Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Helping hands

Volunteers help rebuild local place of worship
Volunteers from across the country visited
Belleville this summer to help renovate
the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's witnesses.
Volunteers from across the country descended on Belleville this year to help with a face lift at the Belleville Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Hundreds of volunteers traveled to the area and volunteered their time and skills to renovate the large property on Ecorse Road. Construction began in September and is expected to be completed this winter. The building is a center for large religious gatherings of Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the year and offers services in other languages, including American Sign Language.

A notable feature of the renovation is the addition of large screens in the auditorium to display video content that will benefit the deaf community.
“This is a big deal for hundreds of deaf Witnesses and many of our neighbors throughout the Midwest and Atlantic regions who attend our religious services here,” said Shelby Oliver, one of the construction volunteers. Oliver and her husband, Blake, learned American Sign Language to help deaf individuals understand the Bible. “To work on a project that will have such a powerful impact in the deaf community is something we had to be part of,” Blake Oliver said.
The majority of the construction projects of Jehovah's Witnesses are accomplished by non-paid volunteers. For several years, the Olivers have volunteered their time and skills on many construction projects around the country but feel that this project was particularly special.
“We built lasting friendships with our co-workers,” said Blake Oliver. “We were all strangers when we first arrived, but when it's over, we'll be crying as we say goodbye.”
While Metro Detroit had not been at the top of their travel destination list, the Olivers said they will definitely return.
“The restaurants are absolutely amazing. We've had everything from Vietnamese to Lebanese food, and our host family has shown us a great time here in Belleville. We look forward to coming back!”