Category Archives: Missions

Esther Harvey: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionary to India

This Week in AG History — September 17, 1938

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 17 September 2020

Esther Bragg Harvey (1891-1986) served Jesus Christ and the people of India for 48 years before retiring as an Assemblies of God missionary in 1961. During her first nine years on the field she buried three children and her young husband. Yet when she passed away at age 95, hundreds of Indian children called her “Mama.”

Esther Bragg was not raised in a Christian home; yet at the age of 12 she witnessed the peace her grandfather experienced, singing a hymn as he passed from the earth. The young girl determined to find the God of her grandfather. When she asked about going to church her father forbade her to “get religion.” Bragg would sneak out of the house to attend church, often finding herself locked out of the house on her return. Her father finally told her she must choose between leaving the church or leaving her home. Heartbroken at the thought of leaving her mother, Bragg turned to God in prayer. The Lord gave her a vision of himself carrying His cross. She saw that her cross was much smaller than His and asked the Lord to forgive her and help her to carry whatever cross He laid on her back. Her father soon relented.

In her senior year of high school, Bragg became very ill. Pentecostal believers from a local mission prayed for her and she was healed. She began to attend Pentecostal services and in 1911 enrolled in a short-term Bible school in Norwalk, Ohio, where she met J. Roswell and Alice Flower. The couple led her into an experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Harvey soon felt that God was leading her to mission work in India.

In obedience, Bragg set sail for India arriving in December 1913. Just a few months after her arrival, word came from a mission in Nawabganj that some American missionaries had to leave suddenly and left a 27-year-old former British soldier, James Harvey, alone to carry on the work. He had no money and no supplies and was in desperate need, traveling from village to village without even a pair of shoes. Bragg felt that she could be helpful and responded in answer to the call for help.

Unbeknownst to the other, both Esther Bragg and James Harvey wrote in their journals that they felt the Lord had brought them together. Soon “together” became the word that defined them, as they were married later that year (1914). Together they received some of the first credentials with the newly formed Assemblies of God, and together they traveled — holding meetings, helping others, encouraging workers, discipling new Christians, and building a school for boys. With joy they discovered that “together” would soon include another little life.

But their dreams were crushed and together they buried their first baby. Another new life promised hope, but a second small grave was dug next to the first. When a third pregnancy brought promise, Esther found herself also gripped with fear. However, God blessed them with a strong and healthy baby girl. A baby boy followed soon after but was soon very sickly and weak. Esther prayed, “Lord, I cannot and I will not give him up. I must keep him.” In her prayer, she was reminded of the commitment she made before she left for India: “I put it all on the altar — the things I know and the things I don’t know.” She realized losing children was one of the things she “didn’t know” and she had already laid them on the altar before they had even been born. Soon the heartbroken parents had three little graves near their mission house. Together James and Esther continued their work.

After bearing four babies in eight years, and burying three of them, the Harvey’s felt they had born well what had been laid on them. Then, in 1922, James became gravely ill. Esther nursed him for a month, while carrying on the school and mission work and caring for their 3-year-old daughter. In her exhaustion, she prayed for God to heal James quickly so she could get some rest. She felt the work was too great for her to carry alone and she could not go on waiting for James to get better. After two days and nights without sleep caring for her husband, Esther physically collapsed when she realized James had slipped away from the bonds of earth.

In her grief and weakness, Harvey fell into a deep depression. She could not pray and despaired that she had failed God in her short 29 years of life. But when she found herself too weak to do any praying on her own, others stepped in to pray for her. Soon she felt her strength return. A friend brought the young widow and her child into her home for rest. The presence of the Lord drew near and she felt resurrection life bring her back from the brink. Previously, she had leaned on her husband for strength, but now the single mother learned to trust the Lord’s strength to be sufficient to help her lead the school her husband had begun in Sharannagar.

