History of the Church
The work of the House of Mercy Church has been on going since 1973, when the ministry of the church first began in Big Pine, CA. It was originally named the Big Pine Indian Pentecostal Church but was changed to the Great Commission Pentecostal Church when we incorporated in March of 1979. In 1988 we renamed the church, House of Mercy Church.
The building that we used in Big Pine was the community building at the Old Indian Camp. This was the same building where Rev Bob Barron held services while pastoring on the Bishop Paiute Indian Reservation at the Foursquare Indian Mission on Brockman Lane in the fifty, sixty and early seventies. In 1976 the Big Pine Tribe set aside land on their Reservation so we could put up a building and in 1977 we purchased a 1974 doublewide trailer to be used as a church. This was no little kindness the Big Pine Tribe showed us and they will not lose their reward for helping us. I have to mention Harvey Stewart an elder and patriarch of the Big Pine Reservation who helped with his backhoe to prepare the foundation on the Big Pine Reservation for our new building and put in our water and sewer system and many other such things. I wanted to help him monetarily but Harvey said he did it to help and wanted nothing in return. God remembers those who give to the work of the Lord.
Church moves to Bishop in 1979.
We have always had a vision and hoped we would someday have a building, built from the ground up, to worship in. The vision was not realized until we began a Building Fund in the middle 1990s after we had moved our doublewide trailer in the summer of 1979 to the Bishop Paiute Indian Reservation. Over 20 years later around 2002 after a Sunday Morning Service, we (the Church) went down to the corner of my lot that I called the “Wilderness Area” to pray and dedicate the ground to fulfill the vision of a new building. It was at this prayer and dedication service that Sis Alverna Piper prophesied and said the Lord would send people from different areas and they would give of their finances and labor to help build this Church. Sometime later Eddy Murdy began the ground clearing with the little tractor that I owned and made a solid foundation from the DG that we ordered for the new building. Eddy measured the foundation site and set the markers and string for our new building. We didn’t even have a drawing yet of the building. Only the
Lord knew it would take us approximately 7 years after the ground preparation to
finish the Church.
The lot sat vacant for about three years and began to overgrow with weeds. We cleared the weeds and it was during this time that Chuck and Deanne Rees with Bill Brock and Peggy Rysteem came into our lives. It was a fact they had been coming up for a number of years to the Eastern Sierra Lakes in the fall and would fish. They discovered House of Mercy Church and would attend morning services before they returned home from fishing. It was during one of these visits that Chuck and Bill noticed the vacant site and wondered what was going on. Chuck called me at the end of that year 2004 and asked me what the lot was for. I told him we were going to build a new Church but we weren’t quite sure about how to proceed. I told him we had a Building Fund and some funds set aside for the work but I wasn’t too sure about an amount we’d need to get started. It was at this time Chuck told me he had been doing church foundations since he was sixteen years old, working with his Dad. He said he would do the foundation but wanted to wait after the last freeze of that winter before he proceeded.
The foundation work begins in 2005.
Chuck lined me out and he and Bill came up in March 2005 and Chuck relined the foundation and reset the markers, since the original ones were gone and strings were broken. He came up with Bill Brock and they set up for the stem wall and about two weeks later came up and poured cement for the stem wall. The following month in April they came back with a small crew and laid the cement foundation for the new building. I couldn’t tell you how many hours Chuck worked on this foundation but I know the Lord has it all recorded and will reward him accordingly. It wasn’t but a short time later after Chuck finished the foundation he fell ill and the Lord took him home. The church was devastated but we knew Chuck had finished his labor here on this earth. It was also during the planning of the foundation that Dan Phinney heard from the Lord and came from Elk, WA to put in a state of the art hydronics heating system. We were blessed also to have Mario Arevalo put in a super deluxe swamp cooling system. Chuck like many of the Saints who never seen the building while in this life have viewed the House of Mercy Church from the throne of God. Thank You Jesus!
The pole barn style building was the work of Rand Miller from Elk, WA. Rand built the trusses and framework and his wife Becky picked out the windows for the Church. We have had many different labor skills working together to build the House of Mercy Church. After the foundation was laid it was more than 4 years before we had our first service in the new Church in August of 2009.
I have to say that although we had to wait at times for work to be done during this 4year period, we never had to borrow money and when the work was finished, the carpet laid and the chairs in their place, no money was owed to any business or person. The House of Mercy Church was helped by a number of different Christian Organizations; Wings of Faith, Water From the Rock, Table Mt. Rancheria, and some private donors who desire the Lord be glorified and no personal recognition for themselves. If I were to mention all the names of those who helped with this building, the list would be as long or longer than this condensed history of the Church. God Knows!
Although we have had opposition in the building of the church we know and believe the House of Mercy Church stands as a symbol of vision and hope and represents the faith of many believers who stood and continue to stand upon the Word of God – our Lord Jesus Christ.