Category Archives: Missions

Miracles, Growth, and Persecution: Bulgarian Pentecostalism in the 1930s

Bulgarian Pentecostal leader Nicholas Nikoloff, with wife Martha, son Paul, and daughter Ruth-Marie Nikoloff, 1937.

Bulgarian Pentecostal leader Nicholas Nikoloff, with wife Martha, son Paul, and daughter Ruth-Marie Nikoloff, 1937.

This Week in AG History — July 9, 1932

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 09 Jul 2015

Early Bulgarian Pentecostals witnessed great growth while enduring great persecution. Nicholas Nikoloff wrote an account of the Bulgarian believers’ deep faith and suffering in the July 9, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Nikoloff was intimately familiar with the subject of his article. He served as general superintendent of the Union of Evangelical Pentecostal Churches in Bulgaria from 1928 until 1931, when he moved to the United States.

“The striking thing in Bulgaria is the great spiritual hunger of the villagers,” Nikoloff wrote. Miracles were common, according to Nikoloff, and “some of the believers have a real gift of healing.”

Bulgarians fanned the Pentecostal flame by publishing two periodicals and numerous tracts, which they distributed widely. A number of Bulgarian young people received formal theological education at a Pentecostal Bible school in Danzig, and others took local evening Bible courses.

This Pentecostal progress attracted the attention of government officials and local religious leaders, who tried to quash the growing movement.

Nikoloff recounted, “The believers were severely persecuted. Some were imprisoned. Many of them were arrested, taken through the streets and people made fun of them. Others were forbidden to even pray in their own homes, and threatened severely by certain local authorities.”

Despite these difficulties, Nikoloff reported that “God gave victory and liberty was granted.” This acceptance was gained in several communities because of healings of young people who were demon possessed or lame. Pentecostals continued to grow and, by World War II, constituted the majority of Protestants in Bulgaria.

Read the entire article by Nicholas Nikoloff, “The Signs Follow in Bulgaria,” on page 6 of the July 9, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Two Types of Spirituality,” by A. G. Ward

• “An Interesting Trip in the Fiji Islands,” by Lawrence Borst

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

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How Compassion Ministries and Miracles Fueled Growth in the Assemblies of God in India

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This Week in AG History–June 20, 1925
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 18 June 2015

The Assemblies of God, from its earliest years, has been ministering the gospel in word and deed around the world. The June 20, 1925, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel highlighted the work of an early Assemblies of God mission located in Nawabganj, a city in northern India near the border of Nepal, which operated ministries to help the poverty-stricken and disadvantaged of India.

A boys’ school at the Nawabganj mission rescued street children and nourished their souls, bodies, and minds. The school, equipped with modern living quarters for about seventy boys, provided a safe, healthy environment and “intellectual and practical training.” Technical training included weaving, carpentry and machine work in the school’s “industrial department.”

The mission also ministered to those affected by the contagious, skin-eating disease of leprosy. While the broader society often rejected lepers, the mission attempted to affirm their dignity as humans and provided them with physical comfort and the hope of eternal life with Christ.

The mission’s work among women was termed “zenana” — an Urdu word referring to women. Women missionaries ministered to women, often widows or those who had experienced extreme poverty or suffering. The mission, according to the article, provided a home for society’s “most unfortunate victims.” Many of these women became Christians, and prayer became an important part of their lives.

In addition to these works of compassion, the mission was home to a vibrant evangelistic ministry. Indian Christians went into the surrounding villages and preached the gospel. Persecution against those preachers, according to the article, was “beyond endurance and almost unbelievable.” However, the preaching of the word was not in vain. As these indigenous Christians ministered in the face of incredible opposition, the truth of the gospel was confirmed by acts of compassion and by miracles of deliverance and healing. One by one, people repented of their sins and accepted Christ.

The mission at Nawabganj demonstrates how the Assemblies of God, since its inception, has encouraged holistic ministry to spiritual, intellectual, and physical needs. The Nawabganj mission built its institutions to meet the needs of the community’s most impoverished — those who had been rejected by the broader society. These works of compassion, coupled with miracles and prayer, gave credibility to the gospel, which allowed Indian Christians to successfully plant churches across northern India despite stiff opposition.

