-5 tornado ravaged through Joplin, MO, destroying nearly 8,000 buildings and claiming the lives of more than 160 people—making it one of the deadliest tornados to ever strike the United States. Following the disaster, Joplin natives Dan Mitchell and Daman Schuber started a homebuilding company, Schuber Mitchell Homes, in association with Betenbough Homes (based in Lubbock , TX).
Earlier this year Homes for Hope entered into a partnership with Schuber Mitchell Homes to build the first Home for Hope in the state of Missouri. Homes for Hope Executive Director Jack Nulty sat down to interview Dan Mitchell from Schuber Mitchell Homes to learn more about the company’s story.
Jack: So when did you start your building business?
Dan: We started in July of 2011, right after the tornado here in Joplin. There was a large F5 tornado that killed 161 people and destroyed close to 8,000 buildings.
Jack: I know that you guys work in association with Betenbough Homes in West Texas near me. How did your relationship with Betenbough Homes start, and how did it get to where it is today?
Dan: Daman Schuber and I are good friends with the Betenbough family. At the time of the tornado, we had both collaborated with Betenbough Ministries on a youth center project in Joplin called The Bridge. When our city was struck by the disaster—without calling each other—we both thought, “We need a builder in our city with integrity and a ministry mindset.” So we both called our friend Rick Betenbough separately and started the ball rolling toward finding a way to begin building back the devastated neighborhoods here.
We spent weeks together with Rick Betenbough praying and looking for build sites and working toward starting a Betenbough branch office—but the LORD led a different way. Through much prayer and the wisdom and generosity of Betenbough’s leadership team, it was decided that Betenbough Homes wanted to help start another Kingdom company. They decided to allow Daman and me the awesome privilege of learning and adopting their model in Joplin. Today, Schuber Mitchell Homes is carrying the Betenbough legacy of building affordable, quality homes and supporting the Kingdom of God while rebuilding in Joplin.
Jack: Wow! So how many homes have you built since then?
Dan: We have closed on 96 homes, and we currently have 40 homes in process right now.
Jack: You guys have grown a great deal since 2011. Do you see yourselves building 100 units a year?
Dan: That is our yearly goal for southwest Missouri. There are around 180,000 people in the MSA around Joplin with five municipalities. This year (2014), we will close on around 80 units. We hope to reach 100 units in 2015.
Jack: It definitely sounds like it to me! So, just out of curiosity, what stands out to you about Homes for Hope? Why is it attractive for you?
Dan: Homes for Hope is attractive for several reasons. We love empowering others to build businesses. Maybe this is due to how much the Betenboughs have poured into us. We love the sustainability of the model and how the donated dollars can be used over and over to start small businesses. Also, when we give, we want to give to ministries that tell the story of the Gospel.
To learn more about our partner Schuber Mitchell Homes, click this link to visit their website.
About the author:
Information Specialist, Homes for Hope
Hearts that yearn to learn are best equipped to inspire organizational growth. The 2014 Homes for Hope Builder Summit was filled with people with such hearts, and the resulting impact generated excitement throughout the Homes for Hope network! The following snapshots paint a portrait of the communal learning and growth that took place during the Summit.
There was no shortage of memorable moments at the two-day event, which began with the Celebrating HOPE dinner. Celebrating HOPE brought together 700 people for more than a meal, as donors joined together with local, national, and international staff members to recognize the work of HOPE International and their partners around the world. The dinner provided attendees with a chance for reflection of the past, encouragement in the present, and engagement in the future.
From start to finish, prayer and passion stood as the cornerstones for the Summit. At Celebrating HOPE, Homes for Hope Founder Jeff Rutt led the room in prayer, while HOPE President Peter Greer spoke on their commitment to passion and remaining Mission True. Together these two cornerstones helped cultivate a passionate environment at the Celebrating HOPE dinner and throughout the Summit.
To illustrate the mission of HOPE International, Peter told a story about a client who could significantly advance her business by saving up for a sewing machine. Without access to capital, it would take her 25 years to save up enough money to buy it. You can watch a video clip of his presentation by clicking the image above.
