Springfield church gifts home to one of its formerly homeless volunteers

KOLR10 Daybreak

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – After years of facing setbacks, one woman in Springfield now dedicates her life to helping others. Kristi Johnson volunteers at the Connecting Grounds. Last summer, the church received a grant and decided to use half of it to give one volunteer a home. They chose none other than Kristi Johnson.

“It’s all by God’s grace,” Johnson said. “The pieces have come together, I feel like. It’s a beautiful thing that I can’t take credit for where I’m at. This is a complete fruition of things that I prayed for and more.”

To start November, the Connecting Grounds moved Johnson into a home next to its medical ministry. Pastor Christie Love says the move was a relief for everyone involved, especially after a busy last couple of months working on the place.

“Everything had to be completely stripped down, totally redone,” Love said. “Everything’s all nice and new now.”

Love says this was an expensive project. But, her church used half of a $50,000 grant from Lowe’s as part of its ‘100 Hometowns’ campaign to pay for it.

Johnson’s house was originally meant for someone else. But, things changed.

“When circumstances shifted here, we needed to figure out who was going to be moving into this house,” Love said. “It was unanimous, and it was instantaneous. Our entire staff was just like, [Johnson] needs to be in here.’ Her heart for people is amazing, so I could not be more thrilled to have her here.”

It’s a thrill for Johnson, who has faced many challenges in her life. She battled a substance abuse disorder and was homeless for five years before moving in with her daughters.

Johnson then started volunteering at the Connecting Grounds’ Outreach Center.

“I wanted to be able to make a difference, even if it was just for one person a day,” Johnson said. “Because so much was freely given to me that made a difference for me.”

A year later, and she has her first home in six years.

“It is so overwhelmingly humbling, and I am so honored,” Johnson said. “I have 13 grandchildren now that I didn’t have six years ago. So this is the first time in their life that their [grandma] has had her own home.”

Johnson says her new home is very symbolic to her life, considering the condition it used to be in and where it is now. She says she plans to help out at the ministry next door and continue volunteering at the Outreach Center.

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