Saturday, July 17, 2010

Second floor walls are going up!

With packing, moving (some stuff into storage, some stuff into our temporary place of abodement) I have not been able to keep up with all the postings on the blogs!
Just to let you know that the second story floor is done, and the walls of the loft are up too.  They boys are working hard, and yesterday the weather was beautiful!
We still do not have a road number (it is being done) but we are at the lot directly NORTH of 5819 which is Corpus Christi Catholic church.  It is not a church with a big dome or steeple – but more modern day look.  We are the lot directly north, on the EAST side of Henderson Hwy.  There is a gate across our drive, but feel free to crawl under it, (if it is closed) and take a look!  And hey – you are invited to continue to walk and pray as you come there.
The boys are working daily (when not on their shift at the firehall) and if you want to stop by with a nice cold bottled water, or even a slurpee – they will never turn that down.  Usually there are at least three of them (Alvin, Joshua and Michael) but there was 5 yesterday so we never know!  The more hands, the quicker the work gets done.
I have put pics up on my personal blog – feel free to check there…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The walls go up!

A week ago the concrete pad was done. And a very good-looking pad at that!!  We paid George today, and I think he thought it was looking pretty good too! (George was the guy in charge of the pour!)
I came today, with George’s money, and with lunch for the guys:  Alvin, Josh, Michael and Ryan.  (Ryan used to work with Blue Jay Family Works on a regular basis until his little girl was born last fall).  The guys were so glad to have Ryan working with them today because they had some BIG walls to build and stand up!
When I got there, it was at that point… the “Standing up the Walls” point.  I stood there with my camera, capturing the shots.  Hard Work… they were very big walls!
After getting up two walls, they stopped for lunch.  It was after that, that I loaded the cooler back in the car and left.  However, I have spoken with Michael who said ALL the walls are up!  It is finally happening.
I can hardly believe it!  But… seeing IS believing.
Go for a drive out to Lockport, and take a look for yourself!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Finally... An update on what is happening at 5839 Henderson Hwy!

Well today is July 7th, and it has been a long time since I posted anything.  In fact, the last thing I posted was about the working drawings!  Much has happened.  My brother-in-law Rick (man, we owe him BIG time!) took the working drawings and made many final additions so that we could get the plans stamped by an engineer!  In the meantime, the municipality stated that they wanted the plans for the shop/barn AND the house before they would give us a permit to begin the shop.  (sigh)
Anyhow we did get the permit.  We have put in many sweat equity house on the foundation of the shop, or should I say the beginnings of the foundation.  You see, we are putting in “in-floor” heating with water lines that will lead to a boiler system (exactly like Alvin has in his shop and in our house in Anola right now).  So there was first of all, alot of rebar prepare, and then styrofoam had to go under it, and then the rebar was put down and tied with rebar wire ties.  Then we had to uncoil and put lines through the rebar, and then more lines on top, and these lines had to be also tied with plastic ties, so that when the concrete comes, they are secure!
Last Saturday and Sunday, Alvin and Michael, Ashley and I worked on that.  Talk about back-breaking!  Alvin and I had also worked on it a week ago Monday, and then the boys worked Tuesday and Wednesday.  With Alvin’s fire hall shifts – it means that he is now always there.  Between Alvin, and Joshua, and Michael – there are many things they are each involved in and need to get done OVER AND ABOVE this build of ours!
Now the boys are ready to pour.  The inspector was called and will come to pre-check the rebar.  It is so interesting to hear how everything has to be so that it is all built to the standards!  The barn will have a huge loft in it – and there are four pillars that will hold it – and so there is alot of extra rebar in those areas.  I often marvel at the knowledge Alvin has, and he patiently (most times!) explains it to me! 
It is starting to take shape… finally…. slowly…. in God’s time.  In the meantime, we have also bought and brought a semi trailer on site for storage, as we have to be out of our house by August 1st.  The boys began taking trailer loads from Anola to Narol.  One trip at a time, our possessions are leaving 35066 Springfield Road for their new home. (or should I say for storage at their new home destination!) 
Sometimes I am overwhelmed.  Sometimes I know Alvin feels some tinges of that too.  Our kids are very very supportive – the boys are working hard.  Alvin and I have talked about how we will not but a deadline date on the house to be completed as we do not want to put added stress on our kids, or ourselves.  We will move into our kids (Josh and Leah’s) place for the first while and Lord willing, once able to move into the house (even if it is not done yet) we will.  It is always easier to be “on site” although we are thankful that Josh and Leah are only a 5 minute scoot away from our build site.
We are thankful for our kids who are encouraging us through this.  Honestly, a few years ago, Alvin and I did not ever think we would build again!  We did this 27 years ago when we were that much younger!  But here we go.
We want to be careful so as not to overload our kids, who have lives of their own independent from us!  We want to be careful to take care of ourselves so that we are able to enjoy this new place when it is done.  We want to be able to work but also to be able to play, and enjoy time with our kids, and with our grandson Everett.
If you are reading this, and you are a prayer warrior – we covet your prayers for the following:
  • that the pouring of the barn/shop floor will happen tomorrow, Lord Willing.
  • that the boys will be kept healthy and strong during the build
  • that we would be able to transition out of Anola and our home here – into our temporary home with ease
The other day I asked Alvin if he ever wonders about what we are doing?  He said “never” and then he added “many people talk about what they want to do in life, and never do it.”  Sometimes I do get overwhelmed. (ask my kids and husband about that!) But often the overwhelming feelings are only very short-lived!  I know that our time frame is already way different than we thought this time last year! Remember the quote I have used before “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans!”  I figure He got a chuckle out of our preliminary time lines!
However, even if there are moments of feeling overwhelmed ~ I will say that I do believe that we are still doing what it is that God called us to, and what He laid on my heart 10 (yes 10!) years ago.  It is exciting to know that we are merely the clay vessels that He has decided to use!!  May it be for His honor and glory!  This is HIS vision for women in this province…. all His!  Father God, you are amazing!
Thanks for reading, and please continue to pray!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jordan finishes the working drawings!

