HOUSTON -- Members of a local church braved the cold Wednesday night to worship outside just as they've done every week for nearly three years.

The First Church of the Apostles has been fighting to preserve a dream.

My wife and I spent our life savings on purchasing this property, said Reverend Ollie Knox.

In 2009, the church was granted a three year property tax exemption to construct the building.

It took us almost that length of time to obtain a building permit, Knox said. Going through City Hall, doing things the right way, the red tape. Knox was stunned when he received a $10,000 property tax bill in the mail.

It just blew me away, Knox said.

Officials here Houston's permitting office said it typically takes them about 11 days to turn around an application, but First Church of the Apostles didn't come close. The church even had to resubmit the application for a construction permit on nine separate occasions.

The church filed an appeal and the Harris County Appraisal District has agreed to toss out the old tax bill, granting the church an additional three years to complete the project.

We re trying to do something for God here, Knox said.

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