With total faith and trust in the Lord of the universe and with dedicated church members willing to sacrifice and work together as a team, it’s amazing what any congregation can do. Such is the incredible story of Rock of Ages SDA Church located in Savage, Minn.
In early September 2012, Pastor Birai, his wife and ten others started meeting and planning to plant a new church south of the River. With the blessing of Conference Administration, Rock of Ages was launched on November 24, 2012 with an encouraging attendance of 150. By God’s grace Rock of Ages grew so fast in both numbers and figures such that on May 23, 2013 (6 months after the launching) Rock of Ages became a full fletched multicultural congregation. After two years, we embarked on an ambitious campaign to raise a down payment of $ 175,000 that would enable us to buy a church building of our own. We embarked on this project by faith, knowing without a doubt that the good Lord who had brought us thus far would be sure see us through.
In all our planning meetings, we emphasized four key elements: prayer for God to open and close doors according to His will; exercise enduring faith; each to do his/her part; and each one of us to share our burden with those in the circle of our friends.
To reach our goal, we tried different methods of raising funds, including but not limited to the following: we divided ourselves into various groups and asked each group to raise a certain amount of money; we did quarterly fundraisers whereby we came together, shared a meal and each gave at least $ 100; we used online forms of giving like PayPal; we encouraged each other to solicit funds from those in our circle of our loved ones; and we wrote to some churches asking for donations. While the majority of churches said no, citing their own financial needs, others did send us some donations. As a matter of fact, four churches sent us $ 500 each, of which we were so grateful.
Perhaps our greatest challenge came down to finding a building to buy. This was our greatest challenge because many conflicting interests came into play –distance, affordability, location, various preferences by different members and meeting the conference requirements. We searched, toured different buildings, prayed for each one and, in the end, the will of God was done. With the help of the conference, on December 18, 2016, our church went from being a renter to becoming an owner. Hallelujah!
Since this property was used as business offices, there was need to renovate it into a church building. The renovation tag was $70,000. So, we had hardly purchased the building when we started raising funds for renovation. As of March 30, we had raised $25,000 and have $ 45,000 to go. Going by the same faith, renovation is poised to start on April 15 and continue for two months.
We ask for three things of those who read this article: first, please pray that our renovation project will succeed; secondly, share our joy and burden to those in your circle of friends and loved ones; and thirdly, if you wish to help fund our renovations, you can give in various ways, including:
- Write a check payable to Rock of Ages and mail it to Rock of Ages SDA Church, P.O BOX 460, Savage, MN 55378
- Sign into our web site and use “On line giving link” rockofages22.adventistchurchconnect.org
As a church, we are truly thankful for what the Lord has done for us. We also will not forget to thank the conference for helping us out when we needed them most, the church members for their faith, sacrifice and commitment and all those who have helped us in one way or the other. This building will enable us to do more ministry and bring more people to Christ, and that is the greatest gift of all.
Absalom Birai, Pastor; Andrew Thompson, First Elder; Brian Omirera, Head Deacon
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