about us: STORIes

Scott Jonkhoff

I owned a fastener company and was chasing the dollar really hard, not spending enough time at home. One Saturday, God changed my heart. There was a guy across the street pushing a shopping cart in the middle of winter. I was prompted to go out with my fleece lined housecoat. I gave him the coat and the look on his face was amazement and thankfulness.

This was a guy who had nothing, he was homeless. I looked at people like that before and thought, ‘Get a job,’ or some hard-hearted thing. I didn’t show a lot of compassion for them, but God really used this man to change my heart. I returned to my office and prayed for a new heart and the courage to live in a way that’s all in for Him.

I sold my business and worked at Habitat for Humanity, helping them open a ReStore. I started doing salvage and putting product into the store with people coming out of jail or prison. They didn’t know what it was like to work. I heard comments like, ‘Wow, that really felt good,’ and some light bulbs went off in my mind. I realized no one had ever taken time to pour into their life and teach them how to work.

Then some guys came into my life who needed housing. There were a couple of houses for sale at Hall and Division. I bought them, fixed them up and rented them to guys who no one else would rent to because of poor credit or lack of money. There was a need.

This building became available so my wife and I bought it, not completely knowing what we were going to do with it, just stepping out in faith. I just started showing up here every day with 5-6 guys who had come into my life. We put men to work rehabbing the building. We didn’t always know where work was going to come from. We started cleaning, repairing and painting apartments. We purchased homes in the community, rehabbed and sold them. We manufactured and assembled bracelets for Starbucks.

The need for work is so intense out there. When we hire employees, they are so thankful. They finally have hope. I’ve seen some put their faith into the Lord. There’s transformation towards spouses. Family relationships that were broken are restored. Now that they’re employed, they’re able to rent an apartment, buy a car or find a new job since they have strong references on their resume.

It hasn’t always been easy, but God has provided work and the resources that Next Step needs.

Copyright 2013. Next Step West Michigan.