Over the next 27 years, Esther established a church and oversaw the James Harvey Memorial School, building a missionary bungalow, sleeping quarters for workers, school buildings, and a dormitory for the orphan boys. In the Sept. 17, 1938, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, the editors published an SOS letter from Harvey detailing the destruction of the mission from flooding. They were in a critical place due to collapsing buildings, deadly cobras being washed up into their sleeping areas, and no money to buy food or help with rebuilding. Harvey wrote to the American Assemblies of God church members that, “we are in a desperate situation with not one cent of money to help ourselves or anyone else.” The editors encouraged the Evangel readers to give to “one of our largest mission stations in North India.”

God and the Assemblies of God responded to the need and the James Harvey Secondary School continues to this day in 2020.

After her retirement, Harvey traveled to American churches to share the needs of India. In her book, The Faithfulness of God, she looked back on her life and wrote, “I have had to go through many things, one sorrow after another, but I always found He giveth grace. When we are called to pass through the waters, He is there to hold us up.” She died at age 95, trusting in the God she began seeking at age 12. Even though she buried so many of her own children, her tombstone at Greenlawn Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri, calls her “Mama ji” – the name she was given by the children of northern India.

Read Esther Harvey’s request for help, “Calamity Strikes Sharannagar Mission,” on page 6 of the Sept. 17, 1938, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “For Jonathan’s Sake” by Carrie Judd Montgomery

• “Not By…But By” by F.M. Bellsmith

• “Are We Blind Also” by John L. Franklin

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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Andrew Urshan and the Persecution of Early Pentecostals in Iran

This Week in AG History — August 19, 1916

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 20 August 2020

Andrew D. Urshan (1884-1967), the son of a Presbyterian pastor in Persia (now Iran), immigrated to the United States in 1901. He was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1908 in Chicago, where he started a Persian Pentecostal mission. He returned to his homeland in 1914 as an Assemblies of God missionary and, amidst much persecution, helped to establish an enduring Pentecostal church.

Urshan shared his testimony in a series of three articles published in 1916 in the Pentecostal Evangel. Persia was a melting pot of numerous people groups, including Arabs, Jews, and Armenians. But Urshan felt a call to minister to his own people, the Assyrians. The Assyrians, who mostly belonged to various Christian churches, had a long history of suffering as a persecuted religious and ethnic minority.

Interestingly, most of the persecution experienced by Urshan and other Pentecostals came from other Christians. Urshan recounted that Muslim leaders treated him with respect, because the Pentecostals and the Muslims shared similar moral values. When Urshan was placed in jail for preaching the gospel, Muslim leaders stated, “He says people shouldn’t get drunk, and that is why they have imprisoned him.”

Pentecostal revival spread in the Assyrian community. Urshan related the stories of the birth of Pentecostal churches in five towns. In each new church, miracles and changed lives were accompanied by suffering. In the town of Urmia, a mob of Eastern Orthodox Christians attacked a group of Pentecostal girls who were headed to church. The mob shot their rifles at the young converts, hitting three and killing one of the girls. The grief and violence did not deter the Pentecostals from meeting. Ultimately, about 50 people accepted Christ and were baptized in the Holy Spirit in Urmia. Similar stories happened in each town touched by Pentecostal revival.

Urshan pleaded for readers in America to learn from the deep spirituality of Persian believers. He wrote, “I have seen young girls like some of you interceding and agonizing for the salvation of souls in the whole world.” These young Persians, he explained, “walked carefully, with their eyes and hearts filled with God, singing praises unto Jesus, and pleading tearfully with souls, before their persecutors.”

When Urshan returned to America, he was troubled by the lack of consecration he found in some churches. Many Christians he met seemed to live “careless” lives and seemed most interested in “fashions of dress” and “the pleasures of this world.” Urshan wrote that he “suffered in the spirit” for American Christians. People who are “in danger of death,” he surmised, may actually be better off spiritually. Americans, he believed, should seek to cultivate spiritual depth by learning from the suffering church.

Read the series of three articles by Andrew D. Urshan, “Pentecost in Persia,” in the following issues of the Pentecostal Evangel:

Click here for the Aug. 19, 1916, issue.

