Days of service: Church congregation pitches in for communities

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Members of Freshwater Church performed weekend service projects in local communities. (Submitted photo)

On Aug. 9, Freshwater Church cancelled all its weekend services at both of their facilities to serve in the community. More than 600 volunteers, from all age groups, were mobilized to serve on teams in Waconia, St. Bonifacius, Watertown, and Mayer.
Freshwater people volunteered their time, talents and even money to ensure that the event was a success.
“Freshwater is a church that wants to make an impact on our communities, so that’s what we did. People signed up for 19 different projects then worked on them from about 8-12 on Sunday instead of going to church. It was so cool to see everyone working side by side,” said BJ Shelly, the Waconia Campus Pastor who organized the church-wide event.
Shelly said there are plans to repeat the event in the future.
“Absolutely! We had a blast blessing others and plan on doing even more projects with more volunteers next year,” Shelly said.
The church did not charge for any of the services they provided. Volunteers brought their own supplies, purchased items, and even donated many of them to those they served.
“Freshwater donated over 2,400 labor hours to the community because we love people and that’s what Jesus wants us to do,” said. Lead Pastor John Braland.
The Waconia teams painted classrooms at Southview Elementary, cleaned the boards at the hockey arena, picked up trash and pulled weeds in multiple city parks.
One team served at the Lighthouse spending time with the senior residents, as well as making sandwiches with them that would later be handed out to the homeless in Minneapolis. In just over an hour the team of 50 and the Lighthouse residents made over 2,400 sandwiches.
Three teams were dispatched to Mayer. One team landscaped at City Hall adding new mulch and pulling weeds. Another team worked on a private residence, located north of town in an area devastated by the recent tornado, cutting down trees, and tearing down an out building.
“We didn’t know who the people were; we just heard they needed help so we helped,” said Tammy Johnson, who helped at the tornado-stricken residence. “It was great to serve with my husband and kids. I hope we do it again next year.”
A third team in the area worked at Hope Rides, an organization dedicated to providing therapy to people using horses. They mended fences, painted several houses and a chicken coop.
The teams in St. Bonifacius and Watertown were responsible for cleaning up parks, pulling weeds, and removing brush. The three teams serving in St. Bonifacius all met at the fire station when they finished cleaning the parks to wash the fire trucks. The kids enjoyed seeing the fire trucks and thanked Fire Chief Shane Webber for his service to the community.
Freshwater is a multisite church with campuses in St. Bonifacius and Waconia. They are committed to investing in the community through serving, caring, and encouraging people to live for Christ.