Scattered across the rural areas of the United States are large steel structures used to store grain. Known as grain bins they have come to help define the rural landscape.
In other parts of the world, grain bins have been popping up, too, but, in some cases they are serving a different purpose. They have become homes.
Through an organization known as GoServ Global, people in various nations have had their lives improved through the simple construction of what is known as a Safe T Home® through a partnership that has been established by GoServ Global and Sukup Manufacturing Company.
According to Eric Williams of GoServ Global, the non-profit organization began in 2011 after co-founder Ken DeYoung began making trips to Haiti following the earthquake that hit in January 2010 and dramatically impacted a nation already one of the poorest in the world.
What began in Haiti with whatever aid could be sent in quickly took another turn as those involved saw there was a greater need than just offering a hand out.
The people of Haiti needed some stability, and GoServ Global began providing that with its grain bin homes. The program has grown over the years, and now is reaching out to several countries, including India, Guatemala and Peru.
The Safe T Home® is also being constructed in many other nations, such as those on the continent of Africa, around the globe.
Williams, who is the director of GoServ Global in Peru, talked about the organization and its efforts at Farmfest.On the site where Sukup is displaying its products a home similar to the ones being built worldwide has been erected, and representatives from GoServ Global, such as Williams, have the opportunity to talk more about what they do and why they do it.
As the GoServ Global mission statement indicates, it “shares God’s love by responding to disaster, empowering sustainable community development and creating world change through hands-on involvement.”
GoServ Global shares the saving message of the Christian faith not only by providing basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter, it also, as Williams indicated, demonstrates love for the people by just being there.
What began with a limited budget has increased significantly in just seven years, said Williams, adding in that time more that $22 million has been donated.
In that time, more than 200 Safe T Home® buildings have been constructed in Haiti alone, and in Peru more than 20 of them have been erected.
Each home, with the help of Sukup, costs $5,700, with an added $1,000 needed to ship it and an added $300 for a cement pad. In total a home that can easily house up to 10 people can come from the manufacturer in the United States to a place of need around the world for $7,000.
What makes the Safe T Home® buildings so unique in places like Peru and Haiti is their strength. Williams said when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti in 2016, with winds up to 145 miles per hour, most of the homes in that country were demolished. The homes erected through GoServ Global withstood the test. With the exception of minimal damage, every one of the homes remained standing.
“Every home we have built in the past seven years still stands today,” said Williams.
Part of the reason for the success GoServ Global has been able to have over the years is the fact that it has a connection to the rural way of life and farmers. Those farmers who see the impact there work being done by GoServ Global prompt them to give generously.
In so many ways, said Williams, GoServ Global is what it is because of rural America and its farmers.
Williams said the work being done in each country differs, adding in Peru the work is centering on youth who face neglect. Children in Peru, which is a country of poverty, are often sent to work in slave-like conditions simply because the family needs the money.
“When you can work for $10 a day as a mom and dad, you just can’t make it, but when you add $10 a day for each of your children, all of the sudden you are doing a lot better,” said Williams.
The Safe T Home® structures have been used to create a camp for those youth who are in a sense serving as slaves, giving them a chance to just be kids and to learn about what it means to be a valued child of God.
In some places GoServ Global is working with women who have been kidnapped and have become sex slaves. As they are rescued they are able to live in the homes, receive care and education and even learn a trade.
“It has been so cool to see the impact GoServ Global has been able to have,” he said.
Williams’ son, Aden, who came along to Farmfest to talk about the program, is planning to go on a trip of his own next summer. He has been working to raise the funds he will need to make the trip.
“God tells us to go,” said Aden, adding he feels this is one way he can get involved in helping to further the Kingdom of God.
Aden said he is excited about the opportunity he will have to make the trip, agreeing that it will be one of those life-changing experiences.
No, said Williams, the Safe T Home® buildings do not get hot inside, in fact they are cooler than the outdoor conditions. Each home includes a loft and windows.
While they are smaller in size than most grain bins of today, they are built to the same standards of any other grain bin to ensure they are strong enough to take what comes.
“For some of the people who receive a home you would think we were building them a mansion. They are beyond grateful,” said Williams.
There are opportunities for people to experience the work of GoServ Global through short-term missions projects, said Williams, adding, however, those trips are more than just about putting up homes. It is an opportunity for those who make them to share their faith to people who may never have heard it.
No, said Williams, people do not have to become Christians to receive a home.
“This is not a bait and switch,” said Williams. “We go to help people and to love on them. We let people know there is hope.”
To learn more about the ministry of GoServ Global, visit its Web site at www.goservglobal.org.