Raising the Walls — Sierra Barn Construction

Recently I have been going up to Gracepoint Fellowship Church’s property in the Sierras to help with the construction of our new retreat/camp site. I wanted to give everyone an update, as well as a feel for the work, so here’s an excerpt that I wrote up for “Life at Gracepoint,” a section of our church website that highlights the core values of our church. Feel free to check out the other entries there as well!!


“In the book of Nehemiah (from the Bible that is), the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and its gates were destroyed by fire. Filled with anguish over the city, Nehemiah rallied the people to overcome their fears and doubts and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 short days. The process included all the people, men and women, rich and poor, nobles and peasants, working side by side, building by day and defending the city by night, in order to complete the project. And this picture of unity, shared vision, and personal sacrifice for the honor of God has been the paradigm for which the church has been called to imitate throughout history.

We're carrying the walls into place on the first floor

Day 1: We're carrying the walls into place on the first floor

And while I would never claim to know exactly how the people felt when they accomplished this tremendous task, I think God gives us hints of such things when we come together as a church to work toward a single goal that requires self denial. I have felt this way when involved with reaching out to the Berkeley campus, I have tasted this through our ImpACT program, and I have experienced this through compassion ministries. But recently, I felt this way in an unlikely place while engaged in an unlikely task: the building of our Sierra “Barn” walls!

All the tools were laid out on 7 tables and throughout the floor!!

All the tools were laid out on 7 tables and throughout the floor!!

While we completed the construction of our Sierra lodge last year, which has hosted numerous retreats, ministry outings, fellowship times, and bible teacher training sessions, the need to build another structure that could hold 150-200 people for a retreat was clear. After much prep work had been put in by Pastor Jonathan, of our Waypoint Church in Davis, Pastor Ed, and others, the call went out for some brothers to strap on utility work belts, wield hammers, load nail guns, and handle power tools.

After a few emails detailing the work, all the full-time staff at our church, some of the unemployed brothers, and guys who sacrificed vacation days at work, droved 3 hours to our beautiful land in the Sierras to build what we coined the “Barn”. Not to be outdone by the brothers, an army of sisters, headed by Kelly and the full-time sister staff, went to the house to prepare meals for us and develop small group materials for our entire church!! Everyone worked 10-12 hour days, starting with DT in the morning, breaking for a delicious home-cooked lunch, and ending after dark with dinner.

Finishing up the first floor by lifting in place a 800lb wood beam with our Gradall fork lift.

Day 2: Finishing up the first floor by lifting in place a 800lb wood beam with our Grad-all fork lift.

Our final wall!! What a sense of accomplishment and joy!!

Day 3: Our final full-sized wall!! What a sense of accomplishment and joy!!

After each day, all the guys were a bit more tanned, a lot more sore, and a whole lot more joyful as we saw the walls going up and the floor being laid. At the end of 4 full days of work and some additional help from our praxis department, we had the entire frame of the large house erected and ready for the roofers to come in. But more than a sense of accomplishment, we experienced bonding between everyone who worked tirelessly and gave it there all with the vision that this house would one day be a place of joy, laughter, some crying, and important decisions for many people at our church.

As we hope to complete the barn by December, I’m thankful to have been part of the crew that could raise the walls on this barn. We will all have memories of how this house was built many times faster, and with a bit fewer mistakes, than our last house. It is so true that when the church comes together and people are willing to sacrifice for the sake of a shared vision, we can do great things!”

How much gatorade is produced after 1 day of work? Just look at the trashcan.

Day 4: How much gatorade is consumed after 1 day of work? Just look at the trashcan.


9 Responses to “Raising the Walls — Sierra Barn Construction”

  1. 1 robertkim
    September 30, 2008 at 2:23 am

    haha the long awaited post on the barn is here!
    Man, that’s really nice that so many people volunteered and took time off of work to erect the walls and such. I can’t wait to go there!

  2. 2 robertkim
    September 30, 2008 at 2:23 am

    of course to help build >>
    not just selfishly enjoy all the labor of others 😀

  3. 3 andy
    September 30, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I forgot to mention that this construction is what inspired the “Sierra Lodge” table during the Gracepoint Open House this past Sunday. It was the reason why we had the hammering competition and all the tools, blueprint, and picture board there.

    Hey, who actually tried the hammering from our group? Any brave souls?

  4. 4 Michelle
    September 30, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I agree with Andy’s sentiments of how there is so much bonding and memory making while working together on the barn or any other great project. Last year when Sierra Lodge was still under construction some of my peers and I went up to help paint the patio deck– it was a really fun and memorable experience!
    I am looking forward to checking out the Sierra Barn the next time we go up there– thanks for all the hard work!!

  5. 5 Mr. Tran
    September 30, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Wow! I didn’t know there was a Sierra Lodge table at the Gracepoint Fellowship Church Open House! I was manning the ImpACT table the whole time and must’ve missed it. One of my favorite parts of the Sierra Barn trip was being able to work with Andy once again. I have very fond memories being in Andy’s small group as a college senior, then at Impact for 2006 and 2008, and just recently at this trip. Andy’s encouragement helped me to work hard, learn new things, and have lots of fun!

    I think I must’ve had a dozen or two of those gatorade bottles. I’m not into sweet drinks, but it was pretty dang hot up there!

  6. 6 cjko
    October 1, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I hope you recycled all those bottles…

  7. 7 andy
    October 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Yup! We did recycle. That’s why all the bottles were in their own trashcan. haha.

  8. 8 Lin Ni
    October 1, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    amazing…. (and I don’t mean the gatorade)

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