Even though the ground is being broken, this is not The Ground Breaking. However, we are checking off another major step in the process of completing our Land Development Plan. Part of this final plan is Storm Water Management. According to the local ordinances, we need to plan for how we will handle storm water as it comes onto the property. This requires us to test the soil’s infiltration properties. There are scientific studies that have lots of detail that we don’t need to go into here. The basics are that we are digging 8-10 holes at different locations throughout the property and doing some absorption type testing. This will help the engineers determine how much storm water each area can handle. Pray as the details from the test are used to finalize the Land Development Plan. Praise the Lord with us for this exciting step!
APPROVED! That is the abridged version of the story entitled, “The December 10th Akron Borough Council Meeting, H*VMI’s Conditional Use Hearing – Decision.” Please read on for the unabridged version of the story.
At the start of the Council meeting, after the usual formalities, the decision concerning H*VMI was the agenda item on the table. The Borough Solicitor summarized the events that took place from November 12th to December 10th and explained the options available to Borough Council. A member of Council made a motion to approve, pursuant to the agreed upon conditions. The motion was seconded and, with no discussion, carried unanimously. Praise ye the Lord, Halleluiah!
What does that mean? It means we can move ahead! But what does that mean? Move ahead to what? Are we breaking ground now? Is there another step? Let’s look at this a different way. If this project were likened to a professional sport, football, for instance, the process could be described like this:
H*VMI is a minor league football team. Back when we were preparing to purchase the property we went through a process to amend the zoning ordinance. Before we could move into the major leagues we requested to add/change the rules of the game: how big the field is, where the goal posts can go, what is out of bounds and how many people are allowed to be in the stands. We had specific plans for our stadium and we wanted to be sure the rules allowed us to do what we needed to do.
In this most recent process – called the Conditional Use Hearing – H*VMI was asking to officially join the National Football League, governed by these new rules. This is the “pros,” folks, the major leagues and we wanted in. We needed to prove that we are, in fact, a football team and that we have the ability to play by the rules.
Land Development – Unfortunately this is where my analogy starts to fall apart; however, it’s not completely lost. In the next phase, Land Development, we will be showing the Commissioner of the National Football League our playbook. He, along with his expert engineer and other Council members will look at our game plan and make sure it complies with all the rules. At the end of this Land Development process we will be ready for the Big Game!
The Big Game is called CONSTRUCTION – we will need to get different building permits during the construction game but, since our plan will have already been approved, this won’t be a problem.
In the New Year we will be perfecting our “playbook,” the Land Development plan. This includes finalizing each building’s layout and internal structure. Developing and finalizing the site plan and related site work.
As we work on Land Development we will be doing something else to get ready for the big game of CONSTRUCTION: gathering fans. We want as many people as possible to join us for the game. We will be communicating with you in advance of construction time about how you can play a part in the big game. We need your prayers as we work through this project. It has been a long time coming but God is clearly orchestrating every step. Praise Him for all He has done.
God provided mightily during our hearing on the evening of November 12th. As 7pm approached, the small room where the hearing was being held was filling up to its capacity. Nearly 50 people were in attendance, it was great support. We began our presentation with a summary of the use of the property and planned improvements. Then we moved on to a specific description of how we plan to meet the zoning requirements in the ordinance. This included things like lighting, grading, building placement, traffic, parking and many other issues. Throughout both presentations there were questions from members of the community and from the Borough Council. In closing we stated that we have met the conditions and asked that we be granted Conditional Use Approval for our project. The motion was made to close the hearing. Then it was time for a decision – approve, add more conditions or wait. The Council chose to wait. They had received a lot of new information that night and previously, based on our earlier meeting with the Planning Commission. It was too much to absorb in one night. The next meeting is December 10th. We will be hearing the Council’s decision at that time. Please pray for the Borough Council Members as they deliberate over their decision concerning H*VMI’s Property Project.
If you’re following along with H*VMI as we pursue the final approval phase of the property project, you may have asked yourself that question. If you have, I want to say, “Thank you.” When you read this question, you may have had an image of a child in the back seat of a car waiting to get to the beach and asking, “Are we there yet?” It’s hard to blame the child for asking this question. He/she is just excited for what’s ahead. This is why I want to thank you. As you ask this question, you’re showing that you’re EXCITED and you CARE about what’s ahead and what H*VMI is doing to get there.
So what’s the answer?
The answer is that we have spent the past several months detailing our plans, performing traffic studies and preparing our application for Conditional Use Hearing. On October 4th, 2018 we submitted our Conditional Use Hearing Application. The application is one page long, but the attachments filled two boxes!
You might also be thinking, “Another meeting? Another approval needed?” Prior to the property purchase, we went through the long process of amending the zoning ordinance, which is the set of rules that governs what uses can be made of our property. At the Conditional Use Hearing, H*VMI is requesting approval of the Master Plan for our property as an Organizational Headquarters under the amended zoning ordinance. Following this approval, we will then submit our Land Development Plan for approval. This is the plan with ALL the details laid out, and once it is approved we can obtain our Building Permit!
