Church rebuilds home destroyed in fire for South Memphis matriarch

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 8:24 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A church stepped up to give a South Memphis matriarch a home again after she lost it in a fire more than three years ago.

They say home is where the heart is, but for Betty Isom, this home means much more.

“I was the first one in the family to move out to public housing and buy my first home,” said Isom.

For years Isom has served as the matriarch in her community, serving others selflessly in the neighborhood and inside the home she worked so hard for. But a fire in 2018 destroyed that home.

“You hear about it on the news, but you never know it’s going to be you, you know? So, it was just hard for me,” Isom said.

That’s when her church family stepped in.

“We knew then, everybody in the church knew that we had to come together to rebuild her home because it is such a hub of ministry and just a blessing to this community,” said Richard Rieves, lead pastor of Downtown Church.

Richard Rieves is the lead pastor at Downtown Church and has known Isom for 25 years. He led the effort to rebuild her home which took nearly three years.

After years of hard work, the dwelling is complete and updated with new appliances, a spacious new bedroom, and a ministry room.

“When they brought me in to see the blueprint, I cried at my desk and they said, don’t cry yet. Wait until you get through, then you cry,” Isom said.

Isom says she’s looking forward to using the ministry room to hold bible studies, feed the community, and be a blessing to others.

Once I get a person up on their feet and get their own, then the Lord send me somebody else,“ Isom said,

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