Woven into the fabric of church life at Cottage Hill Baptist Church, Mobile, is Love Where You Live, a church-wide ministry where members regularly show the love of Christ in practical ways throughout the community.
The church took LWYL to a whole new level to celebrate its 75th anniversary, planning a “God-sized” project that also attracted participation from non-members as well as those in the Mobile business community.
The project is having a life-changing impact on the lives of a local family with special needs children.
“About 2,300 people of all ages volunteered 24,000 hours of service to our community through LWYL last year,” said Lonnie Lundy, pastor of evangelism at Cottage Hill Baptist. “Our church members give of their time and talents to many organizations in Mobile each year, including the Women’s Resource Center, Azalea Trail Run, Camp Whispering Pines, The PASCO Home, Mission of Hope and AHEPA to name a few.”
Cottage Hill Pastor Alan Floyd had a vision to create the largest LWYL project in the church’s history last year to include participation from members of all three campuses: Cottage Hill, Downtown and Church of the Island (Dauphin Island).
As the staff began praying and working on a plan to build a home for a family who could most benefit, amazing things began to happen.
A church member donated the land for the home, and God began bringing together people with a heart for the project by giving of their time, talents and resources.
More than 900 people donated thousands of hours to this labor of love.
Cottage Hill member and disaster relief volunteer Bill Glisson came onboard to participate in the day-to-day work along with another longtime church member who is a Mobile homebuilder.
And Morris Moore, a retired homebuilder who joined the church in 2018, was eager to get involved when he learned about the project.
Glisson and others are part of an ongoing Cottage Hill LWYL construction team that performs much needed repairs and renovations around the community as well as across state lines.
The team members were grateful recipients of an anonymously donated trailer and tools well before the 75th anniversary home building project. The well-stocked trailer was a godsend, a necessity for the six-month LWYL home building project.
“What an absolute blessing,” said Glisson. “We had the tools and transportation we needed to do the project.”
God continued meeting needs as they arose. Lundy met with a non-member for a spiritual discussion one day over lunch. Within a short time, a roofing company hired the man. On the job only one week, he let the company management know about the LWYL project, and they donated the roofing materials for the home — and the labor.
“God brought our church members and people we had never met before, including those from the business community, to give us just about everything, from electrical to plumbing to furniture,” said Mike Breland, CHBC executive pastor.
‘In Your hands’
The staff had no idea who would ultimately end up with the house, but they committed the decision to earnest and continual prayer, asking God to lead them to the people of His choosing.
Though several were nominated, a few months into the project it became clear that Nathaly Corcoran, mom of 11-year-old twins Blake and Sebastian, was God’s clear choice to receive the home.
Kerrie Benson, a church member and executive director of Dance Without Limits, a studio for differently abled children, nominated Corcoran’s family. The boys attend Benson’s dance studio and are students at Augusta Evans School in Mobile.
When Benson told Corcoran she had nominated her family for a new home, Corcoran’s first thought was, “I put it in your hands, Jesus.”
Blake and Sebastian were diagnosed with autism at age four. “They have inspired me to do all I can to make a better living for them,” said Corcoran. “Keeping them safe is an ongoing challenge, and with their trouble communicating, life is always a walk of faith.”
In addition to solo mothering of autistic twins with her closest family living in Peru, Corcoran is a student at University of South Alabama. She’s on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree next spring while also working full time as a certified dental assistant in a local oral surgeon’s office.
She has applied to graduate school hoping to enroll in a physician’s assistant program.
When Corcoran received the news that she and her boys would receive the home, she was overwhelmed.
“Unbelievable! Who would ever expect to receive a house?” she said. The small family moved into their furnished home in January this year after church members put on the finishing touches, even making accommodations in the home for the boys’ special needs. The touches are designed to create a space that eases the load for mom and offers Blake and Sebastian a calm and safe environment.
“God has done amazing things to help me meet my goals for the boys,” said Corcoran. “The house gives us so much peace. We are so grateful to Him and to everyone who poured their hearts into making this place.”
Though the Corcorans were blessed in receiving the house, those who built and supplied the home may have received the greater blessing, according to Mike Breland, who managed the project and coordinated with the business community.
“These individuals and business owners will never know the impact they are having on this family,” said Breland. “Their generosity will forever change their lives.”