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Page 3  Volume 8, Issue 1 Lighthouse Baptist Church Opens Its Doors in Avondale, Arizona by Ron and Shelby Manuel In the fall of 2009, God called us to plant a church in Avondale, Arizona. We were fully approved as missionaries with BIMI in December of that year and started deputation, seeking financial and prayer support to plant the church until it could become self-supporting. One thing we noticed during the process is that no two deputation journeys or church planting experiences are alike. While the main goal of winning souls and discipling them may be the same, God leads each family down different paths along the way. The lesson learned? Follow the Lord's leading. After two years of deputation and much prayer, we felt God wanted us to make our move from North Carolina to Arizona in January 2012. Our plan was to get settled into our house and then continue deputation for a few more months before beginning preparations for the Grand Opening service. It actually took us two weeks to move because we had scheduled meetings for the trip. The Lord used those meetings to help provide for us and to pick up some extra support. When we moved, our support level was averaging 64% a month. Humanly speaking, it was not wise to move without more support coming in, but we knew the Lord was leading us to move at that time and stepped out by faith. He provided the extra funds needed for our initial moving and setting-up expenses through gifts given toward that need and for Christmas. While traveling to Avondale, we finalized the rental of a house through the internet and with the help of our realtor. Some may have questioned why we moved eight months before our start-up date, especially since we had meetings scheduled on the East Coast in March and April. But God's timing is always right, and we can see now that moving when we did helped us in at least three ways. It gave us time to get settled in before going back East for our meetings there. It allowed us to focus on Grand Opening preparations after getting home. And it also gave us time to get to know some of the pastors in Arizona. The Lord really used this for our benefit because some of them sent people from their churches to help with the mass distribution, referred prospects to us, or took us on for support. One pastor had his church help stuff our 20,000 Grand Opening information bags. God also opened doors to preach and/or present the work in some of these churches, thus providing for our needs once again. After following the Lord's leadership, praying, planning, and preparing, we finally had the first service of Lighthouse Baptist Church on September 16! God blessed with 77 people in attendance. Fifty of them, including our family, were from the area! We had our first Sunday evening service that night with 33 in attendance and started Wednesday night services the following week. A Sunday school class for children and one for adults were started in November. The devil continues to fight, not only in our lives but also in the lives of the people we are trying to reach. But with the Lord's help, we also continue to fight through prayer, preaching, distribution of John/Romans booklets, and visitation. God will bless the planting and watering of the Seed of the Gospel in His time and in His way. Very few church planters know ahead of time where they will live, if they will have enough money to start, if anyone will help them, or if anyone will attend services. When the Lord called us to plant a church in the Phoenix area, we had no idea how things were going to work out. We didn't know God was going to send us people from the area and from out-of-state to help with distributing the Grand Opening information. We didn't know He was going to send us people who wanted to be a part of establishing an independent, fundamental Baptist church in Avondale. We didn't know He was going to provide for the needs of the church through generous gifts given towards the start-up fund. It wasn't our job to know; our job was to follow God's leading. And we're so glad we did. Ron and Shelby Manuel, Reseeding America Church Planters, Lighthouse Baptist Church, Avondale, Arizona Editor's Note God gave Ron a burden to plant a church in the Phoenix Valley several years ago during a survey trip with Reseeding America to the Southwest United States. The Manuel family is sent out of Bible Baptist Tabernacle in Monroe, North Carolina.