This year marks the seventh anniversary of Family of Grace Church, and we recently held a service to celebrate. In one sense, it seems as though it all just began yesterday, but in another sense, each year (especially the first couple) have been so intense that they are worth several! In the meeting we began with some songs of praise to God, then some of the founding members shared the story of the beginning days of the church until now, and afterwards we shared a short meditation on the faithfulness and grace of the Lord over the course of these years.
The dominant note that sounded time after time in the testimonies that were shared was this: the Lord is the author of our church and His desire for us is to trust Him. Our church began from nothing, with just two young guys who didn’t even have beards at the time: Esteban and I. We began preaching the gospel in parks and when people asked us what church we were from and where our location was, we responded that we were starting a new church in the city and that we could meet wherever they would like to meet—we could even begin meeting under the tree in the town square.
The crazy thing is that some people (and not just young people but people much older than us) actually began coming to the meetings under the tree! After that, we found whatever location we could to meet in, some of them not even with the construction completed yet. I remember one night when the power in the building went out, we had the rest of our meeting in the dark using the flashlights on our phones. Eventually, we were able to move to the rented meeting room that we currently have (which was a luxury for us at the time, even though it was essentially destroyed when we began renting it!). Soon, we hope to move to a new building that would be of sufficient size for our church, since the room we’re in now is so full that people are sometimes standing by the door.
Not only the birth of the church is evidence of God’s gracious work, but also the fact that we have survived up to this point. The first years were very difficult! When the Lord began to use us to deliver His salvation to people and to help them grow in sanctification, the devil attempted to destroy our recently established church. There began to be a lot of challenges: opposition, discipline issues, we were slandered, etc. In those days, I would rarely spend less than eight hours in a day counseling individuals, along with the discipleship of new members. But we were sustained as the Lord responded to our prayers in abundance. Again, He desire for us is that we fix all of our confidence in His mercy, wisdom and power!
So, here we are, seven years after the first days of our church. As we see the faithful and abundant grace of the Lord in the past, we are moved to hope even more in His grace in the things to come. Our hearts burn with the call of the gospel and we see the abundant harvest. We’re very aware of our weakness, and we know that apart from Christ we can do nothing—but we are persuaded that as we abide in Him, we will bring forth abundant fruit that will last forever.
Thank you for being part of the history of our church through your prayers and support. We would not have been able to make it to this point without you. But there is much more to do together as we continue going forward!