Wow, today was the day that I went to pick up the plans from Jordan.  He has been doing the working drawings over the past few weeks.  This week, he ran the plans for a last “look and see” past Jerald, who gave him the go-ahead to finish them up and pass them on!  This was a very exciting day for us.  I went to pick up the file, complete with all the plans, plus a big set, plus 6 smaller sets to give for quotes, trades, etc.
The boys are raring to go!
Next week, they need to be stamped by an engineer in the final step, and then onto the municipality planning office for a look over and then to get our building permit.
We are getting closer to the physical build.  The road restrictions are on still.  In some ways that is something that we have no control over, and it slows us down.  But, God is in control, and we are trusting Him on this ~ step after step after step!
More to come soon…
Oh, and the other exciting thing is, we just received two more donations because God laid the ministry on the hearts of two families!  Thank you for your generous gifts to this ministry!
the plans!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Working Drawings: First Meeting

Yesterday, March 24th, we met Jordan L. (Friesen Tokar) at Mountain Bean, and there ~ over coffee and London Fog tea, we looked at the beginning of the working drawings for the home.  This is the point that my husband gets more involved than me, as all the talk about thickness of walls, joists, insulation, etc has me become a little “glazed” in the eyes.  But, needless to say, since Alvin is getting somewhat antsy with the wait to begin the building stage ~ this visit was WONDERFUL!
The time together was about 40 minutes long.  Long enough for him to ask a few details about what Alvin wanted (to do with the construction phase).  Basically once my tea was done ~ our visit had come to an end, and we parted with another handshake and the promise to talk soon.
To say that sometimes I get this overwhelming feeling ~ would be most accurate!  There are times when I almost have to pinch myself to believe we are really REALLY doing this.  After 10 years of waiting ~ we are about to build!
We covet your prayers on our behalf and the behalf of the ministry.  Please pray for Jordan as he works on the plans.  Please pray that God sends the person he has already selected ~ to buy our house!  We really need that part to come to fruition!
God is our strength.  He is our guide.  Our light.  He is our all.  To God be the glory for all that He has done over the past years, and for what He is doing in the present, and for all He is going to do in the future!  We are merely his vessels through which He will do his work.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Now.. Onto the "Working Drawings"

