Forum April 19: Clive Rainey, Habitat for Humanity 

April 14, 2015

Please join us at 10 am, Sunday, April 19, when long time Habitat for Humanity volunteer/retired staff Clive Rainey speaks. Plymouth member and Habitat volunteer Bob Turner joins Rainey.

Turner says, “I went to Guatemala twice because I felt the need to make a difference...I’d seen third world countries but not done anything to make people’s lives better. In Guatemala, we built smokeless stoves, outhouses and worked on houses. Manual labor of this sort is spiritual and physical.” Rainey, who will also give the sermon, recently shared a bit about his decades-long relationship with Habitat.

You are known as Habitat for Humanity’s first volunteer. What inspired your initial involvement?

“Millard Fuller was pursuing me to get involved…I was teaching in a terrible South Georgia school system, trying to teach reading and social studies to kids in 7th and 8th grades who could not read their own names. One day a girl asked me, “Why do have to learn this old stuff anyway?” I responded that an education would mean a better life and she said right back to me, “Yeah, that´s what they told my mama!” When I visited the girl´s home, I found the family living in a shack with no door, windows, running water or electricity...and no hope! I knew then I would never change those lives in a classroom. I went straight to Millard and said, ‘Sign me up!’”

Tell us about one of your most memorable projects.

“I was sent to Uganda (Africa) following the ouster of infamous dictator Idi Amin who had ruined that country and killed tens of thousands of people. I was sent to Gulu, a town in Northern Uganda, to work among what I was told were ten thousand widows and orphans, Amin´s legacy of death. We began building two simple houses making bricks from the soil around us. The first house we completed was a two-room house for a widow and her two children.  This was the first permanent structure built in that country in a decade! The hope and excitement created brought hundreds of people from miles around including biblically described, ‘lame, blind, lepers,’ streaming to this site not because they thought they would be cured but because they were coming to the light of hope. For them, and for me, scripture literally sprang to life before our eyes.

How does Habitat for Humanity make a difference?

Millard Fuller, founder of HFHI, said a person without a home is like a plant lying on the ground with its roots exposed. Unless it’s planted and can receive water and nourishment, the plant will dry up and die. A decent place to live gives rootless lives a place to grow and thrive. From that comes many stories of people who have done well in education, both adults and kids, whose lives have paid amazing dividends for the investment of time, treasure and talent involved in providing them a home.  

If someone wants to volunteer, how would they go about it and what might they expect? 

Anyone anywhere can volunteer both in their home areas and around the world. The first step is to find a local contact or look for opportunities further afield by going to Follow links for “where we build” and “how to get involved.” People can expect life-changing experiences as they meet volunteers and would-be homeowners and through shared experiences realize one person can make a difference and together we can make a world of difference. Habitat can use anyone of any age. One half of our best known volunteer couple - President and Mrs. Carter - is now 91 years old (the President) and still building!

What is the one most important thing you wish to share? 

Habitat is one of the most powerful ways to engage in Christian mission at home or abroad and the rewards of doing so are greater than anyone can imagine. 

Topics: Church Life, Events



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