Feed on

Looking ahead to the day when our daughters would be in college, we began in 2010 to explore alternate home locations to facilitate God’s purposes in and through our family. As Joelle skipped out of high school to began college last Fall through “Running Start,” we found open doors to work with local ministry leaders at our community college to build disciple-making movements among international and other college students.

Since receiving an offer on our house on January 4th, our life has been a kayak ride through swift rapids. In the five weeks following this offer, we researched and settled on a smaller, 3-bedroom home with an unfinished basement. This leaves our family one bedroom short, with Wesley sleeping on a mattress on our bedroom floor. So we began checking into building bedrooms for Joelle and Dana in our unfinished basement.

A couple we worked with to run the first Perspectives class in Mount Vernon introduced us to Russ Rehm of Doulos Construction, who teaches a Sunday School class at Bethany Covenant Church (which hosted the second Perspectives class in Mount Vernon).

We felt led to involve Russ in our basement project for several reasons:

  • He lives just ten minutes from our home.
  • He invited us to work with and learn from his team so that we could later borrow his tools and finish the rest of the basement on our own.
  • He and his two Pentecostal Russian laborers do all their own work (no subcontractors).
  • He had room for us in his schedule right away.

Russ and his crew started framing at 7:30am on Tuesday, March 19th, and we worked with Russ’ team each day and carried the work forward on our own into the night. Ten days later  we helped Russ’ crew finish applying the first coat of mud on the freshly hung drywall.

Along the way we learned and involved our daughters in framing, electrical switches and outlets, installing ceiling can lights, hanging insulation, carrying and hanging drywall, and taping and “mudding.” I accompanied Russ for most of the lumber purchases, and Jackie drove Russ’ old manual transmission pickup to Home Depot for drywall and other supplies.

With Russ’ orientation, I did most of the duct work and trained our girls to install electrical outlets and switches while Jackie put in ceiling lights, and Jackie and our girls installed all the insulation. We left Russ’ team to install a window, break into the sewer line, install water lines, add gas for a fireplace, and reroute our hot water line (so that the heat it loses goes into the basement instead of underground).

When the shower we bought wouldn’t fit through the basement door, we realized the window we were putting in would be just big enough to bring the shower in that way. (This gives new meaning to the popular saying, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.”)

To Russ’ amazement, our involvement kept the cost to date down to $12/sq ft, and we now have the skills and confidence to bring the rest of the basement to the same point in coming years.

We already have some prior experience in painting, installing cabinets, and other aspects of finish work, and plan to do most of the rest of the work on our own at a more sustainable pace as additional funds become available. Please pray with us for God’s timing and provision for finishing the first half of our basement.

See pictures of the project unfolding over ten days.

A 40 sec panorama of the bare basement prior to construction.

A 1 min 40 sec walkthrough after the first mud on the drywall.

(6/13 update: See Basement Completed)

One Response to “Relocating for Greater Impact”

  1. Gale says:

    what a blessing to do that as a family, you know God will use the skills all of you acquired in the future!