Click here for the Aug. 26, 1916, issue.

Click here for the Sept. 2, 1916, issue.

Also featured in the Aug. 19, 1916, issue:

• “The Unity of the Spirit,” by W. Jethro Walthall

• “Daily Portion from the King’s Bounty,” by Alice Reynolds Flower

And many more!

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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Paul and Evelyn Derr: Eyewitnesses to the Sinking of the ZamZam

Zamzam_1400This Week in AG History — July 19, 1941

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 23 July 2020

One of the gripping stories from World War II is the sinking of the ZamZam and the rescue of its inhabitants. Paul K. Derr gave an eyewitness account of the ZamZam voyage in 1941.

After completing a furlough, Assemblies of God missionaries Paul (1895-1986) and Evelyn Derr (1897-1994) boarded the Egyptian ship ZamZam to return to the former British Tanganika Territory. Traveling with them were their daughter, Ruth, and her husband, Claude Keck. A total of 136 missionaries and family members from 19 different faiths, as well as many others of all walks of life were on board the ship. It was carrying civilian passengers and was neutral in the war.

No one expected the ship to sink in the Atlantic Ocean!

On March 27, 1941, eight months before the U.S. entered World War II, the ship left New York bound for Alexandria, Egypt, stopping at Trinidad and Brazil and then heading toward the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Early on the morning of April 17, amid the darkness of night, the German raider Atlantis (disguised as the freighter, Tamesis) misidentified the ZamZam as a British troopship and began shelling the ship without warning, striking it multiple times. The boat began sinking. Almost immediately, the panic-stricken passengers scrambled to lifeboats, although several of the lifeboats had been damaged by the gunfire.

The passengers and crew successfully evacuated, and the crew of the Atlantis eventually rescued everyone, and only a few were injured. Afterward the Germans sank what remained of the ZamZam with explosives.

Except for three men very critically injured, the ZamZamers were transferred from the raider to a small German freighter on April 18, the day after the sinking. The name of the freighter was Dresden, but for the ZamZamers it came to be known as “the prison ship.” They remained on that ship for almost six weeks, not knowing their fate.

The U.S. was not yet in World War II, so the Germans released the Derrs and other Americans to neutral Portugal. The Derrs were able to board an American ship called Exeter and then returned to the U.S. for the duration of the war.

Derr, in recalling the trauma, wrote, “We look back and see that our faith in God has been strengthened and our trust has become more sure in the Lord who cares for His own.”

After the war, Paul and Evelyn Derr returned to the land of their calling, serving as missionaries for three more years in Tanganyika Territory. They also served a term in Jamaica before retiring from missionary service.

This story of the sinking of the ZamZam was extensively covered by LIFE Magazine because one of their photojournalists was on the ship and took over 1,500 pictures, although most of these pictures were confiscated by the Germans. Now, almost 80 years later, this dramatic story is still captivating.

Read “Our Experience on the Zam Zam” on pages 1 and 11 of the July 19, 1941, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “God’s Plan For Setting the World Aflame,” by Sarah Foulkes Moore

• “Judgment and Revival,” by Stanley H. Frodsham

• “The Place of Refuge is the Place of Light,” 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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Harold and Beatrice Kohl: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionary Educators

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.

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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Evangelism is not Optional: Christians will either Evangelize or Apostatize

tent revivalThis Week in AG History — May 23, 1954

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 21 May 2020

Could there be a task that is more important or more daunting than the evangelization of the world? James Stewart, in a 1954 Pentecostal Evangel article, challenged readers to creatively and proactively fulfill the Great Commission. He wrote, “The magnitude of the unfinished task forces us to witness in unconventional places, at unconventional times, with an unconventional approach. It is our duty to go to the unsaved with the Gospel and not wait until they come to us.”

