When Sam and Juliet Irizarry, along with their five children, faced eviction from their apartment, their congregation stepped in to help in an unusual way. Trinity Christian Reformed Church in St. Louis, Mo., purchased a home for the family.
The Irizarrys transferred to St. Louis two years ago because of Juliet’s job. They started attending Trinity CRC, and on Easter Sunday 2005, the whole family, including Juliet’s mother, Nanette Donnatien, were baptized.
Financial struggles have plagued the family for a long time, Sam said. Even though they earned enough money, no one had ever taught them how to handle it. With finances tight, the family of eight lived in a small three-bedroom apartment until facing eviction.
Along with the purchase of the house, the church is providing financial education for the family. With financial mentoring from a church member each Sunday, the Irizarrys hope to improve their credit rating after two years and qualify for a home mortgage loan. “I don’t see us going back [to the money problems],” Sam said. “So far it’s been going pretty good.”
The family moved into the remodeled home in December. Church members constructed two additional bedrooms in the basement. “The church has helped us in many ways, not only financially,” Sam said. “For them to go out of their way and do this for us is a blessing.”
When Rev. Gil Kamps brought the housing proposal to the 100-member congregation last summer, one response particularly touched him. “We have no choice—this is what God wants us to do,” said one member who had been baptized eight months earlier. “Let’s do it.”
Trinity CRC received a loan from the Christian Reformed Loan Fund to help purchase the house.