This Week in AG History — July 3, 1966
By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, AG News, 2 July 2020
Harold Kohl (1923-2005) and Beatrice Wells Kohl (1926 – ) faithfully served the Assemblies of God as evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and educators. Beatrice began her ministry as a 9-year-old child evangelist and met Harold when his youth group hosted her 15th birthday party during revival services she was conducting at his church in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They struck up a conversation that led to a marriage and more than 50 years of ministry together.
Both Harold and Beatrice felt a call to ministry at the time of their respective baptisms in the Holy Spirit. After their marriage in 1946, they began traveling as evangelists and served as D-CAP (District Christ’s Ambassadors President) of the Potomac district’s youth organization. In 1948 they accepted the pastorate at Kitzmiller, Maryland. After two years of prosperous ministry, both Harold and Beatrice felt impressed of God to resign their church, but neither sensed what they were to do next.
In an act of difficult obedience, Harold tendered his resignation on a Wednesday evening and the couple walked into their rented home that evening and immediately knelt at the sofa to ask the Lord for clarity on what they were to do next. Neither of them felt a confidence in their next step.
On Saturday evening, a letter arrived from Derrick Hillary, missionary in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His wife, Dorcas, was very ill and he felt that their term would be cut short. The Kohls had worked hard to raise money for a Speed the Light vehicle for them and Hillary felt impressed that God was calling the Kohls to take their place. He asked if they were willing to begin the process immediately to devote five years of their lives to missionary work in Ceylon.
After praying together, Harold and Beatrice filled out the paperwork, met with the Division of Foreign Missions (now AG World Missions), were accepted, and began their itineration to raise support. There was an urgent need, and God blessed them, and they were able to raise all their funds within four months! The Kohls served in Ceylon for five years as pastors, evangelists, and radio broadcasters, and oversaw the development of evangelistic and training literature.
After their term was up in 1956, they returned to the United States to serve in pastoral and church planting ministry in New Jersey. During a powerful move of God in a Sunday evening service in 1962, Harold and Beatrice felt again the call from God to resign their church and prepare for a return to missionary service. After several weeks of prayer, Harold called Maynard Ketcham, Asia field director, and asked him to pray with them for direction.
Meanwhile, Ketcham was praying about a need in his region. Several Bible institutes were training ministers; however, the schools were dependent on missionaries to serve as faculty. Ketcham saw the need for an indigenous church with administration and faculty of the schools in the hands of national leaders. Many of their ministers were going to non-Pentecostal schools and returned with views at variance to Pentecostalism. Others were traveling to the West for education and staying in the United States or Europe after receiving their education. Ketcham had the vision for an advanced international training school that would be thoroughly Pentecostal and rigorously academic. After praying about it, Ketcham contacted the Kohls to ask them if they would be interested in taking on this task.
Harold and Beatrice arrived in the Philippines in March 1963. Together with Ketcham, they invited various regional Assemblies of God organizations to send representatives to a meeting designed to plan the shape of the proposed new school. Representatives from Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Burma, and the Marshall Islands formed the Far East Bible School Administrative Committee, of which Harold Kohl served as chair.
It was agreed that the new school should be located on the grounds of Bethel Bible Institute in Malinta, Valenzuela, a suburb of Manila, and that it should be named Far East Advanced School of Theology (FEAST). Classes began in Harold Kohl’s office in the Fall of 1963, with five students completing the first semester. The first building was dedicated debt-free in 1964.
Beatrice set to work building a library for the new school. She took classes in Library Science and beginning in 1964, the Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade (BGMC) contributed a substantial amount of money for the development of the FEAST library. The Kohls managed the business of the school, recruited faculty and students, and worked to receive government permission for international students to receive visas to study in the Philippines. During this time, Harold also completed a Master of Arts degree in Education from New York University, and Beatrice attended Philippine Women’s College in Manila.
In an article in the July 3, 1966, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Harold wrote, “Bible schools have given necessary stability and continuing thrust to the work of the Church in the Philippines.” He referenced FEAST as “a new venture of faith” whose “purpose is to help ministers who have completed regular Bible school training prepare for Christian leadership and Bible school teaching.”
In 1973, Harold and Beatrice joined the International Correspondence Institute (ICI, now known as Global University) in Brussels, Belgium, developing its college division degree. Harold served as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and Beatrice served as librarian. Aside from a year long stint as president of the Full Gospel Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea, the Kohls continued to serve both ICI and FEAST until their retirement in 1993.
Over the years, FEAST moved from Manila to its own beautiful campus in Baguio City. Its name has been changed to Asia Pacific Theological Seminary and it now offers masters degrees and a Doctor of Ministry program. It is considered one of the finest centers of theological education in Asia.
Read Harold Kohl’s report, “Bible School Bias” on page 8 of the July 3, 1966, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “What Darkness Cannot Dim” by Joseph Sizoo
• “Trophy of Divine Grace” by Eunice Myrah
• “I Heard the Angels Sing” by Arthur F. Berg
And many more!
Click here to read this issue now.
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
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