Category Archives: History

George and Margaret Kelley: Pioneer Pentecostal Missionaries to China

Kelley George

This Week in AG History — January 12, 1918

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 11 January 2018

George (1888-1975) and Margaret Kelley (1889-1933), two young pioneer Pentecostals, discovered that following God’s call could be exciting, fulfilling, and costly. The year 1910 was a whirlwind for the young couple. They married in January and soon afterward felt God calling them to serve as missionaries to China. They spent the bulk of the year traveling across the United States, raising financial support for their mission endeavor. Finances came together and, in November 1910, they arrived in Canton, China, where they would establish a thriving Pentecostal mission.

George and Margaret were barely in their twenties when they arrived in China; he was 22, she was 21. They did not have formal seminary or language training. However, they were determined to do whatever it took to fulfill God’s call on their lives. They learned Cantonese and began developing relationships with local residents. They met a Cantonese woman who led a small Pentecostal congregation of eight people who met in homes. She invited the Kelleys to pastor the flock, which grew significantly under their ministry.

Like many early Pentecostal missionaries, the Kelleys had to be entrepreneurs. They were not initially backed by a mission agency. They had to raise their own support; it was sink or swim. In 1915, they affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, an interracial denomination that provided missionaries with a network of churches that promised financial support. After that organization identified with the Oneness movement and rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, the Kelleys transferred their missionary appointment to the Assemblies of God in 1917.

George Kelley became well-known in Assemblies of God circles. He authored 74 articles in the Pentecostal Evangel about their mission work in China. In an article published one hundred years ago – in the Jan. 12, 1918, issue of the Weekly Evangel (later Pentecostal Evangel) – he described some of the challenges faced by missionaries.

George lamented that some missionaries were impoverished and lived in unsanitary conditions. “We have many missionaries now living in quarters,” he wrote, “that would not be good enough for cattle at home.” However, he expressed gratitude that he and his family were able to live in a good house, and that God had provided sufficient finances to purchase a new building for their growing congregation.

Canton became home to the Kelleys. They spent more of their life in that Chinese city than they had spent in America. They experienced life and death in China. It was there that they had six sons, but only four survived into adulthood. Margaret contracted smallpox and died in China in 1933. George was remarried in 1935 to a Chinese Christian woman, Eugenia Wan, who was a noted Pentecostal evangelist and co-founder of a Bible school.

In many ways, George and Margaret Kelley exemplified the consecrated service of early Pentecostal missionaries. What they lacked in formal training, they learned on-the-job. They became part of the community they served, experiencing the challenges and joys of life, as well as the grief of death, in Canton. The Kelleys, like so many other Pentecostal pioneer missionaries, determined to follow God’s call, no matter the cost.

Read the article by George M. Kelley, “Wise Counsel and Good News from Sainam,” on page 11 of the Jan. 12, 1918, issue of the Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Supernatural in Christianity” by F. A. Hale

• “The Mexican Work,” by H. C. Ball

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Assemblies of God Missionaries Ralph and Frances Hiatt: Pioneering a Church in Argentina 50 Years Ago

Ralph Hiatt 1967

This Week in AG History — January 7, 1968

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on PE-News, 04 January 2018

Ralph and Frances Hiatt were appointed missionaries to Argentina in March 1964. Three years later they moved to San Juan, Argentina, in May 1967 with the intention to plant a church. After just eight months they were able to give a glowing report of their evangelistic efforts in the Jan. 7, 1968, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

As they began their missionary work in San Juan, the Hiatts prayed about the best way to proceed. They were joined by Angel Vega, a recent graduate of an Assemblies of God Bible school in Argentina. Since they were living in the Southern Hemisphere, May was the start of winter. Because of the cold, they were prevented from holding outdoor evangelistic campaigns until maybe the warmer days of October. At the time, San Juan was a busy, university town nestled at the foot of the Andes Mountains with over 300,000 people.

Together they prayed, “Lord, what is our first step?” The answer led them to rent a hall in the center of the city. Looking through ads in the newspaper, they found a 42-foot long hall in the heart of the city which was exactly what they needed. They claimed it for God!

Over the next three weeks they constructed a platform and assembled a pulpit and pews. They also placed windows in the front entryway of the building. Next they used a loudspeaker on their Speed the Light car and distributed over 4,000 invitations to come to revival meetings. Their expectations were high, but at the opening service not even one person came. They did not give up. They continued holding services nightly.

