These two Maranatha volunteers install electrical fixtures in the new church building. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

The Lord’s work

Published 11:57am Thursday, October 18, 2012

Maranatha Volunteers build new Seventh-Day Adventist Church here

A Spanish-speaking Seventh-Day Adventist church at 1704 Vest Road in Hartselle is getting a new building thanks to Maranatha Volunteers International, a mission arm of Seventh-Day Adventists.

Skilled carpenters and helpers began framing up the 40-foot by 125-foot building on Oct. 11 and were putting on the roof five days later.

“We’ll have it dried in and be gone from here on Oct. 25,” said project coordinator Betty Beattie, a widow from Wisconsin who has served as a Maranatha volunteer since 2001.

Working with her on the project are about 50 fellow Seventh-Day Adventists who pick and choose the projects they want to work on a year in advance.

“We have people here from at least eight states,” Beattie pointed out. “Most of them are retired couples and everyone has a job to do. Some are skilled plumbers, electricians, carpenters and roofers. Others pitch in as carpenter’s helpers and kitchen workers.

“Even though we are a diverse group, we all share the same faith and are working for the Lord,” she added.

The new church building is replacing a smaller wood frame building that sustained major roof damage in a snowfall two winters ago. It consists of a large sanctuary, classrooms, kitchen and offices.

“I drove over and checked out the church building when we were working on a project in New Albany, Miss.,” said Roger Hatch, projects supervisor. “They had cables stretched under the ceiling joists to keep the roof from falling in. There was no doubt they needed a new building but didn’t have the resources to built it themselves. I knew right away this was a project that needed our help.”

The Maranatha organization provides the labor for church building projects throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries with the local church being responsible only for the materials and lodging. Volunteers, many of whom are in their 70s and 80s, travel to work sites in automobiles and motor homes and participate in worship services before and after each work day begins.

“We can’t believe this is happening,” said Misael Aguilar, a church elder. “We needed a new building but couldn’t afford one. This is the answer to our prayers.

“We now have 75 members including children,” he added. “This will help us grow.”

“What we see taking place here is tremendous,” said Melvin Eisele, president of the Gulf States Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. “These people may never preach a sermon or teach a Bible class, but they’re doing what Jesus did as a carpenter.”

Retired Baptist minister Hank Smith of Decatur is working on the project at the invitation of a Seventh-Day Adventist friend.

“We’ve worked together on past Baptist missions and he invited me to come help out on this project,” Smith stated. “It’s something I can do and stay close to home. I’m happy anytime I can be busy doing the work of the Lord.”

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