MENOMINEE — The most famous person in world history, Jesus of Nazareth, was a trained carpenter. Today, members of Calvary Church Assembly of God’s Men’s Ministry are following in his footsteps and building a house for a family in their congregation.

Deana Elson, her husband Michael and their children live on Highway 577, near the DeYoung Family Zoo. The family has grown accustomed to living in a house in serious disrepair. Elson said she needed to keep at least three buckets under the windows near the wood stove to catch the water leaking in, had to cover dips in her living room floor with cutting boards, make sure only one electric appliance was running at a time or risk knocking out the power and a whole host of other major issues.

On top of it all, her husband has been physically disabled for over 20 years due to an accident, and is currently unable to get out of bed most days because of the pain he’s in. Because of this, Elson has had to take charge of household duties, caring for their children and taking care of her husband.

Despite these difficulties, Tony Pardee, who is one of the men heading up the project, said the Elsons have “always had a smile and a hug to brighten the days of everyone around them. Deana has been a light to so many; consistently serving, loving and helping even when her tomorrows were so uncertain.”

Pardee said the Elsons had initially reached out to the Men’s Ministry just to fix their entryway. Pardee and some of the other men from the church went over to take a look at the entryway at the end of March and determined the cost to repair would’ve been more than the house was worth.

So, they decided to build her a new house. “We all looked at each other and said, ‘We need to build them a new house.’ They hardly ever ask for help, so we all felt lead to bless them.”

“You don’t want to stop a blessing from being given,” Elson said, “If this is what God wants for you guys and He’s putting it on all their hearts, who are you to say no? And just like that, it got started.”

Pardee said this is the first project the Men’s Ministry has headed up. “A lot of the guys here worked on the building of our church. We did a lot of the finishing work ourselves. We have two guys who are general contractors in the group, so they have a lot more experience than I do. I know building code, but otherwise it’s just a group of guys.”

By about the first week of May they went up to get the site ready, and poured the foundation on Memorial Day. “It’s been just a group of guys (working on it), anywhere from six to 12 or 13, there was one day where there were a few more coming and going,” Pardee said.

Pending financial support, Pardee said the project would hopefully be finished by the end of September. “We want this more as a community project than just a church project,” he said.

Most of the materials are coming from Oconto County Lumber, according to Pardee. “He’s helping with the project, too, so he’s giving us a good price on the materials,” he said, “We’re being very conscious of supporting local businesses. And we’re trying to be good stewards of the finances that do come in, because we want to see this project get completed.”

So far, between donations to the church and a few community members, Pardee said every time they get an invoice, the money comes in to pay it. “Right now we’re a little short to pay one of them, but it’s not due until the end of the month. The money’s going to be here.”

“I’ve been asking my husband for a while, ‘People are asking what they can do to help,’ because he’s disabled, and it’s a hard thing for him to let go of, because as soon as he says he needs help he’s admitting he can’t do it,” Elson said.

As of right now, the house is fully framed in. The next steps are going to be, well, steps. Elson and the rest of the men’s ministry have been using a ladder to get down to the basement of the new house, so putting in stairs is next on the list. But even after that, there’s plenty more work to be done before the end of September.

Those interested in giving to the cause, either through donation of money or time, may visit www.calvarychurchmarinette.com under Give Online, or mail to Calvary Church at W1498 Hwy 64, Marinette, WI 54143.