NOW FOLKS, THIS IS ONE FOR THE ANNALS. AN INCREDIBLE PHOTO! Today in church we celebrated our 6th anniversary since we started our first church meeting on the west coast of Reunion Island. These were the people who attended the very first meeting who are still with us. Let me mention 4 of them. Firstly, there is Marianne, she's the grand-mother on the far left just behind me. It all began with her! She received a brochure we put in her letter box and rang me. She had been setfree from fear, totally free, in a meeting I had conducted 20 years previously She wanted to see me again so we conducted our first meeting in her daughter's home, second from the left (Patricia). Patricia invited Pierre and Monique (1st & 3rd from the right) to come to that first meeting. They were VERY reluctant because it happened to be the night of their 46th wedding anniversary and they had seen so many pastors come and go,they supposed it was just another one. 6 years later we are all together serving God and seeing so many lives changed. THIS IS ONE AMAZING ADVENTURE WE ARE ON!
YOU MAY NOT KNOW STUART McILWRAITH BUT I DO! I've met a lot of pastor's in my time but no one quite like Stuart, not even close. He's been pastoring in Ceduna, SA, for over 30 years. If you don't fill up your car in Ceduna you'll never get across the Nullabor! It's the sticks for someone living in Adelaide. I've ministered in his church a number of times and preached on the streets there. At the time, a good Sunday was 15 people! Well now he's ministering to hundreds each week. You can't get more Aussie than Stuart. He's just sent me two photos - one is the worship team for a bush outreach, the other is the kitchen preparing for fellowship lunch. Believe it or not, since Denise and I moved to Reunion Island as missionaries in 2012 Oasis Church in Ceduna has become our greatest donors on a monthly basis. We are so humbled by their simplicity and spirit. I love these people. They embody the spirit of New Testament Christians.Reunion island -Reunion island -
Reunion island - TODAY WE BAPTISED IN THE SEA TWO GREAT LADIES SAVED IN OUR CHURCH. Photo on the left is ANNIE. We did a letterbox drop around the church hall we use offering to pray for people if they send us their prayer requests. Annie contacted us saying she received a letter from God in her mailbox. She came to a meeting, gave her life to Christ and joined the church. She worked for 10 years as a hostess in a Casino in the tourist sector. You can place your bets, she's made the right choice! On the right is CHRISTELLE. She is a Primary school principal. She was won to Jesus by one of her teachers who attends our church. She went through a terrible experience of losing a still-born baby in the womb. Her teacher reached out to her and helped her turn to God through this dramatic time in her life. Today she is a radiant person and her husband can hardly believe what's happened to her. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN HAVING FRONT ROW SEATS OF GOD AT WORK!
REUNION ISLAND - WE ARE FACING INSURRECTION ON REUNION ISLAND! For the last 11 days the people of Reunion have risen up against the French government for the many taxes imposed since Emannuel Macron became president of France, over 300 in all. Denise and I have seen our small pensions reduced by 30%. The Reunion islanders have had enough. A populist movement, that embraces all levels of society, sprung up overnight, all wearing the yellow vest compulsory for every vehicule on the road in case of a breakdown. Last week there were riots and looting. Destruction everywhere. Road blocks appear every day in all the stategic roundabouts of the island. YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO CATCH A PLANE OUT OF HERE AT THE MOMENT! Tomorrow the ovrseas territories minister arrives from Paris to try to put out the fires, armed with a water pistol. The French government isn't backing down. The yellow vests are planning 300 roadblocks to meet the minister. Schools have been closed for 11 days. Shops are closed, shopping centres are blocked and food in container ships is not being released. In 3 days there will be nothing left on the shelves. Offices and services everywhere have ground to a halt. And it's dangerous to go out at night. SO DENISE AND I ARE HUNCKERED DOWN AT HOME. Midweek church services are all cancelled and for Sunday services we have to leave very early to get through before the blockades are set up. Yet, despite all of this, 5 people came to Christ in our service last Sunday! LIFE CAN GET VERY INTERESTING AT TIMES!
Reunion island - TWO WEEKS AGO WE DIDN'T KNOW THESE TWO ! Patrick's is an amazing story. Annie's story is quite miraculous. The morning of the service last week I was in prayer and the Lord spoke to me about a man who would come to the service for the first time. He would be alone and this was the word I needed to share with him. When we arrived at the Catholic chapel where we conduct our service we found this man, PATRICK, praying in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary. When we started our worship rehearsal he sat down and listened. He stayed for the whole service and at the altar call he responded and gave his life to Christ. During my message I spoke about firefighters. When I asked him publicly what was his profession, you guessed it, a firefighter ! He came to the midweek Bible study transformed and was back in church again this morning with overflowing joy. and has asked me to baptise him. Now for ANNIE, she hasn't yet given her life to Christ. But she is now a regular in our church ! She came 2 weeks ago because she is an artist and has been painting landscapes based on photos put up on Facebook by our secretary, Chantal. She came to church wanting to meet Chantal. Well, God has blown her away ! She ends up overwhelmed by each meeting. Having known a new age influence, she wants to understand God's word to build a new foundation for her life. She can't wait for our next meeting. BEING A PASTOR HAS VERY REWARDING MOMENTS!
THIS IS SUCH A GREAT STORY! I would like you to meet FARID and LAURENCE. Farid is from Marseille, France, with an arab muslim background and Laurence, a Reunion Island girl. He's 54 and she's 38. They were both saved in our church. He was a drunk with nothing to live for. She is a teacher, now principal of an early childhood learning centre. Laurence came to Christ by coming to church. Week after week she heard the word of God and it affected her deeply. Farid came one Sunday and prayed out loud during communion even before giving his life to Christ. She was in recovery mode after a failed marriage. He was just a mess. But as the months passed he gave up the drink totally, stopped smoking and to be able to fit into a wedding suit, he lost 14 kilograms. That's right, a wedding!! I conducted their wedding just last week. It was a beautiful day. They are great helpers by our side as we serve the Lord .IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!