Stewart appealed to the testimonies of believers from centuries past to inspire the current generation to reach the lost for Christ. He noted that many heralded evangelists ministered outside the walls of church buildings. John Wesley preached in a cemetery, atop his father’s tombstone. The Apostle Paul preached Christ on Mars Hill among the pagan temples and Greek philosophers. Dwight L. Moody accepted Christ in a shoe shop.

Stewart implored readers to think of the church not as a building, but as a body of believers. Past revivals, he noted, occurred when Christians shared the gospel “in the market squares, circus tents, village greens, prisons, public houses, and everywhere the unsaved frequented.”

While holding large evangelistic services in public areas has long been important in evangelical and Pentecostal churches, Stewart admonished that evangelism must also be personal. “Mass evangelism,” he wrote, “will never be a substitute for personal evangelism.”

Personal evangelism, according to Stewart, required the involvement of “ordinary, common believers.” The great revivals of the past involved carpenters, farmers, miners, street cleaners, teachers, and men and women from all walks of life who “went forth with flaming fire.” The Bible and church history teach that professional clergy alone cannot bring revival; a true move of God must catch fire at the grassroots.

Evangelism is not optional for Christians. Stewart wrote that Christians will “either evangelize or apostatize.” His concluding remarks encouraged believers to consecrate themselves to God and to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He wrote, “Let us dedicate our lives, talents, possessions, and time to the sacred task of worldwide witness. We are couriers of the Cross. The task is great but not impossible. The Holy Ghost is here to empower us. Without the baptism of power our ministry is in vain.”

Read the article, “The Church is Challenged!” by James Stewart, on pages 4, 10, and 11 of the May 23, 1954, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Honor the Holy Spirit!” by P. S. Jones

• “How Spurgeon Found Christ”

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: iFPHC.org

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The Ambassador Airplanes: How the Assemblies of God Became Involved in Missionary Aviation

ambassador plane 1400c

Ambassador II, circa 1950

This Week in AG History — May 13, 1950

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 14 May 2020

Did you know that the Assemblies of God owned two passenger planes just after World War II that carried Assemblies of God missionaries overseas?

Following World War II, commercial flights were not readily available, so World Missions Director Noel Perkin located two surplus army planes and converted them to missionary planes. With help from young people and Speed the Light, the Assemblies of God first bought a C-46 cargo plane for only $5,000. Another $15,000 went into the conversion for civilian passenger service. It was called the Ambassador.

It was an exciting day in August 1948 when the big twin-engine Ambassador, loaded with missionaries and with WWII veterans at the controls, lifted off from the Springfield, Missouri, airport and headed toward the East Coast and eventually to Africa. It took 10 days for the Ambassador to reach Africa on its first flight. This was still much faster than traveling by boat.

After a little over a year of missionary flights, and some domestic flights, World Missions sold the Ambassador, and replaced it with a four-engine B-17 bomber, which was also converted to passenger service. Named Ambassador II, it carried fewer passengers, but the four engines — as opposed to only two on the C-46 — made it a safer plane for crossing oceans and mountains.

For two more years the converted bomber Ambassador II transported missionaries to faraway exotic places. By that time, commercial airlines were able to provide satisfactory overseas service, and the plane was sold.

Seventy years ago, the Pentecostal Evangel gave an account of the Ambassador II airplane on a return trip from Africa back to the United States.

Missionary Irene Crane reported that she left her mission station in Nigeria on Dec. 29, 1949, and traveled to the eastern side of the Niger River to join missionaries May Garner and Elsie Weber who also were traveling back to the U.S. from Nigeria.

These lady missionaries took a local flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos, and then after obtaining visas, they flew to Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana), to meet up with the flight crew of the Ambassador II, including flight director Robert T. McGlasson. After some delays, the group left Accra on Jan. 23, but had to return back after a report of heavy evening ground fog in Ouagadougou, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), which was their intended destination. After spending the night in a hotel at the airport, the plane left early the next morning for the three-hour flight to Ouagadougou.

