If anyone understands just how healing it can be to have a free place to stay while undergoing cancer treatment, it’s Norlene Gleaton.

Gleaton, who lives in Early, is a five-year survivor of breast cancer, having undergone treatment at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. She joked that she now owns Baylor and LaQuinta after having to pay so many out-of-pocket expenses, including a hotel room.

So, it was no wonder that when Gleaton read about what Brian Massey and his Sonrise Ministries were doing in Abilene to build tiny houses for people to stay in for free while undergoing medical treatment in Abilene, she was all in.

“I feel so blessed to be a part of it,” Gleaton said Sunday, Dec. 2, during the dedication of the latest tiny house in the Houses for Healing addition on north Hickory Street.





Billy Crim, right, in the top photo, introduces speakers at a dedication Sunday, Dec. 2, of the latest tiny house in the Houses for Healing addition, a project of Sonrise Ministries. Crim is leading the effort at Wylie United Methodist Church to sponsor the latest house. Next to him is Norlene Gleaton of Early Church of Christ, which is assisting with the latest house. Second from left is Brian Massey, pastor of Sonrise Ministries and inspiration behind Houses for Healing. In the photo on the bottom right, Norlene Gleaton, right, and Judy Joyner, both of Early Church of Christ, rest on the bed in the tiny house. A group that Gleaton and Joyner are members of at the Early church provided items, including the quilts shown, for the house. Photos by Loretta Fulton


Each of the four houses in the addition is sponsored by a different church and each is designed to serve a different area of the Big Country. The house dedicated on Sunday is sponsored by Wylie United Methodist Church and serves people living in Brown County, where Early is located, and Runnels, Coleman and Comanche counties.

The sponsoring church for each of the current four houses agrees to help the people in the house with groceries, transportation, errands, and companionship for the duration of their stay.

A number of guests from Sonrise Ministries, Wylie UMC, Gleaton’s Early Church of Christ, and friends gathered shortly after noon Sunday to dedicate the house and to tour the 392 square-foot tiny house. Billy Crim, who leads Wylie UMC’s involement, was emotional as he looked at the Healing House his church is sponsoring and listened to Gleaton’s testimony.

“We’re excited about the possibility of somebody having a place to live,” Crim said.

Inside, Gleaton, her friends from Early Church of Christ, and others, admired the efficiency of the tiny house. A group she is involved with at her church, Helping Hands, decided to help furnish the items needed for the kitchen as their project. Turned out they got so many donations, they were able to provide bedding, too, including handmand quilts. and bathroom necessities.

Brian Massey, pastor for Sonrise Ministries and the brains behind Houses for Healing, was beaming Sunday as guests admired the latest healing house.

“This is so awesome,” he said. “Hallelujah!”



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