HERE'S A SHOT OF MY FOUR-LEGGED DENISE AT THE MOMENT. We came out of a meeting into an unlit car park and Denise's foot found a hole. She landed flat on her face. The result is ruptured ligaments (that's worse than torn ligaments and worse than a broken bone). So she will be getting around on crutches wearing a Robotcop boot for the next 4 weeks then four more weeks of rehabilitation. BUT FOLKS, SHE'S ALL SMILES AND I'M GETTING USED TO DOING THE SHOPPING!Reunion island -
Reunion island - THIS IS A MOST MEMORABLE PHOTO! I was about to preach a keynote address to our movement of churches in Lille, France, last Saturday, 6/10/18. Leading the worship were Chris and Laura Christiansen, better known as the worship group EXO. I have been planting churches throughout France for more than 30 years using their worship songs. They have made an incredible impact with their songs. Everywhere you go, people worship God with EXO songs. It was my opportunity to thank them publicly on behalf of the many thousands who have met God through their music. I must admit that as I heard them sing tears flowed.
Reunion island - YOU'LL HARDLY BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE IN THIS PHOTO. 9 months ago not one of these people (apart from me!) were Christians; It began with Yasmine (in blue). Her friend, Kelly, (to her right) came anxiously to see what her friend was involved in. First night she gave her life to Christ in tears. We baptised her in January in one of the most powerful services I've ever experienced.Then her testimony impacted her mother, her sister, her brother , her neice and two family friends. ALL WERE SAVED OVER THE FOLLOWING WEEKS. But this morning, her father (3rd from right), a hard aggressive man with a huge drinking problem who had caused much pain to his family, came to church and gave his life to Christ calling on God to forgive him for the man he had been. TEARS FLOWED FREELY THIS MORNING. CHURCH IS AN EXCITING PLACE!
REUNION iSLAND - I'D LIKE YOU TO MEET DANY (top photo). TWO MONTHS AGO HE DIDN'T SERIOUSLY BELIEVE IN GOD! This Sunday I will be baptising him. His conversion testimony is absolutely stunning. Giving his life to Christ, in an instant he was delivered of persisting negative thoughts and received the ability to forgive his father for all the abuse he received. HE NOW DEVOURS THE WORD OF GOD AND WOULD LIKE TO BE A PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. How good is that!!
THIS WAS A SPECIAL MOMENT! BAKO IS THE 5TH PASTOR WE HAVE ORDAINED ON REUNION ISLAND. But she, not he, is the pastor. She's in green next to Denise, assistant to our Madagascan pastor Rodolphe (far right). She is such a faithful and devoted leader and eveyone loves her preaching! COME ON GIRLS, RISE UP AND PREACH THE WORD OF GOD!
HIS IS OLIVIER, OUR TRAINEE PASTOR. HE'S A NUTCASE WHEN FRANCE WINS. And France beat Argentina 4/3 yesterday. Couldn't keep him quiet today in church ! Every song about celebration and victory seemed to have a different meaning for him. BUT HE HAS A GREAT HEART FOR GOD AND OUTSTANDING POTENTIA
Reunion island - SUNDAY I PREACHED ON AARON HOLDING UP MOSES ARMS Here's the photo of me, guest speaker at a pastor's conference in Madagascar November 2017, pushing the broken down pastor's car along with a restaurant waiter. SO IF YOU HAVE GOOD LEGS, FORGET YOUR TITLE AND JUST PUSH!
Reunion Island - THE CITY OF IPSWICH HONOURS VINCE & DENISE! That's right. They have placed an official bronze plaque with a heritage number onsite at Catalyst church. It refers to the Suttons Foundry which has been a part of Ipswich's history. On the plaque is mention that we bought the foundry and estbablished the church on January 7 1980. It's no big deal really but it's a trace of the work we've done over many years. WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL TO GOD FOR HIS ABIDING GOODNESS TOWARDS US.
A2A Conference 2018 - AUSTRALIA -
"t's hard to believe that we could have a day so packed with hi lights; more amazing teaching from Mark Conner, Steve Addison telling us about he day it all started, Sharon O'Neill moving every heart at the conference with an amazing but challenging message, Vince Esterman inspiring us, Phil Benson having us in fits of laughter, the worship team leading us into a special place, the prophetic blessing us, and above all God meeting with us". A2A
THIS IS FRONT PAGE NEWS! Thérèse pressed us to baptised her. She could not wait! It all started with her daughter who came to a Bible study to make sure that her best friend had not fallen into a cult. That night Kelly gave her life to Christ. When she was baptised in January it was one of the most powerful baptisms I've ever experienced in 40 years of Ministry! Since that momentous day 5 people of her family have given their lives to Christ including Therese, her mother, who we baptised today. It was such a powerful time. In the service that followed 3 people gave their lives to Christ including 2 men one of whom is Therese's eldest son and another man a close personal friend. WE ARE WINNING REUNION ISLAND ONE PERSON AT A TIME!
WELL FRIENDS, IN THE 60'S THE BEATLES SANG "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64" The good news for me is YES! Tomorrow Monday 9th of April I turn 64. And I'm happy to report that Denise still needs me and she still feeds me. Life is good!
Reunion island - I'M JUST AN OLD ROCKER FROM THE 70'S! We did a gig Saturday night in a restaurant near the centre of St Pierre in the south of the island. All these guys are my team from Church and they are pretty switched on. We do a programme of "Gospel" songs which people can relate to. One was the Hallelujah of Leonard Cohen. We had an audience of 60 people, many of whom don't know Christ. I followed it up with a message on "Who can you really trust today? Then we all sat down to a 3 course meal to talk about it. IT'S A GREAT WAY TO PREACH THE GOSPEL!
Reunion island - HAVE A LOOK AT THIS! On Sunday the oldest man in our church, Marcel-René 82 years young, showed me this map of Reunion Island. He drew a direct line from our church in the north to our church in the south, and another line from our church in the west to our church in the east and this is what he came up with. It's a perfect cross. THIS HAS ALL HAPPENED IN THE LAST TWO YEARS! Everyone who has seen this is excited about how many other lines we can add to the picture. BELIEVE ME, SOMETHING IS HAPPENING ON REUNION ISLAND!
