Something to do

Yesterday, Mark told me he and Pastor Adam were going to go out to a site to look at some steel that’s being donated to the church. I asked if I could go and he asked why I wanted to go. I said, “For something to do.” He warned me there might be scorpions and rattlesnakes and I said, “I’ll wear my boots!” I got to go.

First, I need to explain why my church is interested in steel. Pastor Adam has been wanting to utilize the church property better than it currently is being used. For one thing, we’ve grown since Covid. A lot of churches were screaming about the government trying to shut them down by banning large public gatherings, but I think God’s hand was in it. Churches had to start thinking outside the box (building) and catching up with the technology of the century. Northwest Community Friends Church, for instance, developed an online presence, and when things opened up again, people who had found us online began attending. We had been a church of a few old people, but now we have lots of families with kids of all ages. We have been blessed!

So last year, the church hired an architect to come up with a plan for expanding our sanctuary space.

The paved driveway on the left goes out to La Canada (pronounced La Can-YA-da) at the front of the church, and you can kind of make out a dirt driveway on the right that goes behind the church.

In the picture above, the lower of the 2 large buildings is the current sanctuary. Our RV is parked right behind the current sanctuary where the closest parking strips are. The architect drew in some trees above the current sanctuary and then a larger sanctuary above it in the picture that would be 60’x80′. However, the estimate for building the new sanctuary was two and a half million dollars. The church opted to wait and pray.

There’s a woman in our church named Terri and her husband is Mike Best. They buy properties, fix them up, and sell them or rent them.

Terri in the middle of what some would consider to be junk.

Terri and Mike found 8 acres practically in the middle of nowhere. An old man who was a hoarder and a mechanic lived on 4 acres of it, and as you can see from the picture above, there was lots of stuff, most of it junk, all over the property. The guy had lived in a small trailer on the property, but when that got full, he brought out a manufactured home with some big steps up to it. It must have been a nice home at first, but he filled that up with a bunch of stuff, and then he couldn’t climb the stairs anymore, so he started living in his car. The only part of the car that wasn’t full of stuff when Terri and Mike first got the place was the driver’s seat, so that must have been where the old guy slept. He died recently and his sister in Texas didn’t want the property. Terri and Mike bought the property from her and promised to give her half the proceeds of anything they found that was sellable.

Among other things, Terri and Mike found plans for a steel building that would be 50’x100′. Most of the steel was on the property.

Steel beams and girders

Terri and Mike thought about the sanctuary the church wants to build, and they asked the sister if she would be willing to let them give the building parts to the church. They offered to give her a tax write-off, but she said she just wanted the stuff off the property. So they approached Adam and offered the building to be donated to the church. Adam says he would estimate that all the parts for the building would have cost between $80-100,000.

The only problem is that the smaller things have been disappearing every day. Someone made off with most of the sheeting for the walls and yesterday, Terri noticed that the really nice gates that were on the property (that would have been good security across the church driveway) were missing. She suspects the neighbor whose place can be seen in the background of the above picture. So Adam and Mark and I went out yesterday and started putting all the small parts we could find onto Adam’s truck and the long trailer he had on the back. I sorted through nuts and bolts, some rusty and some like new. We kept even the rusty ones in case they can be cleaned up and still used. The guys were picking up roof caps, gutters, corrugated fiberglass, conduit, 4′ wide steel doors, and a spool of wire. When we got back to the church, the guys took the big stuff out to the back 40 of the church grounds, out of site for most folks.

Tucson sniffing around the stuff that was put in the back 40.

The smaller stuff, they put into a locked tool shed back near where we’re parked.

This spool of wire was so heavy and bulky that the guys used a hoe handle so that they could carry it between them. That was Mark’s ingenious idea!

Then Pastor Adam took us out for ice cream at Dairy Queen because we had worked up a sweat.

Today, we went back for more, and this time, a guy in the church named Timo Towne came along with us. He is preparing to go to the mission field in parts of Mexico where people haven’t heard the gospel. When we got there, I found out that Terri had already sorted through the rest of the nuts and bolts I had to leave yesterday, so I asked her what she’d like me to do. She had me going through some shelves of stuff and sorting out the garbage from the stuff that was sellable. The guys were picking up things like conduit, roof cap metal sheets, and the rest of the nuts and bolts that Terri had sorted out. Timo found a couple of cannon balls and an old rusted butcher knife that he asked Terri if he could have. She gave them to him. He and the guys were all ogling things they liked. Adam took a bin full of hubcaps that Terri said he could have. Mark had his eye on a non-working automated wheelchair but there wasn’t room for him to bring it back with him. I don’t know what guys see in all this stuff, but apparently the property was, for them, like dropping kids in a candy store!

Meanwhile, Lauryn has been wanting to go somewhere beautiful to grieve for Dad. Today, she and her family took Mom to Multnomah Falls in the Gorge along the Columbia River. She sent me this picture:

Nate and Mom in front of Multnomah Falls

I also want to thank all of you who have sent your prayers and condolences. I have heard from so many of you in the last few days and I cherish all your prayers. Thank you!

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