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JACQUES AND MARTINE AVAKIAN | MONTREAL, QUEBEC


LIGHTING THE DARKNESS IN QUEBEC


By Ann-Margret Hovsepian I


n describing the spiritual condition of the people of Quebec, where he has been overseeing church planting since January 2009, church planter Jacques Avakian calls to mind the boat crew in the story of Jonah. “People in Quebec are spiritual and they’re seeking something, but they’re not seeking the right spirit,” he says. “The people Jonah met on the boat were spiritual but they didn’t know the right God because no one was sharing the truth with them.”


Jacques’ desire to share God’s truth with others developed early in his life. An Armenian born in Lebanon, he was a teenager when his family fled to Cyprus in 1978 because of war. Jacques remembers the day he promised God to serve Him if He let him live through the war. “I fully surrendered my life to Him when I was 15,” says Jacques, who moved to Montreal in 1986. Jacques is married to Martine, a French Canadian, and has two children (Sabrina, 14, and Sebastien, 12). He speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, Arabic, Turkish and Greek—an asset for anyone serving in such a multi-cultural area. He is pastor of Eglise Renais-


sance de Long Sault in Grenville, Quebec, about an hour west of Montreal. “When I came to Quebec, God put it on my heart to start a new church,” he says. In 2005, Jacques met Gary Smith, a church planting strategist with the


Canadian National Baptist Convention and NAMB. “He and I clicked and he asked me if I’d be part of their leadership, so I joined as the Quebec church planter.” In 2007, Jacques became the regional


People in Quebec are spiritual and they’re seeking something, but they’re not seeking the right spirit. They don’t know the right God because no one [is] sharing the truth with them.”


ON MISSION • Spring 2011 29


PHOTOS BY TED WILCOX


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