Family Gets First Look at ‘Extreme Makeover’ of Home

Post a Comment » Written on June 20th, 2008     
Filed under: News
By Stan Friedman

KERMAN, CA (June 20, 2008) – “Move that truck!” Joe Garcia shouted, and with those instructions, the oil tanker – rolled away, revealing his home’s extreme makeover.

Mago Garcia, Joe’s wife, stood and wept. More than 200 members of the Kerman Covenant Church, La Vina Covenant Church, and residents of the city turned out to cheer the Garcias, and some of them wept as well.

On a Saturday morning last April, at least 100 people gave the family an early morning surprise when they showed up at the Garcias’ door and announced the family had to leave within hours. The friends were sending them on an all-expense-paid trip to Disneyland and were going to remodel the small three-bedroom house. To read a previously published story about that day, see Heading to Disneyland.

Family arrivesIn 2004, Joe almost died when a tanker truck owned by West Hills Oil that he was working on mysteriously exploded, seriously burning him and a coworker, Ryan Cain. Cain recovered quickly, but Joe still was breathing with the help of a tracheotomy until last February, when doctors were finally able to repair his windpipe.

The Garcias helped start the La Vina church, which was planted by the Kerman congregation where the family previously attended. The churches – and then others in the community – conspired over several months to do the extreme makeover of the home without the family learning what was happening.

Kerman Covenant pastor Dan Shelton confesses that certain “fibs” were told to keep the Garcias from discovering what was going on behind their backs. He figures God will easily forgive such talk.

After the Garcias returned from their trip they spent the next weeks living in a home owned by a Kerman Covenant congregation member who had moved. They were under strict instructions not to drive by the house.

On Saturday, many in the crowd welcoming home the Garcias wore the same blue tee shirts as when they first sent the family packing. The words “Mission Remodel” were on the front and “Making everything new” from Revelation 21:5 was printed in English and Spanish on the back. For additional photos from the event, please see Family Returns Home. The top accompanying photo shows the family upon its arrival home. The lower photo shows part of a remodeled bath area.

Stacey Greely, Kerman Covenant’s youth pastor, joked that people were hoping Mago would hurry to look inside the house because a lot of the crowd wanted to see the interior, but had to wait for the family to do their tour. Once inside, the family was greeted by news crews from two local television stations and the Fresno Bee newspaper.

The family slowly worked their way through the house, trying to take in all that had been done. “It was a whole new house,” Joe says. “There wasn’t a thing inside that hadn’t been touched.”

Mago fell on top of the bed in the couple’s new bedroom and cried some more, Joe says.

The Garcias have three children: daughter, Leslie, 16; and two sons, Joey, 17, and Mateo, 6.  All of them still are trying to comprehend that the “new” house is their home.

The project was born of relationships that have witnessed to people locally as well as others around the world who have heard their story. Joe worked for Scott Cain – Ryan’s father – who owned the trucking business. The Cain family also attends Kerman Covenant.

BathroomAccidents such as Joe’s often wind up pitting employee against employer. The Cains and Garcias have demonstrated what Christian love can be, says Michael Jordan, pastor of La Vina. “They showed what it means to be Christians.”

“We had been brothers in Christ before I started working for him,” Joe says. When Joe started attending Kerman Covenant, Scott invited him to his small group.

Scott remembers that Joe’s first concern after the accident was not for himself, even as he lay in the emergency room. “The first words he said were, ‘How is Ryan?’ That’s the kind of person Joe is.”

Their witness has impacted people in places they never could have imagined. A workmen’s compensation adjustor met with the men several months ago to discuss Joe’s return to work. She told the pair that in her many years of experience, she had never seen anything like their relationship.

Scott later called the adjustor to tell her what the community was doing for the family. She broke down crying.

Scott first proposed the makeover and has been overwhelmed by the community’s response. He and others had no idea how the project could be accomplished even as they were able to raise $10,000.

If put out for bid, the remodeling would cost as much as $70,000, Scott says. Because of all the volunteer work and materials from local businesses, some of the original $10,000 still remains in the bank.

After the unveiling, everyone gathered to dine on food prepared by the La Vina church – “They are the greatest cooks in the world!” Greely declared.

The dinner was followed by a worship service. Jordan proclaimed that the work was a witness to how God can make all things new – new communities and new lives. Jordan noted that the gathering included, not only people who were bilingual, but also people who could speak only English or Spanish. The service was done in both languages.

More remodeling remains to be completed. Organizers have had to wait on permits to add on to the house in order to expand the Garcias’ master bedroom. Air conditioning also will be installed. Later in the year, they will plant a small orchard of pomegranate trees.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog