This Monday we will officially inhabit the new offices of Mountain View Community Church at 8330 Fingerboard Road. I am incredibly excited. The offices are beautiful. It smells like new carpet. The furniture is shiny and clean. It's a dream come true.
For the past ten years, we have held our offices in the historic Landon House, a 250 year-old building with lots of history, character... and problems. It was exciting at first. I had a huge office, with a balcony. I had my name on the door and space of my own to study and pray. For Guy, who had been working out of his basement since planting the church three years earlier, it seemed like we'd arrived.
But over the years, we got weary of the place. It was just too hard to work there sometimes. The mice were into everything. The heat never worked right -- some days it would be 50 degrees; others it would be 100. The power would go out frequently, especially in the early days, when were were testing the capacity of the old building's electrical circuitry. We went years without high speed internet, and my phone never worked. Strangers were always coming and going, looking for the owner or just walking through looking for ghosts. Lots of other tenants came and left--but we stayed. We waited. We dreamed. We knew our time was coming. And there was a Panera only a few miles away.
Well, we made it! Today I packed my last box, wiped the mouse droppings from my desk, and said goodbye to the old place. In honor of the past 10 years, here are a couple lists about our experiences at 3401 Urbana Pike, home of the Haunted Landon House.
Top 10 Things I Won't Miss About the Landon House
10. Phone lines with clarity resembling undersea telegraph lines.
9. Having to take my garbage home.
8. Strange sounds -- mice running around, the dance studio repeating the "Lollipop" song over and over, haunted sound effects.
7. Carrying in drinking water -- I just wasn't convinced the water there was safe.
6. Going to the dark basement to flip the breaker.
5. Winter days with no heat.
4. Wiping my hands on the shower curtain because we were always out of paper towels.
3. People asking me, "Have you seen Kevin?" (Dolan, the owner)
2. People asking me, "Are you Kevin?"
1. Reaching into my box of Cliff bars and pulling out a handful of mice droppings.
Top 10 moments I'll Remember
10. Creating a haunted house for Manic Monday in the days before the owner started doing his. It was scary. We raised a girl from the dead in the attic and made a middle school girl cry.
9. Walking out of my office and seeing General Andrew Jackson standing in the hall
8. Scaring people. One Sunday night in December I came early to set up for the annual SOS Christmas party. But the power had gone out and the place was pitch dark. The owner was sitting in the parlor drinking wine by candlelight, and didn't know I was there. I think I scared the crap out of him.
7. Showing up early one morning and finding a "condemned" sticker on the door.
6. Slipping on the icy steps one night before SOS. I went airborne, and landed on my back, almost knocking myself out. After several minutes on the cold ground, I managed to crawl back into the house on my hands and knees, and was discovered on the floor by Mary Sarah Kneebone, who compassionately asked, "What happened to you?"
5. Andrew Wilson dropping an air conditioner out of the second story window by accident while trying to install it.
4. Beth Jones putting pizzas in the ovens and inadvertanly filling the place with the smell of mouse urine
3. Watching the filming of the Sabers and Roses Reality Show from my window. I watched them film the "surprising conclusion" about ten times.
2. Throwing giant mushrooms off the balcony and watching them explode.
1. Meeting for SOS. We met there every Sunday night for 4 years. The first night we had 65 students. We prayed at 6:18. We worshiped, laughed and cried there. Cool, historic, even creepy at times -- it was the most unusual youth center ever.
So, despite my complaints, I really am grateful for these past 10 years. I know the Landon House was God's place for us to be. It always reminded us of Jesus' words, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where thieves steal (our XBox and PS2), and moth and rust (and mice) destroy, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven."