The view physically was devasting, and emotionally heartbreaking, but spiritually hope-filled, when I stepped down from my last church. God kept saying, “I’m doing a new thing, do you not perceive it?” I believed. I obeyed when the feeling wasn’t there.
The first Sunday I didn’t preach at Eastside Nazarene, I also had just lost my engagement ring. Later that evening, while swimming, my necklace from my fiancé, broke with the blessing prayer on it. I was still swimming and the Lord spoke to me, “You are still a pastor without a license. You are still engaged without a ring. And you still have my blessing without that necklace.”
The Holy Spirit beckoned me to continue on though I cried. Honestly, I had been at one of the best places I had ever been in my relationship with God when this happened. God had been stirring up something new inside of me. I had a vision of becoming more of a community in our church. So I had planned an outside service in the park, which ended up being the day I was announcing I wouldn’t be the pastor anymore. I kept thinking, ‘Lord, what are You doing?’
I felt terrible to walk away, though I had no choice. Jerry (my fiancé) and I decided to have Wednesday night Bible study so the people would still know we were available to them. Surprisingly, the people that came to Bible study were different people. They were people that we had ministered to on the street, but had never come to church. We invited anyone we saw to come and learn about the hope of Jesus Christ. After several months, one of the ladies, Jeanne, said that it wasn’t fair to have Bible study, but no service on Sundays. We agreed to begin having service on Sundays. To be completely honest I was still simply being obedient. My heart was beginning to heal. I believed God was doing something, but I was uncertain of what. One thing was for sure, we were community. We all brought food and ate together at our house church, with the dry erase board on the porch stating ‘Always Hope Church’.
Seems kind of funny now, but that my friend is how we started. Eight months later, we were invited to look at a church building to see if we were interested in using it. I barely mentioned it to Jerry and looked at it myself. I prayed a half-hearted prayer, “Show me something if You want us to have it.” I saw nothing. A couple days later my friend, that had showed me the church, sent me a text, ”Have you prayed about the church?” I almost text her that we weren’t interested, but felt guilty because I hadn’t shown Jerry. I just couldn’t see how we could operate a church building. Jerry and I had been tithing and taking up offering since September. We had some money saved up, about $2000. That was not enough. Anyways, Sunday came and no one showed up for house church, which never happened. Jerry and I decided we would hit the streets and pray with people. When we got in the car, I remembered the church building. I told Jerry we should go look at it. As soon as Jerry seen it, he was excited. I was NOT, until he says, “There are horse shoes!” On my To-do list for the next day was to put in a horse -shoe pit across the street from our house church. God now had my attention. In Jerry style, we met all the neighbors, as he asked them if they would like the church to open. I caught the fever and knew God was definitely doing a new thing! The owner of the church, David Pascarella, was in Florida and spoke with me over the phone. He said he would be in Michigan the next Friday and would like to sign papers for us to lease the church for 3 months for $1. He explained he would pay all the utilities for those 3 months. If we wanted to continue after 3 months we could lease it for a year for $1 and pay our own utilities, which he is still helping us with. We were awestruck by what God was doing. David had purchased the church at almost the exact time I had been asked to step down from Eastside Church. I was overwhelmed! God bought us a church. God had cried with me though He knew it wasn’t an end, but a new chapter.
June 16, 2019, we had our 1st service on Fathers Day. Our theme was, ‘Be the change you want to see’. I’m still near tears as I write this down. God has loved me so well.
A few months later, we purchased a fully renovated NOW House for recovery for $1. I had started the NOW House Project while employed at the Eastside Mission. The board unanimously voted to finish renovation and sell it to Always Hope Ministries for $1.
God has blessed our journey. I’m so thankful that God closes doors He wants closed. I’m forever grateful for the Lord giving me a godly husband that gives me courage to obey our call.
With God nothing is impossible.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
LOOK FOR MORE GOD STORIES @ ALWAYS HOPE MINISTRIES THE BEGINNING OF EACH MONTH!