San Marcos Members Burn Mortgage, Celebrate Thanksgiving in February
Members of the San Marcos church, in the North County of San Diego, celebrated the miracles of God’s grace on Feb. 21. After four months of concerted prayer and work, from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, they were able to raise $230,000 and pay off their church mortgage.
Three officers represented Southeastern California Conference at the Sabbath celebration: Gerald Penick, president, who reminded the members that the church is not a building, but a community of believers filled with Jesus’ love and willing to share it; Sandra Roberts, executive secretary; and Thomas Staples, treasurer.
Former pastors Armour Potter, John Anderson and Will James also joined in the celebration.
During the afternoon mortgage-burning ceremony, the members recounted the blessings of God. First, speakers reminisced about buying the property, which had been hopelessly tied up in litigation for years and encumbered by many liens.
The second set of miracle stories concerned the building. It was discovered that the site could not be built on until large masses of useless fill were removed and 250,000 tons of soil were purchased and compacted. Will James, Ralph Gerado and Emilio Lopez prayed earnestly one morning for God to provide soil for them. To their great joy, about an hour later a large truck came by, and the driver asked them if they needed soil. At no cost to the church, 250 truckloads of soil were delivered to the site.
The first phase of construction was a large multipurpose building for worship and Sabbath school classes. The building was to be made of ECO-Block insulating concrete forms. Volunteer site contractor and building site manager John Anderson had no experience in this type of construction, but by God’s grace he went forward, learning as he went. He, the new pastor, Basil Bell, and a host of volunteers built the building and landscaped it over a two-year period.
The third miracle was paying off the mortgage. Marvin Beddoe, chair of the building program and head elder, said, “I was skeptical that our little church could pay off the mortgage in the short time suggested by Pastor Bell, but under God’s grace and as a miracle of His love, we did it.”
Every member of the church participated in the paying-off process, showing what God can do when donors of small and large gifts work together for the Lord.
Grace Bell raised more than $350 selling scarves her mother had made. Evelyn Ayala brought in about $400 auctioning quilts she had made. Kimberly Berry sold designer clothes on the Internet and raised more than $500. Sharon Rexinger sold handbags. Terry Wegand brought in hundreds of dollars by hosting a tea, conducting a silent auction and auctioning off homemade desserts.
Ellen Murdick, who asked God to help her stretch her retirement checks, turned in more than $1,700. Beverly Dumbeck solicited a donation of $1,000, while Mel Krause received a $25,000 donation. A man who sold property gave the church $26,900. A few major donors, who declined to be named, contributed matching funds, and the task was done by God’s grace.
Donna Stilson, church treasurer, said, “My faith was stretched and strengthened throughout these months as I have seen what God has done.”
San Marcos members look forward to working hard in the community to share their faith, stabilize their financial situation and embark on building their sanctuary.