When Kira came to Andy Flowers, she was desperate. Andy and his wife, Lori, first met Kira and her family when her daughter Aryonna became Lori's little sister through the Big Brother, Big Sister Program. Over the next six years a friendship developed between the two families. Because of this relationship, when Kira had a problem with her landlord she turned to the Flowers for help.
It was winter and there was a foot of snow on the ground. As often happens for residents living in sub-standard housing, her heating had gone out and her pipes had frozen leaving her family with no water. Her request to the landlord to fix the pipes and restore the water fell on deaf ears. He suggested they, “Collect snow in a pot and melt it.” This, unfortunately, is not the exception, but often the norm.
Andy wasted no time and got the family a portable heater and paid to have the pipes fixed and water restored. Yet Andy knew this was only a temporary fix and they would need better housing and a better landlord. Rather than look for someone else to provide that for the family, Andy decided that he would provide better housing and he would be a better landlord. But he needed help.
That help came in the form of contractor and friend, Larry Taylor. Andy and Larry were part of a No Walls Ministry Bible study that sought to help men from area churches understand and work out the implications of Ephesians 2:14, “For Jesus is our peace, having made us both one and broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” Andy, a soon-to-be retired financial planner, approached Larry, who owns Larry Taylor Restoration, about starting a housing business, which they later called, Praise The Lord, LLC (PTLLLC). This business would enable them to purchase houses that were in a state of disrepair and renovate them.
As a long-time resident of Tulip Street, Larry’s dream had always been for the Church to “own” homes on his street. When a house came up for auction on Tulip Street, PTLLLC, had the winning bid. It wasn’t long before a team of workers headed by Larry began to work on the house to get it ready for Aryonna and her family. A short time later, the family moved into the house. They not only had a home, but they had peace of mind knowing they had a caring and responsive landlord.
Even so, Andy is quick to tell you that this housing business isn’t just about getting families into adequate housing. It’s also about providing employment for the unemployed and often unemployable (ex-felon). It’s also about building a community of volunteers from the No Walls Ministry partner churches who are working alongside each other despite their cultural and denominational differences. Andy likes to say that each house is a “discipleship petri dish” where a culture of disciples is grown through giving and receiving Christ’s love.
Since Kira’s house, PTLLLC has purchased two more homes that are also located on Tulip Street and moved in families who were living in sub- standard housing. In addition, a couple from Andy’s church also caught the vision and purchased a home and renovated it for another family in our ministry.
There are, of course, bumps and hiccups along the way. These families have experienced job loss and relational separation, even an arrest, but Andy and Larry are there to help mentor these families and undergird their spiritual stability. They are there to help them thrive, to point them to the only one who is able to hold their lives together, Jesus Christ. It is a mission this “dream team” is giving the rest of their lives to.
Thank you for all the ways you are supporting the work of No Walls Ministry, like Andy and Larry are. We are a stronger community because of you. If you’d like your church to become a member of No Walls Ministry, please contact Pastor Brett Eubank at (434) 846-3441 for details.