Metamorphosis – Looking back on 2019

Metamorphosis – Looking back on 2019

Winter Indoors

A polar vortex hit in late January like an icy fist, and all kinds of plows and big rigs flooded business at National Spring and Alignment Inc.

The extra work caused the crew and staff to work non-stop for weeks on end. Meanwhile, John and the Media Van sat quietly in their designated spot and plugged away at whatever could be done without the crew’s help. Every so often, as he’d done for years, John would start up the engine to check how it was running from long stretches of un-use.

John working on Van at National Springs.

Image by John Jones

This was the way things were for most of the year. Whenever John asked for advice on where to start, what to do, and who to call, the crew at National Spring were more than happy to oblige. But more than that, the crew took great pride in their work on the Van, especially Mickey, the team leader. He wanted things done just right, and he wouldn’t allow anything less to get near his good work. Without Mickey, Scotty, and Nancy, the Media Van would be nowhere near road-worthy. It wouldn’t even work as a regular vehicle, and Big Blue was never meant to be a regular vehicle.

John came in most days, did what he could on his own, and then talk with the crew in between jobs. He heard all their complaints and concerns. Everything from water-cooler talks to pressing prayer needs. John’s ministry didn’t end where the Media Van stopped; the Lord used him to help calm, encourage, and maintain peace between members of all sides of the company. Some sheet metal for the Van would come in, and while they helped cut and put it in, he’d talk with them about their anxieties over business prospects or hiring. John would work on the fiberglass moldings for the new front grill, then go over and talk to the crew about how they felt about their work. John would stop his work to pray, counsel, or have a lively conversation with the guys, and it started to make a difference in the dynamics of the team.

 

Photo by John Jones

Many Hands

As the thaw finally came, the crew got back to working on Blue regularly. By Mickey’s recommendation, John went to pick up a truck electrical manual from Nelson Bus Service. He called in another truck company to tune up the diesel engine before leaving National Spring. And they set to work on installing the cut steel into the generator housing and putting the power generator back in. This did this with a forklift, and John got photos and video of it all. All progress was worthy of documentation.

A couple of days after the generator was back in and John was hooking everything electrical back up, a fuse in the generator blew. Still, John didn’t know where it came from. Within 24 hours, a repairman from Wolter Power came and found the problem. Not too long after that, FS Truck and Trailer Repair came to tune up the new engine – which was still working from being outside for the better part of a year.

John made some scaffolding by himself and brought it in to reinstall the screens and put in the skylight over the hole cut for the crane hook. The interior floors got scuffed up pretty bad, but that would be fixed later.

 

Image by John Jones

Keeping up with the Joneses

On July 4th, John and the Jones family went out to see family in Colorado. They all stayed at a massive house in the mountains, nearly 35 people crammed into one place, and spent the week together. After that, John took a personal trip out to North Carolina to stand in his sister’s wedding vow renewal ceremony. While he had the time, he stopped at the Billy Graham Museum. Around the same time, earlier in the summer, the Joneses welcomed another grandchild, a daughter, Hannah, into the family.

Afterward, John invited his son, Andrew, and a friend of the family, Eric, out to National Spring to help set in the screen modules one by one.

 

Photo by Sammi Funk

Tailgate Thank You

Everything was almost in place for Big Blue to leave National Spring. It’d been there for 18 months already. The whole time, God really did challenge John’s patience and the patience of the crew and staff of National Spring. Things did not come together in the time we’d thought it would, but God did bring so much together in the time He allotted for us. Without all this time, John wouldn’t have been able to build the trust and relationships with the crew that he did. He wouldn’t have learned about all the cuts, measurements, and intricacies that go into a mechanical venture of this magnitude.

By summer’s end, it looked like John Jones could finally take the Media Van out on the streets for ministry work again. It only seemed right that a huge “thank you” would be in order for the long-suffering crew and staff, who’d seen their own blessings over the past 18 months, of National Spring.

It took place on October 20th, 2019, in the afternoon at the West Milwaukee Park, just outside the company itself. John parked Big Blue on the curb on Mitchell Street with all the fixings: screens, new fiberglass front grill, and of course, amazing new diesel engine and chassis.

Long-time supporters, donors, and employees came out at John’s invitation for a combined celebration of the Van’s transformation, the honor of the team, and the Packer game. As people helped set up and cook, John set up an antenna to stream the football game live for the party. People came, fellowshipped, ate together, and went throughout the day.

 

Photo by Sammi Funk

At halftime, John showed a tribute video to the many months that the National Springs crew put into the Media Van. He honored the main mechanics, Mickey and Scotty, and Nancy, and he remembered Rick Puza, who passed away while preparing the new chassis was for the transfer. The remaining Puza family were in attendance as well.

During the tribute, Nancy also honored John back for his presence at the garage and the peace and grace he helped bring to the entire staff through the Holy Spirit. She thanked the roadies for their prayers over the whole procedure, and John topped it off by gifting a framed photograph to them of their finished work in front of the Media Van.

 

Photo by Sammi Funk

Closing a Long Journey

It’s no secret by now that this repair journey was so much more than just how it looked; it could only happen in God’s perfect timing and foresight. John didn’t know that he’d become like an unofficial chaplain at National Spring and that there were some troubles God knew would come. At times, it looked like National Spring would go under, staff tensions rose, and the polar vortex complicated things.

 

Photo by Karl Schuldt

Above all else, John thanks God for allowing him to find the right people with the valuable knowledge to help Big Blue reach its destination of full renovation and repair. We are thankful to God for His goodness and grace over these hard months and the required journey of faith to reach this amazing reward.

After some recalibration, John put together a looped video for National Spring of the Media Van journey for the customers to see. Big Blue also went out to Delafield, Mukwonago, and Waukesha for some low key Christmas events. After that, Blue is finally home for the holidays.

God is good all the time, and this was a long time coming.

Thank you all for never losing hope and sticking with us for the 20 months at National Spring. May God shower your 2020 with blessings and grace.