THIS WEEK WE BAPTIZED 15 PEOPLE ON REUNION ISLAND - all new Christians who have recently given their lives to Christ. Such joy! God is moving in the islands of the sea!
Reunion Island - IT'S BEEN A VERY SAD DAY. My dear friend and fellow preacher of the Gospel from Madagascar whom everyone knew as Pasteur Jules passed away early this morning, aged 66, after a stroke earlier in the week. Jules was a remarkable man of God. As a youth he tended cattle but God raised him up to be a mighty apostle in his country. In the 1980's he brought revival to the land filling stadiums as he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is estimated today that there are 2 million Christians in churches in Madagascar (population 24m) as a direct result of his preaching. We toured together a number of times. I taught the pastors in the morning and he would preach to the masses in the open air in the afternoons. He was a lovely man, kind and loving, full of faith. He was a giant in the Kingdom of God on earth. Tears welled up within as I lead in prayer for his family in our Saturday night service. He is enjoying his reward. We bear the pain of our loss. Till we meet again, Jules.
Some of the lovely people who have recently joined our church on Reunion Island. These photos were taken last Sunday. YOU CAN FEEL THE JOY AND THE LOVE. It's a wonderful way to do life!THESE
THESE ARE THE FACES of those we will be baptizing on November 5th. They have all recently given their lives to Christ. Others are showing interest as well. I'm expecting that there will be more. SOMETHING GOOD IS HAPPENING ON REUNION ISLAND.!
Reunion island - 40 YEARS AGO A YOUNG BUSHY-HAIRED 23 YEAR OLD WAS LAUNCHED AS A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL. And it's been quite a ride! In fact, looking back, I realise that all my life, that's all I've ever done - preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God. THIS SUNDAY WE WILL HAVE A SPECIAL THANKSGIVING SERVICE for those 40 years. If you have any old photos I'd love to receive them. Thank you all for being a part of my story.
Reunion Island - WHAT A MOMENT THIS WAS!
Saturday we ran what we called the AGAPE FESTIVAL. It was a combined event bringing together Catholics and Protestants on the island. First time this had ever been attempted. We had much opposition from hardliners but we pulled it off! I was one of the organisers and speakers. I spoke to an overflowing crowd, many of whom were Catholics. At the conclusion I invited people to commit themselves to following Jesus. Many hands went up. This is only part of the crowd. It was a deeply moving time. One of the highlights of the day. 2000 YEARS ON, THE GOSPEL HAS NOT LOST IT'S POWER TO CHANGE LIVES!
Reunion island - THIS ARTICLE APPEARED TODAY IN REUNION ISLAND'S WIDELY-READ NEWSPAPER
Sorry, it's in French, but the photo is in English! It's a report of Saturday's AGAPE FESTIVAL
THIS GUY GAVE HIS LIFE TO CHRIST THIS MORNING!!
The congregation was in tears. He was a bad muslim, messing with drugs and alcohol. He came once or twice some months ago but lasted about 5 minutes in the service before running out. Surprise, surprise, he came to church this morning. When I made the salvation call, two ladies responded but he didn't budge. Yet I felt to go after him. I said "Young man, if you want to come forward, then do it!" He sprang to his feet and ran to the front. He was shaking like a leaf as I lead him in a prayer of commitment to Christ. He told me at the picnic that followed that, when I spoke to him directly, he immediately felt that it was Jesus Himself speaking to him. This is so often the case for muslims. They need to have a direct revelation of Jesus. IT WAS A SUBLIME HEAVENLY MOMENT. THOSE WHO WITNESSED IT WILL NEVER FORGET IT!
Reunion island - Love, I mean LOVE this photo!
This family came back to church this morning. They are so much a part of our story on Reunion Island. They came to the very first services we held back in 2013. We loved them as our own children...Jimmy, Véronique and their 3 children Dylan, Ryan and Leika. Leika was just a bump in mummy's tummy at the time. We followed them over two years going to their home each Tuesday night along a very dangerous stretch of rosd. One night a rock from a water-logged cliff landed on our windscreen. They experienced major problems with the construction company they launched and dropped out of church for 18 months. BUT TODAY THEY CAME BACK TO THE FATHER'S HOUSE! Yes, our heavenly Father but also their spiritual earthly father. It was an amazingly emotional time! GOD IS ON THE MOVE bringing the hearts of the sons back to the fathers!
BRINGS A LUMP TO MY THROAT! These were the young people of our church in Paris back in 2006 before we returned to Australia to set up our base and begin itinerant ministry. I loved these young people. I believe that they are going on for Jesus as young adults wherever they are today. Bottom right of the picture are Vince and Denise. ANOTHER SPECIAL MEMORY. Celebrating 40 years of ministry next month!
Reunion island - THIS PHOTO WILL TAKE A VERY SPECIAL PLACE IN OUR "ALBUM".
David and Béa, and their 2 children, were the very first to come to Christ in our very young church on Réunion Island 3 years ago. We walked with them over 18 months and loved them as our own children. But because David couldn't find work on the island they moved to France and we lost contact with them. It was a real heartache for Denise and me. This morning without any prior notice during our worship service, David and Béa turned up now with 3 children! I was in a state of emotional shock! I asked them to come forward and I explained the significance of the moment to the congregation. David said to me that he needed to reconnect with his spiritual father. There were many tear-filled eyes in the congregation this morning.
