My excitement is growing.
My “to do” list is lengthening.
My nervousness is kicking in.
The reality is settling.
The invites are happening.
My mind is whirling.
The prayers are flowing.
My hands are sweating.
My eyes are reading.
The relationships are building.
We are four weeks away from our first preview service.
We are going to have it at a venue called Hume Park in Humerail, Port Elizabeth.
This venue wasn’t our first choice.
We had been in a conversation with NuMetro theaters to rent out 2 theaters, or “theatres” in South African/English spelling. The conversation had advanced to the point we were awaiting a contract to be written in order to sign.
The theaters are located at The Boardwalk, which is owned by the Casino here in Port Elizabeth.
It’s a common landmark with a high volume of traffic and an inviting appeal.
However, the plug was pulled on this option as the manager of the theater informed me that the casino will not allow any company to allot their space for religious services per the lease agreement.
I found this out 9 days ago. It was a big blow. Actually a huge blow. I thought the space was perfect. In the states, Westside has a campus in a theater, and this is familiar ground. A perfect venue.
But it wasn’t to be.
My second choice was immediately eliminated too. Bye bye amphitheater as it is also owned by the casino.
This left us with the only other space we’ve discovered with rooms large enough that is available. A campground called Hume Park in Humerail.
Hume Park is about a 2km drive for me, so it is really close to our home. It has a large gym with a stage and a great space for a kids service.
The only problems were it didn’t look as nice and the price.
They quoted me a full day rate to rent the gym for R4000.00 (a little over $500). Just for one room.
With 5 Sundays until our projected Preview Service, it was hard to not be discouraged. I reminded myself that this is no surprise to God and knew that I needed to pray. So I did. I aired all the reasons why the theater is a better place and the reasons Hume Park isn’t. But submitted my will and plans and asked for wisdom. I read somewhere God honors that request.
All I knew to do was to make an appointment to talk with the person who runs the venue and see if we can negotiate. So two days before Christmas, and taking a huge chance, hoping he is there… since most every other business in South Africa is on holiday… I call the owner on his cell phone and he answers.
I ask him if I could meet with him after Christmas to talk about renting the facility and we set a date to meet on Dec 28.
Last Friday, Stephen and I walk into the owner of Hume Park and introduce ourselves. Pause the story right here…
the last 12 hours, i had been praying for favor or a clearly closed door. we even prayed for this again on the way to the meeting. Hit play again…
Stephen tells him he is from Hartebeesport Dam. I tell him I’m from the states and I give him a 90 sec snapshot of why we are here, what we are about, and what we need.
He was very receptive to our vision and the work we have already done. He then offered us the gym and a room for the kids to have a service. i said I was grateful but need to know how much it would cost. He motioned me to slow down and told me “Let’s secure the date first.”
After giving him our dates we talked cost. He mentioned how much it takes to set up and tear down and that we would need to pay for the hired hands to do this. My mind began to think that he was leading up to a huge figure.
As I continued to listen he asked me if we could agree to R400. Excuse me, I thought, you said R400? H would need a deposit of half the amount to book the day. I told him I would give them deposit before I left the premises!
A whopping R400! $55!! That’s it!?! It was R4000! And now only R400 for both rooms and we don’t have to set up the chairs or take them down?!?!
I couldn’t wait to get home to Cassie and show her the receipt of half the deposit.
God clearly was going before us. That’s what he does. He prepares a way for us so we can prepare a way for Him.
Needless to say, I’m learning to hold my plans with less of a grip and trust His plans, knowing that a closed door just means another door is opening.
Thank you to all who have been faithfully praying. This is the result of prayer.
Please continue to pray for those we invite to our first preview service. We will have three preview/monthly services, Jan 27, Feb 10 & Mar 3.
These services will help us build our core team to help us launch on Easter Sunday, March 31.
We want to create an environment where people who are far from God can encounter the grace of Jesus and discover their purpose to Love Jesus, become like Jesus, and share Jesus.
Four Sundays left until we are here…