Rock Hill resident Herbert Pouge Jr. believes he is living a blessing.
"When I think of the word 'blessing,' I think of God's words," he said. "Every word in the Bible is a blessing, and that's what I want to live."
The blessings were evident Sunday when the 25-year-old gathered with family, friends and his church community on Crawford Road, where he picked up a shovel and broke ground on what will one day be his new home.
Pouge, originally from Bishopville, lost his parents within six months of each other in 2005, which prompted him to move to Rock Hill, where both of his sisters had attended college. He attended York Technical College for a year before becoming a barber in York.
Recently, he helped build a home for a relative through Habitat for Humanity and decided to apply for a home himself.
After months of homeowner classes and volunteer work, an 1,100-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath home will be his, the first Habitat for Humanity Faith Build of 2012, said Tim Veeck, executive director.
The faith build is different from the other builds, he explained, because the faith community helps raise the funds for the home. Sixteen churches participated on this project, including Pouge's church, Tabernacle of Praise Church International.
In April, during Clergy Day, several ministers will also work on the site.
Though members of Habitat for Humanity's board, church representatives and other faith build communities were at the groundbreaking, the biggest group was from Pouge's church.
Several church friends spoke on his behalf.
Tyesh Wright, who knows Pouge through his sister, said Pouge has always been like a brother to her and that he's making everyone proud.
Lady Gladys Jackson added that the church community is excited about the adventure he's embarking on.
Charlette Smalls said Pouge is young but lets God speak through his life, and that he always follows through with everything he begins.
"Your parents would be proud of you," she said. "[You] have such a giving, big heart."
After multiple Scripture readings, it was time to pick up the shovels and dig into the ground.
As part of the homeowner agreement, Pouge will also put in his 250 hours of sweat equity, something he is ready to embrace.
"It humbles me to know there is an organization out here to help families that are in need and want to start a new life," he said.