Union County Weekly
Joel Davis, an engineer from Waxhaw, felt compelled to start south Charlotte-based nonprofit Finish The Wall not long after returning from a mission trip with Carmel Baptist Church in 2005.
Davis said the team worked on an educational space and daycare center for Emanuel Baptist Church in Barbados for one week, but they didn’t complete the project. Months after returning, he questioned whether the project was ever completed, which led to him being divinely inspired to start Finish The Wall.
“One Sunday, I got the call from God,” Davis said. “I wasn’t running from it, but it seemed there must be someone else retired with a lot of money who could do it better than me. I was arguing in my head and God persisted, ‘You’re going to do it now.’”
Finish The Wall, located on Johnston Road, is a nonprofit that finishes incomplete faith-based construction projects in the U.S. and abroad. Their first project, with the help of Carmel Baptist Church, was the completion of the Barbados church project in 2006.
The organization became a 501c3 in 2007 and has completed 11 projects with costs ranging from $80,000 to $100,000 for materials, equipment, local contractors, travel and room and board, Davis said.
The five required criteria to pass before a project is considered by Finish the Wall are as follows: the project must be in some phase of construction already and the local population are unable to complete it, a local ministry partner must be involved, it must be used to further the gospel of Christ and projects must have a completion timeline no greater than four to six weeks.
Finish The Wall completed its most recent mission trip last month. They finished building a church sanctuary and classrooms for La Iglesia Vida Nueva (Assembly of God) in Atenas, Costa Rica.
The 4,500-square-foot space needed a lot of work, Davis said.
“The roof and walls and windows were in, but we finished the flooring, built a stage in the sanctuary, put in ceramic tile, painted and did electric work in the sanctuary. The classrooms were just a shell; we had to build walls to divide classrooms and complete lighting, electrical and install sidewalks outside,” he said.
The project took four weeks to complete with four teams of 15 people who volunteered in stages over the life of the project.
Area churches have flocked to the cause, Davis said. Some churches with volunteer teams who served on the Costa Rican mission trip last month included Carmel Baptist, First Baptist of Weddington, Steele Creek Church of Charlotte and Lifepointe Christian Church.
First Baptist Church of Weddington Pastor Bill Fogarty has led 70 church members in 7 years to volunteer with Finish The Wall.
“These trips have been a great catalyst for developing a mission heart in my congregation,” Fogarty said.
He said the mission trips are a humbling experience for his congregation.
“It opens their eyes to the power of God’s love as they engage with believers from other cultures,” Fogarty said. “It gives them a greater appreciation for the abundant blessings of God in their lives. It reminds them of the self-centeredness of our culture and exposes them to a level of personal contentment that few in America appreciate.”
Gwen Starnes of Waxhaw has been volunteering with Finish The Wall for two years.
“It has fulfilled a life long dream to be involved in foreign missions. The joy of working with people who have so little and yet are so thankful is humbling,” Starnes said. “My heart has broken for the conditions some people live in and at the same time, my heart has been filled with overflowing love for these people.”
Tom Powell lives in Mineral Springs and is an elder at Carmel Baptist Church. He also sits on the board for Finish The Wall and has volunteered for four mission trips since 2010. Powell said his involvement with Finish The Wall has affected him in many ways, including strengthening his relationships with others who volunteer, showing him how faith affects people all over the world and recognizing the impact of completing these projects.
“When we go to a place and finish a building that’s been sitting unfinished for 4 or more years, it’s a great sense of accomplishment,” Powell said.
Davis, a founding member of Five Stones Church in Waxhaw, said he is glad that he responded to his calling. He said it’s been a blessing.
“I get to have the experience and joy of all these people coming together,” he said.
Finish the Wall is located at 10801 Johnston Road suite 210 in south Charlotte. Visit http://www.finishthewall.com for more information.