These last two months have been very busy in preparation for our second Anniversary Sunday. We encouraged our people to make a list of five people for whom they promised to pray. We posted these lists on a board on the wall of the auditorium with the theme “Fishers of Men.” We filled the board up with these “lists of five.” Part of the promise included inviting these people to our Anniversary Sunday on February 23. The excitement caught on with our people!
We also passed out 5,000 invitations for the special day. The people labored in many aspects in serving God and reaching the lost. We prayed and worked as a church!
Pastor Courtney Lewis and his wife Portia came to participate in the services. I believe God used his ministry especially on Anniversary Sunday to preach the gospel.
Incidentally, I have never had so many things go wrong. The more we worked, the more the Devil worked to hinder. For instance, we had a soccer field reserved for the tent service, and the week before, a construction company completely demolished the field. There was debris and garbage everywhere! We just cleaned up what we could and set our tent up on the basketball court next to the field.
Another problem came when the tent arrived to go up. We were to have four tents (each measuring 20 ft. by 20 ft.), but they only came with three. No extra room!
Also, we set up our small canopy tent in our back yard to clean it ahead of time. This tent was to be used for the refreshments. The wind caught it and rolled it around the yard completely destroying it!
Then, after everything was set up, and I was sitting at the tent on Saturday night about 7:30, a drunk came over to the tent and started tearing up everything.
It was frustrating watching all of our plans get changed. I explained to our people that the work of God is not always easy, but the blessings come to those who do not give up.
When the day finally came, we had 296 total people in the service. There were 184 in the tent service and the rest in the two Sunday School classes for the children. Praise God! There were four adults who received Christ as their Savior! Even the drunk’s wife and children were in the service!
There are many stories of how God used that service to reach the lost. One example is about Mrs. Grant. About one month ago, our bus driver slightly bumped a parked car. It was not very much damage at all to her car, and none to the bus. During the week, I went to their home to pay for the damage. At the visit, I invited Mrs. Grant to church. In tears, she began to share with me the story of a great tragedy in her life. I witnessed to her and prayed with her. A few weeks later, she came to the Anniversary Sunday and was one of those who were saved! When she returned to the tent area after getting saved, she told me that God had the bus hit her car so that she would be saved!
I believe that it was very important for our church people to see God’s blessing on their efforts. Some pastors are afraid to make their people work really hard, but I believe the opposite. If you could see our people at the evening service, you would have noticed a very tired group of workers, but you would have also noticed the most joyful people you have ever seen. Only two years ago, most of our people were not even saved, and now they are soulwinners. They see the hand of God in their lives. That experience builds faith! They can obey God, raise godly children, and have a good testimony, all because they really know what it is like to depend on God to bless our work!
Two weeks after the Anniversary Sunday, we had a carry-in meal for our church people to celebrate two years. We had 146 in the morning service with 12 more new adult visitors. We had an afternoon service after the food, and crammed in 136 into the small auditorium. It is evident that we will need a larger place to meet soon. Our people are excited about what God has in store for our young church.
Please pray for the follow-up visits that we are making every day. I still believe that the best discipleship course is faithful church attendance, and during our midweek services right now I am teaching a series on “Bible Basics.” Pray for more of these visitors to receive Christ, and for others to grow in the Lord! I really covet your prayers for our work here and greatly appreciate all those who have been faithfully praying.