Day two of the Summit was marked by the first-ever Homes for Hope best practice sessions, geared to specifically address advancing the work of Homes for Hope’s building partners. A group of 17 committed builders and industry experts holding an invested interest in Homes for Hope attended the Builder Summit. Those present were joined by several others via video feed, sparking important discussions and brainstorming sessions with homebuilders around the country. Builder Summit attendees aimed to identify and capitalize upon Homes for Hope’s best practices, while learning more about establishing Homes for Hope builders as industry leaders in service, quality, and excellence.
The Builder Summit discussions revolved around five major principles that shape Homes for Hope builder best-practices: 1) light the fire, 2) get the word out, 3) engage the help, 4) get it built, and 5) get it sold. Speakers keyed their talks on applying these best practices in ways that increase and sharpen Homes for Hope’s nationwide growth. Homes for Hope Executive Director Jack Nulty opened conversation by engaging in the first principle, “Light the Fire”. Networking with consultants, increasing value through architects, and assimilating HOPE culture were among the topics Jack discussed.
Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development shared his experience as he highlighted the ways Homes for Hope can “Engage the Help” by increasing builder profitability, creating scarcity, and contracting multiple trades to maximize revenue. Scott also reviewed factors that impact the “Get it Built” process, explaining the risks of misleading home signage and the importance of community engagement.
The Builder Summit concluded with enthusiastic encouragement from Bob Schultz of New Home Sales Specialists. Bob promoted ways to “Spread the Word”, touching on the ideas of “WIIFM” (What’s in it for Me?) versus “WIIFT” (What’s in it for Them?). Other practices discussed included developing builder testimonials, improving events, and handling objections. Bob summed up by looking at several practices that translate into an ability to successfully “Get it Sold”.
In the span of two days, the Homes for Hope Summit offered eager hearts with the chance to learn alongside one another and dwell upon ways Homes for Hope can grow. Whether praying alongside hundreds of people or discussing home building practices in a more intimate setting, each moment of the Summit provided the team with inspiration to magnify and multiply the impact of Homes for Hope and HOPE International.
About the author:
Executive Intern, HOPE International
Rosewood Communities is a homebuilder based out of Greenville, S.C. owned by Mark Nyblom, a board member and dedicated builder of Homes for Hope. We recently had the chance to interview their office manager, Mia Nyblom, about how they have experienced culture and community with their trades through Homes for Hope events.
“When we do luncheons for subcontractors, we do them on site in the subdivision. Going to them has a better turnout than making them come to us,” Mia noted.
Who wants to work in the hot sun for four hours before a lunch meeting at the office? Bob Schultz, the new home sales specialist, always says, “Make it hard to say no and easy to say yes.” Rosewood Communities works to make it easy for their subcontractors to say “yes” by hosting events on the job site. As a result, they have had nearly perfect attendance by their trade partners at Homes for Hope events.
Mia says, “That’s something that’s crucial to any event: feed the people. They notice the finer details… the cozier it is in there, the more comfortable people are, too.”
If you truly want to build culture and community, it needs to be reflected in your hospitality, and this is something Rosewood excels at. Mia coordinates events with her go-to team that includes Rosewood staff members, trade partners, and a preferred caterer. In addition, to making her guests feel welcome, she is giving community members more opportunities for hands-on involvement.
“One of our trade partners went to the Dominican Republic with Mark Nyblom and shares his experience from the trip at our groundbreakings,” Mia said. “We’ve found that he is able to speak in a relatable way to our partners.”
Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development believes that the voice of the trade partner matters. At the 2014 Homes for Hope Builder Summit, he said, “The most important thing about engaging workers is giving them a job where they feel they have genuine influence over the work that affects them.” The same principal can be applied here. By inviting their trades to share at events, Rosewood gives them “genuine influence” over their Home for Hope, which their trade partners have used to help build three Homes for Hope since 2010, raising nearly $300,000.
