The fourth house to be built in Carthage by the Joplin Habitat for Humanity program will be built in part by volunteers from Carthage churches under the theme, “Building on Faith.”

The fourth house to be built in Carthage by the Joplin Habitat for Humanity program will be built in part by volunteers from Carthage churches under the theme, “Building on Faith.”
Construction began on Nov. 30 with about 20 volunteers with the Carthage Nazarene Church joining professionals with Chris Macy Construction to put up the exterior and interior walls of the home being built at 1021 S. River St.
The home is being built for the O'Dell family, Blake and Laurie and their four children, Clayton, 11; Brayden, 9; Ashton, 4 and Adellyn, 3.
Blake O'Dell was overwhelmed with emotion as he saw dozens of people working on a home that will be his soon.
“Words can't describe it,” Blake O'Dell said. “You can't put it into words, I work as hard as I can every day, but the way things are, We'd have never been able to afford a home of our own. This is making it to where we can actually have a home that's ours.”
Laurie O'Dell said her best friend, Kendal Hunter, who lives in the third Habitat home completed in Carthage on Limestone Street, turned her on to Habitat as a possible solution for their family.
“We've been friends since right after the (2011 Joplin) tornado,” Laurie O'Dell said. “I moved in right across the hall from her and God pushed her to make chocolate chip cookies for me. That's my weakness. That's how we met and we started getting to know each other from there and now we're really good friends. We rent a house right now. Kendal told me about Habitat after her house was built so we went through Habitat and now we're here.”

Building on Faith
Scott Clayton, executive director of the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, said this is the first of what he hopes will be many collaborations with the churches of Carthage to build more homes here.
He said Carthage Chamber President Mark Elliff suggested reaching out to the churches.
“We know we want to build more in Carthage, we know there's a need for housing here,” Clayton said. “There's already a concept within Habitat called Building on Faith so that's when I started reaching out to churches. Carthage Nazarene was the first church to say yes, we want to be a part of this, we want to donate some but we also want to do work days. It's the same thing with First Christian, they've come on board, and we just received notice this week that BYKOTA Ministries and Grace Episcopal want to be involved.”
Clayton said other Carthage Churches have also said they were interested in participating.
Dustin Ledford, pastor at the Nazarene Church, said he knew almost immediately when Clayton spoke with him, that his church would want to participate.
“Scott shared the vision of Churches partnering together so just a couple of minutes into his presentation, I felt prompted by the Lord to say yes,” Ledford said. “I had to get approval of course, but I knew my church would say yes because that's the heart of who we are as a church. Our mission is to worship, connect and serve, and this is what Jesus does is serving, so this was a very tangible way to help.”

Past experience
This is not the first time the Carthage Nazarene Church has taken the lead on building a home in Carthage.
In 2011, in cooperation with the Carthage Police Department's Community Policing program, the Carthage Ministerial Alliance took on a project to build a small home for Carthage resident Minnie Sergeant, who lived on 10th Street.
Seargent's home of 57 years had to be condemned because of extensive water damage from leaks in her roof.
Nazarene Church member Jim Barnes took over as volunteer superintendent of the project and volunteers labored through the spring and summer to build the $20,000 home.
The project was delayed when Joplin was devastated by the tornado of May 22, 2011, but volunteers persevered and the home was dedicated in the fall of 2011.
“Jim Barnes had just retired and he was able to take the lead on that project,: Ledford said. “The Lord provided this time too, Richard Basham just retired a month ago, so when we were approached about this, I said Richard, would you take the lead for us on this. He said most definitely and I'll tell you that makes a pastor proud when you see people who want to serve.”
Ledford said the cooperation among churches that makes projects like this possible is unique to Carthage and makes Carthage a special place.
“I've been here 11 years and when I came in, there was already a good spirit of unity,” Ledford said. “That's something that hasn't always taken place everywhere. And I believe that some of the pastors who were here early on really created that. The Lord used them and rather that worry about territory and worry about people going to your place or who's got the most success, here's a fact, we all win when God wins and that's I think why the churches in Carthage said it doesn't matter, we just want the Kingdom to win.”