The Dayville Story Big Miracles for a Small Town

December 01, 2010 | Stephen McPherson

On the western edge of the Idaho Conference, the town of Dayville, Ore., enjoys a church plant valued at a replacement cost of more than $281,000. Average attendance is 12, with 15 members officially on the books. Their new fellowship hall, built during 2009, is just the latest in a string of miracles for the Dayville Church.

The dream of one man, Merriman "Woody" Woodhall, resulted in the chapel being handmade out of locally quarried stone. The walls are two-feet thick, built as a labor of love by Woodhall because he dreamed of an Adventist church in Dayville, population 138. The Sandstone Chapel lay vacant until after his death in 1989. Some local church members asked conference leaders for permission to start a church using Woodhall's building. A yard sale of his possessions netted more than $1,000, which, along with uncashed Social Security checks brought the proceeds to more than $5,000. The money was used to help start the church. The conference, which was managing Woodhall's estate, allocated the proceeds to the small Dayville group to refurbish the chapel.

From two families, the church grew to its present 15 members and the need to expand the facilities began to grow in the members' minds. They believed they needed a building 24' by 40', which potentially would cost $70,000, for multiple outreach activities in the community. They decided to begin a saving's account in the North Pacific Union Conference Revolving Fund. Every time the church funds reached $4,000, they would send $2,000 to the Revolving Fund account. They were determined at all costs to avoid any debt.

By 2008, there was $45,000 in their account. The potential cost of $70,000 seemed daunting until a Maranatha builder, Francis Browning, and fellow builders David and Allen Thompson decided to become involved.

The new Dayville Fellowship Hall was finished by the end of 2009. The first use was a Christmas celebration. The total cost was $40,000. The members, justifiably proud and happy at what the Lord has done, now plan outreach events in their community. Scripture asks, "Who has despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10).