Catch The Fire Raleigh have received an astounding financial donation.
Three and a half years ago, Duncan and I, with our family, left the safety of our incredible lives in Toronto and started Catch The Fire Raleigh in North Carolina from scratch. It has been an amazing adventure of love, a daily invitation by the Holy Spirit to trust Him in the midst of impossibility. Over the past 9 months we've seen tremendous blessing. But our landlords recently announced to us that they were selling the building we've been leasing since January 2010 and that they had three buyers lined up, wanting to buy it. We only had a few days to let them know if we were interested in buying the building, and they informed us that we would have just three months to close. We had the choice of seeing this as a crisis or as a golden opportunity from our Heavenly Daddy. So we chose to take a risk by entering into negotiation with our Landlords, knowing the Lord had shown us that this is the building he has for us.
We agreed on a purchase price of $1.4 million, down from the $1.6m price they offered us two years ago. We already invested $75,000 into the building, which has been a fantastic resource and ministry center for our local church family, our full time School of Revival, our epic monthly 6 hour Burning Nights, our conferences, our outreach to the poor in Raleigh and a base for the Catch The Fire USA ministry.
We gave them $15,000 earnest money and then went to eight banks to see if we could get a mortgage of at least 75%. All of them except one refused, saying, "no, come back in 10 years." When one bank finally said yes, the whole team was excited. We felt that the $350,000 deposit was within reach. However, the Lord kept saying to Duncan and I, "Trust me, I'm going to pay the whole amount for you." Then, as Duncan was preparing to go to Niger for two weeks to feed our Fulani church planters and missionaries who are facing starvation, the bank pulled the plug, telling us they wouldn't loan us anything after all.
Our team was knocked sideways, feeling it was all over, but the Lord kept inviting us into the realm of impossibility. We've realized that this is the place where it's absolutely necessary for a great miracle. In our weakness Jesus is perfectly strong. Carlos and Catherine Rodriguez, our newly appointed Lead Pastors, were in total agreement that we must press ahead. We knew that as Senior Leaders we could not shrink back. Jesus gave us faith – we were convinced that He was able to pay fully for our building. We went ahead with our vision of 'One building for Revival'.
Just one day after sending out an appeal letter, Duncan got back from another trip feeding the poor in Niger and a letter arrived at the office addressed to Duncan. His brother Murray, one of our pastors, opened it. A check for $1.2m fell out; Murray went ballistic! The check was made out to our church, and the covering letter was from a charitable giving organization on behalf of an anonymous donor. Murray hurried over to our house and when Duncan saw the check he collapsed on the floor, shouting of praise and worship to our big Champion Jesus! We were astonished when we realized that the check would have been sent long before our appeal letter had even gone out!
Our bank manager has walked the road with us since we arrived in Raleigh 4 years ago. He was totally blown away and could not stop shaking his head over and over again when we showed him the check. We know that this will be a huge door into his heart for his salvation.
Not only does this enable us to buy our building, but it's a gift of $10,000 a month for the next 15 years because that's our current lease payment and would have been our mortgage payment. This is a MASSIVE kiss from our Daddy that propels us forward like a huge turbo charger! Yay Jesus! All mountains are now lower, the world is so much smaller and Jesus is so much more majestic. He is not confined to the realm of our little lives or the borders of our limited yet best efforts at theology.
When we called John Arnott, he was hugely excited and reminded us of a prophetic word given to him 18 months ago, that the Lord wanted to bless Catch the Fire with an abundance of finances. The man told John that as a sign of this, Catch The Fire would receive three major donations. The first would be for $400,000, the second would be for $1.2 million and the third would be for $22 million! Last year we received a gift of $400,000 in Toronto from someone in the church. Now we have received this gift of $1,200,000! Duncan and I are both very, very excited at the significance of this. Now we are expecting the gift of $22 million that the Lord has promised. It has occurred to us that it would be sin if we didn't expect it!
Thanks so much everyone to everyone who has stood with us in the past 4 years of church planting. We're so glad we said yes to His invitation of LOVE to join Him where He alone dwells – impossibility – the place where He truly gets to shine!