Willow Creek Association UK & Ireland

WCA UK & Ireland

How Shipping Containers Become Homes of Hope

shipping containers

Patrick Staggs is an engineer living in Delaware, and co-founder of a non-profit called Homes of Hope. Over the last five years, Patrick has never missed a Summit. What God spoke to him during the event in 2015 will change lives forever.

Something at the 2015 GLS did more than stir my heart.

I prayed for God to help me bring the gifts he has blessed me with in my career to do something greater for the world. 

The exact prayer I prayed was, Lord, I am so grateful for the incredible gifts you have blessed me with that have allowed me to grow in my career and provide for my family. I never want to take that for granted. I also know that you did not give me those gifts so I can just engineer aluminum cans. You HAVE to be preparing me for something GRANDER. Please use me. Smack me in the face and point me in the right direction. I am here and I am ready!

At the same time a few thousand miles away, my close friend Lance Manlove was on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic and was praying the same thing. 

As he was leaving the island, he was looking at the storage containers on the ships and an idea struck him: What if you could convert these containers into homes that could help those in need?

We spoke with each other on the phone while I was sitting on the lawn at the Summit in South Barrington. That incredible moment sparked the beginning ideas for Homes of Hope.

When Lance came back from that trip and described his experience, the passion in his voice was so powerful I could not wait to experience it for myself. Lance and I buried ourselves in developing the models, the prototypes, working the fundraising and logistics. Once we were there and started to work with the members of the church and the community to deliver our first Home of Hope, the emotional moments really start to hit you.

Walking through these areas in the Dominican Republic you start to feel a bit overwhelmed, and somewhat hopeless for the people there. But then you start working with them, eating with them, praying with them, celebrating with them. They are such incredible people who are so faithful and hopeful in the face of incredible daily challenges. I had never seen anything like it.

Lance and I are both engineers. We are now using our engineering background to convert containers into homes.

We’ve taken this idea and developed home container “kits” that can be ordered by any church organisation. These teams build it, and when they’re complete, they seal it up and we take it to the location. We designed this organisation with the goal of providing a system and a model that can be duplicated globally. Our shipping container is universal and we want our formula to be as well. Lance has done an incredible job of setting the vision for Homes of Hope. And the great thing is that as we grow, it seems God keeps opening up our vision for this organisation and its future.

We want to make the whole process safe, organized and easy enough so the churches can have maximum impact, and ultimately spread the love of Christ in a unique hands-on way that can affect so many people.

As a new organisation, we have built two complete homes and delivered the last one to a family in the Dominican Republic. It was an experience that will change the lives of that family for generations.

I know that building one container home will not fix the poverty problem. But it will bring one family shelter and show them the love of Christ.

Doesn’t that make tomorrow better?

We are in the process of building our next project, which is a two-unit, two-story home with four apartments. These apartments will become a women’s refuge centre for those facing domestic violence in the Dominican Republic.

We will install it on a mission trip a week before this year’s Summit!

The Summit has been instrumental in the foundations of Homes of Hope. I would never miss it!

How will you make tomorrow better through your influence today?