Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Week 4: Framing


...and framing...

..and framing...

...and more framing!
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week 4: Sweet Home, Alabama!

Week 4 brought us an amazing team from Alabama! The PA Team had a set a high bar, and boy, did these guys match it!

Welcome to Alaska. Here's 35,000 pounds of concrete to haul away.

And then fill in with gravel what you hauled off in concrete.

Yup, I'm sure these fellas love Alaska! But even with backbreaking labor to welcome them, they still found energy to go fishing!

See, Doug? I actually got a picture of you working!
(Ummm...that's a reflection on my timing in showing up to take pictures on the worksite, not a reflection on Doug's capacity for work)!

More from week 4 to come!
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Week 3

Week 3 brought yet another of God's amazing provisions!

The next step after our PA Team left was to do a serious amount of welding to add the structual reinforcements required by the engineer. We had the rebar. We had a welding machine, thanks to Ken Leaders. Ken was willing to come and do the welding, but working it around his schedule would be trickier. So we just needed a welder to do the work during week 3. Well, the Methodist church in town also had a work team come for two weeks to do renovations on their building. We had the privilege of worshiping with them at our Solstice Service when our PA Team was here, as well.

Nathan stopped by to talk with them, and learned that they were wrapping up their project and the majority of them were finished...and they still had two days in Moose Pass! They gladly offered their services on our project! And I'm sure you know the punch line...among the team was a man who had 45 years of welding experience! My goodness, he worked hard and long...what a blessing!

In addition to the welding, this team got a great jump-start on the framing!
(Top picture taken from the doorway, bottom picture taken from the front of the sanctuary).

There was one temporary setback to take care of that hadn't been taken account of in time or budget. Nathan discovered that the front slabs of concrete in the sanctuary lost 3-4 inches of elevation as it sloped towards the front corner. The debate was whether to simply smooth over a layer of concrete to level it up, or to break up the floor and pour new, in case the dirt work had been done poorly which caused it to sink in the first place. Nathan made the wise choice, as after he broke up the floor, he discovered several air pockets that would have allowed the floor to sink even further. Kind of profound in building a church building as in building a church body...make sure your foundation is firm!

This week we also got all of electrical and mechanical plans finalized, and Nathan delivered them to Anchorage to the powers-that-be.
While there was nothing going on in the building, Caleb, Andrew, and Jacob picked up all the wood scraps and made a nice pile.

All in all, a ton has been done, and the stage is set for our next team!
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Week 2: VBS

While the work crew was busy building the physical house, the VBS crew was hard at work building spiritual houses!
Our congregation feels so blessed once again by having such a fantastic to love on, teach, and lead the kids in the community towards a closer relationship with Christ! We had about 17 kids attend...not necessarily all on the same day, but they were all influenced towards the Lord even if they were only able to come a few days!

It was pure joy to see these kids learn to worship!

They practiced their pledges and Bible verses dutifully...there were so many fun, active ways to practice!

They were all enthralled by the missionary story and the Bible stories!

And of course the kids all loved the crafts...God uses the crafts to keep the kids coming back, I think!
We were thrilled beyond measure that one boy accepted Christ as his Savior this week...please pray for his continuing spiritual growth despite a rough home situation!
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Week 2: Prospecting

Our good friends and church member Keith and Kristin own and operate a gold mining claim not far from here.
They gladly offered to bring all of the teams down for a slice of Alaskan history and real-live Alaskan life experience!

It's a short but steep hike down into their claim, but it's so peaceful down by the river! Keith showed them how it was done, and they actually found a bit of color! Thanks for hosting us, Keith and Kristin!

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Week 2: Play Time!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right?
The PA Team headed out on a marine wildlife cruise, and had beautiful weather for it!

Junior Rangers hard at work, with many willing helpers!

The "Not-So-Junior" Rangers, perhaps? :)
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Week 2: Apartment

I thought that I took more pictures of work being done in the apartment, but I guess I didn't!
The apartment in our basement is still quite rough around the edges. Quite a bit got done, and we're excited to see it coming together! The most noticeable improvement was the addition of windows (which we received from Phil's supplies).

