"Meet the LaFontaines" Concert Intro Video
John LaFontaine was not raised in a Christian home. When a Baptist deacon knocked on the door one day and offered to pick the children up for Sunday School, John enthusiastically said "Yes!" much to the rest of the family's surprise. Headed for a career in baseball, his life took a sharp turn at 13 years old when he gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ. From that moment on he vowed to make God #1 instead of baseball. Following in the footsteps of his father he decided to join the armed forces. After high school, he went into the Air Force, where he was a clerk typist stationed at Seymore Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. During this time he came into contact with a Pentecostal Freewill Baptist Church and later attended a Church of God revival and continued to grow in his spiritual journey. Gleaning truths from these churches, he started to pray for God's leadership in his life. At age 18, he was called into the ministry, when the Lord met him in a pillar of fire one night as he was praying for God’s direction. From that time he began to minister, and his humorous delivery, and dynamic personality in the pulpit prompted many invitations. While preaching a revival service in Madison, Wisconsin, he met a beautiful young lady named Loretta Seay and proceeded to tell his buddy that evening that he was going to marry that girl. One day John was on his way through Chicago to see Loretta when a dark and gloomy spirit entered the car and he sensed that it was the devil coming to tempt him. John rebuked the enemy several times, and finally demanded that he leave the car. It was at this point that satan spoke directly to John and said, "I just want you to know that I'm going to take as many people to hell with me as I can!" John's blood began to boil and before he knew it he was yelling back, "Yah, Devil?...Well, I just want you to know, that I'm going to take as many people to heaven with me as I can!" John has since evangelized all over the world, served as a pastor in three different churches, and pointed many souls to the Kingdom of God.
As the oldest girl in a family of 11 children, Loretta lived a life of hard work and service to her parents, her 8 brothers and 2 sisters. She gave her heart to the Lord when she was 6 and received the Holy Ghost at 15. Their family originated in Arkansas, migrated to California, and settled in Madison, Wisconsin. Both of her parents were ministers at the Move of God non-denominational church her father pastored. When the church was in need of a pianist, Loretta sat down on the piano bench and prayed for God to teach her to play, so she could fill yet another need in her family! And play she did! She grew up singing all the old songs of the church, and as she used her gift, she got better and better. She always knew that she would marry a minister, and always had a desire to have a harmonious and musical family. However, John LaFontaine was the last person in the world she thought she would ever marry, but soon she found herself as hopelessly in love with him as he was with her. She said, “yes” and made, what their children call, the smartest decision of her life! Another great decision on her part was in 1976 when her husband was receiving lots of invitations to minister out, and felt led to go into the full time evangelistic ministry and travel full-time. She found out by reading the Van Trap family life story that there was such a thing as "homeschooling", and decided to keep the family together and go on the road full time with her husband. It was not long until she had trained the children to sing together, and their music became a vital part of the ministry as well. Her children rise up and call her blessed for following the calling of God, and for all those hard years of traveling and homeschooling! "She has a black-belt in travel and a masters degree in motel cooking", says her eldest daughter. "And she even knows how to make homemade van cushions and fry an egg on the engine."
From the time they got married, John and Loretta LaFontaine have been seeking to give God top priority in their lives. They even started their honeymoon by accepting an invitation to hold a revival service in Ohio. Thus, began an enduring commitment and a life long pattern of always putting Him first, serving others next, and themselves last. Ironically enough, the LaFontaines are back in Ohio again not too far from where their journey as a married couple began. They continue to accept invitations to minister in Word and song on a regular basis.
It has been said that Paul LaFontaine was born with a shepherd’s staff in one hand and songbook in the other. A born leader, his mother reports that at age two the older neighborhood kids would knock on his door and ask if “J.P.” could come out and play, only to follow him around and ask him, “What should we do next?” With a natural ability to write songs, play piano and lead others, his life was filled with many responsibilities from a very early age. At age 16, he was filled with the Holy Spirit while the Word was being preached, and from that point on, has continually bathed himself in the Word of the Lord. While attending college for music, the Lord met him in his dorm room in the form of a light. This supernatural experience prompted Paul to seek God in a more fervent way, and eventually the Lord spoke to him and confirmed his call to spread the gospel. Since that time, Paul has had an overwhelming burden for the youth, and through the years he has been involved in creating and planning literally hundreds of events for the youth in the U.S.A. as well as Central America, Europe, Germany, the Philippines and many other countries. His anointed songs and inspiring sermons have granted him invitations to travel all over the world. Paul started pastoring at the young age of 19 and is still feeding the flock at Literal Life Tabernacle in Ottawa Lake, MI. At age 27, Paul married Rebekah Wade, a wonderful Christian girl who was equally passionate about spreading the gospel.
