At Open Door Church in Burleson, pastor Troy Brewer has seen many people come through the door seeking help. But, he says, not even he was aware of the one person who needed it most.
“You don’t ever see Donna and she’s not smiling," Brewer said. "She makes it look extremely easy to be her and it’s not easy to be her.”
For the past 12 years, church member Donna Tidwell has been cleaning the church. Whether it's that cleaning or her smile, pastor Brewer says Donna makes the place a whole lot brighter.
"She may not be the type of person the world celebrates, but she's exactly the type of person heaven celebrates," Brewer said.
Indeed, all you see is joy. Which is why pastor Brewer had no idea how Donna had been living, until he stopped by her house to drop off lunch.
"The roof was falling in, the
“The roof was falling in, the house was in terrible repair," Brewer said. "Honestly, I cried when I left there. I thought we can do better than this.”
“I knew it needed a lot of work. But it was mine,” Tidwell said.
A 58-year-old mother of two, Donna's home was in such bad shape you could see the clear blue sky through holes in the roof.
"I saw it and said we can do this. We can do this," Brewer said.
So pastor Troy came up with a plan: he sent Donna on vacation so he could fix her house, in secret, while she was gone.
However, he couldn't find one contractor who would do the work. They all said Donna's house was beyond repair.
Out of options, pastor Brewer did something drastic.
"It needed to be bulldozed," he said.
He tore Donna's house down.
In its place, the church hung a new shingle. Donna came back from vacation to a brand new home.
The church filled it with new appliances, new furniture and even stocked the fridge.
To survive, pastor Troy thought Donna needed a better home, but to truly live all she really needed was the loving people who cared enough to build it.
“It’s just, I love ‘em," Tidwell said. "I just love ‘em all. I love this church.”