We’ve written a lot about our school life here, but we haven’t really highlighted our church life (unless you saw our PowerPoint during our visit last April.) Since this is an important week for us, I thought this might be a good time to share some details.
Since Paul describes us as a body, I’ll describe “The Joshua Church” that way, starting with the title. Our body has big eyes because it is good at seeing beyond the natural and focusing on what is going on in the spiritual realm instead. It has big ears to match, as hearing God’s perspective is important in seeing things correctly. 50 families and singles make up the parts of this body and a little less than half are the hands supporting the Christian school in one way or another. I guess you could say it has a really big mouth too. For a body our size, we are blessed with a faithful intercession team and 3 different worship teams that play 3 different styles, offering a lot of variety.
I would call our pastor, Luc, the feet. His passion is seeing nations changed through Christian education, so he travels a lot, promoting, encouraging, and networking with other Christian schools from Australia to Quebec.
Our feet not only travel, but they also dance a lot – kids’ feet included. We also have frequent visits by foreign feet, and it is clear that God is using David in this church to make those connections. He created the church’s website, updating it weekly with recorded messages and event info, helping people with the same vision connect with us more easily. He has also been instrumental in smoothing communication and arranging visits for English speakers who come for numerous reasons: South African Huguenots, British prayer walkers, reconciling Germans, (who all speak better English than French,) American high school French classes, etc. Last month we had a powerful visit by a couple of reformed Pennsylvania Dutch Amish men whose ancestors fled to Alsace to escape Swiss persecution. Their ancestors had been welcomed in Alsace due to their superior farming skills, but they had to compromise their faith by agreeing not to proselytize. It was a moving time of reconciliation between these men and the Alsatians in our body, who welcomed them back and blessed their ministry, who ironically are now shunned by their own.
Our body wears a rather drab cloak: a seventy-seater hall in an old non-descript building with a rusty tin roof that sits above a mechanic’s garage in an industrial zone. For several years this body eyed the available cloak right next door. It had housed a nightclub and a small restaurant, plus additional space on the second and third floors. They were praying that the next buyer would wear it for the kingdom of God, but there appeared to be no hurry to sell, though it had been abandoned for several years.
Well, this year, that building finally went up for auction, and at exactly the same time we started outgrowing our old cloak! A friend of the church, who buys investment property, was the only bidder and took the whole place. Then he offered to rent it out to us piecemeal. Excitement grew as we looked it over. The young adults would take the nightclub and transform it into a local recording studio/music café. The restaurant would provide a nice place to gather for meal-oriented events or food ministry. (The teacher’s Christmas meal is already booked, and I jumped for joy when I learned that we will have the same chef as last year!) The second floor was an empty shell, roughly finished, that was perfect for a 250-seater sanctuary, plus room for our dancers and banner-wavers who have been cramped for a long time now.
The drawback? What else? The rent for these 3 areas is triple what we are currently paying and we still needed to pay for all the materials to finish the place.
Was there a fundraiser? A budget plan? A pledge drive? No, not in this country. Just big eyes, full of faith, based on His great deeds in the past in fulfilling our needs for the school. And for the last two months, we were miraculously able to cover that rent, plus the rent on our current hall, plus materials!
We had hoped to have the sanctuary ready by February, when we will host a Christian education conference, but we had also booked a healing evangelist for 12/16. With the realization that that our hall wouldn’t hold the anticipated crowd for him, and that we needed to eliminate one rent as soon as possible, the decision was made to move NOW. The new cloak is not finished by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be cleaned up, lit, and heated, with hopefully, a chair for everyone. David is there all week reconstructing the sound and technology necessary for our tabernacle worship night tomorrow (!!) and church on Sunday. With only drywall and cement flooring and sound amplification for a room half the size, it’s the acoustics that are really being put to the test the week before the big crowd arrives.
Will faith continue to pay the bills? Will the Christmas meal be as memorable as last year’s? Will our most capable handyman have a merry Christmas despite the building pressure? Will the healing service focus on lungs clogged with cement dust after the worship hour? And Angela’s biggest question: How are we going to keep this place clean once we do have flooring??? (see Nov 06 newsletter) While waiting for the answers to these burning questions, please feel free to pray, give, or come on over to help with this wonderful undertaking!
And by the way, I don’t think it is any coincidence that we are renovating our bedroom at the same time! The goal of both locations is to grow in intimacy. Whether we are working to improve our intimacy with God or with our spouse, it is only in that place that we hear, “You are loved and you are beautiful.” (Song of Solomon 2:10, 13b, 4:1,7, 10, 7:6, 10)
And so, gentle reader, you are …