Joe also got some doors hung, some electrical issues figured out, and the bathroom drywall mudded and taped. I'm sure there was more besides!
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Week 2: "The Bus"

See that bus? Yeah, the dilapidated one leaning sadly over there. That bus has been an eyesore and a source of contention for someone around here, (I'm not naming names), who intensely dislikes old just just strewn about. "She" has asked many times if there isn't someway and somehow to haul off that piece of junk.

As usual, it's a good thing that "she" didn't get her way, because now it's a needed accessory! For our "Summer Sundays," we needed to have a place out of the weather for the kids to have their worship/Sunday school time. The only option was our basement...but give 15 kids instruments and have them singing, and the adults upstairs in the livingroom wouldn't be able to have Bible study very well!

And so, the concept of the "KIDS WORSHIP WAGON" was born!

Only one problem. Well, two, actually. One...it was filthy. Years of junk and grime had accumulated, and then a certain pastor started using it as the perfect dry place to store hay for some certain goats. One filthy bus versus our PA Team, and the bus didn't stand a chance!

This "before" picture of Darla sweeping out isn't even truly "before," as already a whole load of stuff had been carted out!

Beverly and Darla hard a work wiping her down!

All the seats came out and were attacked with a vengeance. Once they were clean, the guys installed them back in the form of a bench along one side!

Problem # 2? It's leaning precariously, making a rousing round of "Father Abraham" nearly impossible!

Now I know this isn't technically part of Week 2, as it just got done today, but here's the Kids' Worship Wagon standing upright!!! Chad was here with the skidsteer, and he propped it up nicely! Kids' Worship Wagon is in business!

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Week 2: Brush Clearing

The new church building was surrounded too closely by brush...but no longer! And oh my, were the goats and chickens happy with the cuttings!

Week 2: Storage Shed

It was decided that with all of the tools and materials that will need to be stored sooner than later, and with us needing to empty the "old" church sooner than later, that a storage shed should be built.

A day and a half, I kid you not. A shed was built in a day and half! As Andrew puts it, "This team sure doesn't dilly-dally!"

Week 2: Footers

Part of the process we needed to go through to satisfy the structural engineers plans was to reinforce the foundations/bracing by adding rebar at key points.

(Editors note: At this point, I really should make Nathan a co-author of this blog, because quite frankly, I have no idea what I'm talking about. I just put together things that I've heard, even though there is not guarantee that I've heard the whole story and/or understood the point. I'm just sayin', consider yourself warned).

To accomplish this, our PA team spent a great deal of time with the jackhammer, cutting holes in the concrete floor to enable the addition of the rebar...none of which needed to purchased, as the rebar we got from Phil's was exactly what we needed.

After the holes were "dug" in the concrete and the rebar was in place, it was time to re-pour. I tell you what, this whole project started to feel very, very real when Metco showed up with our concrete! As dad put it...that's when we start spending the big bucks, and it's very real, indeed!

All of the footers were re-filled with the concrete that was actually delivered a little earlier than expected! Well done, team!

Week 2...PA Team!

Our first team arrived on Saturday, June 19th! Mark's dad and mom had put this dream-team together, which included longtime family friends Joe and Marge Winkleblech and Dave and Betty Lingle! (The two shorties in the front were additions to the team once they got here...thank you for including us for team sweatshirts)! :)

Ron and Kelly, and Rick and Jan, please forgive us for this...but from here on out, this group was and is referred to as the PA Team! This team certainly set the bar high for successive teams, as you'll soon see!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 1

Nathan and Amy arrived in Moose Pass on Monday, June 14th. We enjoyed having them here for dinner and getting to know them, and then before we even had dessert served, Nathan and Mark were at work on the plans!