“There’s something to be said about a repetitious dedication. We’ve done it so many times, that everyone knows what to do,” Mia says.
Through repetition, Rosewood has made the Homes for Hope process their own and in doing so, has discovered a community of people that love one another and serving others. One of their landscaping partners unexpectedly decided to share his experience at their last groundbreaking, saying, “I was skeptical of all of it until I was around it. After spending time with these guys, coming to the dedications, and hearing about the cause, it all makes sense.”
If you would like to be connected to staff members from Rosewood Communities about building culture and community with trades, please use the contact information below to contact me. I would be more than happy to connect you.
About the Author:
Information Specialist, Homes for Hope
Earlier this year, Homes for Hope had the chance to talk with Jeanna Roach, the marketing director at Betenbough Homes, one of Builder Magazine’s top 10 fastest growing private builders in the nation. In our conversation, she helped shed some light on what it takes to get the local media engaged in your build.
“June is homeownership month and a high point of the year for the homebuilding industry. With Parade of Homes going on and all the buzz, it’s a great time to get exposure for Hope International and Homes for Hope.”
Current events will make or break your coverage. In fact, Jeanna’s team opted to delay launching their Home for Hope (H4H) build by a couple of months to avoid coinciding with another local homebuilder’s fundraiser. Instead, they scheduled their build to wrap-up in June, where public interest in the homebuilding industry is at its highest.
“Troy Finley, chief sales officer for Betenbough Homes, went on the Experiencing HOPE trip to the Dominican Republic to see the work of Hope International, and when he came back we were able to get the whole staff got on board.”
Getting your team on board with the mission can be the most valuable contributor to successfully marketing your H4H. Talking with Jeanna, I found that the common factor in most of the successes her team experienced was a “company-wide effort.” It’s important to note that Betenbough’s leadership took time to become personally invested in HOPE’s mission and sell it to their staff.
“(When trying to get coverage for your H4H) don’t contact the reporter who handles police reports, go with the people who write about lifestyle or community.”
H4H partners come in many different shapes and sizes, so I wanted to hear from Jeanna how the family-owned homebuilder without a marketing department could practically engage the media. She encourages homebuilders to pay close attention to journalists and their beats, such as: community involvement, real estate, business, etc. Journalists who appreciate the mission of HOPE International will be more likely to respond and will be the right person to tell the story.
“We don’t want to bug them…we give them stories that are interesting to their viewers.
Jeanna made it clear that building reliable media relationships will require you to build a reputation as a reliable source for good stories. So be selective when asking your contacts for favors, and when you do, make it worth their time and interesting to their viewers.
“Nothing can build a relationship better than honoring somebody’s work.”
Develop a genuine appreciation for the work of your friends in the media — share it with your network, and support their journalistic ambition. Be intentional; take the time to follow-up with a phone call after you make a pitch. If you want your stories covered, pencil in some time to learn more about the world of journalism, and meet the extraordinary people who make it turn.
More about our Partner:
Betenbough Homes, West Texas’ number one new home builder, was founded in 1992 when father and son duo, Ron and Rick Betenbough, teamed up to deliver quality new homes at the most competitive price. Based in Lubbock, Texas, Betenbough Homes has built more than 5,000 homes in communities across West Texas. Betenbough Homes is a faith-based, employee-owned company committed to build, serve and impact the communities they call home. Ranked among the Top 100 Builders in the nation by Builder magazine, the company is also the recipient of the 2013 Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award.
Here at Homes for Hope, we are avid students of a holistic model of business. As a nonprofit member of the building industry here in the United States, how can we become more in tune with the needs of our community? How can we position our organization to serve those needs and people well?
In our pursuit of this model, we have found an exceptional teacher by the name of Ramona ‘Marilyn’ Ciprian, a longtime client of Esperanza International, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic. Marilyn owns and operates a small storefront, known as a colmado, in the city of San Pedro, Dominican Republic. Since receiving her first loan in 1996, she has successfully grown her business in one of the harshest economic environments in the world. With 18 years of experience, she has gained business savvy, a strong work ethic, and clarity toward the needs of her community.
