Working vacation in overseas missions

by Patrick C. Granat, Major – 

This is a true story about Mac and Judy McClure, of Cheyenne, Wyoming—good friends of The Salvation Army, who used their vacation in 1999 to visit the new Salvation Army Corps in eastern Germany in the city of Guben.

Mac brought his toolbox, and Judy ably assisted him on the job, and kept our spirits bright when the going was difficult.

At the end of their stay we had newly painted rooms in place of the dingy ones they found on their arrival, and a new Home League kitchen, so that we no longer had to bring water from the officers’ quarters to make lunch or refreshments.

This was not done without some excitement.

In this part of the former German Democratic (Communist) Republic each sink has its own hot water tank mounted underneath. What we didn’t know is that there are two types of hot water systems, and each requires a different faucet assembly.

Since we needed to watch our budget, we purchased the least expensive items. There were two types of hot water heaters, one at a reasonable cost and the other three times as much. The same held true for the faucet assemblies. So we got what we thought was a matching set, and installed them in the new Home League kitchen. We checked that the water worked, and then turned on the electric power to heat up the water.

We sat down for a cup of coffee as we waited for the water to heat up. We were all in mid-sip when the hot water heater exploded. BLAM!

Soon we were mopping up the flood from the kitchen floor, wondering what could have gone wrong. We returned the items to the shop for a refund. The salesperson got one of the professionals to explain that one must buy either an expensive faucet assembly and a cheap boiler, or else a cheaper faucet and an expensive boiler, but that both of the cheaper items could not be used together. I think that both of the expensive ones were compatible, but that was not a consideration for our budget. We explained that we were unsuspecting foreigners, so he allowed us to return the exploded item and use the credit towards the purchase of a more expensive one. This we did.

Thankfully, the new set did not explode, and the Home League kitchen in Guben is still delivering hot water to this day. Not only the Home League, but the seniors, the Baby Song group (mothers and children bonding program) and the famous Cottbus Football Club are currently receiving the benefit of the installed hot water heater.

Thanks to Mac and Judy, who gave their vacation in service to God by painting, fixing and installing appliances in a small corner of the Salvation Army world.

If you have a week or two to offer, contact your corps officer regarding the Overseas Personnel Bureau at THQ.

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