Thirty-one years ago, God spoke to a man’s heart saying that He wanted him to gather people for the building of His church. The year was 1975 and literally without the thought of neither script nor purse, the process began. Bro. Paul Dyal became one of the Lord’s emissaries.
In 1977, Bro. Gutkee, Bro. Dyal’s pastor at that time, went to St. Petersburg, Florida, to see his two sons, George and Walter, leaving Bro. Dyal in charge during his absence. Upon his return, Bro. Gutkee stood to his feet and made it known he would be moving, and left soon after leaving Bro. Dyal as pastor.
Bro. Dyal knew that God had spoken to him, but desired further assurance that God was authoring this move that was transpiring. In prayer and meditation, he asked God to firstly, validate His will by sending three men from afar to communicate God’s will in this matter, secondly, to send a man of authority and recognition to ordain him in the work, and finally to change a man’s heart by asking Bro. Dyal to be his pastor and overseer. All three requests were answered in October and November of that year.
On July 4, 1978, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Bro. Dyal announced that we were going to have a meeting. We were feeling heady with an influx of new people seeing that we now numbered twenty–slightly less than Gideon’s diminished forces. But alas, there were doubters among us who said, “We don’t have a suitable building.” We had recently been blessed with a new building (that is, new to us), a cinder block refrigeration shop with two lean-to’s on either side.
We worked day and night and by March we sponsored a well-attended meeting. It was in that same year that Bro. Dyal started our Christian School. He strongly believed, and still does, that separating (sanctifying) our children from the world is the Lord’s mandate.
Over the next several years God blessed us abundantly with people hungry for this Bride message. Thirty, thirty-five, fifty-five, seventy-eight—they just kept coming. It wasn’t man’s wisdom, but God’s wisdom seemingly adding to the church daily. The message was simple, straightforward and strict, but people loved it. The saints would come early in the day on Saturday to save seats for the whole weekend. Finally, the time had come. We had outgrown the building and property. Yet, we had one small problem….money!
God had blessed us in every way except monetarily. In 1993, God told our pastor to build a new church building on property that had been donated to the church by one of our seniors at the time, Bro. Albert Neel. Wondering in amazement upon hearing of these grandiose designs, many asked Bro. Dyal how we could ever afford the light bill for such an edifice. Yet God had spoken.
We had our first service in the building in June of 1995. Not long after our inaugural service the church was able to begin to acquire land adjacent to the original church grounds, adding several outbuildings. Four years later, the church was completely out of debt.
At the beginning of the year 2003, Bro. Paul Dyal felt impressed of God to ordain his oldest son, Bro. Darrin Dyal to become the pastor of our assembly.
This ordination would give him many years to learn the ways of his father in the Lord and his Heavenly Father. Our Christian school, The Jacksonville Assembly Christian Academy continued to operate out of the old church building until we moved to the new church grounds to begin our new school year in fall of 2003.
Since then the Lord has added more saints to the assembly, and God’s blessings have covered us. There is no doubt that God wanted a church in Jacksonville. It has been vindicated many times over with too many signs and wonders to list in this short article. Thirty-one years– a lifetime dedicated to the cause of Christ.
Thank you for your faithfulness, Bro. Dyal, and a determination to continue to answer the call. And thank you, Sis. Catherine Dyal, for your many years of sacrifice and faithfulness to both your husband and your God; without you, Bro. Dyal’s ministry would have been handicapped.
As we look to the future, please pray that God will keep his covering on Bro. Darrin Dyal to help guide our assembly forward. We believe that the church in Jacksonville was ordained to be a first resurrection church, and we must continue to strive with all our might if that great calling is to be fulfilled.