Appalachian church plant builds homestead as a sanctuary
MCCREARYY COUNTY—In the rural Appalachian county of McCreary, Ky., the Light Community, a homestead-in-progress consisting of a 20 tiny houses, is seeking to provide, shelter, skills and dignity—all while shedding the light of Christ on the community.
The idea for the homestead began in the hearts of Grant and Gina Hasty, church planters in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky nearly two years ago. “We began having individuals and families come up that needed a place to land,” Grant shared.
One couple needed a safe space to live before they could regain custody of their kids. Another man was a recovering alcoholic and lived on the back porch of another ministry that the Hastys oversee, the Lord’s Café. Yet another family was seeking shelter after their home burned down.
Obviously, there was, and is, great need. “So, we began thinking and praying about what does that look like,” Grant said.
The end result, which will be ready for its first inhabitants in the spring, is a truly Appalachian homestead, complete with horses, donkeys, pigs, goats, chickens, honeybees and gardens. The 13-acre homestead will also house these tiny houses, each ranging from 300 to 540 square feet.
In addition to impoverished families needing a safe place to stay and those whose homes have been destroyed by fire, a rampant problem in the area, the community will house those who have completed a year-long rehab program for drugs. The effort is one attempt to provide light to the rampant drug problem Kentucky faces, being fifth in overdose deaths in the U.S., according to the 2016 Overdose Fatality Report of the Kentucky Office of Drug Policy Control.
“A homestead vision is what we’re trying to do because we don’t believe in a handout; we believe in a hand up,” Gina Hasty said. “Which means we want to teach people how to care for themselves, and how to care for the land, to be able to create something that they can share with somebody else or sell at the farmer’s market. So, homesteading is an excellent way to go.”
She shared that the residents will raise produce, learn basket making, quilting, and other various skills and crafts that they can use for the market that the ministry hopes to one day establish.
“We want it to be completely Appalachian. We want people to be at home in what they’re doing. If we can get people to learn the things their grandparents did and how to live off the land, that will fit this community,” Gina continued.
“Because there are hardly any jobs here, especially if you’re recovering from something, it’s even harder to get a job. So, if we can help make them feel better about themselves, they will be interested in making their life better,” she added. “But if they continually see dead-end roads, that life is going to be a dead end. We’ve got to show them the love of Christ.”
All of the labor and resources for the homes are donated by visiting mission teams. Many also take time to serve in the Lord’s Café, a free restaurant to serve the community and provide hospitality and dignity to those in need, that is also a ministry of the Hasty’s church-plant, Crossroads Community Church in Stearns.
Mission teams come from all over the country, and many of them pre-assemble the tiny homes at the church so everyone can get involved. The outside of the home is essentially completed within a week.
Crosspointe Baptist Church in Owensboro takes on a construction mission problem every year. This year, they spent a week working on one of the tiny houses, living out their church’s theme, “Taking it to the streets.”
“Our whole mission focus at Crosspoint is ‘taking it to the streets,’ getting outside the walls of a church. We’re trying to do that locally, nationally, and internationally. This is our theme. It’s being the church and sharing Jesus,” Pastor Farrell Isenburg shared.
For information on how to get involved in the work at Light Community, contact Grant Hasty at email@example.com or (606) 310-2299. (WR)