Friday, February 26, 2010

Burglars Break Into Common Ground Ministry House, But Maybe God Has a Sense of Humor

I got a call Tuesday morning from Troy. The Common Ground ministry house our ministries are rehabbing was burglarized. The police had been called - I jumped into the van and drove downtown to see what had happened. Little did I know that this would turn into a funny morning.

It wasn't funny that the burglars had broken the kitchen window, crawled in and stole ladders, tools, some building supplies and did some vandalism. We lost $500-$600 worth of materials. I had been assembling the components for a burglar alarm - just didn't get it all together in time.

One of our neighbors had scared of some burglars from the house next door on Monday, so Troy took most of his tools out that evening. Saved us big time from having a much bigger loss.

The funny part was what happened to one of the burglars.

I went into the house, looked around and saw a bunch of insulation on the floor. Looking up, I saw this:

As part of the rehabbing we are leveling the floors upstairs. Part of the process is to pull the floor boards. We had put insulation between the joists - like this:


The burglars were going from room to room looking for things to steal - and stepped into this one, perhaps thinking there was a gray carpet. The first step was onto that piece of plywood, the second was to a floor joist - and then he slid off as one foot went to the right of the joist and the other went to the left of the joist.

One can only imagine the look on the burglar's face as he fell through the floor, only to be stopped by the floor joist between his legs. We think the third hole came as he was struggling to get out of his predicament.

We figure he got pretty mad and limped into the next room - and kicked what looked like a sheetrock wall. However, we had put sheetrock over a lath and plaster wall - a lot like kicking a concrete wall.

We aren't discouraged. There is a price to pay for anything that is worthwhile doing, including working in a poor neighborhood. We love the people, but there are some whose drug addictions and wickedness cause them to wreck havoc and prey on the poor. A few druggies can steal from so many people that they create a crime wave.

For those of you who are Christians, please pray for our success. We're buying new ladders and tools, fixing the damage and replacing the stolen building materials. So many of our new friends in the neighborhood have had things stolen from them - one of them joked with me saying "Welcome to the neighborhood!"

We're focusing on making something good out of this. The previous week we had our first meeting to begin a neighborhood association. During the meeting it was said that people in this neighborhood  haven't established an effective neighborhood crime watch because they feel the police treat those reporting crimes as potential criminals themselves. I hope a neighborhood association can come together so we can begin breaking down some of those walls and start "community" policing practices.

We now can speak as a neighbor who has also suffered from thieves.

It still strikes me as funny when a burglar falls through a floor - and ends up straddling a floor joist. I don't know if God had any direct part of it, but there is humor when somebody stealing from a ministry house ends up paying an immediate price for his wicked action.

Let's see what happens next...

Guy Swenson

PS: Services this week - same time, same place!

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