FAYETTEVILLE -- Prairie Grove Christian Church has built or rebuilt almost 30 homes to help those devastated by natural disasters and the latest house is about 10 miles from the church off Harmon Road.
Robert and Wendy Eiter lost their mobile home and almost all their furniture when water reached about 10-inches high in their home the night of April 29.
They lived in the house just outside Fayetteville since 2000 and previously dealt with damage from some flooding in 2011.
But not anything close to the April floods.
"This was the killer," Wendy Eiter said.
When they checked on their home about 10 p.m. that night, Robert saw the water was overtaking the house.
"It left debris everywhere. It was a disaster," he said.
They lived a short time with their daughter and son-in-law and now are living on the property in a horse trailer equipped with restrooms.
The church entered the picture through the Eiter's granddaughter, who is a friend of a church member. The Eiters' need was shared with the church and soon, members came out to talk to the couple about helping.
Work started on the house about three weeks ago when adults and teens built walls on the church parking lot. The following two Saturdays, volunteers were on site to begin building a new home.
Worship pastor Keith Bostian said the church's passion to help others comes from God's word, the Bible.
Bostian led his first groups to build houses to Mexico about 15 years ago and considers those his training grounds. From the first two years in Mexico, he learned how to organize trips and organize groups of people.
The third year, Hurricane Katrina hit and the church decided to stay within the states. Over the past 12-13 years, they've worked on houses in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
In December, a team went to Haiti to help children at an orphanage. The group also worked on the home of a family living next to the orphanage. Another trip is planned for Haiti.
Building a house comes easy for Bostian's group.
"We build houses all the time," he said.
In most cases, the church finishes the house to the point the inside is protected from weather. From there, homeowners can finish the house as they have time or money.
This is the case with the Eiters' new home. The Eiters are providing material and the church the labor to complete the "wet phase" of construction. The Eiters will finish it.
Their new house is closer to Harmon Road and has a foundation three feet higher for protection from flood water.
A planner from Washington County recommended where to build the new home. From the planner they learned their property is in a drainage basin that includes many miles of area.
Two creeks converge on their property, Hamstring and Clear Creek. Clear Creek has water coming to it from as far away as Locomotion in Fayetteville.
"Anything from the east side of Fayetteville is coming this way and here we sit," Wendy Eiter said.
Hamstring Creek is fed through streams that go through Farmington.
She said people don't realize how developments can affect property miles away.
She admits, though, the April rain event could be considered "one of those 500-year floods."
Their new house will have 1,060 square feet with a loft that can be used for guests.
"It's small but it's just the two of us and our dog," she said.
Robert Eiter said the church's willingness to help the couple amazed him. They didn't plan on receiving any help, nor did they ask for it.
"I think Wendy and I have been really blessed with blessings from God above," he said. "It was like God said, 'Bob and Wendy, here this is for you.' We lost our home in the flood. They saw we needed help and they helped us. There's no way in the world we could do this without these people. It's amazing the things God has done."
The Eiters' build included members of Prairie Grove High School's FCA chapter and volunteers from other churches in Prairie Grove.
Working on houses, whether locally, in other states or other countries, is a great time for church members and other friends to get to know each other, bond, have fun and serve God, Bostian said.
NW News on 08/23/2017
Print Headline: Prairie Grove church builds home for couple