The Dream Came True
“For 30 years I’ve been thinking of and praying for Belle Anse. Two weeks ago, God answered my prayers!”
When RoRo was 13 years old, his parents sent him to Belle Anse for two months to spend time with his cousins. This family was very superstitious, and at the end of the summer there was an entire week filled with drums beating and voodoo ceremonies. It was the first time RoRo had seen voodoo first hand.
“It was the first time I witnessed the presence of the devil face-to-face, and I wasn’t a Christian. When I became a Christian, my heart was always hurting for the people of Belle Anse,” says RoRo.
On October 19-22, HCO led a revival that launched our 11th church plant: Emmanuel Christian Church of Belle Anse. Prior to the Thursday through Sunday revival, a team of Bible students from Pastor Medit’s seminary did door-to-door evangelism, and RoRo did some one-on-one evangelism.
On Wednesday night, RoRo talked with a man for a long time about Jesus. At 11:40 p.m., the man said, “I want to be baptized right now.” Neither Ro nor the man had a change of clothes, so the man said, “Let’s just use the clothes we are wearing.” They went to the ocean, and this man accepted Jesus and was baptized. Already, this new Christian has finished the first homework RoRo gave him, reading the book of John. When he asked what to do next, RoRo said, “You are a missionary now. You were saved to save others.”
Todd Booth, Brian White, our team, and I were blessed to witness the dream that was planted in RoRo’s heart 50 years ago come to fruition through the revival and church plant. We walked the streets of Belle Anse, looking at the worship stage in the middle of the city square, talking to the locals, and praying for the revival. At dusk, slowly people started to emerge, and chairs were scattered in front of the stage. The first night, 1,500 people attended.
By the second night of the revival word had spread through Belle Anse. The mayor, the judge, and the surveyor were all in the crowd. City officials and police officers, little old ladies, teenagers, and everyone in between gathered to hear the message of Jesus.
As the worship started and the crowd grew, it was amazing to participate in the powerful worship, including Pastor RoRo on stage singing in the praise band. From the slower songs to the upbeat worship, there was one song that was a fitting theme for the evening and the entire weekend: “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain.” With the bass turned up and the worship decibels at about 300, the loud and powerful worship could be heard in the entire town!
For four nights, the power of Jesus was proclaimed through the theme: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel” (Romans 1:16). Todd Booth, HCO Board Member, shared a powerful testimony on Friday night. Pastor RoRo, local pastors, and Brian White from Parkview Christian Church (Wooster, OH) shared from the Word of God. Over 2,000 people crowded the city square and poured over into the streets and city park each night, Friday through Sunday.
In all, 46 decisions were made to follow Christ!
We are grateful to Kami Butcher for putting together a great video recap of the revival and launch of the church that will help you feel like you were there: The Dream Came True!
On Sunday morning, 75 people gathered in the courtyard of a small house in town. The lady of the house had visited our hospital in Peredo earlier in the summer and insisted that we use her house for our first church worship service. In fact, her family made food for the entire team that week, including providing housing for RoRo and the worship team. The first meeting of Emmanuel Christian Church of Belle Anse was filled with amazing worship, preaching, and three people coming forward (two to rededicate their lives to God and one to accept Christ for the first time).
Evan Cenoza is our church planter and pastor in Belle Anse. He is married and went through our Teach to Transform training in July. He will be in Belle Anse five days a week to lead the church and preach the Word of God. Pastor Brian White brought along an English Bible that he wanted to give to someone who needed it. Pastor Evan had been praying for one! Please pray for Evan and all of the new believers as they grow and serve together!
From funds already raised for this church plant, we purchased land near the city square for a permanent building and meeting space for the church. It has been surveyed, and RoRo told the men of the church to bring their machetes and start clearing the land for the building.
As the team climbed in the boat on early Monday morning to head back to Peredo, we saw an amazing sunrise over the town of Belle Anse. Our hearts were full as we saw the light peak over the mountain range and come upon the town of Belle Anse. The sunrise was a very fitting way of God encouraging us and the new believers. God’s light has come upon the people of Belle Anse!