Welcome to your new home
Donna Tidwell has spent years cleaning the places of others, including the Open Door Church in Burleson.
Now, thanks to her friends at the church, she has a clean start in her own brand new home.
Tidwell was surprised by her friends, led by pastor Troy Brewer, when she returned from a cruise this past Sunday. In fact, it was a cruise on which they sent her so they would have time to completely replace her home, right down to a new hot tub.
“I was in shock. I almost had a panic attack,” she said of having the blindfold removed and revealing her surprise new three-bedroom manufactured home. “I know it sounds hard to believe, but it’s true. They even gave me a new mailbox.”
Brewer, who, along with his wife Leanna, has built a reputation for helping around the world, got the idea to replace Tidwell’s home after he helped deliver a washer and dryer there. She had lived in the old mobile home for years, and it had simply deteriorated around her.
I told my executive pastor that we have to get her a new house,” Brewer said. “But first we had to get her away for a little while so we could do it. We really wanted it to be a surprise.”
So they sent her on a cruise to Cozumel and Progresso in Mexico. That in itself was a great surprise, she said, but nothing compared to the gift she received upon her return.
“The cruise was so much fun. We hung out on the beach, which was great. I got a massage on the beach,” she said with a smile. “I wasn’t expecting any of this when I got back. This is amazing. It’s my church family, and I don’t know where I’d be without them.”
Not only did they replace her home, they replaced every appliance with a new one, along with new dishes, new furniture, even a new front porch. They also landscaped the area around her new home, which is in the same place as the old home, which they bulldozed.
“We just told her, ‘We love you so much we’re sending you on a cruise,’” Brewer said. “And now, absolutely everything she has in her home is brand new. And everyone working signed a big welcome home book.”
Workers were busy around the clock to finish the project in time, Brewer said. Weather was a challenge, but it was ready when she got back around 4:15 p.m. Sunday.
“Donna has been with me for 10 years. She’s been with me to Africa, to Mexico, she’s helped a lot of people herself,” Brewer said. “We’ve been in little tiny villages feeding people in the middle of nowhere and she’s right there on the front line.”
Leanna said had Troy not helped with the delivery and seen Donna’s old house for himself, Donna would not have told anyone of her former living situation.
“She’s one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. She never complains, so nobody knew how bad it was,” Leanna said. “This is one of the greatest privileges I’ve ever had, and I get to do some amazing things around the world.”
The Brewers own 10 orphanages around the world. The ministry began after he found a baby in some trash in Mexico years ago.
The Brewer ministry is also known for providing people with cars because, as he said, “They have to get to work.”
They also help feed many people through the Open Door Food Bank, more than 86,000 people this year alone, he said.
They even help free people who have been captured and placed in human trafficking. Since January, they have paid off the debts of over 500 young people.
“It’s one thing to preach the Gospel, and it’s another to live the Gospel and demonstrate it,” he said. “We love people. We do everything we can to help them. That’s how it should be.”
One special thing Tidwell’s new home has that she didn’t have before is the hot tub.
She enjoyed the one at the Brewers’ ranch when she visited, so he decided to give her one of her own, which she plans to use as the cool fall nights approach.
“Boy, don’t you know it,” she said, chuckling. “I’m going to enjoy everything about my new place.”