UC’s Mountain Outreach Builds New Home for Young, Local Family

When simply walking downstairs to do your family’s laundry presents a safety hazard, it’s time for a change.

But for one family in Kentucky, it’s more than a change—it’s a whole new home.

Mountain Outreach (MO), a service-based ministry hosted by Sullivan Foundation partner school University of the Cumberlands, has provided a brand-new home for Tyler and Amber Hall and their three young children. The family moved in on September 15th and is overjoyed about living in the new space.

“I could probably cry about it. God is so good,” Amber said. “I wish I could personally thank everyone who made this possible. The Lord sees you. We are really, really thankful.”

“Stuff like this is important,” Amber added. “All good things come from the Lord. I truly believe that God sees Mountain Outreach, the donors who funded this home build, my family, everything. God sees this.”

Renting a house was the only financially feasible option for the Halls before. But along with renting came a few difficult factors. For one thing, Amber knew in the back of her mind that a landlord can decide to ask their tenants to leave at any point, and the tenants can’t control that. Additionally, when there is a lack of ownership, there is a lack of control; a renter can’t make a house feel like their own as fully as they might like to, since the property isn’t theirs.

Mountain Outreach volunteers have built homes for more than 150 families and renovated hundreds more.

Having a neighbor’s belongings in their basement, and the neighbor stopping by every now and then to remove an item or two, didn’t help Amber feel at home either. Besides, the staircase leading down to the laundry machines in the basement was extremely steep, making Amber worry for her safety, especially while she was pregnant.

Now, the Halls don’t have to worry about those problems anymore. They have their very own home that was built with high standards and good materials to keep the family safe and reduce costs over the years. During construction, MO asked the family to decide several elements of the home as well, such as the flooring, siding and roofing. Amber appreciated that. Before the house was even complete, it already felt like their own.

Tyler’s mother had heard about Mountain Outreach’s annual home build and pushed Tyler and Amber to apply. At first, they were hesitant. They had been working on building their credit, but they figured it would be years before it would be high enough for a bank to approve them to pay a mortgage. Still, they picked up an application at their church.

That same night at church, there was a revival. The pastor talked about challenging God, not in a fighting sense but in the sense of handing your biggest dreams to God and watching Him work. The Hall family took the sermon to heart. If they trusted God enough to hand Him their smaller dreams, they reasoned, why not their biggest one? They filled out the MO application.

Mountain Outreach director Rocky Brown

Soon, MO director Rocky Brown called Amber, and the family filled out additional paperwork and went through an interview process. Tyler’s parents got down on their knees regularly to pray with the family that they would be chosen to receive the house. Early one morning, Rocky called and started giving Amber all kinds of information about the home build. “I just want you to know,” he said, “that you’re the family.”

“We just knew it was going to happen,” Amber said. “Sometimes it was hard to have faith, but we just kept believing and putting our trust in the Lord.”

Moving into the new house was a “wow” moment for the family. The MO staff was excited for them, handing the keys to Tyler with big smiles on their faces. The family could have kept living in their rented home, handling the difficulties as they came and staying positive through it, but they are deeply thankful to have a new home all their own now, thanks to Mountain Outreach.

Since its inception in 1982, Mountain Outreach students and volunteers have completed more than 150 home building projects and completed renovations to hundreds more.  The program’s outreach includes numerous service projects that help provide children, the elderly, and financially struggling families with critical and urgent needs throughout the University of the Cumberlands service region.

The University of the Cumberlands has been ranked Kentucky’s No. 1 school for socially minded students and No. 15 nationwide.

This article has been edited and expanded from the original version appearing on the University of the Cumberlands website.

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