LFC is like `mission work,` say volunteers

When Dave and Nina Lett sold their four-bedroom house in Englewood, Ohlettsnewio, three years ago and moved into a fifth-wheel trailer-home full time, it seemed like the sensible thing to do.
 
“When you’re not at home, you can’t do the maintenance,” explained Dave, 64, a full-time project manager for the Synod’s Laborers For Christ (LFC) program.  (See related story, “Laborers adapts program to make it more useful.”)
 
And besides, who wants to be “tied down” to a big piece of property when you’re retired?
   
Not the Letts, who are working on their ninth LFC building project — turning a 10,000-square-foot building into a church in Lafayette, La. — since joining LFC in 1996.
 
Nina, 65, also is a rostered  Laborer who saws, hammers and “if nothing else, I get a broom in my hand.”
 
“Anybody can do this,” Nina says.  “We weren’t carpenters when we started.”
 
Indeed, Dave Lett was a forensic investigator and Nina was a registered nurse.  Today they work side-by-side with other “second-career” Laborers — former pastors, teachers, police officers, professors and others.
 
Even though Laborers are from all walks of life, they share a common purpose, notes Dave: “We’re all serving the Lord with our hands.”
 
The work is so rewarding, they say, they feel like missionaries.  “We feel the Lord has put us there, with that congregation and with that group of Laborers,” said Dave.
 
It’s not unusual, he said, to hear local electricians or plumbers on the job remark, “You guys never cuss.  You’re always happy.  How do you do that?”  That gives Laborers an opportunity “to explain about our faith,” said Dave, and is a true “missionary moment.”
 
Living and working on site for months, attending Sunday worship with the congregation they are serving, creates bonds, and making friends is an inevitable part of every job.  “That congregation becomes our congregation,” said Dave.
 
“Almost every congregation we’ve been to, there’s been somebody we’ve kept in contact with,” said Nina.  “It’s nice to know that wherever you go, you have brothers and sisters.”
 
For information about serving with Laborers For Christ, or to inquire about LFC services, call (800) 843-5233 or send an e-mail to laborers@lcef.org.
 
On the Web, go to www.lcef.org, click on “Services,” then “Laborers For Christ.”

Posted March 26, 2004

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