The very first story I heard when I arrived to Flint was about the house immediately north of Franklin Avenue Mission. It had been the squatting residence of two scorned lovers. At some point a couple years ago, rather than simply calling it quits, they had called in hits on each other.
The man had hired a gunman to wait inside the house for his girlfriend to arrive. On that same day, the woman had hired an arsonist to set the house on fire with her boyfriend still inside of it. One Molotov set the house ablaze and the arsonist fled the scene. Immediately the gunman burst forth out of the house, ran down the street, and has not been seen on the Eastside again.
Needless to say, there were fireworks that day. But, miraculously, neither the man, the woman, the gunman, or the arsonist were killed. The only casualty: the house.
While some saw the house as an eyesore, the members of Franklin Avenue Mission saw it as an opportunity to build a future for mothers in need. Rather than letting another burned-out house sit on the street, the Michigan District, LCMS bought the residence and the Mission began rebuilding and renovating it. Out of its ashes, Mercy House was born.
Mercy House will be a home where homeless mothers can live with their children and learn the necessary skills to care and provide for their families, with the help of social workers from Wellspring Lutheran Services. Up to four families will be able to live there at a time.
Mercy House was dedicated on Sunday, September 8, 2019. I am excited to see how God and His servants continue to provide hope in the lives of these women and children who have been constantly on the verge of losing the one thing they have left: each other.
Photo of Mercy House courtesy of Franklin Avenue Mission. “Before” images by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS. Video by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS.