Truss Story 2014.

Celebrating Henderson – May 2014
By Jim Knight
The houses that the SOWER group builds at the Henderson
Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky are constructed in 3
sessions of 2 weeks each. The construction volunteers are
contacted early in the year and make an advance
commitment to be part of a team for one week of
effort. The teams arrive on Sunday PM and typically leave
at the end of the day on Friday…or early on Saturday
AM. Staying on schedule with the construction tasks that
need to be completed each week is pretty important to
make the project work.
With that as background…here’s what God showed us in
the first week of construction in 2014:
The framing team that does the first week of construction
arrived as planned on Sunday night. In fact, we had an
unexpected addition to the team …. an accomplished
professional contractor with whom we’ve worked in the
past, but who was not supposed to be able to join us this
year. He had a conversation before Sunday AM services
with another congregant that was coming down, and they
were talking about how busy they both were with their
work, and how difficult it is for construction folks to get
away for a week at this time of year. The gentleman that
was coming down to help with the build said, “Even though
this is a rotten time for me to leave, this is the right thing
to do…it’s more important to me.” Then, the sermon
theme for the week turned out to hit on priorities and
service….end result, the professional contractor that was
not scheduled to come changed his mind during the church
service and made arrangements to join us.
The work for the week started off very well…the
foundation was properly done, the pre work for the team’s
arrival went as planned, and we were making great
progress Monday and Tuesday…with the floor deck
complete and the exterior walls sheathed with OSB and
erected. About 3 PM on Tuesday, the professional
contractor discovered that the roof trusses we were about
to use were 10 feet too long. There is really nothing that
can be done to modify engineered roof trusses to adjust
their length and make them work. He said to the rest of
the team, “We are in real trouble...these will have to be
replaced with a new set of trusses, and the lead time to
order and deliver trusses runs in the range of 6 to 8
weeks!” Not only were we looking at losing the ability to
use the volunteer team already on site…it appeared that
the following week’s team would have to be called
off. The second week folks did not have the required
framing abilities to catch up….and the lost time (we could
not sheath and begin the roof) could never be made
up. Needless to say, that evening with the team was pretty
gloomy. However, one thing we have consistently seen
AND MAKES IT WORK. I said to the team, “I don’t know
how He will fix this, but it is going to be really fun to watch
what He does. He WILL fix this!”
The truss company was contacted that night…but too late
to reach anyone in production. We’d have to wait to the
following day to see what could be done. The next
morning, we reached the truss company’s production
manager who took responsibility for the mistaken delivery
and listened to our situation. She said that there was
already a run of trusses in production, and the earliest she
could send us a replacement set of trusses would be 3PM
on Thursday. There was a LOT of skepticism within the
team that this would happen, even as miraculous as it
would be to receive the replacements in about 2 days
rather than 6-8 weeks. AND, how would we ever get the
trusses set and sheathed in time, as we were losing almost
2 days from our 5 day build schedule! Oh…and guess
what….bad weather was moving in, it was forecast that we
should be expecting heavy rain beginning Friday AM. I said
to the team, “I don’t know how He will fix this, but it going
to be really fun to watch what He does. Trust Him, He will
fix this!”
Well…the trusses arrived at 3:11 PM on Thursday…just off
of the promised timing. They were unloaded and on the
ground by 3:59 PM. By 4:25 PM, we had the two end
trusses for the house installed and braced. The team had
agreed that we would work through the normal dinner
period, because with the weather coming on Friday, who
knew if we’d be able to work. By 8:00 PM, all of the
trusses had been set, and half of the roof had been
sheathed with OSB. This is tremendously quicker than
we’ve ever been able to do this work in the past…..and it
simply would not have been possible without the presence
of the professional contractor that God had provided at
the very last minute!
Thursday night, as I was thinking about all that had taken
place thus far, I became convinced that God was going to
hold the rain scheduled for Friday until 1 PM. As we were
eating breakfast, I told the team that we would need to
work fast, that the rain would be coming at 1 PM. The sky
looked bad as we were leaving for the work site, and the
wind was kicking up. Part of the team managed to get the
other half of the roof sheathed as the rest of us were
fastening down the roof felt (tar paper) that kept wanting
to blow off the building as we worked to get it down. We
managed to get the roof covered by 11:59 AM. The last
task required of the first week team was to get the shingles
needed in week 2 moved up to the roof. The call went out
for us to come down for lunch, but I said, “I am certain that
God will be giving us rain at 1 PM…let’s keep at it for
another hour and see if we can’t get this done.” The last
bundle of shingles went up on the roof and the team
climbed down the ladder at 12:50 PM.
We were complete! Something that should not have been
possible had been made possible by God. The folks on the
team KNEW IT! The professional contractors among the
group KNEW IT! Most of the volunteers packed up and left
the site at this point, because our mission for the week was
complete. At 1:11 PM God gave us rain, in torrents. I sat
down inside the house, and had a sandwich thinking “how
can you not believe?”