In February 2012 I went to Bluefield, WV to visit my old circuit overseer and his wife (Ed & Erin Baumgartner). It was a very snowy weekend, so we spent it just talking and sharing encouraging conversation. During that time Ed asked if I still had a desire to serve where the need was great, and if so, did I have a place in mind. I answered that I most definitely still wanted to and that I was open to suggestions, though I love the beach and the mountains. So Ed recommended Phelps, KY and to come for his visit there in May 2012. So I made plans to go for a week in May. Those plans involved quitting my job I'd had for over 5 years because they weren't going to let me have off to go to Phelps for a week. I quit my job and didn't have another one lined up just yet, and that made me nervous! But I felt like Jehovah was directing me to come here and at least check it out.
Well, May 2012 rolls around and I made the journey to Phelps, not knowing what to expect. I had heard so much good about the congregation, like how they were involved in the ministry, and had a loving family atmosphere. Needless to say, I loved the week. The congregation truly lived up to what I'd heard and I really bonded with some in the congregation. I started thinking hard about making a permanent change. So I made arrangements to come back in August 2012 for a month to see if I could work out a place to live and a job and if I could handle being here on my own. The congregation didn't think I was all that serious about moving and some thought I wouldn't come back after May, but I surprised them when I stuck to my plan and did.
Before I came back down in August I said a vert specific prayer to Jehovah(just like Sister B and Lori taught me). I wanted to know without a doubt what I was supposed to do. Let me tell you what I prayed for: I asked that Jehovah make me clearly see where I was supposed to be and I prayed for certain criteria. I prayed to find a place to live in Kentucky, close to 2 elder's families in the hall, but I wanted to live on my own and have cheap rent, THEN, I prayed that in addition to all of the above, I wanted to live on Smith Fork Rd, yes I prayed right down to the street I wanted to live on! And I didn't tell anybody at all about my prayer.
So August comes, and I said a tearful goodbye to my Dad and friends for a month, the longest I'd ever been away from home. I get down to Phelps and on the 3rd day I was here we went to feed the Pioneer School (3hrs away). I get in the car and a fellow pioneer sister, out of the blue says that she and her husband had a property that they would like to offer me to live on. The original home on it had burned down and all that was left was a single story garage. They offered to renovate the garage into a studio apartment for me and that I could live there RENT FREE! Can you guess where this place was? Yes, it was in Kentucky, near the two families I wanted to be by, oh AND it was on Smith Fork Road!!! Needless to say, I was very shocked and a bit freaked out and I started crying. The sister could tell I was shocked, and she didn't want to put pressure on me to move, but they wanted to offer this to me. All of this occurred on the 3rd day I was down here in August, WOW! So I felt like I got my answer almost right away. Let me show you what the garage looked like in August 2012. I never imagined it would come as far as it has.
I don't know if you can tell but the grass in the backyard was over 6ft tall! The brother who owns the property bushwhacked it all down with a machete, after we about killed a lawnmower trying to cut it. So we had a nearby brother who specializes in construction come check out the place to see what it would cost to remodel. He came up with the figure $5,000. I was blown away, all I could think was that was a lot of money for this couple, who pioneer and don't have much. So I prayed again about what I could contribute. I came up with a sum of money I could contribute and went to the brother who owned the property. I told him that I wanted to give money for the project, and his reply was "Absolutely not!" By this time two members of the congregation offered to pay for the renovation, and other members of the congregation volunteered their time and labor. Needless to say I was shocked again. The congregation has been so excited about me moving, that they really have put themselves out to make it possible for me to be here. It has become like a little RBC project, we have some sisters that enjoy feeding and many come to visit the cottage project. We are now nearing the end of the project. I painted on Friday and expect to do more painting tomorrow. The electric just got hooked up last week and the plumbing is almost done and then the water can get hooked up. Last but not least, the flooring will then be installed and then I can take over decorating and making it homey.
So let me show you some photos of our progress! I'll try to do them in order and explain a little of what you see.
This was taken of the front of the cottage after the garage door was removed and replaced with windows, doors and the beginnings of a chimney.
A local sister Barbara cleaning the walls. I stayed with her in May and for the month of August.
This is Lorraine our rock wall specialist! Here she is building the hearth for my wood stove.
This is Donna Kay, the sister who I work for. Here she is rocking the exterior of the chimney.
Here I am getting my first rocking lesson from Lorraine. We rocked the walls around the wood stove.
This is a little glimpse of the backyard of my cottage. Hopefully I'll be able to add some windows on the side wall later on.
This is the front of the cottage after it was finished being rocked and the chimney is finished being rocked.
This is Danny, our construction extraordinaire! He and another brother Bill are responsible for all the electrical and plumbing work that has been done! We couldn't do it with out them. Here he was screwing the pipes together for the wood stove.
This is the back half of the cottage. That counter you see there is the old literature counter from the Kingdom Hall. The room on the left will be my bathroom/utility room.
This picture was taken this past Tuesday 2/12/13, its when we got the electric hooked up and I excitedly turned on all the lights!!!
This is Rachelle rocking the front of the counter. It's all done now, I just don't have a finished picture yet. It goes very nicely with the rock around the wood stove.
This is the finished wood stove and the two colors my place will be!
This is Johnny on the left and Bill on the right. Johnny and Rachelle own the property and Bill is an excellent electrician.
Here's Molly painting the front wall with me.
Well that's all I can think of for now, I'll put more pictures up of the cottage when we finish in a couple weeks. I've got to go work in our little hillbilly diner now. I hope to put another post up soon about service! Hope everybody is doing well!!!