by Jerico DeVeyra, Church Planting Catalyst
Gregoire and Louise Luabala is church planting a French-speaking congregation at the Vietnamese Central Baptist Church building in Edgewater. They were called by God to ministry in Metro Denver as former refugees from Congo. Gregoire started to lead as early as twelve years old and he started a Prayer Group in Bujumbura, Burundi that became a church where he pastored for 15 years and was a founding pastor of six community churches in Uvira, South Kivu eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo for 12 years that started in 1995. After that, he replanted a church in Kigali, Rwanda for three years before moving to Denver as a refugee. The Lord called him to church planting as a lead church planter here in Metro Denver of Christian Fellowship Evangelical Church. The Lord prepared him to minister in the United States by pastoring for 25 years in more than five churches in four different countries in Africa. Gregoire and Louise are faithfully praying weekly in the church so that the gospel will penetrate lostness amongst French-speaking Africans where they would like a church to be culturally, ethno-linguistically, and spiritually relevant.
Church planting leaders observed that Gregoire and Louise demonstrate a real sense of dependency on God. They love God very much and have strong trust in God for all aspects of their life. They shared some experiences they went through together in the church and every time they prayed and trusted God in these situations. As a result, they were able to see where God was on the move. They pray a lot individually, as a couple and with the church. When we asked, “What are your greatest strengths?” They answered, ”large will, perseverance, prayer.” Gregoire and Louise have been married for 48 years. They have three grown children and grandchildren. They are very united in their vision to plant a French-speaking church in Denver, and they already have an average of 40 people attending.
Gregoire and Louise enjoy serving and they find themselves effective in their ministry amongst immigrants regardless of color or race. Louise is most gifted in praying, ministering to women, and caring for children. She also can lead the worship service and praying that she would find a five thousand dollars capital for her small-scale business entrepreneurship that primarily caters for African women. As a plus, their daughter, Therese, serves and enjoys serving as one of the worship leader and as an English interpreter for their congregation. They are thankful that they are part of Colorado Baptists Family. Recently, they traveled to Montreal, Canada for the French-speaking SEND Network Assessment Retreat and this month of September they just baptized three people. They asked how can our churches help former refugees and they identified these ministry opportunities like ESL (teaching English as Second Language), how to manage budget and how to build credit, how to shop in local stores, how to go to different appointments, how to take care of the kids and train the kids, how to clean an apartment, how to live in America, and how to get a lawyer. When refugees arrive in Denver, they are given an apartment for four months and after they will on their own and it’s hard for them to find a job and find a cheaper apartment. On top of that, they are expected to pay expenses they incurred to travel to the United States.