The Restoration Project

Youth led Video Game Bash – One of the last major events we had in the Linda Hall before the fire.

This blog post has been created to share the story of our Church’s adjacent building we lovingly call the “Linda Hall” and invite you on the journey to its restoration. You will find “The Story” of how and why it became Linda Hall along with a video and images of “The Fire”. As we begin the restoration journey, we will post updates on where we are in the process until the day of completion. We hope you are inspired by these events and that you consider joining us on the journey. Pastors Tommy & Lourdes Molina

The Story

In 1999, several Chicagoland Lutheran churches were consolidating and decided to auction off 8 existing churches in Chicago. At the time, Liberty consisted of about 45 young adults, most were students and young professionals. One day as Pastor Willie sat in his home church office, he read the newspaper article about the public auction held by the Lutheran churches. He was told we had a week to place our bid. A $100,000 minimum bid was required.

The leadership team gathered at Tommy and Luly’s apartment to pray. A prophetic word was given by sister Nancy Ortiz at the meeting, “The Lord is saying to offer $500,000!” We all gasped as we thought to ourselves “where are we going to get $500,000?” Pastor Willie has always had an admirable faith. He called to inquire about the buildings and agreed to follow thru on the prophetic word and submitted our bid at $500,000. Since it was a public auction, there were many groups who placed bids looking into buying the building, including a group from Asia. A week later we received a call telling us that we had won the bid! 

We visited all 8 churches and the building at 5447 W. Addison was preferred because it had onsite parking, a banquet hall, large kitchen and classrooms. In addition, the building had a steeple just like Pastor Willie wished for.  We found it to be such a big place for us. We just had to figure out where we were going to get $100,000. By God’s grace, we were able to raise all the funds in one year!  During this time we met at the former Bethesda Church building on Fullerton Ave. We met once a week for 2 hours until God opened other doors.  

We just had to figure out where we were going to get $100,000.
By God’s grace, we were able to raise all the funds in one year!

Children eating desert during Vacation Bible School

One Sunday, a young woman by the name of Linda Otero approached Pastor Willie and asked, “Brother Willie, how much is owed for the church?” Pastor replied, “Girl…A lot!” Linda approached Pastor Willie the following Sunday and asked, “Brother Willie, I want to know how much is owed for the church?” Pastor replied again saying, “Girl, it’s a lot of money. You don’t worry about it.” The following Sunday, Linda again approached Pastor Willie and said, “Brother Willie, I want to know how much is owed for the church building because I want to pay for it!” That day Linda Otero wrote a check for $326,000 to pay off the mortgaged balance of the church before we even moved into the building! In honor of Linda, we named the adjacent meeting space of our facility “Linda Hall.”

The sale contract stated that we had to wait 5 years to move in because the existing church members purchased another location and had to wait until it was ready to move in. We moved in 2 years.

How did we pay the other $100,000? When they sold us the building, they requested to lease the space back from us. They paid us $7,000 a month to use the space. We collected an additional $3,000 a month and within a year were able to pay off the other $100,000! Only God can do that!

Many of us had doubt and fear about how we would get the money, but God did it! We believed God and He came thru! He is the God of the impossible!

The Fire

On March 12, 2020 at approximately 4:15 am, Linda Hall caught fire. The damage severely spread to the kitchen. The basement suffered extensive water and smoke damage. The second floor office areas, conference room, and upper classrooms also suffered extensive smoke damage as well as the windows and a portion of the roof. Thankfully no one was in the building and no one was hurt.

Linda Hall Fire – Video by Felix Mendez

We want to thank everyone for your prayers, words of encouragement, visits, care and concern during this difficult loss. We are reminded about all of the amazing people that surround our ministry. At times like this, God reminds us that “the Most High does not live in temples made by human hands”. (Acts 7:48). We are His temple and He lives in us.

Scripture reminds us that there is glory behind every loss. Jesus died and rose again to full glory. While we are saddened by our property loss, it is only a temple made by human hands. So we call upon all of our members, colleagues, and friends to unite and begin the restoration to full glory!

The Challenge

For over 19 years, Linda Hall has been a place of memories. It has served as a host to numerous life celebrations such as birthdays, gender reveals and baby showers. Milestone moments of graduations, and weddings. A place where families have gathered to comfort one another with a family meal in times of mourning and loss. It has been a place of learning with workshops, conferences, and community cooking classes. It has served the community as a gathering place for schoolteachers, back to school outreaches, youth outreaches, and holiday celebrations.

While our insurance will cover some of the costs, we are discovering they will not cover what is necessary for a complete restoration. If we were able to raise $100,000 back then, we can do it again!. That is why we’ve targeted $100,000 as our minimum campaign goal. This is an opportunity for us not just to restore it to its former glory, but to make it an even better place for the sake of serving our community and our God! Now is the moment to become part of restoration and begin to restore today!

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
Isaiah 58:12 (NIV)

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