On Tuesday February 16, the Pastor along with several members of the Beraca First Haitian Baptist Church in Haines City watched their sanctuary burn to the ground. It was an emotional time for all of the members of the church. Many of them have moved to Haines City from Haiti and have taken refuge at the church not only for spiritual support but for help adjusting to life in America. Their church building was built in 1950 and it took the firefighters about two hours to put out the fire resulting in a total loss. More than two dozen of the churches members were inside worshiping when the fire broke out. Luckily, no one was physically hurt.
Pastor Fritz Paul was at first unsure of what was going to happen with the members of the church. Sunday morning it became very clear. They gathered outside of their building to pray and made a commitment that they would rebuild their building and continue to move forward.
Until their church is rebuilt the members of Beraca First Haitian Baptist Church will be holding their services at NorthRidge Church in Haines City. The members of NorthRidge know the emotions of having a church fire as they experienced on in September of 2007. Fortunately, the congregation was able to worship in the gym of their school located on the campus during the year they were rebuilding their sanctuary.
During service on Sunday morning Dr. M. David Myers, Senior Pastor of NorthRidge Church, shared with the congregation that he felt it was a responsibility of the church to open their arms to the members of Beraca First Haitian Baptist Church especially after experiencing a fire as well. Pastor Fritz Paul was present at the service and expressed his gratefulness and faith that God was doing something in this situation. The members of NorthRidge Church then gathered to pray for the Beraca First Haitian Baptist Church.
It is still unknown when or how the Beraca First Haitian Baptist Church will begin to rebuild their church. We hope you will join us in praying for the church and the Haitian community impacted by the loss. We know that church is not a building but rather a body of believers coming together to worship and though this situation may be terrible and heartbreaking, this is the perfect example of that.