Married to John Paul
Rebekah was raised in a Christian home, the daughter of Emmanuel and Carol Wade of Tennessee. The oldest of four girls, she learned at a young age to give of herself and to serve others as the family entertained many guests. Despite many childhood complexes, her sharp mind and leadership abilities led her to get a B.A. at King College which has been a great asset to her as a home schooling mother of four, and a primary bookkeeper for many of the LaFontaine family businesses. As a youth, Rebekah’s strong willed personality prompted her to turn her heart briefly away from the Lord, and to rebel against the teachings she had been raised with. God’s loving protection kept her until the day she fully surrendered her life to Christ and the Lord took her strong will and used it in a great way. She then was known by her church and community as a girl with a strong will against sin. Her early Christian struggles have given her a special ability to relate to the struggles of the young people. She used the remainder of her single life wisely, by planning many Christian youth activities, singing as a soloist in her local church, witnessing, joining choirs, traveling with Lynual Younce as a back up singer and taking the younger youth to banquets and camps. It was at one of those camps that Bekah met Paul LaFontaine and was greatly attracted to his love for the Lord, and his passion for ministry! They were friends for several years before Paul surprised her one day on the phone by saying he was interested in her. Little did she know that the Lord had been training her for all those years to do the work of a pastor's wife, youth counselor and choir director at Literal Life Tabernacle, and to share the gospel in song. Her four children Amariah, Solomon, Gideon and Gabriella are a full-time job ranging in age from 7 to 14, but she still manages to make time to serve as a help-mate to her husband, to pray for the struggling, to show kindness to her neighbors, and to make an incredible impact on her community.
“Sharon was born to serve” her mother states. She has a genuine love for people and always is looking to keep everyone happy. As a child, she is reported to have smiled even when she was sleeping. She gave her heart to Christ and was baptized at a very early age. At age 4, she was already singing harmony with her big brother, and leading songs for him in their little playroom church services. The family started traveling and singing when Sharon was just 8 and even as a young girl she became the 3rd part of the original LaFontaine Trio. Her powerful voice became a signature sound for the LaFontaine Family, and she made her first solo album at age 13. As she sang across the country, people everywhere grew to love her voice as well as her personality, and in school she was not afraid to be a positive roll model of holiness and soon became popular as the girl who always wore skirts, even when playing volleyball! She met Henry VanWyk at age 13, while singing at his sister’s wedding, and after 7 years of friendship, he asked her to be his wife. At age 25 Sharon experienced a real struggle in her spiritual life as a result of years of serving others without really feeding herself spiritually. It was during this time that she learned the importance of a daily prayer and devotion time and she penned the words to "Great Things Often Come From Silent Nights". Sharon & Henry reside in Toledo, Ohio and are very active in the local church and the music ministry. Sharon owns a music instruction school called Fountain Music Academy, which has been known to enroll as many as 100 students per semester in private and group lessons. She claims the reason she is such a good teacher is due to the fact that she had to really work hard to learn piano, and so she knows the little steps that it takes to get better! She also teaches a drama class and has written many skits and dramas for youth camps and vacation bible schools all across the country. The joy of her life is her two children, Wesley (18) and Vanessa (11). Sharon's contagious laughter and genuine love for people continues to shine through in everything she does.
Married to Sharon
Henry VanWyk was born in Ontario, Canada, the son of dutch farmers, Hank & Hilda VanWyk who came to Canada from the Netherlands. As a child, he recalls his Dutch Christian Reformed parents leaving the church of their heritage, and being drawn by God into the truths of the Bible. From the time he was young, we was singing with his mom and sisters, writing songs, and even had a recording studio set up in the silo where the acoustics were great! At age 12, he was having devotions with his mom and 3 siblings, when he looked at the candle on the table. He was amazed to see the flame take on the shape of a hand. Immediately he knew it was the devil, and then heard a voice saying, “Come with me, Henry”. He was so shaken by this, he crawled into his mothers arms and told her what had happened. She asked him, “Do you want to follow the devil, son?” and he said “No, I want to give my heart to Jesus!!!” They prayed and he asked the Lord to take charge of his life, and to protect him from the wiles of the enemy. As a young teenager, his faith was tested, but through the love and friendship of the late Bro. Daniel Williams, and a strong youth group, Henry eventually surrendered to Christ. Since that time, his love for the Lord, and his gift for music and songwriting have grown immensely. Henry is a giver, which made him extremely attracted to the LaFontaine's mission to serve others. He was also attracted to their oldest daughter, Sharon, who seemed to be the perfect “helpmate” for him. His guitar playing is heard on many of the LaFontaine projects dating back to the early 80's and his energy and relaxed personality make him a friend to everyone he meets. He is best known for his mellow guitar, his heartfelt songwriting, and his ability to fix anything. He owns a home remodeling business in Toledo, Ohio and prides himself in taking ugly homes and making them new again!
