2012 Annual Report

Death and Dying is a 300 level course offered at our alma mater, Samford University, a class Jason and I both took years ago, that is open for registration today. You too can learn the different stages of grief, the philosophical views, the journey, albeit painful and good, and the field trip to the local AIDS clinic where you meet real heroes, the people who work there and the people who die there. The lessons are an experience, the emotions eerily separated by the education. Or, you can skip the tuition, the studying, and the s and live the adventure of dying. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24

Our year has been death and dying. Every morning as we wake we are compelled to live out what Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Denying oneself is dying to our wants, our selfishness, our agendas, our plans. When we wake up each morning and remember “it isn’t about me,” taking up our brokenness and following Jesus seems possible. We are learning that to follow means we have to get out of the way.

The Grace Klein staff has suffered much loss this year; men fighting for their marriages, Jaime’s wife dying unexpectedly after a surgery, men fighting for custody of children, staff losing close friends and family to the finality of death, men battling the grip of pride, selfishness and depression, men longing to quit talking about living for Jesus and actually doing it. In all this pain and difficulty, we witnessed and experienced a love that is unexplainable apart from Christ.

We saw men walking alongside their co-workers, helping carry each other’s burdens. Sure, we had our share of clumsiness and mistakes and a lot of truth told in laughter. Men are becoming authentic and transparent and risking their reputations to love. The staff helped pay for Jaime’s wife’s funeral, because they wanted to put love in action and a majority attended the funeral that was held on a Saturday, an off day. They prayed for each other, not just those kind words of “I will pray for you,” but actually stopping, surrounding one another and begging God to comfort, heal, protect and restore. As the year progressed, we saw hearts continue to change in a way only God can. The staff began to work more as a team on a mission together instead of just individuals doing a job to get paid. They served and loved people as they worked on tornado damage jobs in Centerpoint. They worked nights and weekends on jobs that required more than originally expected. They worked as if working for the Lord, not for man, like the verse on our shirts says.

In all the relational, heart-level chaos that has turned our staff completely inside out and upside down, our God has been faithful to provide for each of us. We have had work. We have had a world to serve. Our insurance covered a stolen trailer and our smart phones helped us operate when our email and internet failed to work for over two weeks. We welcomed a staff member and his wife back to his previous cabinet install position after months away serving in Zambia. We prayed with and sent out two staff members, one to Honduras where he will use construction as an avenue to spread the Gospel for the next year, and the other one to start a local business where he will pour into the lives of his employees while working alongside them.

We continue to serve alongside the 501(c)3 non-profit, Grace Klein Community, which has its first staff member as of December 10, 2012. We are very thankful for Gabe Thomas and we trust God will provide for his salary, just as He does for the rest of us. We had to die to ourselves, again, and admit we needed the help. We had no more hours left in our days and our energy was gone. God has more than doubled the size of Grace Klein Community and it has been a fun and crazy ride. The community night in August was one of the highlights of our year as we saw what God can do when everyone shares what they have… whether time, talents or resources. We are very thankful for the numerous volunteers who share what they have to meet the needs of one another. A customer said it best, “Community is a verb, not a noun.”

Space continues to be a challenge at our office. We do not have the money to build something bigger so we work to adapt. Four men share a desk in one room, two others share another room. The conference room has long been replaced with shelves and the constant in and out of donations. The shop shares space with furniture donations. Three staff members share space with the food that is purchased throughout the month and given out the third Saturday. In some way, each of us dies to what we want to adapt to this organized chaos. If you drive by, you may see one estimator pacing in the front yard and another in the back yard, both selling projects while others are unloading donations. Some days it seems loud and crazy, but often I find myself pausing to listen to the laughter of guys as they work, a co-worker praying for a friend, another sharing a story of how God provided just in time, looking out my office door as a volunteer folds clothes, knowing she is praying for us, all while the phone rings and a bag of donations arrives at the front door. In those moments, I realize that dying to ourselves is teaching us how to live.

In this year of dying, we have found clarity. We are day-to-day learning to live for what matters. We are learning how to care for one another, to sacrifice what we want for what is better. We are more resolved that GKC is God’s company and if we will pray and seek His face, He will use us for His glory. We are inadequate, we make mistakes, we struggle with anxiety, and we are broken people. Yet, God accepts us for all that humanness and uses us in spite of us and only He deserves that glory. We have all lost people we love this year so we feel more, we value time, we want to call that friend we have not seen in ten years, we notice the goodness around us and our joy is deeper.

We have been surprised and stretched again this year with Caught in the Act on WDJC, a feature article on the Nations Outfitters website, an interview on an Internet radio show, and a guest appearance on ABC 33/40’s Talk of Alabama. We are thankful to share what we have learned and hope the community is encouraged that God can use any old no-name to make His name great.

In September, our family and another family took our kids out of school for a week and went to Belize. We figured a trip to Belize would meet the definition of educational. Jason struggled with fear that something might happen to Denver, our first grade son. It was very unusual because he never worries about the safety of our children. We had to make a choice and we chose to go regardless of what might happen. We learned about obeying God even when we are afraid. The children had fun painting faces, making crafts and racing bikes with village children. We all enjoyed a 4-hour Belizean worship gathering in a half-finished building with a roof held up by sticks. It was a beautiful picture of God’s people coming together to worship Him anywhere. We also helped set up wireless internet for a school, did maintenance in a student computer classroom and cleaned the science lab. And, we all made it home safely, even Denver.

If you like the usual yearly stats, we handled 554 projects, 51 were repeat customers. We also had a perfect safety record for the year. The work Grace Klein Construction completed at your home or business provided revenue for 471 vendors, employment for 26 staff members and provision for 20 spouses and 42 children. The revenue also provides support to missionaries, an orphanage in Zambia, adoptions and the local Grace Klein Community food ministry. Wow, your project not only fueled the economy, but literally blessed families. Love it! Thank you for being on the journey with us.

Referrals remain the main source of our business, so please keep them coming. We also handle foreclosure repairs for two large companies and install kitchens and bathrooms for the eleven Home Depot stores in central Alabama. Become a friend of Grace Klein Construction on both Facebook and Twitter and also find Grace Klein Community on both Facebook and Twitter. We are revamping our website and hope to have that live by the end of February. If you have suggestions on how we can improve, please send us a message through gracekleinconstruction.com or call us at 205.390.2211. If we can pray for your family or encourage you during a difficult time, please let us know.

We have not mastered the art of dying. We remain a work in progress, learning to live like we are dying. We want to be community to you, encourage you and walk this journey with you. We are honored to serve you, knowing that GKC is living and breathing because of you. We cherish life and want to live it to the full. When we die, everyone will remember what we did at the end of our journey, not the beginning. Since we do not know when the end will be, we want to live every day with intentionality and purpose so when the end comes our lives will have had lasting impact for God.

Working with all our hearts,

Jason and Jenny Waltman

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