When God is the Lord of your life, He often asks you to do something that requires a leap of faith. When we agree with God it is easy to take that leap forward. When the request requires us to face a painful truth, we would rather not.
Michael and Tierra Robinson had been saving money for months to purchase a manufactured home from his brother. Finally, they had $3,000, enough to take the next step. Their family of 6 was in desperate need of a new home…. but God had another idea. Michael had taken some money from his brother during a destructive time in his life. God told Michael to give his brother the money and let the idea of the home go…. for now. Miraculously, Michael and Tierra took that leap of faith and put the dream of that home on pause. But when that door closed, another opened, the door of a Dorchester Habitat home.
This was only possible because this couple has built their marriage on the solid rock of Jesus as the cornerstone. They met at The Harvest Center Church on College Park Road. Tierra’s mom’s best friend told her about the church 19 years ago and Michael’s mom had joined the church when he was 19. Michael’s mom and his sister were hoping that attending church might keep him out of trouble. As God would have it, that is exactly what did happen. Michael realized that he needed help fighting his drug addiction and came forward during an altar call that he credits with saving his life. His aunt Darlene played matchmaker and his first date Tierra was at the Waffle House. They were married 3 months later!
Although 7 years of marriage and 4 children have been a blessing, things have not been easy. As many husbands do, Michael thought that he was the head of the household and that Tierra should ‘tow the line’. On the other hand, Tierra became resentful and angry with the responsibility of motherhood and stretched finances. Again, the Holy Spirit and their faith came to the rescue. Instead of a divorce, Michael realized that his attitude was a problem and Tierra found a mentor in the church to guide her. They asked God to change them and instead of a divorce, their marriage grew stronger.
The Robinsons lived with Michael’s mother when they were first married and then in Section 8 housing. His cousin Shawna told him about the opportunity to own a home with a non profit organization of Dorchester Habitat for Humanity and he went to an information meeting last August. The most challenging task for them was establishing credit; since they had always tried to live below their means, they did not really have any credit history. As silly as it sounds, they had to put down $30 to purchase a waffle iron… once this was paid off, their credit line had a start.
When a family that has been working on meeting their Habitat for Humanity goals finds out that they really have been selected to build the next home; THAT is a moment they never forget. As a surprise, Shirley Gaston (another homeowner) broke the news to Tierra and Michael at her Dedication Ceremony. After all the financial education classes and saving mortgage money, it was time to begin work on THEIR home!
Families who are working toward building and owning a Habitat home are required to complete at least 425 volunteer hours: including at least 60 hours working on other families’ homes (for the Robinsons, homes that were being built for their neighbors Shirley and Rezinda); a limit of 200 hours that are donated to you by other volunteers; and at least 60 hours building your own home. Michael has been working Thursdays after he finished at his job at GCA Services. The Robinsons’ four sons age 10, 5, 3 and 5 months ensure that there is never a dull moment…Tierra usually holds down the fort at home so that Michael can get to the home and get as much done as possible each workday. The boys have been to the build site and are looking forward to having their own yard and having 4 bedrooms in the home will give them more room for slumber parties!
For Michael, it has been magical to see the project taking shape each week…. first there were woods, then cleared land, then the walls went up and the roof went on…Michael has come in to work on the home as much as he can in his free time. He says “ I am an imperfect perfectionist”. Lately he has spent quite a bit of time working on things like baseboards and although they are not perfect, they are his sweat equity projects.
The couple has received a lot of support from friends and family; volunteers from the Disciples of the Apostolic Ministry and their Pastor who came out and blessed the home. God has sent a wonderful variety of people into the Robinson home build project and rewarded the Robinsons for the leap of faith that they took more than a year ago. Jesus is their cornerstone and their home has been built on that foundation.