Chicago pastor celebrates 80 years of life and Ministry

Chicago pastor celebrates 80 years of life and Ministry

On Saturday, March 3, Pastor Ginette Larivère, founder of the New Jerusalem Evangelistic Church in Chicago, Illinois, celebrated her 80th birthday with friends and family as well as church members. But instead  of the attention being on her, Pastor Larivière dedicated her 80th birthday as a celebration of God’s goodness to her and those around her, complete with worship songs, choir selections and rous- ing words of encouragement from herself and other Chicago Haitian pastors.

Pastor Lariviere, originally from Gonaives, Haiti, came to Chicago in the 1970s with her husband and six children. She founded the New Jerusalem Evangelistic Church (NJEC) in 1994. The church exists to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to their community in Chicago and beyond.

Pastor Yves Théodule, Senior Pastor of NJEC, spoke on Pastor Larivière’s influence on his life.

“As a young man growing up on the South Side of Chicago, you know what that means,” Pastor Yves shared. “I was into all sorts of mess. Pastor Larivière had the courage to give me the gospel when some people were shying away from talking to me about the Word of God, because of the title I held. But, to the Lord for this woman. She sat down with me and fed me the gospel with a teaspoon. When I say with a teaspoon, I mean she hand fed it to me in order for me to become the person I am today.”

Pastor Théodule came to know God under Pastor Larivière’s leadership, was married by her and later became the Senior Pastor of the very congregation where he became a Christian. He has now been tasked with bringing the church — which started in Pastor Larivière’s living room—to a new level as they expand from their current building to an adjacent 24,000 square foot property.

Others throughout the night shared how Pastor Larivière has been a spiritual mother for them in so many ways, helping them to grow not only in their faith in Jesus Christ but also as individuals. For some, she was the only person they knew when they immigrated to the United States, while others counted her as a consistently warm and helpful presence, full of integrity, tenacity and wisdom.

At the core of the event, Pastor Larivière addressed the attendees, primarily giving glory to God and sharing what these past eight decades have meant to her.

“When God put you on the earth, He put you here for a reason,” says Pastor Lariviere at the opening. “If you asked me what I’ve learned in my 80 years, I would quote the Apostle of Paul in Philippians 4:11, ‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.’ You may think circumstances are bad, but God is teaching us things that we don’t know. Enjoy the present, learn from the past and the future is a question mark, because it‘s in God’s hands.

Sometimes we’re so worried about the future that we can’t even enjoy what God has given us in the present. God wants you to use the gifts He has given you to honor Him in the present.”

Consul General of Haiti in Chicago Lesly Condé also shared his experience with the formidable, compassionate and faith-driven pastor, thanking her for her service to the community.

Pastor Larivière would like to thank her physical family for her celebration as well as her church family at the New Jerusalem Evangelistic Church who helped make this celebration possible; as well as all those who came to celebrate God’s goodness with her. If you are ever in Chicago, she invites you to worship with them at the New Jerusalem Evangelistic Church, 1706 E. 75th St. Chicago, IL 60649. Sunday School starts at 9:45 a.m. and service at 11 a.m.

Pastor Yves Théodule’s remarks for Mrs Larivière’s birthday

Not only as permanent Pastor of New Jerusalem Evangelistic Church but also as spiritual son of Pastor Larivière, it was fitting for Yves Thédule to speak at the occasion of this birthday. Referring to her as PL, Mr. Théodule says : PL is someone that is very, very special to me. From the time I met PL as a young boy, I didn’t know that would be the start of my life. I was just a young man doing whatever that I wanted to do in the world. I had all the stuff that I needed. I was having a good time. Then I met PL and a new chapter in my life began. I know PL doesn’t like when people put her on the spot, but I have to in this moment.

PL sat down with me and literally tea-spooned-fed me the gospel. When I say tea-spoon-feed me, I mean she hand-fed it to me in order for me to become the person I am today. She talked with me, walked with me, dragged me, and when I laid flat on the floor and said I couldn’t do it anymore, she grabbed me by my feet and said, “Let’s keep going.” She just kept pushing and pulling and dragging. She gave me so much encouragement. As a young man growing up on the South Side of Chicago, you know what that means. I was into all sorts of mess. Some of you heard the story many times before. She had the courage to give me the gospel when some people were shying away from giving instructing about the Scriptures because of the title I held.

But, thank God for this woman. The Lord called this woman named Ginette Larivière and He said something special to her. Today I know for a fact that the Lord looked at her and just as He looked at Gideon and said, ‘Man of God, you’re a Soldier.’ God called him a soldier when he was nothing. He wasn’t a soldier, he wasn’t a hero. The man was hiding out, but the Lord called him a warrior. And I believe the same thing happened to PL. The Lord called her a soldier, a warrior. Because of this woman’s obedience to the Lord, it has impacted many, many lives, not only in Chicago but all over the place, because the same Gospel she gave me, I’m walking out preaching it.

« There were many times, where she took that section of her house and changed it into a Sanctuary. This woman obeyed the Lord. PL thank you for obeying the Lord. Today we thank God because when he spoke to you, you said yes. She could have chosen the easy way. I watched my pastor get brutalized, and my heart would be broken.

And I ask myself, would I have had the strength to keep going how she has ? To tell you the truth, I have it easy today. I have a great team in the church; but when she was doing it, she was standing there alone with the Lord. It wasn’t easy. So, today when we come here to celebrate, know that those 80 years weren’t easy. We need to recognize someone like that to say thank you, we appreciate you and the Lord bless you today, PL.

We  were having our service in the 14×16 living-room. We moved into a church that was just a little bigger. We said PTL, but today we’re on our way to build a church that is 24,000 sq. ft. That was this woman. We’re making an impact. We’re touching lives on the South Side of Chicago because this woman opened the door of her living room. That same little church we’re talking about has brought jobs to proba- bly hundreds now. We’ve had hundreds of people coming to our classrooms that we teach how to secure jobs, because this woman was obedient to the Lord and I’m sure there are many more stories we can tell. Today Pastor, I want to take the time to say thank you, we appreciate you, we love you. I praise the Lord for you.”

this original article is in P. 15, of the curent edition april 18, 2018 at :