Reunion island - TONIGHT WE LAUNCHED OUR 4TH CHURCH ON REUNION ISLAND! It's in the south, at Saint Pierre. There was love in the air. Tears flowed and one lady gave her life to Jesus. It's a miracle ride with this church plant. A lady I didn't know has been following us on Facebook. She rang me 10 days ago asking for help to lead her group of a few people she had led to the Lord. When I met her and heard the story my heart was moved. A godly woman, rejected by evangelical leaders simply because she was a woman and zealous for Jesus. Denise and I have fully endorsed her. She is a precious lady, third from the right, lower level. Her daughter told me that she just couldn't believe the love she could feel from our group. I told her we don't wound people, we love them. THERE ARE A LOT OF EXCITED PEOPLE AROUND SAINT PIERRE TONIGHT! -
This is where we have lived and served the cause of the Gospel for the last 5 years. We have now 4 churches up and running in 4 strategic regions across the island. Why not come for a visit?! Reunion Island - THANKSGIVING SERVICE
I conducted my first baptism service in 1979. Since then I have baptised hundreds who have given their lives to Jesus. So who will be next??? (That's me in the centre of the photo. I was 25 years old.
PARIS/REUNION ISLAND - LOVE THESE TWO PHOTOS! Bottom photo was my team in Paris back in 2004/5. For two years we did concerts in restaurants and piano bars around Paris singing the songs from my album. It was a wonderful experience taking the Gospel to the people with outstanding musicians and singers...Luis, Sung-Eun, Christiane and Aure.
TOP PHOTO WAS LAST SATURDAY NIGHT! That's right, we're still at it. This time with a new team doing the restaurant circuit in St Pierre, Reunion Island: Jimmy, Gaëlle, Fred, Olivier. Been doing this for 40 years now. I NEED THE BUZZ!
REUNION ISLAND - TAKE CAREFUL NOTE OF THESE FACES. These are the people (plus at least 5 missing from the photo) who will be the basis of our new church in the south of the island in the coming months. We meet together on Thursdays. It's a stirring time around the Word of God and then we hit the meal Chantal, our secretary who's unit we meet in, serves up - incredible dishes each week. NO WONDER WE'RE ALL SMILING!
CHECK IT OUT ON A MAP OF THE WORLD. A network of ministries and churches is emerging in the southern Indian Ocean. I just returned yesterday from 3 days of meetings with pastors in the capital of Madagascar, the city of Antananarivo. A number of influential pastors have asked to join us with the view of planting churches and raising up young ministers of the Gospel across the region. There is now an arc Mayotte-Madagascar-Reunion where we have churches working together in our new movement of churches. It does require a lot of travel to keep the training and the work moving ahead. A friend of our ministry in Adelaide has sent funds to cover all the travel expenses for those we send in the first year. Isn't that amazing! Why would you settle for a boring Christian life?!
N MONDAY WE CELEBRATED CHANTAL'S 70TH BIRTHDAY with a BIG picnic on a public hliday. Many of you know Chantal. She came to Christ with us in Paris in 1999 and has worked closely with Denise and me ever since. She does all of our websites and Facebook walls. She is so dedicated to God, to us and to everyone who is part of her life. She's just unique, full of joy and fun, always wanting to please others. So happy, happy birthday, Chantal. More photos of the big day coming up.Le Lundi, nous avons fêté le 70 e anniversaire de Chantal avec un grand pique-nique sur un hliday public. Beaucoup de vous connaissez Chantal. Elle est venue au Christ avec nous à Paris en 1999 et a travaillé en étroite collaboration avec Denise et moi depuis. Elle fait tous nos sites web et les murs Facebook. Elle est tellement dévouée à Dieu, à nous et à tous ceux qui font partie de sa vie. Elle est unique, pleine de joie et de plaisir, toujours en voulant s'il vous plaît. Tellement heureux, joyeux anniversaire, Chantal. Plus de photos de la grande journée qui arrive.
THIS IS JUST SOOO SIGNIFICANT!
Vince and Denise ESTERMAN and Antoine and Christiane NOCEK are celebrating 30 years of friendship and partnership for the cause of the Gospel. We met in 1987 in a meeting in the suburbs of Paris and have teamed together all these years. We have traveled together to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, England, Wales, Argentina, Australia. Two very different couples yet who see God's work in the same way. We have never experienced conflict! Together we have planted a movement in France that has raised up 30 or more churches. Today we continue this precious friendship and team ministry raising up new churches in Reunion Island, Madagascar, Mayotte and throughout France. We took time out to share our joy and successes with those who work with us. We particularly want to thank our precious Lord Jesus Christ whom we love and serve.
Yet we feel that the best is yet to come...call us crazy!
Can't do an anniversary without a cake! So here it is...last saturday 180 pastors and leaders helped us celebrate 30 years of partnership for the Gospel in style! Thank you Jésus!
In case you were wondering who these couples are...
Next month we clock up 30 YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP AND CLOSE PARTNERSHIP IN MINISTRY IN FRANCE!
These are our friends and fellow-workers, Antoine and Christiane NOCEK.
We connected up in a meeting in Paris in April 1987. Since then we have pioneered many churches together and launched two movements of churches in France. We have faced much opposition together in our pioneer work and Antoine and Christiane have endured cancer and a heart attack that was nearly fatal. YET AFTER ALL THESE YEARS AND THE MANY TRIALS WE ARE STILL AT IT! We reckon we have a few more church plants in us before the finish line. IT'S AN ANNIVERSARY WORTH CELEBRATING!
TOMORROW VINCE AND DENISE will have lived, served and laughed together for 38 YEARS. It's an old photo but a goodie!
Happy wedding anniversary, my darling Denise!
MAYOTTE - Vince preaching in French in Mayotte and being translated into the malgache language by my co labourer Rodolphe last Sunday morning. The lady who allowed us to use her restaurant came forward at the end of the meeting to commit her life to Christ. One young muslim man, clearly a practicing muslim by the mark on his forehead, came forward also, clutching his heart as the Holy Spirit moved on him. He immediately joined the young people as they jammed away on their instruments. How could you pass up a chance to experience this? It is glory!
MAYOTTE - After Daniel and Rodolphe baptised 2 girls early Sunday morning they stopped, held hands and prayed in the waters of baptism for the salvation of Mayotte.
