God might work in mysterious ways, but that is little comfort to Luanne Moody.
She's lived in the same mobile home for 27 years, and she knows all her neighbors, the names of their dogs and the throaty signature of each pickup that eases past her place.
But not for long.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God -- Africa's largest and most ambitious evangelical church -- plans to build a 10,000-seat sanctuary, two elementary school-size lecture centers, a dormitory, several cottages, a lake and a Christian-themed water park across a creek bottom from Moody's homestead.
The project that one senior pastor described as a "Christian Disneyland" is still in the early stages. So far, the Nigeria-based church has spent between $1 million and $3 million on about 500 acres of pasture -- more land than the proposed Dallas Cowboys stadium complex.
Moody and her neighbors say they expect heavy machinery to roll in any day. The Caddo Basin Special Utility District punched through an eight-inch water line in June, and a company has been hired to put in a high-capacity sewer system.
"I don't like to be called a racist, but I don't like to be overrun, either," said Moody, who is white, sitting in her carport in Mockingbird Estates, a patchwork of modest homes, tree-studded land and rock roads.
In Dallas, at the church's regional headquarters, Pastor Ajibike Akinkoye, a former language and literature professor who has taught in Nigeria and at the University of Texas at Dallas, tried but failed to suppress a smile when asked about the neighbors' talk.
He said church leaders knew there would be some hype and hysteria about the project. He said he's been told the Ku Klux Klan is still active in the area.
"They may not welcome us, but we are not afraid of them," Akinkoye said. "In fact, maybe God sent us there so we can bring them to the Lord . . . to chase them out of the darkness and to bring them into the marvelous light of God."
Ultimately, he said, only one color will matter in Floyd and the surrounding community.
"Whether you're black or white, money has only one color: green," he said. "Whether you're Ku Klux or evangelical [Christian], a dollar is a dollar. They're going to like that; they can't say no to that . . . and we are going to bring a lot of money to that place."
That fact is not lost on Hunt County Judge Joe Bobbitt, who said he and other county commissioners were worried the Africans might be religious extremists when they purchased their first parcel of land in Floyd about five years ago.
But after Akinkoye pitched the church's plans and invited county commissioners to a tent revival, his concerns faded.
"They were congenial, very kind, well-spoken," he said. "If you have the right to be in this country, I want you to be in Hunt County."
Why would a Nigerian church with between 2 million and 5 million members worldwide, with congregations in 90 nations, with more than 200 parishes in the United States, want to build its North American headquarters in Floyd, estimated population 100 (including the dogs)?
The simple answer, pastors say, is because God told them to.
Twenty years ago, the church's general overseer, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, stopped at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on his way to a revival by American televangelist Kenneth Hagin in Oklahoma. That's when he had a vision from God about the church's future in Texas.
Ten years later, soon after Akinkoye arrived in Dallas to lead the church's first fledgling congregation, he said he, too, began hearing the voice of God.
" 'You are not going to build a megachurch yet,' " the pastor said, recounting the words of the Almighty. " 'You are going to plant little parishes around the Dallas metroplex, and then I will give you a camp.' "
After a series of what pastors at the church call miracles, the Nigerians purchased the first 114 acres in 2000. Today, the church owns 490 acres and is negotiating for several more parcels. Pastors say that by the time it is finished in five to 10 years, the camp could double or triple in size.
It would function as the church's North American headquarters, as a Christian retreat and potentially as a home for members of the church who need a place to live. The complex would cost tens of millions of dollars to build and would probably be bankrolled by the mother church in Nigeria.
It might seem like an audacious dream from a Third World church facing crushing issues of poverty, AIDS and unemployment at home. But the Redeemed Christian Church of God and other evangelical African churches -- a product of American and European missionaries in the 1960s and '70s -- say many American Christians have lost their way, their passion dimmed by material wealth, their moral convictions blunted by a permissive pop culture.
African missionaries see ministering to the United States as their calling.
"The material world is not as important as the spiritual world," explained Pastor A.A. Olorunnimbe, speaking from Nigeria. "The fact that you have two cars and live in a beautiful house and have all the best insurance programs . . . why would you need God? But all these things are temporary. Remember that."
In Nigeria, the church's dancing-in-the-aisles, shouting-hallelujah-at-the-top-of-your-lungs style of worship is wedded to a message of self-affirmation: Africans might be poor, but at least we're not lost.
Financially, the gravitational pull of the African masses has allowed the denomination to plant churches in Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait and mainland China.
Once the churches take root, like most of those in the United States, pastors send 20 percent of the congregation's tithes to the national headquarters. Akinkoye said his parish typically contributes about $4,000 a month.
"There's a lot of churches, and that's a lot of money, and that's every month," he said. That money helps finance the church's global ambitions.
In June, the church took its boldest evangelical step into the United States by holding its annual North American Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York. The event was billed as evidence of the church's commitment to spread the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. About 15,000 people attended over three days.
In Africa, pastors say their mandate is to have a church within 30 minutes' walking distance of every citizen. In the United States, they aspire to plant a church within a five-minute drive of every American.
Afe Adogame, a Nigerian who studies and teaches in Germany, spent three years researching the denomination while at Harvard University. He said he began to understand the church's motives when he noticed a poster in the main sanctuary in Africa.
It read: "Missionaries to a dead Europe."
"Their mission goal is to make heaven and to take as many people with them as possible," he said, "and they mean it."