Highland Lakes church completes update

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  • PHOTOS BY VERA OLINSKIHighland Lakes Christ Community Church shines in the darkness.

  • From left, Jackie, Pastor Michael, and Samantha Rojas stand in front of the new doors.

Recently, Highland Lakes Christ Community Church updated the 1950s Protestant church to a beautiful jewel on top of Breakneck Road.

Originally, Pastor Michael Rojas said the church was established for vacationers in the Highland Lakes and Vernon area. In the 1970s, it became a year-round church, as people began to live year-round in Highland Lakes.

During that time, Rojas said the church was maintained and members realized greater needs by adding a basement, pastor’s office, and painting the little brown church white.

Rojas said the church’s exterior was falling apart and the finances were found to strip off the old siding and put on new.

As they stripped the old siding, people in the area asked what they would do with it, because that type of rough cut siding is difficult to find.

Rojas said people picked up bundles, filled pickup trucks, and repaired their homes with the siding. One person in particular, he continued, built an entire shed, which matched the wood on his house. Now, Rojas drives by the shed every day, He and his wife own A to Z Home Professionals, and gets to see part of the church on the way to work.

At the same time the church was renovating, Rojas said, another church was closing in Clifton.

Through Christ Community Church member Bonnie Pantaleo, the Clifton church sent a check for $25,000 Rojas said, which helped complete the roof, siding, and other things. Rojas added, they had been saving money, but the gift really got them to the point of completing the project.

As part of gratitude, Christ Community Church blessed other struggling churches with a tithe.

He also said, his wife, Jackie, was a big help. She spearheaded throwing out 10 tons of unused items, which the church did not need and had accumulated over the years. “What God does — weeding out what was no longer needed in the church,” she said.

Rojas said, with the rejuvenation project, they were also able to upgrade and install a sound and audio video system, which their daughter, Samantha, runs, creating power point presentations every Sunday.

They laughed a little, remembering how Jackie had almost fallen through the roof when she cleaned a storage area.

Rojas said, it gave him a reason to put sheet rock up and re-frame the whole thing.

Jackie said coming to the church has opened her eyes to what it truly means to be the Lord’s servant — without complaining or looking at what someone else does. She said she needs to do what God calls her to do — no matter who is in it with her or not. Due to the fact it is a small church, she added, they have to work as a family and wear many hats.

Samantha said they have a lovely congregation, and one of her favorite things is serving the people. She added, she especially enjoys planning events, seeing people happy and well fed – just overall enjoying fellowship moments.

For the church’s Christmas Party, she was involved in set-up, decorating, and the members’ favorite Bible verse slide-show game. Samantha said, she enjoys being creative.

Her slideshows even include curtains opening and fluttering away.

Jackie said it is fascinating how God brought two Hispanic people from the city to the mountains, bringing “two worlds together.”

“But we’re only brought together because of Christ,” Rojas said. He would definitely like to see the church grow with families.

To that end, they started “Saturday Sunday School” to help ground young children in the area with a biblical, moral foundation, and eternal hope. The next Saturday Sunday School is Jan. 5, from 9-11:30 a.m., including a continental breakfast and good time of Sunday school and games.

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