These are the guys we're launching a new church on Mayotte island with. Check out Mayotte on a map. First meeting on Sunday brought together 40 people including kids. Two whole families came to Christ! Thrilling start! You will hear more of what God is doing with these people in the months ahead. More photos following...
Arriving in Mayotte. First meeting 25 people present. 12 came forward to give their lives to Jesus. This new church plant is off and running!
I LOVE THIS PHOTO!
In the middle there's RODOLPHE. He's 25 years old. He's the pastor of our church at St Denis, the capital of Reunion Island. He is an outstanding young minister of the Gospel and a real compagnon in the work for me.
To the right is DANIEL. He's the leader of a small group on MAYOTTE which is a French island in the strait between Mozambique and Madagascar. Mayotte is 95% muslim! This weekend Rodolphe and I are flying to Mayotte to be with Daniel with the view of launching the church.
On the weekend of the 4th & 5th of March I will be on a REMOTE FRENCH ISLAND called MAYOTTE, situated between Madagascar and Mozambique, to launch a new church. This island is 95% muslim so it represents a great challenge for the local christians. This is a photo of some of the young people waiting for us to come. Thank you for upholding us in prayer!
LAUNCHING A NEW OUTREACH ON FEBRUARY 4th!
Could you please pray for us!
Vince and Denise are planting another church!
We have now 3 churches functionning well and growing on Reunion Island: one in the West, another in the North, in the capital, and a third in the East. Overall we gather about 200 people.
So the glaring absentee is the South in the island's second city, St Pierre. We already have a Bible study group meeting every Thursday there but we are launching our first public meeting, and WHAT A NIGHT IT PROMISES TO BE!
We will conduct it in a fancy hotel in the centre of town with some Gospel music followed by an exposé that I will bring on the subject of "Near Death Experiences".
At the conclusion people will be invited to stay and have dinner with us at the restaurant which is laying on a special 3 courser for a bargain price. We have already 25 people registered for the meal with 2 weeks to go! This doesn't include those who will just turn up for the meeting.
I'm expecting to be able to start a new church with this initiative which we will do on a monthly basis.
DENISE AND I HAVE BEEN PIONEERING CHURCHES FOR 40 YEARS. IT'S NO LESS EXCITING THIS TIME AROUND!
DECLARING HIS PRAISE IN THE ISLANDS OF THE SEA
« Hello, is this Pastor Vincent, Pastor Vincent Esterman? » It was an older lady’s voice.
« Yes, it is. » I replied.
« I received your flyer in my letterbox. »
But how did she know my surname? That information wasn’t on the flyer. She went on to explain, « Twenty years ago I attended a meeting you conducted in Saint Pierre. You had a word of knowledge for me and that night God totally set me free from fear. »
That phone call launched our pioneer work on the French Island of Reunion in the southern Indian Ocean in January, 2013.
With my wife, Denise, and our secretary, Chantal (all 3 nearing 60 years of age), we had found ourselves in the most awkward of situations. We had moved to Reunion Island from Australia after 20 years of church planting based out of Paris, France, which yielded around 30 churches throughout the country. This new chapter in the adventure which has been ours, came from an invitation by a church on the island to help train leaders to pioneer new works. Within days of arriving with a one-way ticket, we discovered a very insecure leader who had changed his mind about the invitation.
We would have to go it alone.
Reunion Island is an active volcano which erupts several times each year and is unheard of other than in France. Its one moment of international fame was in 2015 when the first piece of debris from MH370, the vanished Malaysian Airlines flight, washed up on our shores.
The population is around 830,000 and, as the name suggests, is a melting pot of races and religions: Creoles, Tamuls, Muslims, Chinese, French ex-pats. It’s a pin-prick on a map of the world which, if you look carefully, you will find between Mauritius and Madagascar.
The lady who rang had received one of 18,000 flyers the 3 of us put in letter boxes up and down the west coast. On the side of a volcano that took a lot of steep climbing! It was in her home that we held our first Bible study.
It was a Monday evening and, just before we began the meeting, my phone rang. It was another lady who had received a flyer. After I explained to her who we were, she asked when there would be a meeting she could attend. I replied, « In your area, it’s in 15 minutes ». She said, « I’m on my way. » She came and gave her life to Christ. She’s a medical doctor with her own practice and is very much part of our young congregation.
A group of Christians from Madagascar living in Reunion, approached us to help them plant a church in their native language. They hired a hall and now number over 100 on Sundays. I conducted the young leader’s wedding and ordained him to the ministry. This is our second church on the island.
Apart from the flyers, photos and news posted on Facebook have very much helped the work we’ve done. We were contacted by 3 families from the east coast who had been following our posts. They also asked for help to launch a church which is now off and running with their own hall and around 30 attending. Wonderfully, whole families are coming to the Lord. We ordained the young couple leading the work in September.
Denise and I have been doing this for nearly 40 years and can confirm the accuracy of the scripture that says, « Cast your bread on the surface on the waters, for you will find it after many days. » (Eccl 11:1).
One man turned up to our service. He happened to be the newly-appointed head of a major government agency. His wife had been filled with the Holy Spirit in a meeting I had conducted on the French Riviera in 1987!
Another man came to a service, having heard my sketchboard stories on the seafront. He gave his life to Christ and shares his faith in Jesus with the many who work with him in an internationally-known health products company, of which he is the head on the island.
In the Mozambique Strait there is a French island called Mayotte, just a 2 hour flight away. The particularity of this island, which is even smaller than Reunion, is that it is 95% Muslim - a real challenge for any would-be pioneer. One man, who follows us on the internet, contacted us about starting a church on Mayotte. There’s a new window of opportunity on this island as many of the young people go to France to study and come back no longer under the shackles of their religion. A group now meets regularly in the capital.
I remind myself of the importance of this work with the words of Jesus, « The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field » (Mt 13 :31).
Now into our 60’s, I wouldn’t have expected to be still sweeping halls before church or leading meetings with my guitar for lack of musicians or having to carry the finances while teaching people on giving to God’s work.