Read the entire article, “More about the India Mission Stations,” by William M. Faux, on page 10 of the June 20, 1925, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
• “The Second Coming of Christ,” by Finis J. Dake
• “Mexican Border Work Prospers,” 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

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Descendants of Swedish Pentecostal Missionary to South America Deposit Rare Books and Periodicals at FPHC

Fredrikson

Descendants of Carlos R. Fredrikson, the pioneer Swedish missionary to South America, have deposited 90 pounds of rare Pentecostal publications in Swedish and Spanish at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

The shipping container (sent from Sweden and pictured above) included Pentecostal hymnals and books in Swedish and Spanish, photographs, and periodicals published by Swedish missionaries in Chile and Argentina. Periodical runs include: El Heraldo Pentecostal, 1934-1939 (published by Carlos R. Fredrikson in Buenos Aires, Argentina); El Heraldo de Paz, 1939-1940 (published by Otto Nelson in Buenos Aires, Argentina); and El Clamor, 1953-1989 (published by Iglesias Evangélicas Asamblea de Dios Autónoma de Chile).

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
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org
Email: archives@ag.org

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Missionary H.B. Garlock’s 1948 Eloquent Condemnation of Colonialism and Racial Discrimination


This Week in AG History–June 5, 1948
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 4 June 2015

H. B. Garlock, a long-time Assemblies of God missionary to Africa, reported on his extensive travels throughout Africa in an article published in the June 5, 1948, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Garlock provided readers with a vivid description of the colonialism and oppression on the African continent. He recounted, “We saw the black man slapped, cuffed, kicked, abused and manhandled. Thousands of them are caught, and made to work in mines or on roads at very low wages. The commodities that the white man enjoys such as cocoa, tea, coffee, rubber, mahogany, palm oil, gold and diamonds, represent the forced labor, toil, sweat and many times the tears of an enslaved or underpaid black man.”

Responding to these inhumane conditions, Garlock condemned racial segregation and discrimination. He wrote, “to discriminate against a person created in the image of God because of the color of his skin is inhuman, un-Christian, and unpardonable.” He furthermore likened the plight of the African to Christ, noting that the African “bears a heavy cross.”

Notably, Garlock condemned racial segregation and discrimination at a time when racial strife was increasing in America. Anticipating criticism from some American readers who might call him a “race baiter,” Garlock acknowledged the existence of racial tensions in the United States. “Whose fault is it?” Responding to this rhetorical question, Garlock suggested: “Our fathers have eaten green apples and their children have the stomach-ache.”

Garlock carefully contrasted oppressive colonialism to the indigenous church principle practiced by the Assemblies of God. Garlock related numerous stories about mature and effective African Pentecostal leaders, encouraging readers to support Assemblies of God missionaries who work alongside indigenous African churches.

Read H. B. Garlock’s article, “Africa and Her People,” on pages 2-3 and 12-14 of the June 5, 1948, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
• “Healing for All,” by J. M. Mullens
• “Prostrated under Divine Power,” by J. Narver Gortner
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

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Leading Chinese Atheist: I Now Believe in God after Witnessing a Miracle

Dr. Wang Yun-Wu, Vice Premier of the Republic of China (1958-1963)

Dr. Wang Yun-Wu, Vice Premier of the Republic of China (1958-1963)

This Week in AG History–May 2, 1931
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 30 April 2015

A prominent Chinese scholar, Dr. Wang Yun Wu (1888-1979), abandoned his atheism in 1924 after he witnessed the miraculous healing of his sister’s eyesight. Dr. Wang later became Vice Premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan). His story was recounted by W. W. Simpson (1869-1961), pioneer Assemblies of God missionary to China, in the May 2, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Wang’s sister was healed in an unplanned revival. Simpson and fellow Assemblies of God missionary Florence Hanson were in Shanghai for the purpose of printing a Chinese-language hymnal. Their business trip quickly turned into a spiritual awakening. Hanson prayed for someone whose name is now lost to history, that person was healed, and residents clamored to find out what happened.

Local Christians organized services and invited Hanson to share the Pentecostal message. Numerous residents, including community leaders, flocked to the meetings. Many were healed or baptized in the Holy Spirit. One of the first people swept up in this move of God was Wang’s sister, Mrs. Ching. Not only was she baptized in the Holy Spirit, but God also corrected her eyesight! For 10 years she had been dependent upon her eyeglasses for daily life and for her writing duties at work. She was employed at the Commercial Press, a large publishing house where her brother, Dr. Wang, served as editor-in-chief.

