Unsung Hero: Alabama Church Builders

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By Ashley Smith
By Josue

SESSER --  A Franklin County church will be able to start services in a new building much sooner thanks to volunteers from Alabama.

"Sometimes I wanted to shout, and a time or two I did, because it was so wonderful," said building committee member Larry Manker.

Manker is shouting with joy after seeing the work a christian building group completed at the future Eternal Friends in Christ Church.

"I have shouted proudly in places, jumped with joy and I just can't imagine how you can feel when something like this happens," said Larry, "Something that seemed impossible."

The Franklin County Baptist Church Building Association spent several days working on the interior of the new building in Sesser. The group chooses one project a summer, anywhere in the country, to help with the construction of a new church. That saves thousands of dollars in labor alone.

"We were just blown away by the amount of work they had done. They exceeded our expectations," said Pastor Joe Kelly, "Because we didn't really know what to expect. They had all of the interior done that we expected the whole week to take and they had it done in two days."

Kelly says he took time off of work expecting the group to be busy all week. He was happily surprised when they finished well ahead of schedule.

"They didn't just stand around, they were always going, going, going and like I said they're like a well oiled machine," remembered Joe.

In addition to all of the framework and roofing the builders completed, they also built a stage for the congregation. "That stage is wonderful! It's solid as a rock, you could jump up and down on it and we'll probably do some jumping," jokes Larry.

Most of the volunteers were from Alabama, but others traveled from the east coast. They arrived as strangers but are now friends.

"I shook hands with every one of them when we had our service and our other people did and we said 'we thank you,' and they said 'no we thank you, we're blessed by being here.'", said Joe, "They're just glad to come somewhere and make a difference."

"We can not express our gratitude strong enough and our appreciation for what they did for us," said Larry, "And it was more than just what they built. We have made friends and they have filled our lives with love."

Now that the construction is mostly done, crews will begin working on the electricity, plumbing, and more. The church hopes to begin services here at the end of summer.

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