Claude and Vinca Beaulieu
Claude and Vinca Beaulieu became missionaries with the Fellowship French Mission in January 2005 when Claude became pastor of Église Baptiste Emmanuel de Rimouski. Claude also has a ministry to other churches in the region and was instrumental in helping to start a daughter church in Rivière-du-Loup.
Since 2007, the Rimouski church is meeting in its own building. They were able to purchase and renovate a former sports store with significant help from outside donors. The church building is well located on the main highway running through the centre of the City of Rimouski. Renovations have transformed the facilities into a beautiful place of worship that can accommodate approximately 80-100 people.
Rimouski is a city of 45,000 people situated on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, three hours from Quebec City. The city is a regional service centre offering education, culture, government offices, and medical centres. The population, which is almost entirely French-speaking, has a high level of education and still maintains an allegiance to the Roman Catholic faith, even though only half the population practices this religion.
Now for the past 6 years Claude has been giving leadership to the Rimouski work… while carrying on itinerant missionary work at places such as Amqui; Mont Joli and Île d'Anticosti. He also visits and helps the work at New Richmond (about 3 1/2 hours away), a work without a resident missionary pastor.
Spiritual background: Claude was raised in a fervent Roman Catholic family in Port-Cartier, the eighth of nine children. At age 12, Claude began to systematically read the Bible. At 16, he understood that only Jesus Christ could save him from his sin. Many years later, he took another step in his spiritual journey after viewing a film about Jesus. Feeling convicted, Claude asked for God's forgiveness and gave his life to him. Claude says, "At that time, I received the assurance that I was perfectly forgiven and I started a new life."
Claude spent many years searching for the true church. After many disappointments with false teachings he was losing hope when he met Arthur Guignard, an evangelical Christian. Claude was impressed that Arthur answered his questions using Bible verses and admitted his ignorance when he didn’t know the answer. Claude says, "I was overcome by his simplicity and humility, and I accepted to go to a church meeting with him." At last, Claude found a church home and began to grow in his faith. Claude was an eager evangelist. Among others, he witnessed to his future wife, Vinca, and brought her to the Lord.
Seeing his zeal, his pastor and the church helped to develop his spiritual gifts and confirm his call to ministry. Following theological studies at École Théologique Baptiste de Quebec, Claude was called to pastor in Fermont, a remote mining town near the Labrador border. Under his ministry the church conducted bold outreach efforts and grew in size.
After six years in Fermont, Claude pastored in Longueuil, a Montreal suburb on the south shore. While at the helm of this large church Claude experienced some serious health problems. Although his doctor recommended eight months of rest, Claude returned to work within five weeks. He subsequently became run down, and resigned from the church.
Claude took secular work and spent the next four years away from ministry. It took some time to recover from this experience, both physically and spiritually. Regional Director Michel Habib, who knew Claude from the early days of his Christian life, reached out to him and his family. Michel also approached the church and acted as a peacemaker between the two parties. Eventually a public reconciliation meeting took place at the church. It was a dramatic turning point for Claude, Vinca and their five children, most of them then teenagers.