I have been anxiously awaiting the time when I could blog and say that we (Jerald our architect, Alvin, my husband, and I) are finally moving onto the next step.  That is ~ our design plans are agreed on (size was the biggest thing we were trying to work out!) and the plan has been passed from Jerald onto another guy (Jordan) who is now working on the “working drawings” so that we can get the plans stamped and then go for the building permit!! WOOHOOO!!!!  It is one step closer.  As well, my brother-in-law Rick has been working on some of the plans as well. Being Alvin’s brother, he has been a great person to talk some details with when it comes to drawing plans.  So, the last email I got  from Jerald said that Jordan would need about 40 hours to work on the plans.  Honestly, this is such a wonderful feeling ~ moving onto the next stage.  With the weather getting warmer (today was plus 2) Alvin is getting a little antsy about getting the “take-offs” done so that we have the prices on the building package, etc…
So much to do.  Sometimes I feel my heart beating much quicker.  Sometimes I have to breathe deeply and allow the reality to sink in.  It has been 10 years since God laid this vision on my heart ~ I believe it is 10 years in April.  One of the younger men from our church was asking me about where our plans were at, and he said he loved seeing “our long obedience of faith” over the years.  He was also at the council meeting back in January 2001 when I presented the plans of the vision to the church council.
Sometimes I can hardly believe it… 10 years.  So much has happened in these 10 years.  SO MUCH.  I know I am definitely a different woman than I was then.  I know that God has changed very little of the first plan he laid on my heart ~ but he has ENLARGED the VISION so to speak.
At this point, we have $7000 in the bank account, with more than 85% having been donated in the past 7 months through gift donations from those who believe in the vision, and our call to this ministry.  We have two automatic deposits each month!  Soon we will have to do some bigger thinking regarding some fundraising.  After all ~ we have many rooms to furnish! (five bedrooms, a library, a “chapel”, a sunroom, a dining room, etc…)
God is at work.  We see how the timeline we THOUGHT we had back in fall, was not HIS timeline.  We are praying now about SPRING.  We would covet your prayers on the following:
  • for Jordan to be able to complete the working drawings by the end of this month
  • for our house/land in Anola to sell for the right asking price (since this money will be used to build our home/retreat house)
  • for our other piece of land in Anola to sell (74 acres)
  • for Alvin and the boys (Blue Jay Family Works) as they talk about and plan the build
We thank God for the way He moves.  I believe that He has the right person interested in buying our home and our other piece of  land.  I believe that we are still walking in line with HIS will for this ministry.  God is in the details, and I just want to keep breathing deeply and trusting ~ and taking each step in faith!
Thanks for your prayers!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A story out of the Manitoba Cooperator ~ "Women's Retreat Centre To Be Built" by Sheila Braun, Freeland Writer ~ December 2009 Edition

