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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Carpenters for Christ building new mission building

  • The Carpenters for Christ arrived in Stonefort Illinois on June 7 and worked like beavers until Friday.
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  • The Carpenters for Christ arrived in Stonefort Illinois on June 7 and worked like beavers until Friday.
    What is their mission and why are these gentlemen here? The Stonefort General Baptist Church has embarked on an ambitious project of building a new mission hall adjacent to the church in Stonefort which will allow the congregation and church to radically expand their services to the community and to also stand ready to assist local villages, cities and county governments in providing an auxiliary emergency shelter in the event of natural disasters.
    The Carpenters for Christ is an organization of men of faith who are dedicated to the construction of one church related building project a year. Based around Montgomery, Ala., for the last 31 years this organization chooses one building or repair project related to a church based group each year and then descends of the site of the project as a self-contained and self-sufficient task force with the goal of creating a complete building from the ground up or finishing the repair job in about a week.
    “We feel that we are one family of God coming to help another family of God,” said Dave Furst, Treasurer for the Carpenters for Christ and an accountant by profession. “It is mission work for us and I think that it shows that willing hands and tender hearts guided by the Lord can accomplish so much for so many.”
    This experienced and dedicated construction crew are made up of men of faith who each pay $135 out of their own pocket to help defray the costs of participating in this honorable work. The crew arrives complete with it's own food, cooks, construction gear and other necessities to see them through the seven to 14 day construction project.
    “All we ask is that some of the local church families do our laundry every couple of days,” stated Dave Furst. “Otherwise, we are good to go.”
    Furst added with a appreciative smile. “The women members of the churches we help like to cook us dessert for our meals. That’s a real bonus for our men.”
    It is hard to adequately describe the scene of controlled chaos that meets the eye at the construction site in Stonefort. Over 75 men are all moving at speed and with clear purpose throughout the work site.
    “Mitch Marshall, a professional construction contractor, is our overall site coordinator on our projects,” said Furst. “We have teams of workers assigned to different units and tasks of the construction, electrical, heating and cooling, walls, roofing, all coordinated by Mitch. He does an awesome job.”
    Furst also said that over 25 different churches were represented in the work crew. Across the work site, construction machines rumbled past and in the interior of the growing mission hall, power tools and hammering blended into a clamor of noise as teams of workers bustled about in a well choreographed dance of construction activity.
    Page 2 of 2 - Jeff Owens, Pastor of the Stonefort General Baptist Church was a blur of activity on the work sight, his happy face showing the great joy this generous act by the Carpenters for Christ gave to him and his congregation.
    “This new mission hall is going to let us expand our food pantry enormously,” Owens said. “We plan to be able to start giving a free meal once a week to anyone in the area who needs one, and we hope to be able to maybe serve to a free meal every day in the near future.”
    Owens also explained that the new building would be equipped with a two full bathrooms, both with showers.
    “In the event of a natural disaster, like the Leap Year Tornado, we will be able to shelter a least 200 people in this building alone and between our church and the new building we should be able to shelter and feed almost 300 people, provide showers and a place to stay and be clean and comfortable. We hope that never happens but the congregation wanted to build the new hall with this in mind,” Owens said.
    Owens looked across the work site with a quiet smile, “This a wonderful thing these men are doing, they are truly, truly, doing Gods work!”
    Furst echoed Owens feelings about what they are doing.
    “All the men who start this work with us, after they come on their first project they eagerly look forward to going on the next one. We literally put our lives on hold for a week or so to help fellow members of Gods family. The Carpenter for Christ has a motto, taken from Scripture, ‘Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another man,’” he said, and paused, looking around him a moment then adding, “We have a lot of sharp people here.”

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