Friday, May 6, 2016

The Barranca Church Miracle

The First Sunday Meeting in the Barranca Church
It's a story about doors closing in one area and doors opening in another.  It's a story of ministers trusting with confidence in God's sovereign care.  It's a story of God working behind the scenes to pull various elements together to care for His children.

Two years ago church workers were withdrawn from a church plant in the town of Barranca. Circumstances were such that the work could not be continued.  Much energy and resources were expended in an effort to reach this community.  However it resulted in an almost new church building being left empty.  The mission began to make an effort to sell the property so the funds could go elsewhere to support other projects.  They were asking $850,000.00 DR ( $18,750.00 US), for a property possibly worth twice as much.  This sanctuary could hold 100-130 people.

Unknown to them 6 months ago Pastor Francisco Romero had begun to look around for a place where his people could meet in Barranca.  Most of his congregation commuted from Barranca to his church in Las Yayas. The church building in Las Yayas had been lent to him and his Haitian congregation for 8 years.

Someone alerted him about the abandoned church building three months ago.  He told me about it and insisted I look at the facility.  The building looked solid and certainly worth more than what was
Debbie and Pastor Francisco inside the new building
being asked.  Later, I talked to the missionary  representing this property.  I had very few personal funds for this.  I really wasn't sure if this purchase could be made.  I told the owner that I would talk to him by the end of the next week to tell him how the finances were going, if he would hold it for Pastor Francisco.   The sellers were excited that another church might be purchasing it.  As a missionary, I know how important it is to the donors that their gifts be used for their designated purpose.  Some one had helped with the funds for this building, it would be hard to tell them the building was no longer being used as a church.

That very same week the representative from the other church building in Las Yayas met with me. He felt that their news would be presented better to Pastor Francisco if I should tell him.   He felt Pastor Francisco had a high respect for me.  He asked me to speak to Pastor Francisco to let him know that they were requiring him to turn in the keys to the Las Yayas church by this June.  They had

incorporated and formed a new church organization and unless Pastor Francisco joined them he needed to find another place to meet. Pastor Francisco had already told me he thought this might happen.  Basically, he was given just two months to find a new location.  This could have been devastating news to Pastor Francisco as the building was not just a sanctuary, but it also had a parsonage where Pastor Francisco and his wife and two children lived.  He would also have to vacate the parsonage.

Why did this happen the same week that I had heard there was a church in Barranca for sale? I believe God was intervening in this situation.  As I talked to Francisco he assured me that it would actually be a good move for the congregation as 90% of them live nearer Barranca. In fact for six months he had already been holding meetings in Barranca in a borrowed church.  But where would the pastoral family move to?  In faith he had already been looking at a home to rent near the new building in Barranca.

I posted an email and sent out a newsletter to see if among our supporters there might be some interest in helping.  It was Friday and I had managed to pull together about $6000.00 US in personal and undesignated funds and email promises.  Meanwhile a final price of $700,000.00 DR ( $ 15,800.00 US) was given for the purchase price of the Barranca church.  This was a fantastic price but I was still pretty short.  I called to tell the missionary representative that $7000.00 (I fudged a little, in faith) had been pledged or collected, and that perhaps by the end of the next week I might have some better news.  I needed more time.   He was very excited that a church group also committed to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ might be the new owners.

That was a busy week for me.  I had not been able to raise any more funds by Friday night when I received a call from a supporter. He had read an email about the church and wanted to know how we were doing on the church purchase.  He pledged $7000.00 US towards the purchase. No sooner did I get off the phone when the missionary representing the Barranca property called to see how we were doing.  I had some good news for him.  I also let pastor Francisco know.   His people were praying.

What I didn't know was that the Missionary representative selling the Barranca property had just recently been given permission to use these funds to help with a tough medical situation with his wife.  He confessed to me that if this building had been sold 6 months earlier the funds would have quickly been spent to help with various ministry expenses. His wife's operation had developed some serious complications and she had been in the hospital for weeks now.  Just that week he had been told that his hospital insurance would no longer cover his wife's treatment and he was on his own. But his board of directors had voted in favor of his using any possible sale funds to help with her bill. He had placed an ad in the paper to sell the building just days before I had called.
Giving Pastor Francisco the keys to the new building.

In good faith the missionary gave me the keys to give to the Pastor so the church could begin using the building.  A week later we closed on the property.  A week after that, the first service was held at the church although they had no chairs to sit on. This week we moved the Haitian school into the new facility, so student chairs can be used temporarily for their meetings.
Three trips later finally moved in!

The missionary informed me today that his wife has been released from the hospital and is doing better.  He also gave me permission to say that the proceeds from the sale of the church paid off their debts to the hospital to the last penny! God has worked a miracle! God answers prayer and knows our every need.  Nothing catches Him off-guard. He is at work on behalf of those who love him.

I told Pastor Francisco about how the funds answered a need for the missionary.  He looked me squarely in the face and said, "That miracle was ours too!" They now have their own church to use, it is a better facility, and they are poised for growth in Barranca.  God is awesome! God is a multi-tasker, and He keeps up with all His children and looks out for their good!

I felt I had to share this with our supporters.  Without your help this could not have happened.  The Lord richly bless you!