We need your prayers for this hearing, scheduled for 7pm on November 12th. Please pray with us that the Lord will be honored in our testimony before the authorities, and that we will receive a favorable ruling on our application.
We have owned the property now for nearly two months! What a busy two months it has been. H*VMI hired a young man whose family is connected with the ministry to do the property upkeep. He loves the Lord and has been a huge blessing as he cares for our future ministry center property.
In Mid-November, we hosted our first community focused event at the property - a FREE Chicken BBQ. That’s right, an actual free lunch! Every person who came to visit the property got a free chicken BBQ dinner. Over the weeks prior, we passed out flyers to the residents in the local community. We also invited the local Emergency Service Providers, Police, EMS and Firefighters. On the day of the event, we gave away more than 250 chicken dinners. The community was excited to be on the property and to hear what was going to be happening there in the future.
At the end of the event, after the volunteers sat down and ate, we still had some chicken left over. Not wanting to waste it, we called some local shelters and found a Christian shelter in Lebanon that could really use our unique donation. So, we drove our piping hot chicken BBQ up there, and I had the privilege of helping to unload and prepare it for the residents of this men’s shelter to enjoy. The kitchen director shared with me that, just that morning, she had commented to her volunteers that the meat freezers were starting to get empty. She quoted herself having said, “We’ll see how God provides.” Well, God used H*VMI to provide! God blessed us greatly - and, in our effort to bless the local community, God allowed us to bless this shelter as well. Our God is amazing!
Now that it is December, we are focused on remembering the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We chose to do this publicly by constructing a larger than life JOY theme nativity scene, as pictured below. This is visible, night and day, from Rothsville Road if you drive by... and we hope that it brings joy to all who see it.
As we move forward, we are still working on those next steps as detailed in H*VMI’s Increase Newsletter. We will continue to keep you informed as things progress. Thank you so much for your prayers. To God be all the Glory!
H*VMI officially owns the land that will be the future home of all our ministries. Settlement was at 1pm on Tuesday, October 24th. After the papers were signed, we praised the Lord for all He had done.
We have done some minor things to the property to make it “ours.” But, for the most part we will be maintaining the current look (minus the golf greens and such things) by mowing the lawn and keeping things looking nice.
The next steps ahead in the process are detailed in an H*VMI Increase newsletter article that will be coming to your mailbox (or your Inbox) in early November. We will do our best to keep you informed about what’s going on throughout the process.
In September we shared that due to the generous giving of our donors we were within $200,000 of our land purchase fundraising goal. We received a $100,000 matching gift challenge from a donor in early September which, if met, would be enough to meet the land purchase fundraising goal. According to the matching gift challenge we had until October 15th.
We are pleased to inform you that the $100,000 matching gift challenge has been met and exceeded! Blessed be the name of the Lord! He is our great Provider. We plan to have settlement on the property on October 24th and we are thrilled to be able to go with money in hand, debt free, no loans.
The Increase newsletter will be in your mailbox soon with more details. Please PRAISE THE LORD with us and watch for the newsletter with a thank you postcard and article about what God has done - and where we are headed in the days to come.
God has been leading STEP by STEP. Praise Him.
We now stand at $200,000 needed by the end of October, the deadline for our Agreement of Sale.
We’ve been praying for a MIRACLE.
The MIRACLE is within our reach. On September 5th, we received a phone call with an absolutely amazing matching gift challenge: any monies we receive toward the property fund, up to $100,000, by October 15th, will be matched. THAT means – WE COULD REACH THE $200,000 GOAL!
Many of you have been responding to our appeals for our Property Fund. Thank you!! We’re so blessed by you. We are not asking that you give again but would ask that you pray with us for this MIRACLE so we will be able to go through with settlement on the property.
If you have not yet given, perhaps you would consider that this is a very good time to do so!! Whatever you are able to give will be matched through this $100,000 matching challenge, moving us closer to the goal.
God is at work - STEP by STEP.
H*VMI is on the move… following the Lord towards the goal of owning and developing a ministry center in Akron, PA. We have challenged our donors, friends and ministry partners to join us as we raise funds for the purchase of the Westview Golf Course property. We are trusting the Lord for all the funds needed for the purchase as well as closing costs by October when we have settlement on the property. We have made significant progress since the last update. The current financial need is $217,000. We will continue to update you as the weeks go by and that number shrinks. If you desire to partner with H*VMI in the pursuit of the ministry center property please contact us at our office (717.859.4777) or through this web-page. We would love to talk with you.
We are praising the Lord. As His Word tells us in Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice." We have had much for which to rejoice in the Lord throughout this process. H*VMI has been following the Lord’s leading and He has done amazing things. We’d like to share some praises with you so you can rejoice with us:
- After months of meetings, presentations, negotiations and prayer, the real estate tax issue has been resolved.