Yet we only have one chance at life. Somehow, we have to make it count for eternity.
REUNION ISLAND - Hector Costello is Principal of Freshwater Christian College in #Cairns. Hector came to faith after Pastor Vince Esterman reached out to him over a 2 year period in the local cricket nets! He is Vince's first convert! Hear his testimony & his heart for raising children in a godly schooling environment. Listen online at www.historymakersradio.com History Makers Radio & TV Vision Christian Radio 89.9 LightFM LightDigital 1079 Life Rhema FM Newcastle Rhema FM Central Coast 94.9 96three FM 106five FM, Sunshine Coast 91.9 Fresh FM LIFE FM 100.1 101.9 Wagga's Life FM 100.7 Riverland Life FM 104.9 Lime FM Flow FM Australia LIFT FM Eugene Bognar Judy Bognar Phillip Mutzelburg Tony Llewellyn Alli Llewellyn
photo archive 'chantal villageon)
THIS MONTH WE CLOCK UP 4 YEARS OF PIONEERING WORK ON REUNION ISLAND.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of where we are today.
While we are still very much in pioneering mode we are making significant progress. After a particularly difficult first year we had to start the church again. We just couldn’t build with people we had.
We relaunched the church in the west of the island where there are many French ex-pats and spent the next year dealing with the instability of many of the island folk.
But since mid 2015 things have been turned around. We now have some families who are committed to working with us. In June of last year we helped launch a new church of Madagascan Christians in the north of the island, in the capital, St Denis. A young malgache pastor we ordained last year leads the work. His name is Rodolphe and is an outstanding man of God. I conducted his wedding to Vony back in February.
Then in October 2015 a number of couples from the east of the island who had been following us on Facebook, came to a meeting and asked for an appointment. As a result we’ve started a new church in the east, in the town of Ste Anne (many towns on Reunion are named after saints). They are doing very well and gather around 30 for their Saturday evening service which I take once a month. Once a month they travel to the west to join in our service then we picnic together on the beach. The name of the couple who lead this work is Samuel and Hortense. They also have a real call of God on their lives. On the 4th September this year we will ordain them to the ministry.
In March I went to Madagascar to conduct a school for soul-winners with 800 leaders present. A man from the French island of Mayotte, the same southern Indian ocean region, attended. We are now helping him establish a church on his island. There are about 25 in attendance. Mayotte is 95% Muslim so it’s a real challenge for him. His name is Daniel.
Last week 10 people from the south of Reunion turned up at our service in the west. I hadn’t seen 3 of them in 20 years. One was a former pasteur I had worked with on the island to start the first church 25 years ago. They have started a new church in the south and are looking to me for help and encouragement.
Then last Friday a couple from the north eastern town of Ste Marie invited us to lunch to talk about opening their home to start a group that would be under our covering.
So, much is happening. We are having to fight for each salvation but we have several wonderful trophies of grace among us, especially some men, which has always been a distinctive feature of our ministry.
Denise is training children church workers and we’re working on developing worship teams which is a real need on the island. Leadership training is also a priority. Last month I conducted a day seminar « Growing together in the ministry » for all our leaders. About 30 were present and there was such a great spirit in the group.
Financially, it remains a challenge because of the mentality on the island. It is heavily dependant on hand-outs from France so there is an ingrained mentaliy of receiving help but not giving. We’re working on this as well but there is resistance, so we have to carry it ourselves.
Our French secretary, Chantal, who doesn’t speak English, runs our French Facebook wall. She’s a keen photographer and regularly puts up photos of the people and our functions. To see the photos just become friends with Pasteur Vincent Esterman
You can also follow us by going on our English website at estermanministries.eklablog.com
Denise joins me in sending love, greetings and thanks for your interest in our work, God bless.
Reunion island - THIS IS ONE INCREDIBLE PHOTO! 2 of these men I haven't seen in 20 years. In fact Eric, just below my right shoulder, is the man I worked with in the early 90's to establish our first church in Reunion Island. Life has it's twists and turns and our paths were not to cross again until today when he, his wife Sylvaine and others came to our service to reconnect with us. They are launching a new church in a different region of Reunion and would like us to be involved with them in this new project. God is doing a new thing!
PICNIC REUNION ISLAND STYLE!!!
The family day with special activities for 25 young people didn't get off to a good start. Storms rolled in and all the shelters were taken by other groups. So we all ended up in the toilets. We looked at it positvely - we had a shelter with our own onsuite. But we could have done without the smell. DENISE looks as if she's been arrested and jailed. Anyway, the sun returned and we had such a great day with all the young people.
30 YEARS AGO TODAY !
We are not referring to a wedding anniversary but to the day Vince and Denise Esterman arrived in France with no return ticket, after 9 years of ministry in Australia, in order to respond to God’s call.
It was the 30th June 1986, a momentous day when Vince and Denise landed at Marseille airport to begin what has been an amazing adventure.
Here’s a brief summary of the journey :
1986 – 1988 based in the city of Nimes and involved in itinerant ministry in France
1988- 1995 church planting in Evry in the southern suburbs of Paris
1995- 2007 church planting in the centre of Paris near the Sorbonne university
2007-2012 based in Adelaide, Australia, and ministering throughout France & Europe
2012-2016 church planting on Reunion Island in the southern Indian Ocean
30 years of preaching the Gospel - seeing countless numbers of people come to Christ, several dozen men and women trained and released into ministry leading churches today, and churches planted in a number of regions in France.
But also 30 years of having to face opposition, sometimes fierce, coming from all quarters and adversaries who rose up against us in the work we did.
And we are still at it !
Our goal has not changed one bit – there’s still another soul to be saved out there.
We, Vince and Denise, would like to express our deep gratitude to God for His faithfulness and goodness to us over all these years. And thank you to all our friends and fellow workers who have remained faithful to us throughout this journey.
But the race is not run !
There’s still a way to go before we cross the finish line. So we press on reaching out for the prize that awaits us.
