Strongman Seth Hillstead of Las Vegas competed in a Strongman Competition last month in West Wendover to raise funds for Pastor Chris Lund?s new church building.

WEST WENDOVER ? A Strongman Competition in West Wendover raised funds for Pastor Chris Lund?s new church building.

The competition was organized by Justin Purcell of Las Vegas. Purcell, who grew up in West Wendover, brought several competitors from a Las Vegas strongman organization to the fund raiser.

West Wendover Mayor Donnie Anderson signed on to compete in the lightweight division.

?There is no way I can compete with the strongmen,? Anderson said, ?but I wanted to encourage the fundraising effort for Pastor Lund?s new church.?

Curtis Christensen, West Wendover Spanish language teacher, acted as the master of ceremonies for the event. He is known as the ?man with the voice? in Wendover. He announces the football and basketball games for West Wendover teams. ?The Voice? kept the competition moving in a professional way.

?This event was the second annual Strongman Competition fundraising effort,? Ginger Purcell said. Purcell is Justin Purcell?s mother and she is in ardent support of a plan to build a new church.

Pastor Lund?s church burned down five or six years ago and since then, the congregation has met in various places around Wendover.  Currently the Wendover Christian Fellowship meets in the West Wendover Elementary School?s multipurpose room. But on Sundays the room is not air conditioned or heated.

Pastor Lund has made his home in Wendover for 31 years. During those years he has pastored The Wendover Christian Fellowship Church. For several years, until the 2008 earthquake made the building unsafe, Lund held mid-week services in the El Rancho building in Wells. He also conducted services on various remote ranches. He went where he was invited, no matter how small the fellowship.

?I became interested in Pastor Lund many years ago when I saw how much he was doing to help people who come in off Interstate 80,? Ginger Purcell said. ?He has a real heart for those who have very few resources.?

Lund takes up the story. ?I have spent 30 years helping transients. Most years I answered about 600 calls for help. People needed gas, food, and lodging, Somehow we were able to provide those things. We had help. Those were just the calls we answered. We aren?t counting the calls the LDS, Catholics and the Nevada Highway Patrol fielded.?

Lund said he is sad to say that he has had to give up his mission with the indigent population.

?I was losing my health and I wasn?t paying enough attention to my own family. I have delegated that mission to others.?

The pastor says he is changing his focus.

?There is no use in having a new building unless we can say the church is the people. I?m focusing on building teamwork and a family atmosphere. Then we will be able to handle the needs of anyone who comes in the door.?

While he was talking, Pastor Lund was flipping burgers on a grill to feed the small crowd gathered to watch the strongman competition. He continued his conversation about the real church building that needs to happen.

?There is such a need for building family cohesion. Parents? work schedules keep families from building strong relationships between themselves.?

Lund said he seeing some results from the strengthened focus. About 20 teenagers are attending youth group and about 20 children are attending Sunday School. ?We hope to see whole families work together within the church. There is so much that needs to be done to build strong families.?

Lund said he has ?a couple of options? for a building site. One option is a location on the old air base on the Utah side and the other is a bare land two-acre site on the north side of the freeway in West Wendover.

?Our fellowship has no central headquarters. We sink or swim on our own.?

?Carl Jorganson has just today talked to me,? Lund continued. ?He is a Salt Lake City trailer mover with 23 years experience. We can pull modulars out of the Boise Air Force Base ? the base is giving them away. Jorganson tells me he can move the trailer units at a reasonable price. Other movers have quoted me huge prices for moving just one unit. These movers are in such demand in the North Dakota oil field.?

The burgers were stacking up and a hungry crowd was lining up. The interview was clearly over.

Ginger Purcell had the last word.

?Chris has helped so many people. It is time the people step up to help him keep helping people. We?ll keep fundraising with bingo games and yard sales, but we need to make our needs known to people in a wider area.?

An account for the Wendover Christian Fellowship building fund has been set up at the Wells Fargo Bank in West Wendover. Donations will be appreciated.

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