Church Gives Family A House For Christmas

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -  Christmas comes a few days early for a family of five and the gift for them, is one too big to wrap.

The Harding sisters showed off their home Sunday.  Alayna Harding, 8, talks about how the bathroom faucet works and Ashleigh Harding, 5, shows the guests into each room of the home.

The girl's parents said a small wooden box handed to them Friday by fellow church members, allows their kids to play hosts.

"We had opened it up and there's the house key in it," Kenneth Harding said.

It was a key to the family's new three-bedroom home.  Several church members from East Side Baptist, as well as neighbors, welcomed the Hardings into it.

"There was still times even after I saw the house where I was like,'Am I dreaming?' I'm going to wake up and it was just all a dream," Crystal Harding said.

It was suppose to be another family's dream.  Kenneth Harding was working to fix-up the home with other church members.  Student Pastor Phil Hopkins said they raised about $40,000 in about eight months to buy the home that was going to be given away to a family in need, outside their church.

"But learning their story and finding out their need, we feel like they were the perfect candidates to place into this house," Hopkins said.

Crystal Harding said she lost her job about a year in a half ago after spending a lot of time in the hospital when she was pregnant with her third child, Dayton.  She said the bills piled up, they lost their home and moved into her husband's grandmother's basement.  The couple said it was about the size of their current living room.

"There were times where we could tell, you know, we're just like,'We need our space, go over here.' It was just hard," Crystal Harding said.

But just in time for Christmas, the Hardings don't have to worry about their living situation any more.

"Thank you.  They did a wonderful job. It really paid off. We couldn't ask for a better Christmas present," Crystal Harding said.

Pastor Hopkins said they would love to help another family in the future this way again, but it won't be any time soon.

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