Mrs. Ching’s healing astounded her family. Wang asked to speak to Simpson, who had prayed for his sister. Simpson gladly consented to this invitation. Simpson recalled how Wang ushered him into a rich library stocked with books in many languages and espousing many religions and philosophies.

Wang explained that he was reared “a strict Confucianist, believing in no God and worshipping his ancestors not as gods but simply to show his respect for them.” He had also studied western philosophies extensively and had accepted the modern theory of evolution. He had not discovered anything that “could not be explained by evolution” or which “required a God in order to exist.” But all that changed once he witnessed his sister’s healing.

Simpson wrote, “I shall never forget that afternoon in the library with one of China’s greatest scholars, and that moment when he said he was forced by the reception of the Spirit by his sister to admit there must be a living and a true God.”

Wang began the day a Confucian atheist and ended the day convinced of the deity of Christ. Wang went on to become a noted scholar of history and political science and also invented Shih Chiao Hao Ma, a form of Chinese lexicography. He opposed the communists during the Chinese revolution, entered politics, and served as Vice Premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 1958 to 1963.

According to Simpson, Wang’s story demonstrates how the “baptism in the Spirit is more effective in combating atheism than all the learned disquisitions of the Fundamentalists, for it is God giving a sign to this unbelieving modern world.”

Read W. W. Simpson’s entire article, “A Confucian Atheist Convinced of the Deity of Christ,” on pages 1 and 7 of the May 2, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “See and Hear,” by P. C. Nelson

• “To Seekers after the Baptism in the Holy Ghost,” by Donald Gee

• “My Pentecostal Experience,” by E. S. Williams

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

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Mary Weems Chapman: Called to the Prostitutes and Untouchables of South India

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This Week in AG History–April 18, 1925
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 15 April 2015

When veteran missionary Mary Weems Chapman (1857-1927) felt God’s call to return to India, her family told her she was too old. But she persevered and became the first Assemblies of God missionary to South India. A veteran Free Methodist missionary before identifying with the Pentecostal movement, Mary was well-known in Holiness circles for her preaching, teaching, and writing. But she was perhaps best known for her advocacy of ministry to girl prostitutes and the “untouchables” – members of India’s lowest social caste.

Mary and her husband, George, were pioneer leaders in the Pentecost Bands, a Free Methodist missions organization known for promoting both holiness and social ministry. They founded the Free Methodist work in Monrovia, Liberia, in 1889.

Mary was a prolific author. She edited a volume of writings by Holiness advocate Eunice Parsons Cobb, “Mother Cobb, or Sixty Years with God” (1896). She also served a one year stint (1898) as founding editor of “Missionary Tidings,” published by the General Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Free Methodist Church.

George seemingly disappeared from Mary’s writings and missionary reports in the 1890s and 1900s. Whether he died or something else happened is unknown. But she continued in ministry as a single woman. She spent time in India, where she worked at a “Pentecostal Rescue Home” that plucked young girls out of prostitution and provided education and spiritual help.

Single and aging, she returned to America. But she could not shake the sense that God wanted her to help the suffering girls of India. By 1911 she surfaced in Pentecostal periodicals, writing gut-wrenching articles about the great need to rescue girls in India who had been sold into sexual slavery.

Feeling a holy restlessness, Mary decided to return to India. She was approaching 60 years old. Her family tried to dissuade her, telling her she was too old to endure the rigors of missionary work. But her mind was made up. She told her family, “If young people are not able to go, old people must go.”

Mary arrived in India one hundred years ago, in 1915, and established her first missionary base in Doddaballapur, near Bangalore. She conducted evangelistic meeting in numerous parts of South India. In 1917, she affiliated with the Assemblies of God and became that Fellowship’s first missionary in South India.

Mary’s extensive writing and editing skills proved useful in her missions work. She was concerned by the poor discipleship of new converts and by the vast amount of anti-Christian and anti-Pentecostal literature that was causing confusion. To help remedy these problems, in 1925 she co-founded a magazine called Penthecosthu Kahalam (Pentecostal Trumpet) in the Malayalam language. She also wrote over 50 articles and letters published in the Pentecostal Evangel from 1913 to 1927.

