Our trip to Alabama was an outreach planned by some of David Garrigan’s close friends. The idea was to help out a ministry known as Nomads Land. This ministry works with traveling nomads, or “hippies,” by providing food, lodging, and a place of fellowship.
Nomads Land had purchased property outside of Birmingham, Alabama, which contained a hundred year old horse barn. The goal was, in a span of two weeks, to convert this barn into a place of lodging for some of the nomads who didn’t have buses.
We arrived in Alabama in June and got to work. The first step was cleaning out the barn, which had not been used for horses in years but had become a storage location. So, after moving all the junk out, we started the first job of demolition. After removing old stall doors and walls, we continued with setting the foundation. The floor had to be raised off of the earth about a foot to provide the platform. After the foundation had been poured, the floor system was set. The existing building had been made of oak beams and wherever we could we reused them to keep the character of the building. After the floor system was set we split up into two teams: one team started the walls while another team started demolition on another part of the barn to add a kitchen facility.
We had been there for about a week, when we woke up to a severe storm. After listening to the radio, we heard that a large tornado was expected to hit Birmingham. So we kept working. Around the time the tornado was expected, we evacuated to a restaurant and had some BBQ. Once the tornado had jumped over where we were and landed again behind us, we went to survey the damage. A path of destruction was torn through the town of Tuscaloosa, then ripped through Northern Birmingham. But, when we returned to our jobsite, it was untouched. We were able to continue working and managed to get the living quarters and kitchen framed, new siding installed, and fixed the sagging roof. Once we finished all of that, we returned home safely!