More than 100 people descended on the Cortez Jehovah’s Witness Fellowship Hall last week to get a job done.
One day the church, located on Empire Street, was a serene, quiet spot and the next day, a bustling construction zone in which about 120 volunteers from all over the western U.S. happily tore out concrete, made lunches, drove dump trucks and even wiped down portable bathrooms.
The mission — remove the concrete floor inside the church and replace it, remodel the bathrooms and much more.
“Everyone here is a volunteer,” said Jim Tolliver, out of Portalis NM. “The Jehovah’s Witness have the largest all volunteer construction organization on the earth,” Tolliver said.
Everyone at the site last week wore a smile as they did their job, all had answered an e-mail call for help.
“Everyone here has a job,” Tolliver said.
Whether it is driving a backhoe or making lunch to feed the 120 volunteers that day, everyone did their job with a smile, event though no one was getting paid.
And if there is a job that needs to be done, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will train you.
“We have a number of video on Kingdom Hall construction,” Tolliver said.
It is something the Jehovah’s Witnesses are used to. The congregation builds Kingdom Halls all over the world.
“We believe God’s Kingdom is the answer to the world problems,” Tolliver said.
Tolliver said that the Jehovah’s Witness faith is growing fast, and the Watchtower, a free publication distributed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is one of the most widely circulated religious magazine circulated and it is circulated in 142 different languages.
In addition to the donated labor, Tolliver explained that the supplies are donated too.
Tolliver said the major remodel and the removal and replacement of the floor at the Kingdom Hall will take about 16 days.
Apparently, there was a water leak under the floor some time ago, and it went unnoticed and when winter rolled around, the floor cracked beyond repair.
Tolliver expects about 250 volunteers to help out with the project, which was built all by volunteers 17 years ago.
“I worked on this building 17 years ago,” Tolliver said. “This is not like any workplace. People here are smiling and getting along. We call everyone our brothers and sisters.”
Loren Kerr, a local Jehovah’s Witness, sat back last week to watch the hustle and bustle.
“You see Jehovah’s spirit at work here,” he smiled. “What else would motivate these people to drop their jobs and come down here from all over.”
Volunteers are offered free rooms and food while on the project.
While the current Kingdom Hall, 1304 E. Empire Street, Cortez, worship will be held at the Lewis-Arriola Community Center on Sunday at 9 a.m. and on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.