The 91-year-old Carter, who now teaches Sunday school regularly at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, told the crowd of Habitat volunteers gathered under a large white tent off North Third Street that they could best use their talents to help others. He also instructed those gathered to please the Christian God by emulating the life and principles of Jesus Christ.
"Habitat for Humanity is the best way for me to take the talent I have and invest it," Carter told the crowd.
After Carter's lesson and prayer, hundreds of volunteers from Memphis and across the country headed to various work sites to get started in their mission to build 19 new homes in Bearwater Park, just north of Uptown. They'll also be painting and doing landscaping work for 10 neighborhood beautification projects, and they'll be doing work on six "aging in place" projects to enhance access and mobility for seniors. The volunteer crew, including the former president and first lady and country stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, will be working in Memphis all week.
The Carters have been working with Habitat on projects across the U.S. and the world since 1984. They've assisted with building, renovating, and repairing 3,944 homes in 14 countries.
Former President Jimmy Carter kicked off Habitat for Humanity's 33rd Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project near Uptown on Monday morning with a little taste of Sunday school.