Upon their arrival, the local missionaries happily greeted them. A number of them had traveled quite a distance to welcome them. They soon found out that five ducks had been prepared the night before for a feast, so everyone had been disappointed when the plane did not arrive on schedule and was delayed another day. Two more missionaries, Mabel M. Schaefer and Henry I. Dahlberg, boarded the plane in Ouagadougou, and the next stop was Roberts Field, Liberia. “It took us around four hours to reach the airport there,” said Crane. “The going was rough all the way because of the hot air currents.”

The group stayed in army barracks at Roberts Field on a Tuesday night, and on Wednesday morning they had a nice visit with Henry B. Garlock, the AG field secretary for Africa. Later that day, the Liberian missionaries took them to visit the Firestone Plantations, which everyone enjoyed.

Leaving Roberts Field in the afternoon, they added seven more passengers to the plane. After leaving the airport, they traveled through a storm. “The ship was tossed about and for a moment fear came to my heart,” said Crane. But then she remembered the many safety devices on the plane and remembered that “hundreds of people all over the world were praying for our safety.” It took 10 hours and 40 minutes to cross the Atlantic from Roberts Field to Natal, Brazil.

Crane reported that the longest stretch of the journey went from Natal to Trinidad, which took 12 hours and 40 minutes. They stayed there only long enough to eat and refuel before taking off again for St. Petersburg, Florida. They flew all night — 10 hours. Then it was a thrill to reach American soil again. The missionaries were able to stay about 24 hours at the Pinellas Park Home where they had food and sleeping quarters.

The final leg of the journey went from St. Petersburg to Springfield, Missouri, in 5 hours and 20 minutes. A large crowd was at the Springfield airport to welcome the missionaries and the staff on board the plane. Crane shared that it was a wonderful feeling to be home at last.

This was one of the first trips made by the new Ambassador II airplane, and it gives an indication of the dangers and setbacks that had to be overcome with each flight. It took planning to map out each of these destinations in order to pick up AG missionaries needing to return home, and to make adjustments when the schedule had to be changed. It was a blessing to the missionaries that they had food and sleeping accommodations already arranged for them at each destination. The plane kept a busy schedule. In the first year of operation, the Ambassador II visited 38 countries.

The transoceanic flights of the two Ambassador airplanes lasted about three years. In July 1951, the Executive Presbytery approved the sale of Ambassador II because commercial flights were becoming more common.

Read “Trip Home on Ambassador,” on page 6 of the May 13, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Entire Conformity to Christ,” by Wesley R. Steelberg

• “Jesus and His Mother,” by Alice E. Luce

• “David Anointed King,” by Ernest A. 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
Website: iFPHC.org

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During WWII, Assemblies of God Gave Spanish New Testaments to Military Personnel in Central and South America

Spanish NT_1400

This illustration accompanied the May 1, 1943 Pentecostal Evangel article about Spanish new testaments. The caption read, “Our Good Neighbor Policy.”

This Week in AG History — May 1, 1943

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 30 April 2020

World War II conjures up theaters of battle in Europe, Africa, and Asia, but Latin America also served a strategic role. Following the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, most of Latin America either severed relations with the Axis powers or declared war on them. The Panama Canal, which provided a link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, was vital to both commerce and defense and Spanish-speaking soldiers found themselves fighting alongside English- and French-speaking comrades.

The Assemblies of God sought to reach out to servicemen through the distribution of literature. The May 1, 1943, Pentecostal Evangel, reported that the Home Missions Department, under direction of Fred Vogler, had printed 3,245,000 copies of Reveille, a paper specifically designed for servicemen, at a cost of approximately $24,000.

The article also makes reference to the response of the Assemblies of God young people, known as Christ’s Ambassadors, to a request in the Oct. 17, 1942, Evangel for $7,500 to provide copies of the New Testament to Merchant Mariners, United States civilian mariners who served to deliver military personnel and materials. The Merchant Mariners died at a rate of 1 in 26, the highest rate of casualty of any service in World War II. The response of the Christ’s Ambassadors exceeded the request by $2,500, which was used to place New Testaments in waterproof containers as part of standard equipment in lifeboats and rafts of naval vessels and military airplanes.

