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With a resounding “Yes!” pastors from 10 churches and four denominations in Oostburg, Wis., took on a huge challenge. Their goal? To build and sell a house to help fund disaster response initiatives.

They call it the “Jeremiah House,” after Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

The challenge to build the house came from Bill Adams, director of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Response Services (CRWRC-DRS), who met with Oostburg pastors in the spring of 2003.

When those pastors said yes to the Jeremiah House, they knew they were giving hope and a future to a family that needed a home and to disaster survivors. Their unexpected reward was what their community gained by working together.

Churches began taking offerings. They recruited volunteer laborers, formed a planning committee, and encouraged businesses to donate plans, labor, and materials. As people poured the foundation and built the walls, they worked, prayed, and ate together. Competing businesses joined forces to complete the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath ranch-style house with quality and economy.

As a result of the partnerships a new sense of Christian community is developing among the churches and people of Oostburg. Fred and Mary Visser, CRWRC regional managers who coordinate disaster response work in Wisconsin and surrounding states, are thrilled with the dedication and cooperation they’ve witnessed.

“I just can’t believe how close the community is and how many people are involved,” Fred says. “It just seems to keep growing—it’s really exciting!”

The Jeremiah House is scheduled for completion in the next few weeks and will go up for sale. To learn more about the project, visit or call the Jeremiah House hotline at 920-564-4100.
—Beth DeGraff works for CRWRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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