Building a New Church – The First Rock

Building a New Church – The First Rock

“We are happy. You ask why? Tomorrow, we finally begin the construction of our dream temple. We begin with little resources, but we are confident in God that we can finish our church – each stage of construction. God accompany us tomorrow. We ask for your prayers. Sincerely yours,

Ariel Arriagada. Church President. United by Faith. Linares.”

*Above is a translated version of a facebook post shared by Ariel last Saturday evening.

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Ariel – Church President

Imagine this:

This Sunday is the day that you FINALLY begin construction of a new church. You have been waiting for this moment for years. You and your family have been attending services in a building that looks more like a house than a church. Handmade banners and stained glass windows make the room look more like a worship space, but it is nothing compared to other Lutheran churches you have seen pictures of or have experienced in other countries.

Church isn’t about the building, and you know that. But, you also know the joy and benefits that can come from a place built to specifically glorify God. You know that the building’s very existence can remind the people walking by that something special is here. You know that a new church can be built large enough to house many more members and prospects. You know that dedicating your time and resources to this special project is a way to serve and glorify a God that no building can contain.

You have been thinking about this day for a long time. You have even drawn up plans before that didn’t work out.

And now the day is finally here.

I got shivers when I read Ariel’s post last Saturday night – the good kind of shivers. This past Sunday was a very special day for him and for all the members of the Linares congregation.

We started construction on the new church!

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We began the day with a special “First Rock” service written specifically for the occasion. Guillermo, a vicar from Santiago, shared a sermon that focused on “Being Ready: Always be prepared to share the reason for your Hope.”
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After the service, tasks were assigned to everyone.
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Task 1: Getting the grills ready to go. Workers have to be fed!
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Task 2: Breaking down a part of the wall to build a gate so that materials can be  easily brought in. In the future the whole wall will come down and be replaced. 
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With these strong men the wall quickly came tumbling down. Fun fact: the man on the right is a prospect that has been coming to church frequently. He helped with this project for the entire day and even showed up the next day to do more! 
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Task 3: Paint over old graffiti. 
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Task 4: Uproot all the beautiful plants and move them to other places on the property so that they don’t get damaged during construction. 
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Task 5: Cut down some trees that are in the construction zone. 
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Task 6: Prep the windows to make way for a display that features the plans for the new church!
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Task 7: Get the meat on the grill!
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Task 8: Serve a snack to all the workers! 
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The food prep also continued inside.
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Task 9: Begin welding a fence/gate. We have such talented church members!
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Task 10: Continue moving or getting rid of plants/trees in the construction zone. 
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Task 11: Oversee your husband and sons who are doing some pretty crazy things with chainsaws!
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The aforementioned crazy chainsaw action. 
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Lunch Break!

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Jenny made a delicious cake to celebrate construction of the new church! The reading says: The church has one foundation and only one founder, Jesus Christ our Lord. 
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Full, back to work, and checking out the construction plans. 
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Task 12: Use this weird machine thing to figure out something…it is all beyond me. 
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Task 13: Get the cement machine rolling. 
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Task 14: Have fun. 
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Continued work on the fence. 
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Task 15: Refinish church furniture. 
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Task 16: Make a new garden box outside of the English classroom.  
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At this time of the year in Chile it is possible to simply stick branches of plants in the earth and then they grow roots. This particular plant is so durable that they call it Dog’s Flesh. 
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Task 17: Take a tea break and analyze the construction plans. 
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Task 18: Pretend like you are the boss and know what in the world the men are up to. 
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Task 19: Take pictures of Jenny working really really hard. 
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It was a beautiful day and everyone pitched in. 

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The work continued well into the evening. 
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And the gate went up!
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Stage one of construction completed. 

Please stay tuned to this blog if you would like to follow the construction of the new church! We will continue to post updates and pictures.

Most importantly, as Ariel asked, please pray for the Linares congregation!

 

*If you would like to support the construction of the new Linares church, please feel free to contact me at elise.grosskw@gmail.com. I will then get you connected to Ariel who can share how any donated funds can best be used! 

*If you would like to learn more about the mission in Linares, Chile, my husband and I will be presenting at Zion Lutheran Church in Hartland, WI on Sunday, July 10 at 9:15. Church services are at 8 and 10:30. You are welcome to join us! 

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