By Josh Yoder
More than two years ago, Andy Schafer and his wife Tammy got the keys to a building in downtown Millersburg. They had a vision of reviving the dilapidated space physically and spiritually with the establishment of H15 Ministries, an organization for the benefit of the youth of Holmes County.
Recently, H15 received notice of their rejected proposal for a grant from the community development-focused Kresge Foundation, which would have provided the ministry with $400,000 to complete the purchase of the buildings (which are currently leased at $1,200 per month), replace two roofs, repair all loose and broken brickwork on the exteriors as well as replace the storefront windows and doors facing East Jackson Street.
According to Schafer, the Kresge foundation wanted to “focus on urban areas,” therefore ruling out rural H15’s application. However, the ministry hasn’t lost momentum.
“Initially we were disappointed, but I had come to a point in my own heart personally that God has a plan for this mission,” Schafer said. “So it was disappointing but wasn’t a big deal, because God has covered us and we’ll be open to other ways the money can come.”
While the building’s completion timeline hasn’t aligned with Schafer’s desires, the past two years have taught the family how to find the benefits to renovation taking longer than anticipated. At the end of the organization’s first year, eight churches volunteered efforts to get the ministry going, and by the end of 2017, that number jumped to 17, with even more signing on.
“We realized God’s plan included this long period of renovation because it’s lead to so many groups reaching out to get involved,” Schafer said. “Opening right away doesn’t give us those relationships, so this endeavor has taught me patience, and even though I don’t understand God’s timing, it’s still the right timing.”
As word of H15 spreads, the support continues to grow. In April, with the help of volunteers and giving hearts at fundraisers hosted by Mennonite Christian Assembly in Fredericksburg and Farmstead Restaurant in Berlin, over $9,000 were raised to further the development of the mission.
“It was awesome seeing everyone turn out, excited for the ministry,” Schafer said. “The money was great, but that’s what was really encouraging to me. When most of the people at our fundraisers are people I’ve never met before, that’s a huge shot in the arm.”
The drywall and finishing are done, plumbing is wrapping up, trim is installed and the last coats of paint are being applied.
“We’re about 99 percent done, and we just need a little more help to get there,” Schafer said.
This story originally appeared in the August 1, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of the latest edition at a local retailer or subscribe and have the news waiting in your mailbox each week. For more info, call us at 330-852-4634.