If Faith Lutheran Church Pastor Paul Larson of Detroit Lakes could write this story, he’d start out with Romans 8:28:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” King James Version

That's because Larson, who emanates positivity and faith, believes that good things will come even from the wreckage of the church’s half-built school addition, which collapsed during strong winds Saturday night.

“It seems strange to nonbelievers, but we’re excited to see what God has in store for us,” Larson said with a laugh. The church has seen many miracles already, he said, including the donation of land the church sits on, and an unexpected donation that paid off the final $52,000 of the church mortgage.

Faith Lutheran is located on County Road 6 about a half-mile west of Highway 59. Next year, the school celebrates its 25th year, Larson said. “And I’m still amazed how many people don’t know we’re here,” he added.

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The heavy roof trusses on the new addition went up Thursday, and 48 hours later an overnight gust of wind, measuring 43 mph at the airport, changed the course of the construction project. “Everything came down,” Larson said.

“When we see an incident like this, we know God will do something good with it,” he added. “We’re just thanking God that no workers were on top of it when it blew over, and it didn’t damage the church — we can still hold school here.”

There has been a school on that site behind the church for nearly 25 years, held in a double wide mobile home with attached wooden structures. That old school was removed this spring to make way for the new school addition.

Since then, Faith Lutheran has been holding its pre-kindergarten through eighth grade classes inside the church itself, with about 50 students and their teachers spread out in different parts of the church.

The planning for the school addition started about two years ago, Larson said. “The school’s been growing — we were running out of room ... Lots of parents want their kids in a Christian school,” he said.

The church has been raising funds, and several businesses have donated labor and material towards the project. Several of the contractors involved are church members. “That helped keep the cost down,” Larson said.

The construction contractor, who Larson preferred not to make public, is “heartbroken” over the collapse, he said. “A lot of people are heartbroken over it.”

But he’s encouraged by all the community members who have stepped up and offered to help with cleanup and construction chores.

The original $450,000 construction estimate jumped to $650,000 early this year, in part due to a spike in the price of lumber and other construction material, which caused a 2 1/2 month delay in the project this spring.

That delay allowed lumber prices to sink back a bit, saving the church about $40,000, Larson said. “God knows what he’s doing,” he said with a smile.

When it’s finished, the 100-foot-long addition will hold a half-gymnasium and four large classrooms, Larson said.

The original plan was to get far enough along to let the school open by the end of the year. The project would then be completed in the spring. Now the students will have to wait a bit longer.

The collapse “sets us back about a year, I suppose,” Larson said. “It’s just a delay. We have a God who does miracles, so who knows?”

The concrete slab and plumbing are still good, but Larson isn’t sure how much of the downed lumber will still be usable. That’s up to the insurance companies to decide, he said, adding, “We’re hoping the insurance will cover most of it."

The church doesn’t plan to ask for donations unless it needs to. “We don’t like to press people for money,” he said. “Once we know the need, we'll ask people for what we need, not what we want.”