Much of this effort was led by Harry Jaeger, a 1937 graduate of Glad Tidings Bible Institute (later Bethany University) and Assemblies of God evangelist who had a burden to reach servicemen. Through his affiliation with the American Bible Society, he began a campaign to provide Scriptures to military personnel.

As pleased as Jaeger was with the response of the Assemblies of God to provide military Bibles in English, the Florida-based evangelist saw another need — Spanish Bibles were not available for soldiers serving from Central and South America. In response, the May 1, 1943, Evangel laid out the proposition before the Assemblies of God constituency to provide 250,000 Spanish New Testaments to South and Central American military personnel with an additional 50,000 testaments to be delivered to Guatemalan missionary John L. Franklin, at the cost of $45,000.

The request for financial donations ended with a plea for prayer: “Let us definitely ask the Lord that He will open hearts to receive His Word, and that as a result of this distribution there will be many souls in heaven who otherwise might not be there. And in addition to praying, ‘whatsoever He saith to you, do it.’” Funds were to be sent to the Home Missions Department designated as “Spanish Service Testament Fund.”

As a result of his work and creative vision in distributing literature to servicemen, Jaeger was invited to move his operation from Tampa, Florida, to Springfield just a few months after this article was published. In early 1944, the Servicemen’s Department, under Jaeger’s direction, was established within the Home Missions Division. This was the beginning of what is now a part of the Chaplaincy Department of U.S. Missions of the Assemblies of God. The Assemblies of God continues to be one of the largest evangelical distributors of discipleship literature printed in the Spanish language.

Read the article, “A Great Opportunity,” on page 1 of the May 1, 1943, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “God’s Need of Spiritual Mothers” by Alice Luce

• “Because of Covetousness” by Stanley Frodsham

• “Recollections of a Pioneer Pentecostal Preacher” by Walter J. Higgins

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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Canyon Day, Arizona: The Role of Native American Women in Assemblies of God Churches

Apache

WMC members at Canyon Day Assembly of God form a choir for an outdoor service, 1960.

This Week in AG History — April 24, 1960

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 19 March 2020

Native American women have played important roles in the development of Assemblies of God churches on reservations across America. The April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel shared how women helped to establish a congregation on the Apache Reservation at Canyon Day, Arizona.

Mary and Leo Gilman were called to be missionaries to the Apaches at Canyon Day. When the Gilmans arrived, Mary reported that these women worked side by side with the men. First, they helped set up poles and build a shaded area for a brush arbor until a permanent structure could be built. Once the church was being built, they helped with the construction work and also hauled rocks and mixed cement for the parsonage, sidewalk, and church steps.

After the church opened for services, the Women’s Missionary Council (WMC) was officially organized. One of the Apache ladies became the WMC president. The group held weekly meetings, where the ladies spent time in Bible study and prayer as well as cleaning and caring for their church building. Each of the ladies sewed a quilt, and these colorful creations were hung on the church walls. Some people later visited the church just to see the beautiful quilts.

The ladies did weekly visitation from house to house and down back roads and trails to show care and concern for their neighbors and family members. They also visited the older ladies of the community and took them small tokens of friendship. They gave out quilts to some of the older people who were in need.

One time these ladies won 40 ribbons at the Apache Indian Tribal fair for their sewing, cooked foods, etc. The Assemblies of God booth even won first prize! Participating in this event gave them an opportunity to witness and pass out over 4,000 tracts in two days, with the assistance of the Christ’s Ambassadors (young people) of the church.

These Apache women definitely made an impact on their surroundings as they shared the love of Christ through their many activities.

