Prayer Transforms Aging Troy Church

A once-dwindling church has made a turnaround through prayer and faith in God’s promises. The Troy (Idaho) Church began with a focus on children. Members purchased a turn-of-the-century Swedish church in 1946 then moved to the site of a schoolhouse they purchased for a few hundred dollars. They combined the buildings and added a basement to create classrooms, a church and a school.

In more recent years the church family began to slowly decrease in size. Families grew up and left. Members realized if things continued as they were, there would be no future for the church. With only one child left in the congregation, they knew they needed to do something.

So about five years ago the church members began to pray. Dennis Nickel, the pastor, was battling cancer but had a big heart for his church members and supported them as they took 15 minutes to petition God each Sabbath for church growth and specifically for more children.

Their prayers of faith were rewarded tangibly. Before Nickel passed away in August 2011, younger families began moving to the area and babies were born. When the new pastor, Ole Olesen, came in 2012, the church was still praying, and one after another additional babies arrived to families in the congregation.

Now there are 34 children in church. The church’s longstanding Happy Hour for Kids on the second Saturday night of each month has a whole new generation. “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.”

Josie Littler, 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, 4, says, “My favorite part of Happy Hour for Kids is playing games with my friends.”

When Olesen arrived, the first business meeting revealed the desire of members to build a second phase of the building. Their prayers were growing the church, and they needed more space. They stepped out in faith and embarked on an ambitious project. Keeping the 1970s sanctuary, they are adding a new lobby, classrooms, fellowship hall, kitchen and offices for a 9,000-square-foot addition.

Donations of time, equipment and professional skills from members of all ages are amazing. Funds from members, current and former, have raised thousands of dollars and continue to do so. Sunday work bees are well-supported, and whenever the workplace is safe the children come looking for ways to help alongside the adults.

“God is good,” affirms 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 Church had fewer than 35 people attending weekly more than five years ago. Today, 60–80 people attend. Continued growth seems inevitable for the Troy Church as it grows spiritually, physically and structurally. Be sure to check it out on Facebook.

March 06, 2014 / Upper Columbia Conference