The Best Project We Ever Cancelled

About 2-years ago, Mr. & Mrs. Rader’s healthy, school-aged daughter Cali became seriously ill with an infection to the brain called viral encephalitis.  Since then, she has had a very difficult time, and has been at Providence Child Center in Portland, slowly recovering ever since.  This March, the Raders were informed that Cali would likely be ready to transition back home later this year.  She has reached the point where she can propel her wheelchair on her own and is interacting with others, among other signs of recovery.  The trouble is that the Rader home is not ready, having been built in 1954.  The Raders decided that they need to do whatever it takes to transform their home into compliance with ADA requirements, and have embarked on a massive addition project.  Mr. Rader is acting as the “general contractor” and builder, although he works full-time in an unrelated trade and has never done anything like this.  He has successfully obtained permits, redone the septic system, and recently finished the foundations with the help of Cali’s uncle (a contractor), friends & family members.  Their goal is to “dry-in” the addition before the rainy season kicks in mid-October.  Big Doug and I visited Roger in July, and he was totally overwhelmed and needing support.  We were so moved by the magnitude of the project, and desire to help them bring their daughter home, that we took the bull by the horns and scheduled to take over the framing portion of the project….praying that God would supply skilled volunteers for this big job, mainly from their church family at Newberg Christian Church (NCC).  What none of us knew at the time was that wheels of support were also spinning with NCC.

After finishing up the Homeless Liaison Project in Beaverton on Aug.31 I set my sights on the Rader project, which was supposed to start in less than 2 weeks.  I had conversations with senior pastor David Case, as well as service project coordinator Meredith Dougherty.  I was shocked to hear that over 100 volunteers, including many licensed contractors and trades professionals, had signed up to not just help….but to take it over!  They were completely overwhelmed by people offering to volunteer, donate materials & labor, and by contractors stepping up to oversee the process.  Have you ever been really excited to do something special for someone, only to find out that they or someone else had already done it?  It kind of takes the wind out of your sails…but this was different…this puts wind INTO my sails!  What an amazing example of what the local church is all about!  Meredith asked me if I was OK with them taking it over without Catalyst’s help, and I explained how excited I was that they were…not only that, but the weekend we had set aside for the Rader project can be used to assist yet another family in need instead.

I work with churches all the time to pull off big projects for people in need, and I’ve rarely seen the magnitude of committed care that NCC is bringing to bear on behalf of this family.  I’m truly amazed and inspired.  Way to go, Newberg Christian Church!

BTW, a “Go Fund Me” page has been created to help the Raders with material costs.  If you are interested in supporting this project with funding, visit

By catalystshawn

Shawn is the founding Minister/Executive Director of Catalyst NW, launched in 2007. Before starting Catalyst, Shawn was a full-time Youth Pastor and Church Planter in traditional churches for 13-years. Shawn and his wife Marina live in Tualatin, OR, and are actively involved with Grace Chapel in Wilsonville. They have 2 adult kids who are their pride & joy, one funny little dog, and a cuddly cat.