“All I could see that day was the grace of God.”
Q1: Your bio on the PAOC website is interesting. You were working at the National Bank before attending Bible college and going into full-time ministry. What led to that major life and career change?
My mother left home when I was four years old. My father, however, was filled with love and devotion for his two children and secured full-time custody of us. All of this was not the norm in Quebec at the time. During my teenage years, I lived in a town near the west end of the island of Montreal called Lachine, and on our street was a small Pentecostal church. My father told me it was not a good church because they did not believe in the Virgin Mary. For three or four years, I left my mark on the church building—breaking windows, decorating the facade with eggs and tomatoes. I would also enter the church and scream during meetings. I used to practise lacrosse by bouncing the ball off the church wall during their weekday meetings. But the people in this church prayed for me throughout the years.
Years later, when I was in my early 20s, my father converted and attended a Pentecostal church. He invited me to a “Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames” production. That evening I felt the call to submit myself to God. A year after my conversion, I left my computer job at the National Bank to start attending Bible college.
When I was elected as superintendent, we (my family) were in the same church where I was converted 24 years earlier. In the room were people who had prayed for me when I was doing everything I could against them. All I could see that day was the grace of God.
Q2: For those who do not live in Quebec, can you provide some insight into the uniqueness of the province and the people who live there?
As district superintendent for the past nine years, I have been travelling around the province of Quebec and have seen how different this province is from one place to another. Montreal has its own particularities, as do the other major centres, while the regions also vary greatly. It is in Montreal that more than 90 per cent of newcomers are found. They make an important contribution to the existing churches because many are already believers. The regions, although very welcoming to tourists, are quite tricoté serré—a Quebec expression that means very tightly knit, closely united by common interests.
Q3: What excites you most about what God is doing in Quebec?
Pastors and workers, to me, are the real heroes. They often respond to God's call with low incomes, knowing that God will provide. They are persevering and resilient so that the witness of Christ may be heard everywhere.
In recent years we have witnessed many different kinds of healings across the province and unexpected growth in remote areas. We are working to ensure that workers do not do their ministry alone. Several tools have been put in place such as life coaching, counsellors and mentoring. A revitalization program to encourage and equip the local church has also been initiated.
In recent years we have seen the birth of the Réseau Évangélique du Québec, which brings together 14 different Christian organizations in an effort to be an evangelical voice in Quebec. Fraternity and unity among these groups are new realities among Quebec believers. Joint efforts to plant new churches are taking place.
Q4: What are some ways the PAOC Fellowship can support our francophone brothers and sisters living in Quebec?
We have seen the benefits of partnership between churches in Quebec and those in other Canadian provinces. This creates a sense of belonging to the larger family and is a powerful testimony of unity. My dream would be for each of the churches in Quebec to be in partnership with another church elsewhere in the country.
Q5: You also serve on the Board of Directors for Emergency Relief and Development Overseas (ERDO). What do you find valuable about this PAOC organization?
Everything that ERDO does is spectacular, and it is a great blessing to have this ministry as part of our Fellowship. I would love to see our churches and members be more involved with ERDO. It does so much to provide practical and compassionate assistance in times of crisis around the world, and for developing countries in the areas of emergency relief, food aid, child sponsorship, and community development.
Q6: How have you dealt with difficult seasons in your life, and how have they affected your relationship with God?
My wife and I have been through all kinds of difficult ordeals, but we have never felt abandoned or left to ourselves. God has been faithful in every respect, and our friends have been close to us. We firmly believe in the relational dynamic that exists between us and God, and between us and those whom God has placed near us. When we take the time to develop deep and sincere friendships, it is more than beneficial in the most difficult seasons.
Q7: How can we as a Fellowship be praying for you and your family?
We are the proud parents of four adopted children who are all of Haitian origin. They are all still at home with us. The twins, Mathieu and Nathan, are 24 years old; our daughter, Kensia, is 18 years old; and the youngest, Jonathan, is 15 years old. Please pray for us Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-10—that our love would increase more and more, that we would discern the best things, and that the Lord would lead us in all His ways.
Jordan Hageman is a freelance writer from Stoney Creek, Ont., and a regular contributor to testimony magazine.
Image courtesy of Michel Bisaillon. This article appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.