Because North Carolina Baptists care, a Moldovan family is living in a dream house in Asheville.
A coalition of Buncombe Baptist Association churches participated in the “Building on the Dream” house project through Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.
“Baptist churches have been extremely supportive” in both volunteers and contributions, said Betsy Warren, house sponsor coordinator for Asheville Area Habitat.
The “Building on the Dream” project was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor and race relations martyr, and started in January, the month of King’s birth.
“It made sense to us to pull together some Baptist churches in the area,” Warren said.
Two big events exemplified the project’s ability to unify: a wall raising in January and a key presentation in July.
Warren said 10 churches — Arden First Baptist, Beverly Hills Baptist in Asheville, Biltmore Baptist in Arden, Ecclesia Baptist in Fairview, First Baptist of Asheville, First Baptist of Weaverville, Hominy Baptist in Candler, Inanda Baptist in Asheville, North Point Baptist in Weaverville, and Starnes Cove Baptist in Asheville — raised $25,000 to build the four bedroom home for Nicolae and Luiba Buzulan and their four children.
Nicolae works with Carolina Transportation with mostly local routes. Luiba takes care of the children. She has worked in the past but the cost of child care was too high.
His father is a pastor at a local Moldovan congregation where the family is involved. The family was renting a three-bedroom apartment in Asheville that had severe mold problems, flooding issues, leaky windows and other problems. Because of his income and the family’s size, the Buzulans did not qualify for a conventional mortgage. The new house is four bedrooms with 1,416-square-feet.
“This was special in the sense that is the dream house, connected with the life and ministry of Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Jim McCoy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Weaverville.
“There’s a group of our men that go out almost every Tuesday” to work at the site even before the dream project started.
Eddie Morgan estimated that 50 members from First Baptist Church in Asheville, helped with the project.
“When you are building a house No. 1, you really appreciate the Habitat style, in that you’re working alongside the family to really build a home,” said said the minister of missions, outreach and pastoral care. “In building a home, you’re building a sense of pride and confidence. It is particularly enjoyable to see children in those houses. It almost changes the sense of who they are to have this safe, affordable roof over their head. They can say ‘I live here.’”
FBC Asheville has been involved with Habitat since 1990. Morgan estimates the church has contributed financially to 15 houses and sent volunteers to help build 30 more, even in other states and Bolivia. They currently are working on homes in Perry County Alabama.
“One of my philosophies of mission/ministry is if you can put a face on someone in need, it changes who you are,” Morgan said. “If you put a face on poverty it changes you. There are families that want for their children what you want for your children.”
At the key presentation McCoy described the new homeowners as gracious and shared that Luiba Buzulan is a wonderful cook who prepared the Eastern European feast participants were about to enjoy.
McCoy said he has deep appreciation for Millard Fuller, Habitat’s founder, and Clarence Jordan, who was a farmer and biblical scholar in Georgia.
Their love for the dispossessed is inspiring, he said.
“We can get very busy within the walls of a congregation,” McCoy said. “(Habitat) draws us into the larger adventure of what God has for us.”
McCoy said the volunteer’s efforts “is a good leaven within the church.”
Asheville Area Habitat builds an average 17 houses a year. Warren works with individuals and groups to raise sponsorships. A full one costs $55,000.
Participating faith communities usually provide a raise-the-roof sponsorship of $25,000 and then provide all the volunteers and build a house in about six months.