LEXINGTON-A few days ago the site on West 20th Street on the North side of town was just dirt and cement, but by Sunday a new location for Lexington members of Jehovah’s Witness church should be up and running.
Anywhere from 300 to 400 volunteers, all of them church members, were expected to help with the construction of the church, with some coming from across Nebraska and South Dakota, said Rick Lenz, a church member from McCook who was in charge of site development at the location.
“It’s a lot like a ballet, it’s choreographed,” said Bill Fogg, a church member from Red Cloud and personnel overseer at the site, about the teamwork and interaction required of multiple groups of people working at the same time.
On Thursday afternoon the roofing was still under construction but inside, most of the electrical wiring was already installed and the insulation and dry walling was in the early stages of completion.
Outside the building, sheets of tiles were beginning to appear on the side of the building, which will also be covered with bricks on the corners, while the dirt on the front of the building was getting prepared for landscaping and sod installation.
“We’re blessed, it’s amazing, it’s a group effort,” said Armando Moreno, a local member of the church, who was helping with the construction effort.
Lenz said volunteers expect to finish the church by Sunday afternoon, when a meeting is scheduled inside the building, although he noted that the building wouldn’t be certified by the fire marshal until Monday.
Although some might wonder about the quality of the building, Fogg said many volunteers were licensed professionals in various trades, such as plumbing, roofing and electrical work, who had taken time off to offer their expertise.
Lenz, who said construction was on schedule to finish on Sunday, said volunteers were following a furious pace of work because the church’s focus was on opening the building as soon as possible and continuing to reach out to more people.
”Our main focus is preaching the good news, to educate people about the Bible.”
On Monday morning, with new church building completed, except for a few finishing touches left like painting some walls on the inside, volunteer Brent Addy said although he was ready to return to his elder position at West Point, he had a heavy heart about leaving.
“I’m sad to leave, I’ve made so many friends here. It doesn’t matter if they’re Spanish or Black,” Addy said about his church’s inclusive nature regardless of language or color of skin.
Lenz said it was common for some Jehovah members to use vacation time to go help construct another church building in another area and meet other members.
“It unifies Jehovah brothers, some work, do job, stay at Johnson Lake,” Lenz said.
Lexington residents and local church members Maria Berrio and Maria Rodriguez, estimated that 577 volunteers came to aid in the construction effort throughout the week and said they were “so happy we could cry,” about their new church.
“The Jehovah’s Witness are united, some left their house, job and family,” Berrio said about the volunteers sacrificing to help with the construction.
Although this was her first time helping out a construction effort, Berrio said she is already planning on helping a remodeling effort at a church in Grand Island in the coming months.
“They are like spiritual arks,” Berrio said comparing church buildings to the ark constructed by Noah in the Bible.
“They inspire you to move forward.”