Women’s Retreat Centre to be Built
BY SHEILA BRAUN  – freelance writer
Joy Klassen, a mother and former farmer  has experienced valleys in life and now wants to create a restful place for women who are facing challenges or difficulties.  She looks forward to the new year (even though it will probably include moving from her farm which she has called home for 26 years) and opening and operating her new business.
Klassen and her husband  began their farm near Anola, MB in 1983. “We had a cow/calf operation and also made hay for our cattle.  We farmed while both working full-time jobs in the city.  What began with one cow as a hobby expanded into 70 cattle. Then the BSE crisis hit just when we had wanted to get out of farming and the rest is history,” said Klassen. They let friends use their pasture for cattle summer till fall,  and Klassen said, “I’m still walking through cow pies and even chasing calves back into the fence.”
Klassen enjoyed her time farming and will always cherish memories of new life in spring when calves were born. “I am glad that our children got to see creation on a daily basis and remember bringing calves into our mudroom when they were born in winter, and blowing them dry with the blow dryer.” She is grateful that her children learned the value of hard work through assisting with chores on the farm.  The children had experiences that many children would only dream about while living in the city.
However, with the sale of the animals, she would not miss the stress of  trying to get the hay baled when it rained constantly and not knowing if they would get enough feed to last all winter.  Klassen said, “Often, it seemed like as my husband was going into the city for his night shift as a firefighter, there would be a calf about to be born. I wasn’t so happy about the night visits outside to check on progress.” She also recalls the challenges of the long days when they often ate supper together at 10 p.m.
As a mother, Klassen has also experienced events in her life that seem to “make no sense.”  She says one of the most challenging times in her life was July 2008 when her grandson Jay Benjamin Klassen was “born silently”.  “He was healthy and alive up until minutes before his entry into the world and it was the worst of nightmares when he entered the world lifeless, without a heart beat. The medical team worked hard to try to revive him, but couldn’t.”  She said their hearts felt like they were literally blown into a million pieces. Naturally, Klassen had many questions for God as she struggled with grief. Her faith sustained her as she tried viewing this difficult time as a catalyst for growth in her own life. “I believe I learned two things from my grandson’s birth and death: how to care for others and that I needed to move forward with the idea of the women’s retreat home.”
Klassen said, “It began simply with the idea of a place where women could go to be refreshed and then the idea grew and grew.” She felt that it was time to retire from her position as a day care director at Sugar-N-Spice Kiddie Haven Inc. that she and her father began 20 years earlier. After 25 years in the childcare field, Klassen switched lanes to explore a women’s retreat center.
A few years after the initial idea in 2000, Klassen penned the vision statement which began, “It will be a home, located near Winnipeg, that women from all walks of life can retreat to—to be renewed through the time away, refueled through the quietness that the home has to offer, and refreshed in a retreat setting away from full and busy lives.”
Klassen embarked on her dream by first meeting with a real estate agent. Then she filed the article of incorporation which was approved as “Women Refreshed at the Well”. She formulated a business plan and met with a lawyer to work through by-laws. Another important step was applying to become a non-profit organization with charitable status in addition to creating a board of directors.
Klassen’s dream simmered on the back burner for seven years while she filled a pastoral role at her church in Winnipeg. She had the opportunity to work with women of all ages and again saw the need for a women’s retreat home in the province. “I have seen too many women who do not know how beautiful, how precious, how loved and treasured they are in the eyes of the One who made them,” said Klassen. Originally Klassen had envisioned the retreat to be located in the city of Winnipeg close to a bus stop. However, her son suggested to build one building that housed both their personal home and the retreat center. Klassen remembers him saying, “Mom, people don’t come to your house because of the way you have it decorated. They come because it feels warm here – warm because you live in it! You will never get that feeling in a retreat house that you come and go from as needed!”
Last summer, 19 acres of land was purchased on Henderson Hwy. 13 km north of the perimeter, in the community of Narol. The 3,700 square foot home and retreat center will include five guestrooms, a library, an exercise room, a creative room and space for a counselor and a massage therapist.  The living area will have plenty of room to “sit in your pajamas and read,” says Klassen, and the grounds will feature prayer paths and gardens. Keeping with their rural roots, the unique barn/shop on the property will primarily house her husband’s tractors, vehicles, and tools while the loft over the barn will be designed for large group sessions or parties.
The retreat will be available for women who aren’t necessarily “escaping from reality” but just need a short break.  Each woman can book the time that she feels she needs.   Klassen said, “Maybe a mom of four children just needs a few hours to sleep” or  to process events or decisions in life. There will be five rooms available for women to stay overnight similar to bed and breakfast arrangements.
Klassen’s husband and adult children are strong support and encouragement in this adventure toward the planning, building and running of the retreat.  As she continues to meet with the architect and as they make plans to begin construction of the house in Spring 2010,  her goal to create a retreat center that feels warm and inviting is at the forefront of her mind. She aims to offer a place of peace where women can rest from the hustle and bustle and simply “be.”
For more information contact

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Feeling a little like a big long freefall!