Eventually curiosity seekers came, and some stayed. Most of these were university students. The building became known as Centro Biblico (Bible Center). Instead of a traditional worship service followed by a sermon, the Hiatts decided to broadcast taped or live organ music through a loudspeaker mounted above the outside door to draw in people from the streets.  A projector also showed a rotation of slides of Bible verses and an occasional notice: “We invite you to come in without obligation.” Angel would stand outside on the sidewalk talking to people to encourage them to enter the Bible center.

Those who came into the building were greeted with music from an electric organ, a Hawaiian guitar, and other instruments. They were encouraged to look through a literature rack to pick up any gospel tracts. They were also invited to ask questions. Many of them were students, and they had lots of questions about the Bible and God, which the Hiatts did their best to answer.

Whenever a small group of people assembled, the Hiatts would lead in prayer followed by a few choruses and a short sermonette, often accompanied by a chalk drawing to illustrate the message. After one group would leave, then another group might come in, and the process would start all over again. After filling out a visitor’s card, each person would leave with a Gospel of John. Follow-up could be done later.

This continued night after night. Some would come back, bringing their friends to listen to the music or ask questions. Although these services were not conventional, the gospel was being shared, and souls were being saved.

Ralph Hiatt expressed, “As new missionaries in a new city, we cannot imagine the possibilities that might lie in the future for the San Juan Bible Center.” He concluded by saying, “We are enjoying the thrill that accompanies those who stand on the threshold of great opportunities and know they are following the quiet leading of the Holy Spirit.”

This is just one example of missions work in Argentina from 50 years ago. Currently the Assemblies of God has 22 missionaries in Argentina. There are 1.2 million Assemblies of God members and adherents with 1,753 ministers and 1,567 churches and preaching points.

Read “Unique Evangelism in Argentina,” on pages 12 and 13 of the Jan. 7, 1968 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Good Works Were Not Enough,” by Marguerite Mandel

• “Why We Believe in the Second Coming,” by Robert B. Larter

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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2018 Marks the Centennial of the First Organization for Hispanic Assemblies of God Churches and Ministers

HC Ball

This Week in AG History — December 28, 1918

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 28 December 2017

The first organization for Hispanic Assemblies of God churches and ministers in the United States was formed in 1918. At the time, the Pentecostal movement among Hispanics was in its infancy and consisted primarily of scattered, unorganized missions along the U.S.-Mexican border. Two Assemblies of God conventions were held in Texas in 1918 — one in January and a second in November. These conventions united Hispanic Pentecostals and laid the foundation for one of the largest and fastest growing segments of the Assemblies of God.

Hispanics forged their own Assemblies of God identity — developing indigenous leaders, schools, and governance structures — which gave believers a voice in a society where they were often marginalized. Asambleas de Dios congregations now dot the American landscape. In 2016, 22.2 percent of U.S. Assemblies of God adherents (718,785) were Hispanic.

The January 1918 convention was organized by Isabel Flores (a male Mexican-American pastor) and Henry C. Ball (an Anglo missionary to Mexicans). They ministered among the 300,000 refugees from the Mexican Revolution who lived along the borderlands in Texas. These refugees, uprooted from their families and their native land, often lived in squalid conditions. They had an uncertain legal status and, in the eyes of many observers, not much of a future.

While the broader American society often rejected the Mexican refugees, Pentecostals reacted differently. Flores, Ball, and other Pentecostal ministers fanned out, offering food, shelter, and medical assistance to those who were hurting. They viewed the refugees as a heaven-sent opportunity to share the gospel, which they did in both word and deed.

The first superintendent of the newly organized Hispanic work was Ball — probably chosen because as an Anglo he was able to navigate the difficult legal and cultural issues facing the Mexican refugees. On at least one occasion, he helped free a refugee pastor who had been imprisoned on false charges. Ball was himself imprisoned on suspicion of being a German spy during World War I because of his work with the refugees, who were viewed as a national threat during war time.

Despite legal, political, and economic tensions, Ball maintained his focus on helping the Pentecostal movement among Hispanics to mature and grow. He stressed the importance of developing indigenous leaders who could serve as pastors, evangelists, and missionaries to Hispanics in the United States and across Latin America.