Reunion island - FACEBOOK FRIENDS, THIS IS TOO GOOD NOT TO SHARE!!! As you might know, one of my special activities over the last 30 years has been going out on the streets of the cities of the world with my sketchboard to tell short stories and share the incredible message of God's love for people. I reckon there have literally been hundreds of thousands of people who have heard me. Well, last Saturday I took the board out on the seafront at St Pierre, Reunion Island, where we live. I had lots of kids sitting at my feet enjoying my stories. Right at the very end a couple stopped, caught the tail of my last story for the day and asked for a flyer. Chantal, my PA, chatted with them and to her surprise, the couple said, we'd like to come to your church tomorrow. Our service is not at St Pierre but 40 minutes drive away. Well the next day they were in the service with their two children and at the end of my message both husband and wife gave their lives to Christ! The congregation was stunned and many had trouble holding back their emotions. As they left after the service the couple said "See you Thursday at the Bible study". Winning people to Jesus can be SO simple sometimes.
Reunion Island - THIS IS A NEW CHURCH JUST 6 MONTHS OLD ON REUNION ISLAND. A fine looking bunch of people, if I may say so! The photo was taken last Saturday evening after the worship service. We started the church with 3 couples on the east side of the island because it was too far to travel to our main service on the west side. The church is doing very well as can be seen. They are being led by a wonderful couple, Samuel and Hortense. Hortense is standing on the far left and Samuel is crouched on the far left. Church planting is alive and well and full of thrills and spills. THANK GOD FOR AN EXCITING CHRISTIAN LIFE
TODAY WE BAPTISED 4 MEN AGED BETWEEN 49 -53. All of these guys have been saved in our church in the last few months. The ladies love to see the men go on for Jesus. All the non christian friends who came for the early morning baptism service stayed on for our Sunday service. There were as many non christians in the meeting as there were Christians! iT WAS GREAT! Then we went to the beach for a picnic and conversations just flowed about faith in Jesus. When I saw a bunch of young people on their motor bikes i went over with a bowl full of sausages. I made lots of new friends with these sausages. REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE CAN BE SO EXCITING!
Reunion island - TO MY LEFT, A LIVING LEGEND! Here are some photos just sent through from the school for soul-winners I conducted last week in Madagascar. Around 800 were registered and the enthousiasm crackled like pine cones in an open fire. In the first photo, to my left, is Pastor Jules. From being a humble keeper of cattle God took him, saved him and sent him to preach to his own Madagascan people. His preaching brought revival to the whole country in the 70's and 80's. There are realistic estimates of 2 million people won to Christ and in churches today as a result of his ministry in a national population of 23 million. We now work together to help move the churches back into outreaching mode. IT WAS A MOST SIGNIFICANT WEEK.Madagascar 5 DAY SCHOOL FOR SOUL WINNERS... 1,100 LEADERS ARE REGISTERED!!
OVER CROWDED CLASS SIZES, up to 800 students! This is my school for soul winners in the city of Antsirabe, Madagascar. Many pastors and church leaders are involved from around the country but many young people also wanted to be in on it. They all really got a hold of "sowing systematically" hence the comments "systematiquement!". Yesterday afternoon around 60 people were powerfully filled with the Holy Spirit, including one pastor. These people bring out the best in me. Thank you Lord for the malgache people!
TUESDAY I FLY OUT TO MADAGASCAR WHERE I WILL BE CONDUCTING A 5 DAY SCHOOL FOR SOUL WINNERS... 1,100 LEADERS ARE REGISTERED!!
Madagascar is an amaing place. It's a very poor country yet never have I seen New Testament Christianity lived out as in the people here. Such fervour, respect, humility and commitment. I'm amazed that the "Malgache" people who have so much to teach me about living for Jesus ask me to come to minister to them. It will be quite a week, next week.
Reunin Island - This morning we baptised Alicia, who is a well-known TV presenter on Reunion Island. She gave her life to Jesus in our church in January. Several of her friends were in church this morning and heard her testimony about how the Holy Spirit impressed upon her about viewing the film "The Passion of the Christ". When she did she was powerfully impacted by the Holy Spirit and her life was transformed. Exciting days!
TEAM VINCE AND DENISE was born on this day, March 10th 1979. We were married in Brisbane at Christian Life Centre, Fortitude Valley by Pastor Trevor Chandler, who sadly left us some time ago. It was a beautiful day and when Denise walked into the church it took my breath away. Since that day, it's been such a great story. Many young people can't believe that two people could be happy together for 37 years, love each other and look forward to many more years. But for both of us the best part is that we are making a difference in so many lives as we share the love of Jesus in different parts of the world. Long may this blessed adventure continue!
REUNION ISLAND - Meet this young couple, Rodolphe and Vony. Rodolphe is the pastor of our Madagascan church in St Denis, the capital of Reunion Island. He is 25 years old and is such an outstanding young man. His wife is a very dedicated Christian woman. They were married civilly today and tomorrow I will be conducting their Christian wedding. It is the first time that I have a real Timothy. I am so proud of them.
WE GOT ONE AND IT'S A BEAUTY!
5 weeks ago God put a thought in my mind about launching a fund for a bus to bring people to our services. 5 weeks later the thought has become reality.
We are grateful to God for his incredible provision and we are so grateful to the 30 people, couples and churches who contributed to make it possible.
It’s a PEUGEOT Expert 9 seater (which can be driven by anyone with a normal license).
After seeing a number of dodgey buses and ringing around many of the dealers on the island only to be told that a quality used 9 seater was very rare and in great demand, we found one, and what a deal !
It’s a 2012 model with only 33,000 kms on the clock. Looks and drives like new.
Our target was $25,000 (15,000€). We received in total $26,500 and we secured the bus for exactly $26,500 ! How is that for precision blessing.
To register, service and insure the bus will cost us a further $1,700. PERHAPS SOMEONE WHO RECEIVES THE EMAIL UPDATES WOULD LIKE TO HELP US WITH THIS and round off an appeal that has left our young church stunned and amazed.