The average daily sales from Ramona’s colmado now far exceed the sum of her first loan of $2000RD ($47-$50 USD). Next, she hopes to franchise her business and launch into real estate development. However, she recalls a time where her ambitions were driven by desperation. When asked about her life before partnering with Esperanza International, Ramona recalls, “I didn’t have anything.”
These life experiences have given Ramona powerful insight into the needs of her community, and she has been working for years to position her business to meet those needs. So when we went with a group of home builders from around the country on a vision trip to the Dominican Republic, what we found was an exemplary model of how to run a business that serves people well.
Derived from the Spanish verb comar, meaning “to fulfill,” a colmado is a one-stop storefront business with an inventory catered to the practical, everyday needs of its community. Imagine a Walmart supermarket nestled into one of the houses in your neighborhood: food, clothes, diapers, school supplies, and all of your household needs in a convenient location. How fitting! This perfectly fits our holistic, need-driven model for business. The literal translation of the Spanish word colmado actually means “heaping” or “overflowing.” When I hear this, I can’t help but hear an echo of Psalms 23:5 of The Lord’s Prayer, “My cup runneth over.”
The true brilliance in Ramona’s business plan is that she never stopped at simply meeting the material needs of her neighbors. She knows that in order to truly serve people well, she must go deeper and address the deepest longings of the human heart; the need for the Gospel. In response to this reality, Ramona has sought to integrate Christ and the Gospel into every aspect of “La Gran Comision.” You will find Psalms 113:5 written prominently on the front of her store, “Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high.” With every purchase, she shares tracts with her customers, telling them about Jesus, even closing the shop to go and minister to those in her community.
The way Ramona runs her business is more than enterprise, it is worship.
Before being asked to direct the homebuilding industry’s non-profit Homes for Hope I worked for an organization that I loved, for a boss that I loved and a General Manager that I loved. My job was easy, I would ask homebuilders to buy or continue buying from an organization I knew would do its best. The most enjoyable part of each day was talking about the amazing people that I worked with. Eventually many of those builders came to love those same people that made up the organization I represented. It was awesome!
Serving the homebuilding industry for 20 years came with many great things and a few not so great things, but you take the bad with the good and carry on. One of those great things was Homes for Hope. But to be quite honest, I was a skeptic at first because it seemed as if every time I turned around there was some organization; with a cause, that continued to drain the bottom line. Ugh!
The decision to come on board was difficult. There were many people that were a part of my decision to change from a trade that I knew so well to a trade I know very little about with a hurdle that was painfully obvious. Before deciding I asked my family, then some builder friends, some friends in the church, and then God for guidance. As a result I was able to make the change with lots of confidence and very little know how.
As I started to develop relationships within Hope International there were a few people that began to stand out. One was Matthew Rohrs; an everyday guy whose job it was to somehow maintain or spiritually integrate banking to the poor. Talk about a task, WOW! But as I got to know Matthew I began to pick up on a question that he was asking himself; that brought about a responsibility in my own heart, “am I loving God well?” A second person that influenced my heart was Chris Horst; yet another everyday guy whose job it is to somehow obtain the funding needed to supply loans to what is now over a ½ million people in 16 countries around the world. WOW again! As I got to know Chris I began to pick up on his method of discussing Godliness with his team rather than quota, in essence he was asking the question of himself, “am I loving others well?”
I began to challenge myself with those questions; am I loving God well and am I loving others well. Next, I blended them with the obvious challenge that I felt which was; when people come into contact with Homes for Hope do they love God more as a result? Those three questions have become the guidelines for my decisions. In short they have become my resolution that has changed everything.
Tomorrow morning I get the extreme privilege to be with some pretty great guys at Frisco Bible Church; my home church. We will discuss the timely topic of resolve. I will ask them to explore ways to love God, love others, and lead others to love God more.
