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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Plumber Pastor Pitches In

By Christina Quick
June 30, 2013

Wes Vagle knows all about planting churches, overseeing ministry programs, and managing organizational budgets. He can also fix a leaky pipe and install a boiler with expert finesse.

Vagle, of Burnsville, Minn., worked as a professional plumber for 19 years before he sensed God calling him to ministry. After more than 30 years as a pastor and church leader, he is handling a wrench again — this time for Assemblies of God U.S. Missions.

Vagle serves as a U.S. Mission America Placement Service (MAPS) ministry representative for the North Central Region, working with RV Volunteers projects across eight states.

Over the years, Vagle pastored three AG churches and worked as the Decade of Harvest director for the Minnesota District of the Assemblies of God. He was the Minnesota District secretary-treasurer for 13 years until his retirement in 2004.

Today, Vagle and wife Nancy travel the North Central region with RV MAPS volunteers working on construction projects at churches, district campgrounds, Teen Challenge centers, and other sites. He helps coordinate the 250 retirees with RVs who volunteer their time to help complete these jobs. Some are retired electricians, carpenters and steel construction workers.

In addition to his plumbing skills, Vagle is trained to install heating and air conditioning systems. His volunteer labor has saved AG districts and churches hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“God leads us, and we can be in the center of His will in the various stages of our lives,” Vagle says. “I believe when I was a plumber I was in the center of His will. When I was training for that, it was what God wanted for me at that time.

“As we went through each step — church planting in 1970, pastoring, and serving — God was leading us. I had no clue where we were headed, but the Lord knew. Our responsibility is to follow.”

Vagle and a team of volunteers are building a 34,000-square-foot cafeteria and event center at the Minnesota District campground, Lake Geneva Christian Center in Alexandria.

“As district treasurer, one of the responsibilities I had was oversight of finances,” Vagle says. “Just realizing we’ve saved the campground in this last year $188,000 on this project, I know that’s a big factor when it comes to meeting a budget. This is multiplied time and again across the country.”

Over the past 25 years, RV MAPS volunteers have completed 103 projects in the North Central Region. Recent assignments have included constructing an addition and gymnasium at Family Life Assembly of God in Sisseton, S.D., saving the church an estimated half-million dollars; helping build a cafeteria for The Crossing at Lexington camp and conference center in Nebraska; and performing maintenance work at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, N.D.

Volunteers also work on smaller jobs, such as mowing lawns, answering phones, providing computer technical support, painting, and patching roofs.

“We try to utilize everyone’s gifts and talents within this ministry,” Nancy Vagle says. “Many of the women help out in offices with various projects. A wide variety of skills can be put to use.”

Nancy says U.S. MAPS is a real-life example of the Church coming together to advance and multiply Christ’s mission in the world.

“We exist and serve to help the projects so they can have more money to spend on the ministry God has called them to,” she says. “Every dime saved can be put into their ministry. That’s what we’re here to do — help stretch the dollar.”

CHRISTINA QUICK is a freelance writer and former Pentecostal Evangel staff writer. She attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Mo.

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