Back in 1960, we were moving into our parsonage on Wyandanch Drive (now under a new name), a car slowly coming up that dead-end street. The car stopped, and a lady, Lois Bennett, got out in our driveway, asking, “Are you Rev. Groth?” Couldn’t deny that, and didn’t want to! She had been traveling the streets of Poway, looking for us.
She expressed great eagerness in getting underway in the work of establishing a new Lutheran congregation in Poway. She was eager, and so were we.
And that we did! Full force! Full bore! And, a wonderful, committed, unforgettable, energetic, hard-working, faithful people gathered together in our Lord’s Name to begin what we called, after a few months, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church.
We began worshiping in the garage at the Midland Road home of the Strehlau family. The first pulpit was a table saw with a white sheet draped over it. Then, we moved to a barracks building on the present church site which we remodeled. When we first walked into those buildings they were dirty and disheveled, but then we turned them into a worship and educational space. Not a splendid cathedral, but a church for us then. Soon we needed two Sunday morning worship services.
What a great day when we broke ground for a new church building. We were so eager to get into that building that we met together in it for several occasions before it was completed. We built our own pews. Who can forget that late hour meeting in Los Angeles with the Mission Board to secure permission for that project by four or five of us with a prototype per? What a sight that was! Church pew sticking out of the back of a station wagon! Don’t see that often! We also built our own altar, pulpit and lectern. Literally, it was our church! We ourselves built so much of it. It was our church, where we heard the Word of God, and sang hymns, and prayed, and received Holy Communion.
We even refurbished, inside and out, a heavenly blue Flexair bus! The first run of that bus up the grade toward Ramona was less than sensational. It coughed! It sputtered! But, eventually it ran! And carried us about on trips, like Christmas caroling excursions, where as we rode we laughed, and sang, and talked! What joy!
And we grew, not because of the new church building, or the blue bus, but because of Mt. Olive’s people. How impressive they were, and I pray, still are!
Sunday School and Vacation Bible classes had so many young learners that we met in our classrooms. As our educational needs grew, every nook and cranny of space was in use. Expanded additional space was needed. The need was obvious and we determined we would meet it. And I will never forget the day we poured the concrete slab. We just rolled up our sleeves, put on our boots and went to work! We will never forget the day when we, by our own labor and diligence, completed that building. Those were the days!
All this, mind you, within those first five years. How God blessed us! How God led us! What precious people God gave us! And that, by the way, no, not just by the way, rather, most important of all, is one of God’s greater blessings, the blessing of a congregation’s people. God does give us his grace, his mercy, his love, also his forgiveness when we don’t measure up, which is often! But it’s the people God brings together, sisters and brothers in faith, who form Christian congregations, who while also engaged in the work-a- day world, who while keeping their families together in love, whole and intact and on track, also find time, and give time, to serve our Lord Jesus Christ in his church! That’s huge!
Fast forward over 55 years later, and we have a beautiful location with a wonderful congregation and Preschool.
Come be a part of our loving family and join us at one of our services, bible studies, or events. Or check out the Mount Olive Preschool to see if it would be a good fit for your kid(s).