- Topics & Settings
For two years until inauguration Balroop and the devotees worked to prepare the new space. When they arrived, the church was in a “grave state of health.”
In the first audio clip on the right, Satya Balroop describes such a state. Initially after purchase, the roof was patched up but the winter of 2012-13 had caused leaking. In order to avoid further damage, the roof had to be replaced completely. Satya tried fundraising but was not initially successful. This caused her to reach out to some members of the Minnesota construction community for assistance. In the second audio clip, she tells that story. Show Transcription
My husband and myself were outside and so he looked at us and he thought we were just kids, standing there. So he looked at us and he said, “Who is the owner? Who bought this building?” And we told him, “We bought the building.” And “who are you?” And so then he started to ask us all these questions, just casually talking about it...So he thought we were just these crazy kids, probably planning to do a business or something here. And so we told him, no, that we have a Mandir, a temple, in Eagan, and we are coming out to Farmington for expansion and growth. And we decided to buy this building. And he says, “Are you serious? Are you really serious? How much did you pay for this building?” Like a father would be asking a child. And he says, “don’t worry, it’s paid! It’s paid!” And we have a lot of work, we know we have a lot of work to do, but it will get done. And I said, you can come help out when you can. And I said, what do you do? Please tell us what you can do for us. This is your neighborhood, you know, and we are here to help you and your neighborhood. To keep your neighborhood nice and safe, by rescuing this building. And I started to scold him a little bit and said “what did you guys do to this building? How could you let this happen to a building like this? Just let it leak all over and collapse? This is the house of God, you don’t do that!” Because all of the gutters were led into the footings of the building all around. So whenever a storm comes down, the rainwater goes straight into the building! And I’m like, why can’t anyone say that this is happening? How come it’s only me and I’m not a carpenter? You know, anyone can see that this is damaging this building. Just lead the water away from the building and everything would have been great. And then go up on the roof and try to patch it so that no harm comes to the building. You couldn’t breathe if you walking in this building. You wouldn’t be able. I always come and I wear a mask when I come. One couldn’t really breathe in here. There was so much moldy smell, and the air and cobwebs and stuff. So we just came in and it just needed some loving tender care, and that’s what we gave it. And we are still doing that. And I think that’s what Guru Maharaj knew that we would be able to do that.
So the first year we just tried to patch the roof and see how that was going to work. But when winter came and gone, all the seams opened up. It’s like the heavens broke loose in here [laughs]. You know, all the hallways and everywhere where it used to have leaks. It just would keep coming down, and it just was a massive rush to try to save the building from having further damage. So we ask around, tried to get people to help. We did fundraisers, but we couldn’t come up with the money. And then one day, I just pick up the phone and I start calling around to contractors. Tried to be a little daring. So I invited one of them over to my home. And of course he did his duty before he came to meet with me. So when he came and sat down, he was also looking for the business. Then he told me, ‘oh I love the writeup I saw on the Internet about you guys.’ I think that’s the one Shana did, the roots of how it all started. So he said, I would love to do something for you guys. So I was like, gosh I can’t believe my ears what he’s saying! So I said, there’s a situation, we really have to save this roof. Because in order to save the building it’s causing more structural damage and we don’t know how to contain it. And the thing is, we have gone to banks and I had the notion that the bank, because of the equity that we have in the building, that they would loan us the money. So that’s why I took the risk of purchasing the building in that commission. But after we went to banks and tried to get their help to loan us the money, they couldn’t. They did not. I mean, the bank that we were banking with for 12 years, they said, no, it doesn’t work that way. That a non profit building, like a church, does not earn equity in their eyes. And any loans is really a liability for them, a great risk for them, because they knew how the market was during that time. So that really was a great risk for the banks and they didn’t want to take that risk. And so I had to try to reach out to private contractors and that when...I spoke to Tom, and he said, look, I would really like to help you guys out. And then I said, you know, we can come up with half of the money that you’re asking for. And if you can give us a break — give us a year to come up with the rest of the money. Four jumbo payments. I think we can swing that. We can do fundraisers, and we can come up with the money. And so he agreed. And that’s how we got a new skin on the building last September. And since then, I would go to sleep without having this huge building sitting on my head or shoulders. Because that’s how it was with all of us, all the family. They were really, really worried about the building. No one can really go to sleep every night. And since that...God did everything. We give our thanks to him. He acts in all different ways...And that’s how he acted, by sending Tom over to the rescue. And we got a new roof on the building.
And then after that, you started to focus on the interior.
Yes. So now, since September, we went straight into the winter. And you know how bad this last winter was, it was brutal! So it was an uphill battle to keep this building warm enough so that the pipes don’t break...No one is here during the week and it was very costly. It was costing us like $1200 a month to warm the building, so we had to scramble and come up with a plan. We have the gas bill and the electric bill, and the water and the sewer and all that. So we came out this winter, I think okay. But it’s still a struggle. Because we have other members come and help us keep this building afloat. But despite all of that we do have people sending donations, like my sister in England. She wanted to be a part of helping to beautify the building. So she sent us a nice donation to help us do that. And so as soon as we finish the auditorium, we are gonna start working on the sanctuary. And that’s when we will get the designer and the artist to come in and start doing the design part.