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'Expand your house and they will come'


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POSTED: Saturday, August 01, 2009

For more than a year, Makakilo Baptist Church members have been devoting buckets of sweat, time and money to build a brand-new house of worship and to expand their preschool.

The endeavor was inspired by Isaiah 54:2-3, which says, “;Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home. For you will soon be bursting at the seams.”;

“;The larger the church, the more people can come,”; explains Laurie Burgess, whose family helped three times a week.

The church started outgrowing its facilities soon after it was built 34 years ago in response to the community's needs, said secretary Karen Hockett. Half of the project was aimed for completion on Monday in time for the next session of its popular preschool. This section includes a new nursery and bathroom, and renovating a central covered lanai; it is next to the office and two preschool classrooms, which were retained.

Retiree Daniel Chang, a member since 1977, said, “;Wow! Everybody's pulling together, and look what God has accomplished by going through us. It's a wonderful feeling!”;

Many of the church's 240 members have devoted after-work hours and weekends to the reconstruction, and raised about half the cost of the $1.2 million project, Hockett said.

“;It's just amazing that money keeps coming in from the members”; in spite of the heat of worshipping under a tent and other inconveniences, she added.

Having members do a lot of the inside finishing work saved the church a lot of money, said general contractor Sylvio Boucher, president and owner of Homeworks Construction Inc. The original sanctuary, which held about 100 people, was demolished to make way for the new one. It will be double the size of the old one and should be completed in a month, he said.

Boucher said, “;We had to stop making noise from 12:30 to 2 for the kids' nap time,”; but the preschoolers managed to carry on in the midst of all the pounding. Such delays in construction cause a loss in profit, but “;that's my contribution to this,”; he added.

Chang, Chris Johnson and Gary Hockett put in so many hours coordinating everything that they were dubbed “;The Three Musketeers”; or “;The Three Amigos,”; said Navy reservist Rob Espinosa, whose wife and two teenage daughters also helped. “;Without Chris' instruction, we'd all be lost,”; he added.

“;We are a church family, and our contribution is to get us where we've been wanting to go. ... Expand your house and they will come,”; he said, paraphrasing Isaiah.

“;It's certainly a sacrifice. Everything else is placed on the back burner. ... We just have sore backs sometime, and bruised and scraped knuckles, but this is to glorify the Lord. No one complains. We do it willingly,”; Espinosa added.

Janet Watanabe, after working all day as a preschool aide, would “;do a lot of grouting of the tiles on the floor and in the bathroom. They taught me how. I do anything that needs to be done, even if it's just cleaning up,”; as did dozens of others, she said.

Accompanied by husband Brady Burgess and their son, Laurie Burgess said she learned how to drill holes in cement, cut rebar and grout tile.

“;It's kinda fun. It's neat to learn different things. Most women are afraid to use power tools. But now I think, I can do this! It's empowering,”; she said.