God works in mysterious ways, I tell you. The next-door neighbor to the church, Phil, was a man we had reached out to many times and in many ways. He was friendly, and a very good, helpful neighbor...but bring up anything having to do with "religion," and he wanted nothing to do with it. We knew the rest of his family were Christians and were also praying for him, but to the best of our knowledge, he never budged.

Phil passed away unexpectedly on June 7th. We spoke with his family on the phone a few times before they came up to settle his affairs, and we had the privilege of worshiping with them on Sunday, June 13th. They were thrilled to hear of our church project, and encouraged us to come and get all of the building materials that were around, and loaned us all of Phil's tools for the summer. You see, Phil was a contractor. And nearly everything that he had was something we needed...right down to tools that Nathan had wanted to bring but simply didn't have the space. The exact gauge rebar we needed. And on and on it went...for a more thorough perspective, you can read Nathan's post.

In God's perfect timing, Nathan was here to start hauling all of the new materials over. And our dear friends Joe and Marge along with Mark's mom arrived the night of the 15th...Joe was here in perfect time to help haul...it would have taken one person all week to do the amount of work they two of them did in a few days.

It breaks our heart that Phil refused to honor God in his lifetime. Yet he is serving God in his death. Satan didn't get the last laugh on this one. It's a hard dichotomy to process. But blessed be the name of the LORD.

Can We Build It?

Yes, if only we had a dedicated builder willing to sacrifice his entire summer of paying work to devote himself to this project...which is exactly what God provided!

One of the projects our church had set out to accomplish was to remodel part of our basement into an apartment. We have a widow in our congregation who was living in the trailer/parsonage connected to the church (where we lived for 4 years). We knew that in order for us to get the new building constructed, we would need to sell the current property...which would make her homeless. Not good. See James 1:27 if you're not sure why. :)

So last summer, we asked our good friend Scott Kirby to please line up some work teams for us. We were blessed to have two teams back-to-back from the same church led by Nathan. His teams did a fantastic (and fast) job. At one point during those two weeks, Nathan mentioned off-handedly that he would like to come help with our church project the next summer. Mark kept his business card pinned up on his bulletin board, not knowing how completely God was going to bring this about.

Over the course of the next several months, Nathan committed to bringing his family up here and being our general contractor, coming up from June through August! We were amazed at their willingness to sacrifice their summer for our church, and at how God provided all of their needs to allow them to leave home and a job for the summer. You can follow their journey here!

We are just blessed beyond measure...not only do we have a fantastic builder who has earned the respect of all who work with him, we have built-in friends for the kids and I! I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know Amy, and I know the summer will end up being far too short...we have so much in common, and she even drinks her coffee black like I do! (And Mark finds it hysterical that that quality is noteworthy). Their boys and our boys are getting along well, and Anna adores baby Timothy!  We keep praying God's richest blessings upon Nathan and Amy and their boys!

Yes, God has been provided for the needs of this building project from the very beginning. One of our other major needs was a structural engineer to stamp our plans to get a permit from the state fire marshal.  Trying to find one was an unbelievable test of our faith...the only one we could find to work with us wanted $30,000...that's about half our entire budget for this building!  We prayed and searched and asked around, until we finally asked someone in the Alaska Baptist Convention to make our need known through his extensive email list.  Within days, we were contacted by Bruce Berryhill, a structural engineer located in Juneau.  Not only did we have a Christian engineer willing to work with us, he was willing to work with us for free.  We don't know if Bruce will ever fully grasp what a blessing and encouragement he has been to our church or not...but this project simply could not have happened without him.  The building of God's kingdom will be played out for years to come, and his willingness to sacrifice his time and energy will always play a part in it.  What a legacy!

This is the house...

...that God built!

I will eventually get to devoting a page to the history of how Moose Pass Community Church acquired this property in the first place. But if I'm going to keep up with what God is doing just this summer, I'd best get on to the present!

Suffice it to say, our church was blessed in many ways in order to purchase this property...2 1/2 acres, a 4000 sf parsonage,
and a 4000 sf "barn" to be converted into a church building!