by Doug White
PLUMMER, Idaho, - May 5, 2016 - On March 17, sixteen students from Skagit Adventist Academy sacrificed their spring break to go to the remote town of Plummer, Idaho, to work on their new church, conduct a VBS and basketball camp, and build some raised gardens for students in the tribal school.
The group was amused when the pastor’s wife admitted that she was unaware of where Skagit, Wash., was because until they arrived, they were clueless as to where Plummer, Idaho, was. There was quite a bit of apprehension in the mind of Doug White, principal of SAA, because it was his first time planning a domestic mission trip. Although the challenges of international travel were not a concern, there was a big question as to whether or not there would be enough meaningful work.
The primary job was to hang sheet rock in the new church, but upon our arrival on the job site we could see there were going to be a variety of other tasks that would keep us very busy for the short ten days we would be there. A truck load of gravel that needed to be hand shoveled into the entryway was the first surprise task. After completing that task, a second truck load was delivered the next work day. A special answer to prayer was the late addition of Rick Wesley and his son Gabriel to our mission group. Rick is a master metal craftsman and has taught his son to be a very competent welder. With their expertise they were able to design and fabricate the supports for the log structures at the entry to the church, and those that would be used in the inside and outside of the church to give it the look and feel of a Native American longhouse. Although it wasn’t the most appealing job on the worksite, students spent hours hand-planing the logs in preparation for their installation.
Besides the work on the church there were plans to build 12 raised block gardens for the students in the tribal school. To our surprise we had some days with some snow, wind and rain which limited us to getting only half of the gardens done. The school was excited to see what we accomplished which gave them some encouragement to complete the rest in our absence.
Because we ran our VBS (grades K-4) and our Basketball Camp (grades 5-8) at the same time right after school dismissal, students had decided ahead of time what they were going to be involved in. We had prepared and purchased 50 basketballs for the camp and enough materials for 50 children in VBS. Although we didn’t come close to those numbers, I think you could ask any one of the students and they would tell you the Lord truly blessed them with the smaller, manageable number of students who showed up. Most of the students who attended also came and spent many evening hours with SAA students in the longhouse accommodations.
The people of the Living Hope SDA Church in Plummer have been working on their new church for the past three years. They shared with us during a church service how their efforts to build their church debt free had been the result of many answered prayers, our group being one of them. It was encouraging and very inspiring to hear that the efforts we made to help the church in Plummer were a direct answer to prayer. As we left the church work site for the last time, we gathered together for a prayer of dedication for the work we had accomplished. Junior Anthony Burger was grateful for his experience in Plummer. He said, “Not only did we help build a church and do things with the kids, but we also impacted the kids’ lives.” We truly had a sense of accomplishment and were grateful for the opportunity we had to serve in the Plummer community. We trust our work there will help them be able to move into their new church in the near future and be a beacon of Christ’s love and hope in their community.