My approach will be simple, make a short list people in your sphere of influence. Identify action items that you can work on that will help you to; love God well, love others well, and lead others to love God more.
My hope is that the most amazing part of their day & your day from this day forward will be leading others to loving God more.
Boris Timofei Tentuic currently lives in Hincesti, Maldova with his wife and 8 children (2 of whom are grown), and provides for his family by farming 15-acres of land. Just like any parent, he dreams of providing his children with the opportunity to attend college and graduate with degrees that will open doors for them. However in order to make this dream reality, he must confront the challenges of growing his business. Competition is tough for a small business and financial backing is limited when most local creditors see Timofei’s large family as a liability.
However, where many banks saw liability, Invest Credit, HOPE’s partner in Moldova saw the opportunity to invest in a father’s ambition. In 2008, Timofei received his first loan and gained access to the capital he needed to grow his business. With the funding from the loans, he was able to buy fertilizer to help increase the quality of his goods, giving him a competitive advantage in the market. Also, he was able to buy seed in bulk at the beginning of the season, instead of having to wait until harvest to buy more seed. In addition, he was able to install a water pump and irrigation system, allowing him to work faster and more efficiently.
Since Timofei’s business has grown, he has been making strides towards his dream for his family. His two oldest children are already studying at the university, and he has no intention of stopping till the other six follow. Like any good businessman, he is continually looking for opportunities to grow. He is currently planning on applying for a fourth loan from Invest-Credit to purchase a tractor, which will allow him to increase his volume and get his crops to the market when prices peak.
This past week, I had the great pleasure of venturing down to the Dominican Republic with a wonderful group of people from all over the country, including homebuilders, consultants, and a photographer. I’ve just got to say WOW…What a group. It’s always a wonderful experience getting to witness Christ-centered micro finance with such beautiful people. Collectively, this group will help 6,000 families, 30,000 people in 17 countries through Christ-centered micro finance, and that is in the next 24 months. Not too bad for a few homebuilders, consultants, and a photographer! We also want to thank Cormen, Obed, Marisol, Teresa, Romona, and the rest of our friends from Hope DR and Esperanza International for sharing their lives and their work with us. We have witnessed the Father through your kindness and compassion. Bless you! You give us so many reasons to praise the Father!
From left to right and kind of allover: Troy & Cody Finely (black shirts) and Paula Finely (down on one knee) Betenbough Homes, West Texas. Luke Mitchell (black shirt & the coolest glasses ever), History Maker Homes, North Texas. Meagan & Beau Brooks (white shirts & all smiles) Grand Homes, North Texas. Bob and Peggy Schultz (hiding behind Obed but we caught you anyway) Bob Schultz & The New Homes Sales Specialist, Southern Florida. Paul Hyde (dark shirt between Beau and Greg) EMCON Construction, north Texas. Greg McCall (blue shirt and styling in the aviators next to Scott) McCall Homes, Montana. Scott Sedam (tan crocodile hunter hat) TrueNorth, Michigan. Danny Schmitt Jr. (yellow shirt) Ryan Homes, DC. Dan Schmitt Sr. (short guy with white shirt, all 6’7 of him) HH Hunt Homes. Gene Brown (dark blue shirts and cool shades) Atlantic Builders, Virginia. Nelson Mitchell (tan shirt hanging out in the back between Gene and I) History Maker Homes, North Texas. Yours truly Jack Nulty (blue shirt) and my wife Tammy (red shirt and navy cap). Jeff Rutt (black shirt) Keystone Custom Homes, Pennsylvania
Kneeling in front are: Jordon Brown (green shirt, Gene’s son). Gabriela Voss (blue shirts and tan pants) History Maker Homes, North Texas. Jenn Priddy (red shirt tan pants with all the cameras next to Gabriela), Jennifer Priddy Wedding Photography (the only non-builder but officially adopted in to the fold) Wilmington, NC. Erin McCall (wife & not daughter to Greg JHiding extremely well but not as well as Peggy, between Scott and Danny, white shirt) McCall Homes. Montana.