By Sheila Morgan
His grandson is the reason Ted Wammack, 76, went on his first-ever missions trip in June.
What he and his family had tried to do for years to help his grandson navigate life, now 32, God did in a matter of days, Wammack told The Baptist Paper.
“I wanted to thank God,” Wammack said. “I knew I needed to be more involved in His work.
“I’m an old guy, and I see what kids today are struggling with,” the retired layman continued. “The Lord is the one who can save lives, and we’re His team. We’re to do His work.”
Wammack, a member of Grace Life Baptist Church, Bessemer, served for a week in late June as part of the Central Alabama Christian Builders team that, with partners, constructed a 46 x 60-foot chapel for Montana Indian Ministries on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in north-central Montana.
35 years of construction ministry
CACB is a nonprofit group founded in 1986 by Johnye Horton, a member of Grace Life. The group has completed some 80 construction projects since 1986, Horton told The Baptist Paper, and this was at least the eighth time CACB worked on the 40-acre Montana site. It was donated 14 years ago by the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation to tribal resident Bruce Plummer as a camp for young people.
“We do one to three projects a year at churches and church camps, anything where the gospel is preached,” Horton said. “We don’t cost the churches [or camps] anything.
“A lot of the churches in the West are small,” he continued. “In 36 years, we’ve never made a commitment we didn’t keep.”
Horton started CACB when his sons were four and eight as a family-oriented ministry, he said. Construction workers’ wives do the cooking — at the church, other venues or outdoors, depending on the situation — and the children either participate in missions activities or help on the job site with age-appropriate chores.
While the volunteers provide their own funding, CACB accepts donations that are used to purchase items that go in the ministry’s “tool trailer.” This year, for example, the motor on a table saw burnt up “fortunately near the end of the job,” Horton said. It will be replaced upon their return to Alabama. Other equipment in the trailer includes power- and hand-tools, ladders, an air compressor and scaffolding. It was used this year to put drywall on the ceiling and mud-and-tape the walls and ceiling of the nearly square room turned — Native American-style — into a nearly round room by the addition in each corner of triangular storage areas.
In previous years CACB built some of the 14 cabins and outbuildings at MIM. The project this year was to construct the chapel from the concrete slab up, which involved 17 construction volunteers — three “skilled” — working 10 or more hours each day despite near 100-degree temperatures.
First, they built the frame out of 2 x 4s, raised the walls and set 30 roof trusses atop the frame. Electrical came next, then insulation and 159 sheets of drywall that were taped and mudded for a smooth surface. By Thursday, four windows, two double-doors and four interior doors were installed, and the property cleaned up.
Prepped and ready for next team
“We leave the grounds free of trash and debris for the next crew to get off the ground running,” said Bob Seamon, a member of Church at The Mill, Moore, South Carolina, one of seven construction workers from that church. “We do this for the grace of God.”
The next teams will tape, prime and paint the drywall, add trim to doors and windows, and install electrical fixtures. The last steps include metal roofing and siding to match the chapel with the rest of the building, constructed two years ago, which consists of an oversized kitchen and two restrooms.
The Alabama builders team also plans to complete a church building on Grace Life Church’s new property at Shadow Lake.
To find out how to request assistance from a CACB team or for more information on the team, visit cacbuilders.com.