“Hi, could I talk with the owner?” It’s early on a Tuesday morning in March. I respond, “Uhh, our ownership is comprised of about 60 households… I’m not sure how you could easily reach them all.” So the voice on the other line responds: “Well, this is Jay with the state department of public safety – I’m a fire marshal. I found your building online and would like to come take a look at it. You rent it out to guests, right?” Me: “Yes, we do. Sure, I guess you can come look at it.” Him: “OK, how about Monday morning next week. 9:30 OK?” Me, looking at my calendar, noticing I’m in the office Monday morning, but not sure I should say yes… thinking that maybe I should just hang up the phone for fear of what would happen Monday morning when Jay comes to visit: “Uhh, sure. Yea, 9:30 on Monday is fine.” Him: “OK, thanks. See you then.” Click goes the phone. Gulp goes me. I think, is this OK? What’s going to happen?
Next week comes. The fire marshal comes to do an inspection on the BBC Cabin (Bruce and Jay). We talk for about a half hour about the various fire hazards in the building. They leave with concern about the safety of the building. I leave with a report showing 8 violations of the life safety code and a temporary occupancy permit. Gulp!
I first get frustrated. Then scared; nervous; concerned. After a little reflection, I feel calm. I begin to sense God’s spirit near. I remember what good has come in my life during times of challenge, struggle, correction, outside direction. I wrote a note on the camp’s Facebook page. I wrote a blog post. I wrote an email. Within two days, people were asking about the situation, offering help and supplies and all sorts of things. I was surprised and amazed at the immediacy and generosity! And it continues – AM Goshow and Son have donated windows. Goodro Lumber is offering discounted materials. Robert Buchan (Architect) and Paul Derksen (Turning Leaf Housewrights) are doing lots of work on the project for deeply discounted rates. A camper gave $10. First Congregational Church of Woodstock gave $23,500. Dave Beidler, Andrew Moyer, Matt Harootunian, Mike Horst and others are giving generously of their time. Bergey’s Electric is coming to install the smoke detection system (free of charge) under the supervision of Mike Bryan (electrician). It’s like the early church in Acts… so that no part of camp had need (Acts 4:32-37).
If you’d like to help, there are various ways to do so – we still have the second phase of this work to pay for. If you’re a carpenter or have experience with building trades, come work! We’re working the last two weeks of May (21 – June 1), each day. We need 2-4 people each of those days. We expect to begin work on an addition in August that will gain us permanent occupancy (you could call or email for specific dates in June or July). The fire marshal is working with us and has set limits we must meet before we are able to use the building for summer program and then some additional things we need to do to make it even safer. We’re so thankful for the understanding and kindness Bruce and Jay and their office have shown us and their understanding of both our need to make the building safer as well as our need to do it in a manner that saves money by including volunteers.
If you’d like to read more about the ongoing work and issues, click here for the relevant posts.