In one of those letters, published in the April 18, 1925, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Mary described the plight of the Dalits, also called the “untouchables” because of their low social position. She described the joy of the Dalits who accepted Christ and were “adopted in the family of heaven.” She noted that her missionary colleagues started a school to educate young converts, because Dalits were not permitted to attend school with people from other classes in Indian society.

After 10 years of ministry under the Assemblies of God banner, Mary Weems Chapman died on November 27, 1927. She was 70 years old.

Samuel Jabarethnan, Chapman’s interpreter for the last eight years of her life, wrote the following tribute: “I found Sister Chapman to be a most devoted and spiritual missionary. She stood not just for the Pentecostal experience, but emphasized the need for a deep spiritual, sanctified life…Sister Chapman was never satisfied with shallow, superficial things, either in a worker, a Christian or an assembly. She demanded reality and set the example in her own life…Sister Chapman loved to spend much of her time in prayer. She never allowed the duties or responsibilities of her work to interfere with her prayer life. She labored and groaned in deep intercessory prayer for the souls of men to be saved, and as a result the Lord richly blessed her ministry.”

Read Mary Chapman’s article, “Ministering to the Untouchables,” on page 11 of the April 18, 1925, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Faith in the Invisible,” by Ernest S. Williams

• “Gleanings from the Book of Ruth,” by A. G. Ward

• “Denying Self,” by Alice Rowlands Frodsham

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

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Elsie Peters, Pioneer of Assemblies of God Deaf Ministries

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This Week in AG History–April 11, 1931
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 9 April 2015

Elsie Peters (1898-1965) was the earliest known Assemblies of God minister to the deaf. Peters’ call to deaf ministry came in 1919, when she befriended a deaf couple in Springfield, Missouri. At the time, Peters was a housewife with three children. One day, when stopping to catch her breath from the busyness of daily life, she uttered a little prayer, “Lord, what can I do for You today?” To her surprise, she felt the Lord answer her with the following instruction: “Go and visit a deaf mute.”

Peters visited a local deaf couple, Sullivan and Addie Chainey, who gladly welcomed her into their home. They told her that they often felt overlooked. It was difficult for them to make friends. Through their friendship with Peters, the Chaineys eventually accepted Christ and also entered into deaf ministry.

Elsie’s husband, Grover, worked for the railroad. His job meant they had to relocate to a new city every few years. In each new city, Elsie immersed herself in ministry. When they moved to Fort Worth, Texas, in 1920, Elsie brought with her a passion for working with deaf people. She could not keep quiet about the calling God had placed in her heart.

Assemblies of God leaders in Texas confirmed Elsie’s calling and, in 1924, ordained her to the ministry. In 1926, she secured the use of the Y.M.C.A. building in Fort Worth and held what she deemed to be the first Pentecostal revival services for the deaf. Deaf came from across the Midwest to attend the services. She later held similar revival campaigns across America, helping to meet the spiritual needs of the deaf and raising the profile of the deaf community within the church.

In the late 1920s, Elsie and Grover moved to Los Angeles. Elsie saw the move as an opportunity to reach the city’s large deaf community, which had been largely ignored by other churches. They launched the first Assemblies of God church started specifically for the deaf — First Full Gospel Church for the Deaf. The first service was held in a small mission on Hoover Street on Tuesday, October 29, 1929. That same day the stock markets crashed, which resulted in the Great Depression. But the small mission flourished and soon relocated to a 300-seat stucco church with parsonage. The April 11, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel included a report of this first Assemblies of God deaf congregation.

From this inauspicious beginning, the Assemblies of God ministry to the deaf emerged. Lottie Riekehof began teaching sign language at Central Bible Institute in 1948, and Home Missions (now U.S. Missions) created a division for Deaf Ministries in 1953. In 2014, the Assemblies of God included 33 deaf culture churches and 538 churches with some type of ministry in working with deaf people in the United States.

See the report and photograph of the First Full Gospel Church for the Deaf on page 13 of the April 11, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “An Open Door in Africa,” by W. Lloyd Shirer

• “A Visit to Central America and Mexico,” by Sunshine (Mrs. H. C.) Ball

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

– See more at: http://penews.org/Article/This-Week-in-AG-History-April-11-1931/#sthash.hQubSM28.dpuf

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

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