House HuntingEver been house hunting?
When it’s on your terms, it’s exciting searching for a new home. When circumstances force you to go looking, that’s a different story.
Just ask Pastor Eduardo Mercon. Eduardo planted Encuentro con Dios Church (Encounter with God) 19 years ago in the bustling capital of Caracas, Venezuela. And the first week in October 2019 started like any— until an unexpected visitor appeared.
It was the lawyer representing the owner of the building the Encuentro Church rents. He looked Eduardo in the eye and said matter-of-factly, “Your church has to leave the building.” No explanation. No reason. Just, “leave.” Eduardo felt a pit of fear settle like a rock in his stomach. Of all people, he knew the odds were stacked against them.
For one, the Encuentro Church is in the capital city surrounded by bustling buildings and miles of concrete. It’s easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a camel to find affordable real estate in the city.
Add to it, Venezuela is free-falling in the worst social, political, and financial crisis the country has ever faced. Millions have fled the country. Eduardo estimates that Caracas has lost 40% of its population.
Eduardo and the Encuentro Church needed a miracle. But he didn’t get one.
Nope. Instead, he got five…and counting!
Miracle #1:A Hunting House—Instead of “house hunting,” the Lord surprised Encuentro Church with a “hunting house.” The search began looking at property after property. Nothing fit. They needed a medium-sized building they could afford, in the right place in the city, across from a mall (for parking).
Out of the blue, a friend said, “Have you looked at this house?” It wasn’t on the realtor’s list. But it was a perfect fit. As Eduardo says, “The house came looking for us.”
Miracle #2:A Faithful Family—The next step was buying it before it disappeared. In January 2020, Eduardo challenged the Encuentro Church family to sacrificially cover a third of the cost.
This was a huge ask. They were not immune to the devastating financial crisis in Venezuela. (Think, minimum wage of $11.30 USD per month!)
By God’s grace, 98% of the church family said, “Yes, we will give.” But…
Miracle #3:Avoiding Pandemic Panic—Then the pandemic hit in March. If ever there were a “miracle killer,” surely, this was it!
Yet, everyone who pledged to give remained faithful. Even several families who had left the country.
Miracle #4:A Radical Response—The Encuentro Church still needed to come up with the other two-thirds of the payment.
That’s where you come in.
You, the CMI family, and a key church partner in Houston gave the remaining $65,000 needed to buy the building…and you did it all in a matter of weeks…in a pandemic.
Miracle #5:A Lavish Lord—The new building would need a remodel to make it fit for use. Eduardo knew it. But he’d cross that bridge later. So he thought.
“Later” didn’t last long though. The Lord lavishly provided additional money for the church to remodel. And it’s well underway.
Today, the Encuentro Church and Eduardo Mercon summarize this season with these joyful words: The Lord IS a provider. You can trust Him in everything. It’s good for your church. It’s good for your faith.