Augustin Etienne, a former Pentecostal pastor for 17 years, with his wife and three of their children, was received by profession of faith at Mahanaim Church in Naples, Fla. Etienne grew up in Haiti, and as a young man he was very interested in the proclamation of the Gospel. At the age of 17, he started to preach publicly, not only in his local Church of God congregation, but also in many other protestant churches in the city where he was living. When he was 22 years old, he became very ill. Thanks to prayers, he was miraculously healed. Comparing his healing story to the story of Hezekiah’s miraculous experience, he decided to attend Bible school so that he could be fully equipped to proclaim the Holy Word for the rest of his life as a testimony. In 1998, he became an ordained minister actively engaged in preaching and ministering both in Haiti and in the United States.
Israel Jean-Leon, pastor of Mahanaim Church, was holding a 40-days-of-prayer event combined with an evangelism series. A church member invited Etienne to the meetings. He was so fascinated by the program that he only missed a few meetings, and on several occasions his wife and children accompanied him. According to his testimony, one night when one of the preachers, Odalus Estime, pastor, presented a topic on the sanctity of the Sabbath, he was so touched by the clarity of the truth concerning the Sabbath that he wept. From that night on, he decided to observe the Sabbath at any cost.
It was not an easy decision, though. He had to inform his wife and his adult children who, at that time, were not too receptive of the news. Moreover, he had to give up his pastoral role from the church he planted. There were clearly many obstacles in his path. However, he stated that his salvation is more important to him than everything else. When he called his oldest daughter to let her know about his decision, she could not believe what she was hearing. His wife also was reluctant at first. He prayed about it, and later on his wife became even more excited than he was about joining the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Etienne was asked why he joined the Church, as most protestant pastors reject the Sabbath truth. He replied in a single word that summarized every aspect: “Pride.” The Etiennes are proud to be members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Their three children are receiving Bible studies in preparation for baptism.
Southeastern | February 2017