Rafaelito and his growing house church hunkered down as the storm came close. Many from their community sought refuge in their home because they had nowhere else to go. They knew that Irma was approaching. What they didn’t know was that it would hit close to their community as a category 5 hurricane, bombarding them for 24 hours and leaving a trail of destroyed homes. They didn’t know they would be without power for several days and that many of the nation’s crops would be destroyed, resulting in food shortages and increased prices for months to come.
When they finally came out from their shelter, they immediately took their entire church savings and began giving to people as much as they could to help patch their roofs or buy some food. One unbeliever was griping to his believing wife about how the church was not concerned with their suffering at the very moment they showed up to help!
This was just the beginning of God’s redemptive work in this disaster. Through the generous support of the Alliance family in Canada and other nations, along with another relief organization, the church has turned this national crisis into a cause for rejoicing. Rafaelito’s church has built 10 houses from scratch for those affected, and installed power lines for a whole section of the community. He got up several times at four in the morning to travel 40 km into the country to collect wood. The unbeliever whom Rafaelito bought the wood from was so impacted by his sacrifice that he gave him extra so they could build one more house! In the last few months, over 60 new people from their community have started regularly attending the church.
The amazing thing is, this is just one example. Over 50 of our Alliance house churches have started compassion ministries to the most vulnerable people in their communities, such as the elderly and disabled. Twenty of these churches have developed business plans to raise funds so they can continue these ministries long-term. Instead of focusing on their own needs, they are reaching out in love to those who are even more needy than themselves, and reports of people coming to Christ through their testimonies continue to come in from across the island. God has taken the seed of their suffering and transformed it into a mighty harvest that continues to multiply for the kingdom. How might He do the same in your life today?
This story is taken from the Fall 2018 Alliance Connection magazine. You can get a free copy of the Alliance Connection at Alliance churches across Canada or view the digital copy online. We hope you will be encouraged and inspired to go deeper in Jesus and as a result, further on mission.
Curtis and Tricia were international workers in the Caribbean Sun region. Curtis has recently accepted the role as District Superintendent for the Eastern Canadian District.