With Teamwork Small Congregation Builds on Big Idea

Post a Comment » Written on August 21st, 2009     
Filed under: News
NORTHRIDGE, CA (August 21, 2009) – Members of Emmanuel Covenant Church, a congregation of about 50 people, decided that all of their work in recent years had been too inwardly focused. They set about finding a way to serve others.

But they also wondered what a small congregation could accomplish. “We knew we couldn’t do it alone, but through a collaborative effort we could make it happen,” says Marv Gibbs, Emmanuel’s interim pastor.

Emmanuel had heard of Hands of Mercy from Rolling Hills Covenant Church (RHCC), which had worked with the ministry to build loft houses for people in Mexico. The houses give basic protection from the elements, according to the Hands of Mercy website. They are 12-foot by 12-foot structures with four windows, a lockable door, and a second story attic loft for sleeping that is accessed by an interior ladder.

The houses are prefabricated in church parking lots in the United States and assembled in Mexico over the course of a day.

Emmanuel partnered with Rolling Hills to construct a home. Hoping to raise $3,200, Emmanuel surpassed their goal with $4,600 in donations.

With assistance from Rolling Hills members Mel Nygren and Jim Paul, work began early on a recent Saturday morning. Sawing each piece and assigning it an identifying number, adults and children worked together to prefabricate the structure.

They were done shortly after lunch and loaded the assembled pieces on a trailer supplied by Hands of Mercy. The following Saturday, members of both churches traveled to La Bufadora, a community near Ensenada, to build the house.

“We’d been sent pictures of Umberto, Cintia, and Jennifer, the family receiving our house,” Gibbs says. “What a joy to meet the family we’d been praying for, and see baby Aaron who had arrived that week as the latest addition to the family.”

Assembly began at 10 a.m., and the walls were up by lunch. “By 5 p.m., we gathered at the front door, gave the family a Bible, and presented the keys to Umberto and Cintia in the name of Jesus,” Gibbs says.

“It all happened because we collaborated,” Gibbs notes. “We couldn’t have done it without Mel and Jim from RHCC. The vision of the Hands of Mercy team sparked us all. The congregation from Emmanuel gave of their resources and provided hands for the work.”

Gibbs adds, “And, we connected with a pastor in Mexico who selected a family and is providing ongoing ministry to them there in Mexico. The kingdom of God was effectively realized as we worked together.”

For more information about Emmanuel, call Gibbs at 310-490-7410 or email him.

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