Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"It's all a matter of perspective"

This is a picture of the church building in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands; well actually it's only half the building. It's a modular, plywood building that measures 24 feet by 48 feet. The auditorium is about 24 X 24. The other half holds two classrooms and the bathroom. The church began meeting in this building in late 1994. We met here for almost a year without power and had to bring water to flush the toilet in 5 gallon buckets. By the time this picture was taken it had been plastered, had a new roof, and new windows, besides power and water. In the eyes of many, this building wouldn't be much, but that all depends on your perspective.

We were overjoyed to have it. 4 years earlier we were meeting in a Methodist church building, which meant we could only meet on Sunday afternoon and they were "encouraging" us to find a more permanent place to worship. We eventually moved to the Boy Scout building, which we shared with a "metaphysical" group on Sunday, the Boy Scouts, the Knights of Columbus, etc. We were able to meet Sunday morning and Sunday night and most Wed. nights, although we met the Knights of Columbus there one Wed. night rehearsing for a funeral the next day. The main problem was Sunday morning--the "metaphysical" group met every other Sunday at 11 AM and we weren't always through by that time. They rather rudely let us know it was "their turn".

After about a year meeting there we purchased a 20' X 40' tent, which we were able to put in a cow pasture, well actually a chicken farm. The "road" was dirt, so when it rained we had to wait on each other, to make sure no one got stuck and we had to tarp "sides" to keep the rain and wind out, which sometimes had to be lowered during services. The plastic chairs had to be stacked and chained together after every service to prevent theft. The song books and Bibles had to be stacked inside the pulpit as well. In the beginning someone had to bring a generator (several brethren had one) for every night service and if that didn't happen we took our chairs to the street light a block or so away. How many times did we begin singing on Wed. night in the dark, waiting for the generator? But I still remember our first service in the tent. The brother who led singing that morning began by saying, "This is our place and no one can tell us when we have to leave. If we feel like singing a lot of songs we can and I feel like singing a lot of songs." We sang about 8 songs before the sermon that day. We were so happy to have our own place, even if it was just a tent--it's all a matter of perspective.

So you can understand how exciting it was to move into our own "building" almost two years later. If the Lord wills, the foundation for a permanent block building will be poured shortly and this should be the "final" church building, complete with air conditioning. Brethren, we are so blessed with the comforts and conveniences we have in this country.

Tol Burk

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