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Bed Building Bonanza in West Michigan


What began as a group of retired men meeting for Bible study and maintenance of the Covenant Life Christian Reformed Church building in Grand Haven, Mich., turned into a workshop and trailer full of tools to build beds for people in their community.

The men call themselves SWAT (Servants With Appropriate Tools).

When the local Rescue Mission in nearby Muskegon heard about their ministry, it asked them to consider building beds for expansion of the mission’s emergency-shelter program. Bob Parker, leader of the project, estimated that it would take three weeks to complete the beds.

Then the surprises began. Two men whose children received beds made by SWAT volunteered to help. Seven men in the Rescue Mission’s recovery program also volunteered. A man from a church in Grandville brought over a group of teenagers to help out.

Two weeks and 440 volunteer hours later, Parker and his team of more than 40 volunteers delivered 68 completed beds, assembling them at the mission.

“There was a real sense of joy,” said Parker of the project. “As the lumber disappeared and sawdust built up, it was very clear that God’s Spirit was with us. It was evident from the high energy levels and the smiles on the faces of everyone operating saws, drills, routers, sanders, and staining tools.”

The group took their basic bunk-bed design for children and redesigned it for men, which included a taller bed and privacy panels.

“This ministry with woodworking has created a great deal of energy as we continue to find ways to impact our community,” said the church’s senior pastor, Rev. Bruce Ballast. “Hearing about it could help other churches think outside the box.”

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