The news that all of you have been waiting to hear is both exciting and wonderful! The Lord blessed our grand opening service in a fantastic way. We had a great number of first time visitors from the community. Thank you so much for praying and supporting this work!
I began praying we would have fifty people on our grand opening but felt a bit intimidated to share the goal with others for fear of coming short of it. I didn’t want them to be disappointed in the event fewer people came, or feel God had let us down having done all we could to win souls and invite people. We were all so busy when folks began to show up to the little conference room that counting was difficult. Children were in the breakfast room, folks were standing in the back… it was hard to keep track. Stacy counted 54, Gabriel counted over 60, Bella counted 58 but didn’t count the kids in the breakfast room. At any rate; God blessed, the room was filled over capacity, and only the Lord knows how many we had.
Some of the most exciting things I have ever experienced in ministry have transpired since starting the work here in Astoria. Most of them involve personal stories about people and it would not be kind to share them without permission. I hope, in time the Lord will lead some of these people to share publicly how Jesus worked in their lives so I may share them with you.
Prior to our big day, several churches actually helped with visiting and distributing flyers. Greater Portland Baptist Church holds the record with over 50 people who came from Portland to help. Hillview Baptist Church in Springfield also sent a group with seven people and covered a large area of the map. Beaver Falls Baptist Church also supported the final weekend of canvassing and joined Faith Baptist Church in Everett, WA. Theirs was a group of seven and was made up completely of Pastor Andrew Teesdale’s family. Bro. Stu Marks and his wife came from Longview Bible Baptist Church and handled the photography for the day. Bella also took several nice family pictures. Finally (as in the Grand Finale) the Oregon Trail Baptist Church sent out the Oregon Trail Trio to sing during our service. Pastor Hansen brought 9 people all together and they took part in the Sunday service. We had fun, help, and lots of fellowship as each of these groups came to lend a hand in planting this new church over the past month!
During the service, several people indicated they were looking for a church home and many said they would return. After the service, Bella spent some time talking with a young lady who is thinking about salvation and the conversation was very productive.
After winning what Winston Churchill called “The Battle of Egypt,” he famously quipped; “Now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps, the end of the beginning.” That is how I feel at this point. Please watch for a very important letter to follow in the next few days.
–The Byers Family