- The Akron property has been surveyed and the Land Development process is underway. Our Engineer and Attorney are confident that this process will go smoothly based on the preparations we have already made.
- We have received over $200,000 in donations to the Property Fund from people just like you.
What does all that mean? It means that the way is CLEAR! We are moving forward with the purchase of this property in order to develop it into H*VMI's Ministry Center. If you are on our mailing list you, hopefully, received our mailing about the funds needed for the land purchase. We are seeking these funds so we can step into this project loan free. This goal is well within reach. If you'd like more information about how you can help H*VMI reach this goal please contact us via phone or through this web page's contact section.
- We continue to move ahead with the Land Development Planning.
- We plan to purchase in October 2017.
- After the purchase and the completion of the Land Development, we plan to hit the ground running with the physical development of the property.
Praise the Lord with us!
- Zoning has been APPROVED! Unanimously! At the February 13th meeting, several of the Borough Council members testified that they were initially undecided, planning to vote to extend or going to deny our proposal. However, when it was time, every Council Member voted, “YES.” Praise the Lord and THANK YOU for your prayers!
- We can now check the Zoning box and move to Land Development. This step involves more detailed planning and presentations before local governmental entities. We are working quickly to get this step underway.
- There is another issue yet to be resolved. Although H*VMI is a §501(c)(3) organization with church status, our real estate tax exemption is not guaranteed. There are legal requirements that we must adhere to and the process of determination is uncertain. H*VMI is seeking the Lord’s guidance as we navigate this complex process.
The Land Development planning as well as the resolution of the real estate tax issue are both critical in order to move forward at this site.
- that we can work quickly in the Land Development phase.
- for the real estate tax issue to be sorted out.
- for God to continue to receive the Glory in this process.
- that, if it is God’s will, we will continue to have success in our pursuit of Westview Golf Course.
The Lord has been at work here at H*VMI through all of our ministries and through the Ministry Center Project as well. The Board members and staff of H*VMI continue to pray, plan and prepare for this project. Even though many of the staff were at camp through the summer months, we still have been making progress. We have received the approval of the Akron Borough Planning Commission along with their recommendation to the Borough Council.
At a recent banquet, one of our Board members quoted a verse from 1 Chronicles when David was preparing to build the temple. The Bible says that David made “ample preparations” or, in another version, “extensive preparations.” We have been making extensive preparations. The government approval process is a big step and takes some time to complete. With each meeting comes lots of preparations and planning so we can be sure we honor the Lord in our efforts.
Please continue PRAYING for the upcoming steps in this approval process. The H*VMI Board will be discussing this project at the upcoming Board meeting (October 14-15). PRAY for guidance for the days ahead. Please join with us in PRAISING God for what He’s done so far.
ALL GLORY BE TO GOD FOR THESE THINGS!
I trust you have been blessed as you read over this website and look at the plans and pictures page. Lots has been happening concerning the Ministry Center Project. As you may know H*VMI needs to seek approvals from the Akron Borough Council for this project plan to become a reality. We have begun this process, but it is still in its very early stages.
As we continue on through this process we are praising the Lord for these things that happened this past month:
- We have made presentations before the Akron Borough Council and the Akron Planning Commission, and our petition to adjust some language in the Zoning Ordinance has been accepted for review.
- Two articles have been written in the local Ephrata Review, both making the front page, giving details on the ministry of H*VMI and the upcoming project. The links to these articles are included at the end of this update.
- H*VMI was part of an evening news report on BRC 11 (a local cable station) and they included details about the ministry and the project as well.
- In both of these avenues of media publicity, God was given the glory. The first line of the second article in the Review reads, “Talk with Tim Sheetz and Kyle Robinson about Handi*Vangelism Ministries International for just a short time, and you will quickly perceive a palpably prayerful attitude about their possible future in Akron…”
All Glory be to God for these things.
The team here at H*VMI continues to work with professionals on our plan as we move ahead in this process. Please continue to praise the Lord with us as we look to the future.
Links to Ephrata Review Articles:
Thank you so much for your interest in H*VMI’s Property Project. We have been so blessed by all the amazing things God has been doing thus far in this process. I’d like to detail for you some of those amazing things. God has provided:
- A Board of Directors motivated to further the ministry of H*VMI.
- An attorney experienced in real estate matters to guide us through the process.
- A general contractor to advise us.
- An Agreement of Sale on a property for the H*VMI Ministry Center.
- An architect who translated our vision into building designs.
- An engineer who laid out the site plan and is helping us through the zoning approval process.
- A kitchen designer who is designing our kitchen space for maximum efficiency.
ALL GLORY BE TO GOD FOR THESE THINGS!
The Property Committee consists of two Board members, several missionaries and office staff all of whom have God-given wisdom and unique perspectives. They have helped bring this project to where it is today. We have all been working hard on this but God has clearly been going before us. I have been so blessed to see what God has done; and I hope, as you explore this webpage and continue to check back to read updates, you will be blessed.