On behalf of all the people who attend our church (called Espace Foi Sans Frontières – Faith Without Borders) THANK YOU, MERCI BEAUCOUP !
Much love to you all,
Vince and Denise
Photos are of a very happy Vince and Denise and some of the folk of our church
Our ministry bank account details are the following :
From within Australia
National Australia Bank
ESTERMAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL
BSB : 085-005
Account number: 754418913
From outside Australia
National Australia Bank
ESTERMAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL
SWIFT bank code (BIC) : NATAAU3303M
WE NOW HAVE THREE CHURCHES ON REUNION ISLAND!
That's right! Our main church, which is not the biggest numerically, has been going 18 months if we don't count the year that wasn't.
However things are accelerating. In June we helped plant a church in the capital, St Denis, in the north. This is a church of Christians from Madagascar and their meetings are in their native language.
However we use their hall for an outreach meeting into the French-speaking community. This meeting has attracted people from the east of the island through our Facebook and website exposure.
Last Saturday evening we launched our third church, this time in the east of the island with around 30 people in attendance (see photo below). There is real excitement around the place! It's just great seeing God move and being surprised by the next thing He does.
I HOPE EVERY CHRISTIAN READING THIS EXPERIENCES THIS EXCITEMENT IN THE CHURCH HE IS ATTENDING! IT'S WHAT CHURCH SHOULD BE ABOUT.
UPDATE ON THE BUS APPEAL - We’re not far from the goal now !
The figures speak for themselves.
Our target is $25,000 AUD. In just under two weeks we have received 17 gifts for a total of $21,900 AUD God is blessing this project !
Most of the gifts have come from Australia. Thank you, Aussies !
This bus is going to carry Reunion islanders to meetings to hear the Gospel and be taught God’s Word. We think it’s a worthy cause.
We would like to honour those who have supported us in this project so far by mentioning their names.
(From Australia unless otherwise mentioned)
Gerry & Jan Barlow (UK) ; David & Kristin Daniell ; Des & Dianne Jones ; Lesley O’Callaghan ; Mike Browne ; Oasis Christian Church Ceduna (Stuart & Heather McIlwraith) ; Neil & Pam Bishop ; Hank & Lenie Vanderstein ; Ralph & Marg Wigg ; Kim Buscomb ; Keith & Wendy Fiebig ; Marie Cartledge ; Philippe & Nadine Achikian (France) ; Cesar Esterman; Chantal Villageon (Reunion) ; Chantal Ivars (Reunion) ; Philippe & Ursula Gautier (France)
Thank you to you all for your generosity !
The maths are simple. If we receive 6 more gifts of $500 or 3 more gifts of $1,000 we are almost there. More than this, we cover the insurance as well !
This has been a real humbling experience for us. And we have seen God’s grace flow abundantly in response to faith.
We will keep you posted with updates over the next week.
Vince and Denise
Our ministry bank account details are the following :
From within Australia
National Australia Bank
ESTERMAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL
BSB : 085-005
Account number: 754418913
From outside Australia
National Australia Bank
ESTERMAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL
SWIFT bank code (BIC) : NATAAU3303M
THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE SHOT! The man in the smaller photos in black heard me on the seafront of St Pierre with my sketchboard. He came to church and gave his life to Christ. We launched our first home meeting in St Pierre with this man. There were 18 of us of which 12 were non Bible-based Christians. There was so much enthusiasm about the evening that we will do it all again next week and we are believing that this is the berthing of a new church in the south of the island.
HIS PHOTO WARMS AN OLD FELLAHS HEART! Here I am with the dance group of girls in a church in the town called Antsirabe in the heart of Madagascar. I was one of the speakers at a pastors conference bringing in pastors from all over the country. These girls are sensational! They danced so energetically, so skilfully with all the praise songs we sang. The joy had to be experienced to be believed. I've never been in an atmosphere of joyful praise as here. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries on earth yet the Christians show such abundance of spirit. There was a special connection all week with these lovely, lovely people.
REUNION I SLAND Here are a few shots of some of our folk yeasterday enjoying a meal together after church. The centre photo on the left shows a man speaking with another man and a woman. The man speaking heard me telling stories with my sketchboard on the seafront two months ago. He came to church with his two kids, gave his life to Christ and now each Sunday brings new people along. It's the way it should be! It makes church an exciting place to be.
REUNION ISLAND - The world is talking about Reunion Island! That's where the debris of the Malaysian Airlines MH370 has ended up. We have lived here since August 2012 planting a new church. We are now on the map!
More : http://www.linfo.re/…/674081-debris-d-avion-a-la-reunion-do… #LaRéunion
© Jean-Régis Ramsamy (Réunion 1ère)
Western political leaders want us to believe that djihadist terrorists have nothing to do with the Muslim religion. Yet, of the top ten terrorists groups threatening the world, the top 8 are motivated by the Koran and claim to be be fighting for Allah and his prophet, Mohammed. If the Muslim religion didn't exist, wouldn't the world be a better place?
THIS IS SUCH A GREAT PHOTO taken Sunday morning. I'm with my longtime friend Antoine Nocek. We have been working together for 28 years. In fact with our wives we started the movement of churches which today has churches all over France and in other French-speaking countries. A few weeks ago he suffered a heart attack. His arteries were blocked up to 90%. He could have died twice because of complications. We hung in with prayer that God would pull him through. And He did.! I was in Paris attending an annual conférence of our movement of churches and I had a window of opportunity to drive to his city to see him. We had a memorable evening together. He is weak but so bouyant, so full of faith for the future. I love this man. He is Polish and I am Australian. You couldn't find two more different personalities but we see God's work in the same way and we have travelled many years together pushing the frontiers of the Kingdom of God ever further. I thank God that he is still alive. He will make a full recovery and we will continue to fight the fight of faith.
This was our first home meeting last night in a remote village in the south of Reunion Island. Most of the people have come to know Jesus with us. We have followed them up over the last 2 years and we are so thrilled to see the fruit of our work. It was a very joyful evening!