“From our first project, [a woman] said to me, ‘I don’t know why you’re doing this; I don’t deserve this,’” Mydlo says. “I said, ‘I’m going to teach you something about grace right now. We are not deserving of what Christ did for us, and He still died for our sins; we didn’t deserve that, and we’re still going to come here and fix your house whether you feel like you deserve it or not.’ The cool thing is, [she] was baptized and has been saved, and it’s a really awesome way to see God work.”
realhelp3
Mo Mydlo considers “Real Help” mission work right here at home. With a volunteer staff of about 200, Real Help is an outreach ministry of Real Life Christian Church that looks a little something like ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The team chooses a hurting family and gets them out of the house for a weekend while they do their magic. During that weekend the family is pampered.

“It’s different in every situation,” Mydlo says. “Our first couple families we sent to Disney. On the day of the reveal, we give them a day of pampering and they get a massage and a makeover—that’s all done by people in our church—so they come to the reveal with a whole new look.” The “reveal” is where the family is shown their newly renovated house. James 2:18 (“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do,” TNIV) is the theme these volunteers hold in hand as they press on toward showing the love of Jesus to those in their community.

The ministry started when the pastor of Real Life and his wife approached Mydlo, a member of their church, with their Extreme Makeover-type idea. Since then, the team has completed 10 projects, dealing with structural problems, gutted bathrooms, built screen porches—each project has involved unique needs. Mydlo and her husband say they never could have imagined the support God would provide for this ministry, or the effect it would have on their community.

“Almost every project, we’ve had several people give their lives to Christ and be baptized. It almost feels like more of a blessing for the workers than it is for them,” she says. “At this last project, five out of our 10 recipients were there helping.”

And that’s not it. Beyond the volunteer turnout, the church pulls together to financially support the projects. “Christmas Eve they took a special offering for Real Help, and they raised $30,000—and they were saying it didn’t even touch the normal tithes and offerings,” Mydlo says.

The people Real Help serves are not usually members of their church. “We want [the ministry] to be an outreach,” Mydlo says. The goal is to let people see the love of Jesus through servant evangelism, and the response has been overwhelming.

“From our first project, [a woman] said to me, ‘I don’t know why you’re doing this; I don’t deserve this,’” Mydlo says. “I said, ‘I’m going to teach you something about grace right now. We are not deserving of what Christ did for us, and He still died for our sins; we didn’t deserve that, and we’re still going to come here and fix your house whether you feel like you deserve it or not.’ The cool thing is, [she] was baptized and has been saved, and it’s a really awesome way to see God work.”

Her work with Real Help has also opened Mydlo’s eyes to the reality of being able to serve Christ anywhere. “I never thought I would be able to be a missionary, because I never wanted to go far from home,” she says. “This is mission work right at home, and it’s so awesome.”

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This article originally appeared in Neue Quarterly Vol. 01. You can subscribe to the Quarterly or buy individual copies.

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