NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: revitalizing small-town America.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: John and Ashely Marsh are in the restoration business, or as they like to call it, the redemptification business.
That’s how they describe their work bringing a small town in Alabama back to life, one building at a time.
EICHER: Their interest in restoring old buildings started close home. Their own home, in fact. It was the oldest house in Opelika, Alabama, and it was a complete ruin. So was their marriage.
Warren Smith talked to John and Ashely Marsh about their life’s work on this week’s Listening In. Let’s listen now to an excerpt of their conversation.
WARREN SMITH: But it, y’all said something, I don’t remember which one of said it when we were talking about this earlier, that whenever God changed your heart, he also kind of opened your eyes to these terrible conditions. And and as, as you were being transformed in the inside, you found yourself wanting to see the outside, your external condition transformed as well. Is that kinda what got you all started in this journey that you’re on now?
JOHN MARSH: It kinda is. And Ash said it: Scales fall off your eyes and you begin to see. And we began to see we lived in a 500 square foot apartment in the midst of a 7,000 square foot house that was totally, um, unrenovated and horrible. We had no AC except a one bedroom had a big 220 window unit that would keep that one room cold. And we just said, you know, in our, some of our mentors at the time and people who were discipling us said, you need to go ahead and go through this project. So six and a half years, one paycheck at a time, we restored this house. And it was the middle of the hood. It wasn’t worth anything. And then it became worth everything in the sense. And that’s kind of what happened to us, you know, there’s beauty in broken things. And something that’s loved looks different. And it really was the key to get us in the real estate business. Because we really didn’t know anything about it. We got taken advantage of all the time.
And then when we finished that house, and I was still doing cars, I said, Ash, that was awesome. She said, she said, well, what do you want to do? I said, do another one. And so that got us started. And then that neighborhood, we probably did over 70 houses of the 190 houses and buildings we’ve done in our city now in these 10 blocks. It all started with getting our own home in order. And it is such a Biblical thing, right? And it was, it was a key part to our getting into the real estate and development and restoration business.
That’s John Marsh talking to Warren Smith. To hear their complete conversation, you can find Listening In tomorrow on your favorite podcast platform.