Ball developed these themes in an article in the Dec. 28, 1918, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. In the article, Ball reported on the November 1918 convention, noting that the Hispanic believers were united in doctrine, that there was a spirit of “sweet cooperation,” and that the churches aimed to be self-supporting and to ultimately send missionaries to their countries of origin. This vision for indigenous leadership was more fully realized in 1939, when Demetrio Bazan succeeded Ball as the first Hispanic leader of the Latin American District Council of the Assemblies of God.

The vision to bring the gospel to suffering Mexican refugees ultimately helped to transform the American church. Those refugees became the seeds from which a resilient Hispanic Pentecostal movement was birthed. Today, Hispanics and other ethnic minorities are helping to fuel the continuing growth of the Assemblies of God in the United States.

Read H. C. Ball’s article, “A Report of the Spanish Pentecostal Convention,” on page 7 of the Dec. 28, 1918, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Plea for Unity,” by A. P. Collins

• “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men,” by Raymond T. Richey

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Photo caption: The first graduating class of Latin American Bible Institute, San Antonio, Texas; 1928. Front row (l-r): H. C. Ball, Sunshine Ball, and 2 unidentified. Back row (l-r) Benito Mendez, Manuel Bustamante, Ruben Arevalo, Samuel Robles, Juan C. Orozco, Horacio Menchaca, Dario Lopez, Enrique Rosales, and Josue Cruz.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Ambassadors in Mission: The Origin of the Short-term Missions Program for Assemblies of God Youth

AIM

This Week in AG History — December 22, 1968

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on PE-News, 21 December 2017

AIM (Ambassadors in Mission) is the missions-sending arm of the Assemblies of God (AG) National Youth Ministries. Through involvement in short-term mission trips, Assemblies of God youth experience firsthand the need for national and international workers and discover their part in meeting those needs.

In the mid-1960s, AG educator Dr. Ward Williams suggested to AG leadership that AG youth (known as Christ’s Ambassadors, or CA’s) could serve as temporary workers on the mission field. He envisioned trips lasting two to six weeks, in which CA’s could contribute to the mission work, while stretching their own skills and personal experiences with God.

Some districts had already begun providing missions trips for their youth groups, including Northern and Southern California. Indiana D-CAP (district youth director) Brenton Osgood had recently taken a team of 70 CA’s to Latin America with Loren Cunningham’s organization for a summer of service.

In 1966 AG leaders gave approval to do something similar on the national level. That summer twelve CA’s went on a “Caribbean Youth Witness” trip to Jamaica and British Honduras. In 1967 two more teams of thirty-two youth revisited the areas that had been targeted the previous year.

In 1968 Norm Correll, director of MAPS (Mobilization and Placement Services), and Brenton Osgood, newly appointed director of Speed the Light, strategized a plan that would involve the efforts of five departments to implement the vision for youth mission trips: the Education Department would provide promotion, Men’s Ministries would provide literature through Light for the Lost (LFTL), Women’s Ministries would provide for meals and housing, Spiritual Life-Evangelism would provide training, and the CA Department would provide the workers. CA’s, themselves, would provide the money for airfare. They named the effort Ambassadors in Mission – making good use of the name of the national youth department, Christ’s Ambassadors.

These well-planned trips consisted of a training program in which the youth would travel to Springfield for a three-day orientation with leaders such as J. Philip Hogan, the director of the Foreign Missions Department. Students became acquainted with the concepts of culture shock, interpersonal relationships, witnessing strategies, and spiritual readiness. A frequent visitor to each training period was Alice Reynolds Flower, wife of the first General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, who met and encouraged each student in their journey. After training, students embarked on a four-week witnessing program in countries such as Brazil, El Salvador, Germany, Liberia, Kenya, and many others.

Each American youth was paired with a young person from the host national church. Together they would go, two by two, to visit homes in the neighborhood of an Assemblies of God church. Using LFTL literature, they would strike up conversations and share the gospel message, along with an invitation to special services being held each night at the local church. Those who accepted the gospel message through the witnessing efforts or the evening services received six follow-up visits with teaching based on the Gospel of John.

That first year of well-organized strategy saw young people from thirty states participate in the program. The Pentecostal Evangel reported in its December 22, 1968 article “AIM! On Target to Win Today’s World” that “these Christ’s Ambassador’s had unforgettable experiences that deeply affected their lives, and at the same time produced thrilling results on the mission field. The combined total of decisions through door-to-door witnessing and the accompanying Good News Crusades came to 3,122.”