The name ‘Isaac’ means laughter, and with the birth of this third child nicknamed “Ike”, came an overwhelming joy to the family. Not just because there had been two miscarriages before him, but because he had a gift from the start, of making people happy. When Ike was only 1 year old he fell from a two story window, landed on his head on concrete, and miraculously was healed thanks to the prayers of the saints. He was released two days later, and has always been considered a miracle child! His childhood was spent on the road singing and playing drums. His mother admits he was the most strong-willed child of the family, but because of this, everything he does, he does with passion. When he reached his teen years, his strong personality and ability to draw a crowd found him leading youth choirs, doing dramas and as always, keeping everyone in stitches! He was 18 when he was filled with the Holy Ghost at a youth camp and at that time his passion was channeled to serving Christ to the best of his ability. Starting with the project 'Our Time', on which he did all of the musical instruments on a keyboard, he has been keenly envolved in all of the LaFontaine recordings. Although Ike has a great voice, he has always prefered to be in the background either playing drums or bass guitar or on the soundboard making everyone else sound good. Although you don’t see him singing many solos or doing a lot of talking on stage, Isaac is the behind the scenes miracle man of the group. He can play multiple instruments, is a gifted producer and recording engineer, and is the owner of a studio in Toledo, Ohio. He also has his own Telly Award Winning jingle company, Audio Branding Incorporated, which specializes in creating and recording radio and television commercials for local and national businesses. He also produces CD recordings for other artist like Isiah Brooks, Sally Duke, Lyndsay Gilreath and the Burdettes not to mention The LaFontaines! He teaches private drum lessons, church musicianship seminars, and works as a consultant to churches who are planning and installing a new sound system. He married Amanda Johnson, daughter of Rev. Steve and Sandy Johnson of Toledo in September of 1995, whom he claims is the brains and the genius behind everything he does.
Married to Isaac
Amanda was raised in Toledo, Ohio and became acquainted with the LaFontaines at a very young age when her father, Steve Johnson and Paul LaFontaine started a church in her hometown. Amanda was still a pre-teen, but the influence of having Christian friends all of a sudden made a huge impact on her life. Her parents bought a big van and for the next several years became the chaperones for many youth trips to camps and fellowships in order to influence their daughter in the right direction. She received the Holy Ghost as a teenager at the Winter Youth Retreat, and her life immediately changed. She became a friend and incredible influence to many struggling young people, and was not afraid to tell the truth and stand for what she believed. Isaac and Amanda were part of the same youth group and spent alot of time hanging out. Like Isaac, Amanda was high-spirited, which created many intense moments of fellowship between the two of them. When their unique friendship turned to love it was a shock to both sides of the family! The only child born to Steve and Sandy Johnson, Amanda enjoys being a part of such a large family. Aside from being an accomplished interior Designer and florist, she is the CFO of her husband's jingle company, his assistant for all of his other projects and is the proud mother of three; Nora (11), Lily (7) and Steven (3). Amanda prefers not to be a soloist, but she is credited for being the energy behind many of the LaFontaine's special events including couples retreats, banquets, Kidz Dayz, Winter Youth Retreat, dramas, concerts, and the list goes on and on. Amanda's passion for the Lord and genuine love for people make her a joy to be around and a huge blessing to the LaFontaine's ministry of music.
"Our little red-headed caboose", is how her dad would introduce Sheri when she'd walk out on stage, at age 2 and steal the show. She was born in Tucson, Arizona while her family paused from their traveling, and then it was back to the road just 5 weeks after her birth. This baby of the family has always dreamed big, reaching many goals in the musical field, including appearing on a Gaither Video, and singing with the Gaither homecoming artists. Sheri traveled four years with Southern Gospel group, the Arnolds and has shared the stage and written songs for many of today's top Christian artists. Currently, Sheri writes for Daywind Music Publishing company in Nashville, Tennessee and has been nominated several times for Southern Gospel Songwriter of the Year! Aside from singing with her family, she has recorded three of her own projects, performs many solo concerts, and is actively involved in her local youth group in Toledo, Ohio. From the time she was young Sheri has believed in giving God her very best and singing with all her heart. She practices hard and keeps her voice in tip top shape which is evident every time she opens her mouth on stage. When people describe her music, one word keeps recurring..."anointed". And that is her number one goal in life and in music. Sheri asked Jesus into her heart at a very young age, but it wasn't until she was 19 that she yielded completely to Christ. From that time on, she has dedicated her life on the stage and off to shining the truth of the gospel to as many non-believers as possible. Her latest release 'Wonder' (a collection of Christmas songs), has crossed many barriers into a whole new audience this past year. It has been played on local non Christian radio stations, where Sheri was interviewed and able to shine a light to people who may never darken the door of a church. This recording which features a variety of old classics and newer Christmas tunes, has also paved the way for many invitations to sing for events, such as outdoor concerts, mall performances, ladies conferences, church banquets, chamber of commerce luncheons and youth events. Her music continues to relate to the young people, as well as blessing the saints around the world. Sheri is still "single, saved and searching", as she puts it during her concerts. And she is determined to use her gift of music and her single life to point others to Christ.