Friday, June 22, 2012

How Many Lutheran's Does it Take to Fix a Mower?

The new DCE intern, Ryan has taken no time at all to jump in with both feet and dig in to all that Our Redeemer Lutheran Church can throw at him. Today Ryan helped out as we sorted out all the necessary supplies for each day of VBS.

We made piles labeled "Day 1", "Day 2" etc. and placed all the items in their corresponding places. Dice, rubber bands, buckets, and crayons all the necessities to preach, teach, and connect the kids who will walk through the doors to Jesus.

Each year a group from the Alaska Mission For Christ (AMC) comes to help lead our VBS. This year we have a crew coming up from Peoria Illinois. With VBS starting on Monday the first of the group arrived today. I received a phone call from Dave that he was hanging out at the hotel in Eagle River and asked if he could help with any VBS prep. Of course, I would not turn down the offer. He told me that he did not have a car and would need a ride. I told him that I would send Ryan.

I hung up the phone and Ryan asked "So who am I picking up and where am I going?" What a trooper! Ryan picked up Dave. Once back at church we all got to work. Dave painted our newly built puppet stage, and Ryan and I continued sorting the supplies.

Lunch time rolled around and Dave needed a ride to the Anchorage airport to meet another one of the Illinois group. Ryan willingly offered.

I stayed back at church, printing and editing the final VBS lesson plans. As things came up that were needed I texted Ryan "We need eyedroppers", " "Don't forget the curtain rod", "never mind I found eyedroppers you don't need to get them", "have you left the store? If not pick-up a poster board".

Meanwhile back at church Dave arrived back from the airport with reinforcements a guy named Del. With VBS prep done for the day and they willing to work I sent them out to mow.

We only had one riding lawn mower, and one working push mower. With the rocky, and steep terrain around the church I knew a weed whacker would be needed. I called Gaye, and she offered to borrow her electric and gas whacker.

My little car could not carry them so I called Ryan. He was on his way back from Anchorage and I asked him, yet again, to run another errand--get the weed whackers. I felt bad but he was open to getting them.
Meanwhile back at church, Dave fired up the mower only to find it was out of gas. We emptied the remaining drops of gas from the gas can into the mower. I grabbed the empty cans and piled in the car to fill them up. As I was leaving Dave took off on the mower only to be covered in clouds of black smoke and stench of burning rubber. The belt broke on the rider mower.

At this point Ryan arrived with the two weed whackers. I took the broken belt to run into town for a new one. I went to SBS, AiH, and Napa with no luck for a belt. Finally I found one at O'reilly's. Just then I recieved a text from Ryan that we needed 2 stroke mix for the weed whacker.

I arrived back at church and Dave attempted to put the belt on the mower but we needed tools. Ryan and I gathered what limited tools the church possessed (4 wrenches, a crescent wrench, and pliers). Unfortunately we needed some more extensive tools specifically a Torx (star) Screwdriver, in or der to remove the safety flap to get the belt on.

I called Terri and she passed the message to Chuck. Chuck has a few sizes of Torx and within a few minutes Terri and Chuck personally delivered them. With the belt successively on Dave and Ryan worked to get the hairpins back on and mower deck in place.
Yay Dave! What a blessing all the way from Illinois
With the mower back in one piece Dave fired up the mower again this time to find that rocks were being viciously thrown from under the deck. Upon further investigation Dave learned that the adjustable shoulder bolt needed, well, adjusting. Dave tried, Ryan tried, the WD-40 tried, but the nut on the shoulder bolt would not budge. Dave speculated that it had NEVER been adjusted since it was manufactured.

He's not been here a week and Ryan is fixin' the mower like a boss!
Dave removed the whole shoulder bolt but could not move the nut. So I called Len knowing that he would have a vice that would allow for more tork. I brought the whole piece to Len and after three attempts got the nut to move.
Len can do anything!
I returned to church with the shoulder bolt and it was adjusted to new length and put back on. Dave tried again but this time the mower was cutting EXTREMELY short on one side but normal on the other. Upon investigation Dave found the left mulching blade was badly bent probably due to one of the many rocks around church.
Here is a mowed strip. The left side blade is fine but the right side is...short!

With evening closing in (although daylight still in great supply) Ryan offered to take the old blades and run into town the next day. So the riding lawn mower is still not up and running, BUT the majority of the steep and rocky terrain has been weed whacked and mowed with the one working push mower. Pick your battles. Tomorrow is a new day.
Much improved. The VBS kids will certainly appreciate grass shorter than them
Cudos to Ryan for being an awesome new intern and taking everything in stride. Cudos to Dave and Del for weed whacking, and push mowing all the tough spots around church, and cudos to the Semmler's, Len, and Gaye for making the advances in ministry possible. Yes, I say ministry even if in this case it looks like mechanics, tools, weed whackers, and sweat. It's all for the greater good of the cause and you are all much appreciated and I cannot say thank you enough.

 You know what they say..."It takes a village to fix a law mower"...or something like that haha 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Kristi! I enjoyed your description of VBS preparation! You've got an awesome crew to work with! Please give Terri, Chuck, Gaye, and Len our love.

    John and Madelyn Tyson
    Former members of ORLC