Extreme makeover, Jehovah’s Witness edition
Jehovah’s Witnesses volunteers descended upon Osburn this weekend, drawing helpers from across the state of Idaho to rebuild the local Kingdom Hall.
“It will virtually be a new building,” said Robert Bower, a volunteer working in the information services department of the well-organized, large operation that aims to be done in a week’s time.
Besides Bower’s department, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have set up a mini-city of their own across from the construction site — serving three meals a day to its volunteers who are staying in RVs, tents, with friends or in local hotels.
“We try to support the community we’re in as much as possible,” Bower said.
Through the purchasing department, the volunteers have reached out to companies like Kellogg Lumber, True Value in Wallace and the Zanetti Brothers in Osburn, among others, for materials and other extra necessities as the week goes on.
The Kingdom Hall, which was built in 1961, will have a brand new roof, improvements to handicap accessibility and a new covered entranceway on the north side of the building.
There will be several improvements made on the building’s outdated interior space, including a new sound system with roving microphones for members to speak into during services. And for those hard of hearing, they can plug-in to hear the service better.
Nelson Morris, who is a brother with the Osburn Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation, says the church has been talking about this construction for nearly 12 years.
Three years ago, the Osburn church was transferred into the Idaho Regional Building Committee, speeding along the construction process.
“The RBC spearheads the project,” Morris said. “It’s kind of like a wish list — we tell them what we want and they turn that into a plan with an affordable budget,” he said.
Most of the money for the project was raised by the Osburn congregation, according to Bower.
Morris added that the church had to get permits through the city of Osburn before construction started and every time a small project is completed on the building this week, a city inspector comes to approve it.
“The city has worked marvelously with us,” Morris said. “The neighbors have been very supportive.”
Both Morris and Bower said if this project was contracted out, it would take at least one or two months to finish. The efficiency of the Jehovah’s Witnesses volunteers, though, is an impressive display of organization.
Volunteers are trained by a safety team and sign up for a wide array of departments like carpentry, plumbing, electrical, dry walling, carpeting, and even cabinet making.
The project will be 95 percent completed by Sunday when the congregation will hold a bible discussion.
The RBC recently completed work on the Pinehurst Jehovah’s Witness church in May, which Bower admitted was a much smaller project.
The Regional Building Committee has plans to work on 46 more Kingdom Halls throughout Idaho.
“It’s very emotional to members of the congregation,” Morris said. “It’s not a reality until people are on site working. And to think about all the people you see here with the traveling expenses, it’s emotional.”