Purpose & Bios
Robert L. Miller, Sr. Veteran's Center
The Last Salute
Garden of Peace
Export MV Chapters
Granger Community Church
Remodeling Labor and Skills
I'm Rob Wegner. My official title is Pastor of Life Mission at Granger Community Church. My role is to help people get out of their seat and get into God's story, especially outside the four walls of the church building. I spend my time teaching, building teams and creating opportunities to mobilize people so that "up there" comes "down here." I love forging partnerships in our community and around the world to get that done. We're dreaming huge dreams about slaying the giants of our time - things like spiritual lostness, poverty, sickness, injustice, illiteracy...you get the idea. I get to do what I'm passionate about.
Let me tell you a fascinating Story.
On Monday morning, July 20, 2009, a unique (possibly singular). meeting, which I shall forever remember as "Historical," took place at 747 S. Michigan St. in South Bend, Present, besides myself representing Miller's Vets, was Steve Camilleri, Executive Director of the Center for the Homeless, and Chris Elmerick, our newly retained Construction Manager, Kevin and Aimee Bucceallato, our excellent Architects, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Swanson from whom we had obtained an Option to Purchase (which we have exercised) and his grandson Garrett, who currently operates their printing business, and three Leaders of EnterMission,Inc. a subsidiary of of Granger Community Church, Maribeth Roncz, Jack Magruder, and John Keim. The purpose of that meeting was to familiarize every body with the building in general, the modifications and renovations which would be required to facilitate the future home of Miller's Vets (homeless veterans of this area who have served their country). Only the day before, Steve had told me that the Church Group had the ability to furnish lots of construction workers, all pro bono. I had never heard of them, and had absolutely no idea of the potential impact they were about to have on the future of our Veterans program.
About the first thing I noticed was Maribeth giving a big HUG to all that she apparently knew, as they came into the building. Not being known as bashful, I asked if she was going to leave me out? No way. She whirled around and I got a big HUG. I think I was so surprised, that I forgot to hug her back-but that comes later in my story.
Following an extended time for touring and making notes, Jack observed that this project appeared to be within the parameters of similar work that they had performed, more especially their project at Monroe Circle which he recommended that we visit. I readily agreed, still having no conception of the magnitude of their building talents and performance record.
All of us, except Steve, who had a prior commitment, drove over to Monroe Circle and they could not have described what I saw. They had taken four buildings that should not have still been standing, gutted them, reinforced them, reconstructed them, refurbished and finished and furnished them into a Community Center of simply unbelievable proportions. I still have not found the words that fully describe It. I am simply going to quit trying and suffice It to say, you have got to see It to believe It. Truthfully it was beyond anything I had ever dreamed of for my Veteran's Center.
The tour and the meeting ended with them saying they needed to consult with their superiors and determine if they could, and too what extent they could, assist us. Then followed one of the longest waiting weeks of my life. But then on Monday, July 27 Maribeth sent us a Letter of Intent, which in itself goes beyond the realm of reasonable expectation. I am going to outline it, but with that letter she stated "we are looking forward to participating in this great endeavor. Thanks so much for the opportunity!" That is right, they are Thanking Us for the opportunity.
What kind of earthlings do we have here? They sent a Letter of Intent binding them to do tens of thousands of dollars of work at no cost to us, and they did not include or indicate in any way a place for us to sign. We agree to do NOTHING, while they bind themselves to furnish way over half of all of our required labor. This month I start my 63rd year in the Law Business and I have never seen an open-ended, one-sided, commitment like that in all of those years. About every body who reads the Newspaper in this part of the state, knows that I "kicked the covers" for several nights trying to figure out what I could do for our Homeless Vets. I finally got a notion and I am trying to do something. But I kid you not, I kicked the covers again, trying to figure out how we could accept an offer that had no provision for an acceptance. Thought about hand printing our names somewhere under their signed Letter, writing accepted and signing our names. But obviously that was not needed or expected. Ended up writing as nice of a letter as I could to say thanks, but after I did that, it still seemed redundant.
It has finally dawned on me how those HUGS the first day, said and did it all. My law books never described or made reference to culminating an agreement by a HUG, but those law books never heard about Pastor Rob Wegner and EnterMission leaders Maribeth, Jack and John. I will shout it from the Court House steps and ring a cowbell to get a crowd. We bound it with a HUG.
Summary of Letter of Intent to Partner
EnterMission, Inc.. (As the Construction Division of Granger Community Church), will partner with us for the total renovation of our 747 Project
Expect to supply both skilled and unskilled labor at no cost to the project.
Between 20 and 80 generally unskilled volunteers each month.
Granger Student Ministries (400 strong) will be made available on a semi-ongoing basis to engage defined or targeted projects where beneficial.
MERGE-College age ministry (they were a substantial labor source and portion of the Centers recently completed outstanding Peace Garden).
Construction Team-skilled and semi-skilled volunteers (furnished nearly 70% of the total Labor of a comparable project). Have greater schedule flexibility.
They will be ready as soon as our Architects can complete and deliver the construction plans and drawings.
I submit that everyone with normal levels of "curiosity" would have to wonder where volunteers of this magnitude and proportion come from. What type of catalyst directs such a huge force for good? I've found a clue in some of their literature. It appears that every weekend over 5500 people are exposed to a rather simple outline of their Church's philosophy. It is not long. Actually it is rather simple, but I suggest it is indeed powerful. Would this really motivate thousands of faithful and loyal church members to unselfishly give of themselves the way they have promised to help my Veterans? I report-you decide.
This is Who they Are
"People matter to God. Even if they don’t know it yet. So we’re going to meet them in their comfort zone, with Biblical teaching and messages that deal with their everyday challenges, hopes and heartbreaks. And we’re going to communicate using ways in ways they can relate–movies, books, music, media and drama. Because we believe God is present in all things, at all times. You just have to open your eyes."
And then when Maribeth, Jack and John, told us after our tour of their Monroe Circle Community Project, that they would have to report back to their superiors for review, evaluation and decision, little did I know that it was EnterMission Pastor Rob Wegner whose picture and Bio leads off this article. I want you to take another look at his bio. Read this part one more time. "I spend my time teaching, building teams and creating opportunities to mobilize people so that "up there" comes "down here."
You read it right: so that "up there" comes "down here." I never heard of that before. I don't know if he can do that. I don't know if anybody can do that. But this I say. When he gets through remodeling and refurbishing our building for Homeless Veterans, sometime before the December blizzards come, I have absolutely no doubt that the first veteran that comes in from under a bridge, to a warm cot, a hot meal and a shower, surrounded by fellow vets who have been there and done that, I can guarantee that vet will be totally convinced, that some very good people had brought something from "up there" to "down here."
Thanks, Pastor Rob, from all of us. You have one giant bear Hug coming.
Robert L. Miller, Sr.
Coordinator, 747 Project
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