The Hardeeville, S.C., Hispanic Church celebrated the inauguration of its beautiful new sanctuary on Sabbath, Dec. 1, 2018, with the attendance of Conference leaders and administrators, pastors who have served the congregation, representatives of Maranatha International, members of neighboring churches, and friends of the community.
The activity began at 9:20 a.m. with the ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a service of songs and praise to the Lord, and a review of the Sabbath School lesson.
During the worship service, a moment was taken to publicly acknowledge the following people and institutions for their help and support in the construction of the new sanctuary: the founders of the Hardeeville Church; pastors Moisés Sauza, Fredy Villamil, Israel Mora, and Domingo Paulino; the administrators of the Carolina Conference; Maranatha International; contractors and construction workers; and donors and members of the Hardeeville Church and sister churches.
The worship service was permeated with music and praise presented by the local church worship group, and the special participations of Elissa and Eve Mora and Christian singer Jose Ocampo. Leslie Louis, president of the Carolina Conference, presented an inspiring sermon, “Raise Your Ebenezer,” of which the central message was God’s constant faithfulness to His children.
After the worship service, participants were able to enjoy a reception organized by Janet Paulino, who, with the cooperation of deacons, deaconesses, and women of the church, served traditional Mexican food to everyone.
The general atmosphere was saturated with joy and thankfulness to God. The inauguration of this new church closes a chapter marked by moments of sadness and joy in the life of this congregation. In 2004 the small group of believers who were part of the church of Hardeeville began to dream of building a house of worship. In 2005, under the direction of Fredy Villamil, pastor, fundraising began through an organized plan of sacrificial offerings.
In 2008 the search started for a property where a church building could be built. Finally, in 2010, the congregation was able to acquire a section of a shopping mall in Hardeeville. Many resources and efforts had to be invested to convert the property into a church building. The remodeling process included having to build an entire sewer system required by the city. After completing 60 percent of the remodeling project, the members began meeting in a room that served as both a sanctuary and a dining room.
In 2011 tragedy knocked on the doors of this church. A fire destroyed the entire shopping center, including the place of worship that the faithful members had built with so much love and sacrifice. In front of the rubble of their beloved sanctuary, the members gathered together with their shepherd, overwhelmed by sadness and with tears in their eyes.
However, the faith and determination of these faithful servants of God soon prevailed and began to dispel the shadows with which the enemy of souls wanted to cover His people. Satan’s blow was again turned into a blessing: The church gradually regained courage and determination to conclude what God had begun.
After the departure of Fredy Villamil, pastor, and under the leadership of Israel Mora, pastor, the sanctuary construction project was resumed, this time in a separate space from the other businesses that had also been burned in the fire. In June 2017 the construction of the sanctuary was completed, and on November 30, 2018, one day before the inauguration, the project was finished with the paving of the parking lot under the general coordination of Domingo Paulino, pastor, and the director of construction of the church, Pedro Ramos.
The members of this faithful congregation are convinced that this experience has enriched their lives and their Christian experience, and with joy they proclaim, “So far has Jehovah helped us,” I Samuel 7:12.
Carolina | February 2019