Sunday was a red-letter day for our church in Petite-Anse. Our mother church celebrated its 23rd anniversary. Pastor John Finochio and Bryan Vos (Music/Media Director, Audio/Recording Engineer) of Crossroads Community Church in Hamilton, Ontario, were our special guests this year. It was an incredible service in many ways and full of surprises. Our adult and youth choirs joined together with other singing groups from the church to form a coalition of over 100 members. This great choir presented a special song called Praise Him. It was special in that it was composed by Pastor John’s son, Nathan, and was sung with the intent to take Pastor John by surprise. It worked! Since translating it into Creole, “Louwe-L” has become one of our favorite songs.
There were surprises all around, however. On Saturday, Bryan accompanied me to choir practice. Upon entering the church, we discovered that no instruments had been set up, plus no one had even come to practice. I was a bit distraught since this would be our final practice before the choir was to sing. It was after that that I noticed a bustle of activity going on next door where the foundation of our new church lay. After lots of questions to which I received no definite answers, I finally managed to track down one of our committee members.
“Brother Brunel, what is going on? No one’s here for practice. What are all those people doing next door?” I asked. All the benches and the pulpit had been moved over to the new land where men were scurrying about to place a tarp on top of the wooden structure they had concocted. Brunel sheepishly looked at me and grinned. He let me know that they had planned a huge surprise for Prit. Sunday morning’s service would be held on the new foundation, rather than in the tonnelle.
“Please don’t tell him. It’s a surprise.”
It was hard not telling Prit what everyone had planned for the next day. I simply told him that the church had a big surprise for him.
The next morning when Prit and I arrived at the turnoff which leads to our church in Petite-Anse I said, “Honey, do you remember that I told you the church had a big surprise for you?”
“Well, when you get close to the church, don’t enter in by the old gate. You need to turn in to the new one instead.”
As we entered the gate of what is to be our new church location, he started laughing as he realized what our church people had done. This will become a milestone in days to come. Our people moved by FAITH to have a service on our new foundation, even though the actual, physical church building has not yet been completed. It was somewhat like the priests of Israel putting their feet in the river Jordan by FAITH as they entered the Promised Land. The river did not divide UNTIL they took that first step of FAITH.
After a service full of music and preaching, our church committee presented us with a basketful of red roses, apple cider, and candy. In addition to this, they included a beautiful wooden picture frame. The frame contained pictures of Prit and me on one side and our three children on the other. Inscribed at the top was “GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.” This time it was our turn to be surprised.
We have decided (or rather, it seems to have been decided for us) that the tonnelle is a part of an era gone by. From now on, we plan to meet on the new church’s foundation until the needed building gets completed. I guess after seeing so many miracles over these past 23 years, moving out by faith to set up church next door may have seemed like a small leap of faith. We are so proud of our church leaders and members and thank Pastor John and Bryan for sharing such a special occasion with us.
After the service was over, everyone partook of an Agape meal. Over 1,200 people feasted on a delicious lunch of rice and beans, beef, salad, and fried plantains. Prit and I also received a special cake to mark this occasion decorated with the words, “Happy Birthday CFC.”*
Completing the church building is estimated to cost around $280,000 (US). Our people have held all-night prayer vigils for the completion of this monumental task. Now, they have moved forward to “take the land.” We are now waiting in faith for the Lord to move again. Will you pray and believe God with us for this miracle? Would you like to be an instrument to help bring this miracle to pass? If you would, you can send a check to:
Pritchard & Dana Adams
c/o Rehoboth Ministries, Inc.
333 Hilliard Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28311
Please earmark your check: “New Church Building.”
*CFC stands for “Centre de formation chrétienne” (the name of our church in French).