The same article quotes the testimonies of several teens as to the impact these summer trips had upon their own personal and spiritual development. One CA, Deloris Rykhoek shared, “Never before have I felt such an anointing upon my life. I said things that amazed me. God melted hearts, brought joy to the helpless, and placed a hunger for more of Him.”

Since those early days, tens of thousands of AG youth have experienced their first taste of missions on an AIM trip. Many current AG missionaries responded to the call of God while serving on these short-term outreaches. Ambassadors in Mission continues to provide Assemblies of God teens with a life-changing experience as they spend their summers expanding their own horizons while expanding the Kingdom of God.

Read more of the 1968 AIM reports on page 16 of the December 22, 1968, issue of the  Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Pre-Christmas Pilgrimage” by Mary Tregenza

* “What Christmas Means to Me” by students from Central Bible Institute, Tokyo, Japan

* “The Goads of God” by R.L. Brandt

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

PHOTO CAPTION: Kansas students on the 1971 AIM Christmas trip. Six districts (Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and North Texas) combined to send 275 students to spend their Christmas break evangelizing in Monterrey, Mexico.

FRONT ROW:
Randy Payne, Stan Smith, Cliff Rogers, Joseph Romero, Ron Mickley (KS D-CAP)

SECOND ROW:
Carol Compton, Marilyn Zemp, Debbie Howard, Pam Dolezilek, Gwen Foster, Pauleta Mickley

THIRD ROW:
Cherine Yubanks, Sherry Sneath, Betty Smith, Grace Romero

FOURTH ROW:
Reggie Marselus, Steve Bell, Mike Soter, Exie Barber

_________________

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Nine Trends in Pentecostal Churches: An Observation and Warning from 1973

BrewsterThis Week in AG History — December 16, 1973

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 30 November 2017

British Pentecostal leader and theologian Percy Brewster, in a 1973 Pentecostal Evangel article, identified nine trends facing Pentecostals. While some of these trends were the natural result of the movement’s growth and maturation, others he ascertained as “extremely dangerous” or even Satanic in origin.

When Brewster wrote the article, there were only about 20 to 30 million Pentecostals worldwide. Over the past 44 years, that number has burgeoned to between 350 million and 700 million, depending upon how one defines Pentecostal. Today, Pentecostals would do well to heed Brewster’s advice to carefully reflect about the nine trends, which continue in many Pentecostal circles.

The first trend identified by Brewster is that Pentecostals have become “too sensitive to public opinion.” He encouraged believers to be more like early 20th century Pentecostals, who seemed “immune to criticism.” Rather than adapting to the world’s values, he asserted that Pentecostals should make the Bible their “blueprint for living,” seeking to please God in all they do.

The second trend is that some “accept the heritage of the past without a corresponding personal dedication.” This includes people who were reared in Pentecostal churches and who identify with the Pentecostal tradition, but whose spiritual life is far from where it should be. They have a form of godliness, but not the substance.

The third trend is a weakening in the area of evangelism. Brewster warned that a church which places a low priority on evangelism is committing “spiritual suicide.”

The fourth trend is to spend large amounts of money to build extravagant churches, rather than investing the money in evangelism and missions.

The fifth trend is the tendency to get caught up in the busyness of church work and committees, while neglecting the needs of spiritually hungry souls. Brewster encouraged readers to prioritize evangelism and discipleship.

The sixth trend, according to Brewster, “is an unhealthy move to segregate the young and the old.” In many churches, he witnessed that “the young people are taking over, and sometimes 90 percent of the church energy is expended on the young.” He refuted this as unbiblical, noting that “the older people need the zeal and energy of the young, and the young need the balance of the older people’s wisdom and maturity.”

The seventh trend is an overemphasis on demon power. Brewster cautioned against attributing every problem to demons, which gives undue recognition to the devil, who is “already a defeated foe.”

The eighth trend, and one of the most serious in Brewster’s estimation, is the tendency to tolerate and excuse sin. Pentecostals must clearly and resolutely proclaim truth, rather than shifting their opinions to accommodate human weakness.

The ninth trend, which Brewster also identified as very dangerous, is to think that education can be a substitute for the call of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

How should Pentecostals react to these trends? According to Brewster, theology trumps sociology — Pentecostals should continue to proclaim biblical truth regardless of trends. However, he encouraged them to “contend for the faith without being contentious.”

