From left, Matthew Williamson, director of the Adullam Household of Faith, and the Rev. Marty Harden, pastor of Bethel Pentecostal Church in Patterson, stand in the “great room” of the Adullam Household of Faith dormitory. The dormitory is scheduled to be complete by summer. (Photo by Courtney Darce)
The Adullam Household of Faith will be taking care of the children of incarcerated women by the summer of 2014 and will provide a place for children to grow up with a mother and father figure, according to those involved with the household.
The Adullam Household of Faith, which is being built on Bethel Pentecostal Church’s property, will start out with about 10 or 12 infants and toddlers, but the dormitory can hold up to 30 children, said Matthew Williamson, who will be director of the Adullam Household of Faith along with his wife Kelly.
John Kimball, a construction contractor who has built children’s homes overseas, collaborated with Bethel Pentecostal Church to build the home. Kimball has worked as a missionary and is involved with Matthew 25 International.
Construction on the dormitory began in April or May, the Rev. Marty Harden of Bethel Pentecostal Church said. The sprinkler system is going to cost about $50,000, which would normally cost about $80,000 to $100,000, Kimball said.
The sprinkler system has held up construction for about six to eight weeks, Harden said. Electrical work, plumbing work, and partial walls have already been constructed, he said.
The building will have to be inspected once the sprinkler system is finished.
Kimball said the dormitory should be finished by early to mid-spring, and by summer it should be in “full running condition.” Kimball lives in the duplex on Bethel Pentecostal’s property in Patterson.
Williamson and his wife believe God is leading them to be the “parents” of the household, he said.
“We’re just doing it because we want to extend the love of God to the lives of children who have found themselves in situations through no fault of their own,” Williamson said. “They deserve a lot of the same things that we take for granted.” Williamson is looking to provide the children things that they would otherwise never have in their lives so they can grow up to be responsible citizens, he said.
The church has plans to eventually build four dorms on its property as the money becomes available through donations, Harden said. Starting with infants and toddlers in the dormitory was purposeful so that the home will influence the children instead of the outside culture influencing them, Harden said in 2012.
The first dormitory is about 60 to 65 percent complete, Kimball said. Roughly $40,000 worth of cabinets was donated to the new dormitory, he said.
The house will have a “great room,” a section for toddlers and infants, and a boys and girls side. Upstairs will include an apartment for Williamson and his family to live.
Williamson’s wife Kelly is a teacher at Hattie Watts Elementary in Patterson and plans to teach through the end of the school year, he said. They have a 10-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter. The family also attends Bethel Pentecostal.
Williamson is also a minister with International Gospel Outreach. The job of raising the children in the home will definitely be a full-time one, Harden said.
Interns will also live in the dorm through a partnership with a Bible college, Harden said. The dorm will also have a night crew to monitor the dorm.
The children coming to live at the house will be children of incarcerated women at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel. Harden said the church will also welcome children of women in jail in other prisons, but will start with women’s prison in St. Gabriel.
After the first dormitory is completed, the church will just build as it has the funds available and will not borrow any money as it has with this project, Harden said.
The church built storage and office buildings prior to constructing the dormitory.
Matthew 25 International has helped spread the word about the home through its networks and some churches have sent work crews and have donated material, Harden said. “Basically, everything on this building was volunteer work except nailing the roof on,” Harden said. A lot of materials have been donated and many local merchants have let the church buy materials at cost, he said.
About $235,000 has been spent on the dorm so far. Harden hopes to finish the dormitory with less than $100,000 more in funds, he said. Harden said he was told the flooring will be donated. The only items left to purchase are those related to the sprinkler system and paint.
The mothers of the children coming to live in the dormitory have to sign temporary custody of their children to the household, Harden said.