I was raised in a Christian home. In 2003 I enrolled at Fairhaven Baptist College. During my last year as a student, I was engaged to John Lafreniere who was working as a youth pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Waterbury, Connecticut. After several years of marriage, the Lord led John to start an independent Baptist church in his hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut. We made plans for this transition in our lives. We scheduled deputation meetings to present our burden for the need in Fairfield.
In the midst of deputation the Lord blessed us with a healthy baby boy, Elijah. Over the course of the next few months, John noticed that I was not regaining my strength like I should. Then, during an outing with friends, I had a noticeably difficult time standing up, and we knew something was not right. We knew I needed to see a doctor.
We will never forget what we were told after the doctor visit. He was very concerned and thought I had some type of motor/neuron disease. He told us it could be ALS, sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. I remember hearing the diagnosis and feeling my heart sink. I broke out in tears and could not help but think about my son. Then I thought about the church we planned to start. We had already raised 40 percent of our needed support through deputation. We felt helpless.
After the doctors confirmed the ALS diagnosis, John and I talked. Up to this point, God’s purpose for our lives had seemed so clear and definite; but now fear, uncertainty, and the unknown overwhelmed us. Through this time God made Proverbs 3:5 real in our lives, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” John asked me about continuing with deputation and our future church plant. I remember telling him that since God had called us to Fairfield to start a church that that is what we needed to do; we should move ahead. We reminded ourselves that there are people in Fairfield who need the gospel and that there is a church that needs to be started. We determined to continue.
After hearing our story, some responded, “I don’t understand.” John and I agree; we don’t understand everything that happens in this life, but God does. While we would love to see a physical miracle, my healing might not happen until I enter heaven. I certainly won’t need my wheelchair there! The timing of my healing is up to God. In the meantime, we just want Him to get the glory.
Abby Lafreniere ('07)