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Loving Neighbors in West Michigan


When Dave Westhouse took three days off from his home remodeling business, he didn’t use them as you might expect.

Ronda DeHaan and Laura VanWyk paint a home in Moline, Mich.

He remodeled a home.

“The house was just totally run down. It was just shot,” he said.

For four days, more than 100 volunteers from Moline (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church worked on service projects around their local community.

Bruce Jager, who helped Westhouse on the project, helped paint and carpet the house for a single mom. “She was thrilled to have somebody do that,” said Jager. “[She was] amazed as to what was happening.”

Projects ranged from house cleaning, yard work, painting, plumbing, car repair, and other projects. Many of the supplies were donated by local hardware stores or supply stores. “There’s something for everybody to do: from 5-year-olds to 80-year-old people taking care of kids so that 30-year-old people can be there doing it,” explained Westhouse.

Entering its third year, the event has grown bigger than ever, according to coordinator Randy Ellens. “There were more people involved who hadn’t been in the past. It’s really continued to grow,” he said. “It’s really helped us as a church to build relationships with each other.”

Westhouse concurred. “It really brings you together as a congregation,” he said. “You’re going help someone else out and they end up helping you out: it’s neat how God turns that around.”

At the end of the four work days, the church held a carnival with a pig roast and inflatable games.

“The carnival was so cool,” said Westhouse. “It’s weird pulling in your own church parking lot, and you’re looking at person after person and thinking, ‘I don’t know anybody here!’”

The week may be over, but for Jager and Westhouse, the service continues: they planned to return the following weekend to finish laying carpet and building a wheelchair ramp.

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