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In February 2020, Village Missionary Alan Klein asked in a sermon, “When life crashes down around you, what do you do?” He noted that “there are many things in life we can’t control.” This message came in God’s perfect timing for Freedom Bible Church, a small congregation in Sutherlands River, Nova Scotia, Canada. One month later, the Covid19 pandemic did seem to bring the world crashing down.
Alan focused that day on Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart…and He shall direct your paths. He urged the people to cling to God, confide in Him, and trust Him. “God takes us through things we can’t possibly handle alone,” he said, “but by God’s grace, we can handle them as we walk with Him.”
Although they didn’t realize it until later, God had prepared Freedom Bible Church (FBC) for the pandemic.
Help Arrives in God’s Perfect Timing
For several years, Alan had worked to improve their church’s Facebook page and make it more effective. In 2019 God brought videographers Joel and Angela Mantel to the church. Joel and Alan discussed livestreaming the church services, and though Alan attempted it at the start of the shutdown, the church’s Internet was too slow.
Alan turned to the Mantels for assistance. Each week Alan recorded the service onto a memory card. Joel and Angela edited the video and uploaded it to the church’s Facebook page. Although the people of Freedom Bible Church couldn’t meet, they were still fed and encouraged by God’s Word.
They weren’t the only ones who benefited. Each week Alan was surprised by some who tuned in. “People who don’t attend church were watching our services,” he said. Over a thousand people saw the recording of their Easter 2020 service!
One Life Changed and a Church Focused on Jesus
Anne knew of Freedom Bible Church but hadn’t attended. With online services, Anne could easily tune in. She contacted the Kleins and visited with them in their backyard. Sitting under their apple tree, Anne told them about her struggles and said she wanted to change her life. They told her about the hope and healing found in Jesus. Anne trusted in Jesus that day.
Through extended lockdowns in Nova Scotia, Alan and Bonnie Klein were committed to helping their congregation stay focused on Jesus and feel connected to each other. They moved the weekly Bible study online, and more people attended than had come in person. The Kleins delivered communion elements to people’s mailboxes. They led worship songs on video from different locations on the church property. They encouraged people to tell of God’s goodness and provision.
In the words of FBC member Kim Fraser, “When the pandemic first started in our area, I felt quite anxious. When things started shutting down, and I couldn’t go to church, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was so happy that Pastor Alan was able to have worship online on Sunday mornings. Listening to his sermons and the singing helped me trust God to take care of me. During the pandemic, I began reading the Bible more, doing devotions more regularly, and praying more. Jesus’ presence during this scary time brought me peace.”
Celebrating God’s Sufficient Grace
Recently FBC celebrated God’s provision and grace during the last 18 months. After the morning worship service, the people spread out on the church grounds for a picnic lunch. They spent the afternoon singing praise to God. The pandemic was more than they could handle, but God gave them the grace to walk through it with Him. God gave grace for more; He extended their influence and drew people to Himself!
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