by Kathy Marson
Troy, Idaho, Feb. 19, 2014 - A once dwindling church has made a turnaround through prayer and faith in God’s promises.
The Troy Adventist Church began in 1946 in a turn-of-the-century Swedish church. Not too long after, an old schoolhouse near the corner of Orchard Loop and Big Meadow Road went up for auction and one of the members bought it for a few hundred dollars.
Eventually they combined the buildings by placing the church on beams and dragging it across the fields to Big Meadow Road, attaching it to the school. They placed the church on top of a basement so they could have basement classrooms, a church and a school.
As time went by, the church school consolidated with Moscow’s, so when the basement started flooding each spring, the children’s Sabbath School divisions took over the upstairs classrooms. A new sanctuary was built in the 1970s with “phase two” in mind. But phase two went on hold for over 35 years.
The church family maintained for a while but then began to decrease in number. Families grew up and left the area. Members looked at the age of their church family and realized if things continued as they were, there would be no future for the church. With only one child in the congregation, they knew they needed to do something.
So the church members began to pray. This was five years ago when Dennis Nickel was the pastor. He was battling cancer, but had a big heart for his church members and supported the members as they began to petition God every Sabbath. They took 15 minutes to ask for church growth, specifically asking for more children.
Their prayers of faith were rewarded tangibly as things began to happen. Before Pastor Nickel passed away in August of 2011, younger families began moving to the area. Babies were being born. When Pastor Olesen came in 2012 the church was still praying and one after another, additional babies arrived to families in the congregation. As more people joined the church, most of them also had children.
Now there are 34 children in church. With so many, the church’s longstanding “Happy Hour for the Kids” on the second Saturday night of each month has a whole new generation to love. “Happy Hour is an important part of our church outreach,” says Lyndi Littler. “It brings our congregation enjoyment and satisfaction, not only working together for the good of our own children, but to make a difference in our community kids also.”
Josie Littler, age 6 says, “I look forward to Happy Hour. It’s what I think about when I think about fun. I learn about Jesus and animals and do crazy crafts? I love it!”
Her little brother, Justus, age 4, says, “My favorite part of Happy Hour for kids is playing games with my friends.” Some of the activities include singing, a Bible or spiritual story, and a variety of games and crafts.
When Pastor Olesen arrived, the first business-meeting revealed the desire of the church to build phase two. Their prayers for members were being answered and they needed more space. No one in the church was wealthy enough to fund this by themselves, but they decided to step out in faith and embark on an ambitious project. With plans to keep the 1970s sanctuary, they are building a new lobby, classrooms, fellowship hall, kitchen and offices for a 9,000 square foot addition
Thanks to the donations of time, equipment and professional skills from many of the members and funds from members and former members who live all over the world, they have saved and raised thousands of dollars, and continue to do so. Sunday work bees have always been well-supported. Whenever the workplace is safe, the children come looking for ways to help right alongside the adults
“God is good,” affirms Pastor Olesen. “The spirit of cooperation, fellowship and generosity lends an excitement to Troy Church. And when obstacles arise from bureaucracy, funding, or the inevitable disappointments along the way, the spirit of prayer and hope keep drawing us together.”
Troy Adventist Church had less than 35 for an average weekly attendance over five years ago and today has from 60-80 in attendance. Continued growth seems inevitable for the Troy Church as they grow spiritually, physically and structurally. They are also growing socially with their presence on the web through an active Facebook page. Be sure to check them out!