Joy here!  Thank you for checking into the blogspot to find out the latest.  I have been somewhat occupied, as we just welcomed our second little grandSON into our family!  Everett John Klassen was born on December 19th.  If you wish to see some very cute pictures, you can check out my personal blogspot at
However ~ I am assuming that you are checking into the Women Refreshed blogspot to find out what is new, or what has happened lately.  So, allow me to bring you up to date.
Here are a few details to chronicle the journey up to now.
In September we hosted the come, walk and pray on our land that will be the future home of WRATW and our personal home.
October 1st we put our home/land in Anola, Manitoba, up for sale.  We were thinking that perhaps we were already getting into a bad time of year for home sales, but we are trusting God on it all.
At the same time, October 9th to the 16th, I flew to Colorado Springs, Colorado to take a week of intensive teaching/interaction under the direction of Dr. Larry Crabb (New Way Ministries).  I was one of 30 students in the School of Spiritual Direction, class #33.  It was an amazing week ~ simply amazing.  I firmly believe that this is where God wanted and needed me to be.  I also believe that God is going to use this time for His purposes when it comes time to operate the retreat centre.
However when I returned home, and found out that our house had not been shown yet ~ I felt somewhat discouraged.  It just seemed that we were hearing God on what we needed to do, and now we were ready to sell ~ ready to move ~ and no one was interested.  I will be honest, I struggled with the “non-sale” of our home.  I walked, and walked… I talked with the Lord, I wept, I prayed some more…
At the same time we were experiencing one of the nicest falls ever!  Alvin was hoping that he would still be able to pour the foundation of our barn/shop before winter.  However, we were waiting for the plans for the shop and also for the house.  The municipality needed both at such time as we went for a building permit.  Jerald was working hard on the plans.
Meanwhile Lori Mayer who does graphic design, willingly worked on a logo as well as on letterhead for the ministry.  Lori donated her time to this and I was so grateful!
We decided to dig up some trees from our land in Anola, and plant them on the land on Henderson.  But where do we plant them so that they won’t be run over when the big trucks eventually begin coming onto the land with building supplies?  Regardless, it was fun to plant a few trees.
Right around this time, my daughter-in-law Leah said to me ~ that it seemed that God moved, and we followed.  Then he moved some more, and we followed some more.  And then God told us to jump, and we did, and now it seemed like we were in this big long free-fall.  That is really how I feel ~ but that being said, I know that I am not going to hit the ground and be splattered all over the ground.  I know that God has his hands on us, and on this ministry, and while we do not understand his time line ~ we know that HE DOES have a timeline for Women Refreshed at the Well!
During the fall, I had the joy of getting a few more financial donations!  This is so wonderful ~ to see a tangible affirmation of God’s hand on this ministry!  Little by little (a hundred dollars at a time) our bank account is growing!  We have come to dream about the furniture that will be needed for instance, to furnish the five bedrooms for retreat use, or the furniture in the chapel, library, sunroom and so on.
It was also a real answer to prayer, to have Wayne Schellenberg take over the role of treasurer.  Wayne comes from a long banking background, and while our books are very simple – it was nice to turn them over to him!  I praise God for Wayne’s interest and willingness to be involved!
As November wound up, we decided to take our house off the market.  At this point Alvin and I were really okay with this decision.  As I walked the perimeter of our land in Anola, I continued to give our home and land to the Lord.  The bottom line is:  we need to sell our house in order to go forward on building our home/retreat house in spring.  Financially, selling our house is a must! So as I walk, I have been “giving it to the Lord” and praying in advance for the person/persons who will buy our home after winter when we re-list it.
As far as our plans go ~ our barn/shop (which we had originally thought we would be able to build in fall) ~ we are still waiting to have the plans finalized.  And our house/retreat house plans, we are still going over with Jerald.  We are trying to keep our plans to a size that we can afford to build, and that stays big enough for 5 women to stay at one time, but the right size to feel “warm and inviting”.  Blue Jay Family Works has talked a little about when building will begin, etc.  Please pray about these plans, and about the guys as they plan on the build, Lord Willing in Spring.  Somehow it doesn’t seem too far away now that it is January 1st.
Last but not least, there was an article written by Sheila Braun for the Manitoba Cooperator.  She had read the article in Christian Week, and after we talked via email a bit – she asked if she could write an article, and I am so pleased and grateful again that God has opened one more avenue. Today when I checked I was pleasantly surprised to find an email in response to the ChristianWeek story, as well as an email in response to the Manitoba Cooperator.  And – both writers did not live in Manitoba currently!  It is very exciting to see how God is working in all of this!  I am so excited!
So please pray:
  • for Jerald as he fine-tunes the house plans
  • for the person/persons who will buy our Anola house and our land.  We are praying that whoever buys our place will love it as much as we have.  We are also praying for the “right selling price”.
  • for the guys (Josh Klassen, Michael Thiessen and Alvin Klassen aka Blue Jay Family Works, as they make plans for the build)
  • for those willing to donate financially toward the ministry
  • for a couple new board members to join the board
  • for God to continue to use the articles to his glory!
Thank you for reading this long post!  I just wanted to bring you up to date finally, on where things are at with the ministry.