When Brewster wrote the article in 1973, the charismatic movement was gaining strength in mainline Protestant and Catholic churches. This context helped shape many of the trends that Brewster identified. Many of the new charismatics either stayed in their old denominations or challenged traditional holiness standards if they joined Pentecostal churches. Instead of retreating or compromising in the face of these challenging trends, Brewster encouraged Pentecostals to continue to evangelize at home and abroad, and to fellowship with all who “recognized the Lordship of Jesus Christ” and who sought the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Read Percy Brewster’s article, “A Look at the Worldwide Pentecostal Movement,” on pages 9 to 11 of the Dec.16, 1973, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Anointed to Preach,” by Thomas F. Zimmerman

* “The Birth of a Church,” by David Leatherberry

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Mildred Whitney: The Housewife Who Started Assemblies of God Ministries for the Blind

WhitneyThis Week in AG History — December 8, 1957

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on PE-News, 07 December 2017

Mildred Whitney (1910-1994) almost single-handedly founded ministries for the blind in the Assemblies of God (AG). Her legacy is seen today in the AG Center for the Blind, under the leadership of Paul Weingartner.

Whitney’s life-long dream was to make Pentecostal literature available to the blind and visually impaired. The beginning of Whitney’s work goes back to a Sunday in October 1949 when she was praying in her morning devotions in East Jordan, Michigan, and felt God speaking to her to start up a braille ministry. That same Sunday she read an article in the Gospel Gleaners, the predecessor of the AG’s weekly Live magazine, which told about Gladys Carrington, a housewife, who had been transcribing Christian literature into braille. Whitney contacted Carrington who sent her a copy of the braille alphabet and other materials to get her started.

Whitney began learning the braille alphabet, and by 1951 she had mastered the art of writing braille and had started transcribing and producing Pentecostal literature for the blind in her home. The official start of her ministry to the blind began in 1952. On Nov. 16, the AG Center for the Blind, located in Springfield, Missouri, held an open house to celebrate 65 years of ministry.

In the beginning years, Mildred Whitney and her husband improvised to make their own type press, assembled their own drying racks, and used other equipment as needed. In 1954 she began using a braille typewriter to better carry out this vital ministry. This led to her taking select articles from the Pentecostal Evangel and other publications to produce the Pentecostal Digest in braille. Soon afterwards she began producing Sunday School quarterlies in braille.

Sixty years ago, in the Dec. 8, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Elva Hoover wrote an article called “Quarterlies for the Blind.” She described how Whitney worked for a number of years using “makeshift equipment with limited funds” in her own home to provide braille literature for the blind. “Although she does most of the work herself,” said Hoover, “various members of her family are pressed into service from time to time.” Because of the time-consuming process in producing braille literature (one page of quarterly materials requires almost five pages of braille), Whitney printed the Sunday School lessons on a monthly basis rather than quarterly.

The AG Center for the Blind still produces the Adult Student Guide in braille and digital audio files for other age levels of Sunday School materials, as well as God’s Word for Today, Live, PrimeLine, and selected books.

Read “Quarterlies for the Blind,” on pages 24 and 25 of the Dec. 8, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Sure Formula for Revival,” by E. R. Foster

• “Under the Blood,” by Donald Gee

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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December 7, 2017 · 3:08 pm

Secret Police Dossier on Persecuted Bulgarian Pentecostal Leader Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

StefanovStefan Stefanov (1948-1988), a deacon in the Assemblies of God church in Shumen, Bulgaria, was persecuted by the communist government in the 1970s and 1980s. Stefan’s father, Nikola, had started the Shumen congregation in the late 1940s and was imprisoned following the infamous Pastoral Trial of 1948-1949. The communist government, aiming to stamp out Christianity, labeled his son, Stefan, a “fanatic” because he refused to compromise his faith.  The secret police told Stefan that he must not allow children to attend church services, which were held in his house.  He refused to obey, was beaten numerous times, and was placed under house arrest and exiled to surrounding villages for three years (1975-1978). Shortly before he died in 1988, Stefan received a prophecy that he would not leave Bulgaria, but that his testimony would travel around the world through his sons, Borislav and Nikolai.

After the Bulgarian communist government fell, Borislav went to the archives of the secret police and was allowed to photocopy his father’s dossier. The dossier includes confiscated personal correspondence, transcripts of intercepted phone conversations, and reports from informants. Nikolai and his wife, Michelle, today deposited a copy of the dossier at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center is committed to preserving and sharing the testimonies of Pentecostals from the persecuted church!

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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