We heard about the Self-Help program through a string of incidents that can only be described as divine intervention. The minute we heard about it we knew it was for us and we started the application the next day. We were so excited and quickly told everyone. We took the packet of house plans everywhere we went so that we could show anyone who asked and shared our excitement openly.

Buhler family - mother father and three children.

We knew going in to this project that it would be difficult. We knew that the strain it would place on our family would be immense. However, we were committed; we knew this struggle would bring great blessings. The group was split into smaller teams and we were the first team to begin work as we started laying the green plate along the foundation walls. We made arrangements for our two children so that we could be out together as a couple and those first few nights were long but so fun! Kieran’s father started coming down from West Jordan to help and his sacrifice was instrumental in us getting all our hours each week.

The weeks were long and if it weren’t for moving in with my parents during the build I probably would have gone crazy. It was difficult not to see our daddy every night but any time we could spend as a family was made that much more special. Simple opportunities to grab some dinner at Wendy’s became the highlight of our week.

Soon we began to see progress on our home and bare walls never looked so good! It brought us great joy to walk on our plywood floor and to build our stairs, even if it was in the pouring rain. When it started to snow we welcomed it, snow was so much easier to build in than rain. However, it too gave us trouble. Those winter nights chill you to the bone and I didn’t last through many of them before I couldn’t do it anymore. Luckily, Kieran had his dad coming out every night to help so my absence wasn’t detrimental.

Unfortunately, the winter months brought additional struggles but we strove to stay positive and focused on the incredible opportunity that we were blessed to be part of. The excitement mounted when cabinets were delivered and installed in the spring, and when sod was laid in the early summer we could almost taste the finish. We loved taking our kids over to see their room and to tell them that Daddy built their house.

It truly was the hardest thing we’ve ever done physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, we would do it again in a heartbeat. Rather than straining our marriage the time spent apart just made us appreciate each other that much more and we cherished every moment together as a family. We were so blessed to have our family’s support during this time. I would not have been able to spend so many evenings alone had it not been for them (we were also pregnant with our third child). We had built in babysitters who moved their schedules around so they could be available for us.

Now that we have moved in we see that the blessings of the program are more than simply owning a home. Our relationship with Kieran’s dad is stronger than it has ever been and his life has been immensely blessed from his service. Kieran grew in self-confidence and my appreciation and respect for Kieran’s sacrifice has blessed both our lives. We know that we were led to this program and not a day goes by that we are not grateful for the opportunity to build with Self-Help Homes.

Reprinted with permission from Self-Help Homes’ November 2015 newsletter, Self-Help Sentinel.