Read “Apache Women at Work,” by Mary Gilman, on pages 16-17 of the April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “New Awakening in Germany,” by Nicholas Nikoloff

• “Navajo Artist Builds a Church For His People,” by Ruth Lyon

• “Busy Mother Ministers to the Blind,” by Maxine Strobridge

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 Founders Supported Missionaries AND Famine Relief, Despite Opposition

Bard

Assemblies of God missionary B. T. Bard baptizing a convert in China, 1920

This Week in AG History — April 16, 1921

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 16 April 2020

The Assemblies of God, in its first decade, provided significant financial resources to the alleviation of hunger in other nations. A devastating famine hit China in 1920 and 1921, causing the deaths of an estimated half million people. This tragedy from a century ago inspired Assemblies of God leaders to make an extended appeal for donations for Chinese famine relief. This decision was not without controversy.

J. Roswell Flower, Assemblies of God missions treasurer, in the April 16, 1921, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, recounted that church leaders expressed concern that an appeal for famine relief would likely decrease giving to support missionaries already on the field. This fear was realized, and Flower reported that total missions giving did not increase in the first four months of the year. Donors shifted from supporting missionaries to famine relief. Missionaries were in danger of not receiving sufficient monetary support on which to live.

Despite this challenging financial situation, Flower defended the appeal for famine relief. He explained, “The famine need was so great…that we took the risk with such good results as you have seen.” To make up for the decrease in giving toward missionaries, Flower asked readers to contribute additional offerings.

How did Assemblies of God members respond to the challenge to expand their giving to include support for both missionaries and famine relief?

The 1921 General Council minutes reported that missions giving increased by almost 19 percent. The Foreign Missions Department received a record $107,953.55 during the fiscal year ending August 1921. Of that total, almost 10 percent ($10,383.12 — nearly $150,000 in today’s dollars) was given to Chinese famine relief.

Read the article, “The Famine in China,” by J. Roswell Flower on page 12 of the April 16, 1921, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Looking from the Top,” by Christine Peirce

• “Tithes and Offerings,” by Elizabeth Sisson

• “Unity,” by C. W. Doney

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: iFPHC.org

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Annie Bailie: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionary to China and Hong Kong

Bailie

Photo: Ecclesia Bible Institute, Hong Kong campus, 1959.  Annie Bailie is in the front row.

This Week in AG History — April 2, 1949

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 02 April 2020

Annie Bailie (1900-1986) immigrated from Ireland to the United States with her family in 1906, settling in Pennsylvania. She served as a tireless missionary for 58 years in southern China and Hong Kong, despite imprisonment and relocation during World War II, where she trained workers and built churches that would last through the communist revolution.

Bailie’s parents prayed fervently that their nine children would find success and happiness in their new country, and that they would serve God wholeheartedly. When she was 14 years old, Annie, the youngest child, consecrated herself to Christ and a few years later was filled with the baptism in the Holy Spirit at a camp meeting.

Annie Bailie took a job in a manufacturing plant to earn enough money to support her real passion — ministry. While in her early 20s, she passed out gospel literature on her lunch breaks, visited local hospitals on Saturdays, helped with street meetings, conducted a prison ministry, held Sunday School in rural areas, served in a young people’s group, and attended the many services at her church. Somehow, she also managed to find time to assist her brother in his outreach to African Americans.

She felt God calling her to leave her home and travel across the world to China. She was reluctant to go, explaining to God that she was a worker, not a preacher. She fought the inclination for several months but, in simple obedience to God, Bailie submitted herself to God’s call and boarded a ship for China on Oct. 28, 1928, sailing for the land that would be her home for the next 58 years.

Arriving just in time to experience the early years of the Chinese Civil War, Bailie spent much of her first missionary term dodging the fighting and assisting local Christians to find safe places while discipling them to put their faith in Christ.

Three years after her arrival, the situation became more difficult when Japan invaded mainland China. Bailie and those living with her slept in their clothes each night, always ready to make a quick escape to a safer place. One night, robbers came into their home and demanded money. A Chinese person living with Bailie told them that they were preachers, and that preachers did not have any money. While this conversation was happening, Ballie began to pray and soon found herself praying in tongues. This panicked the intruders and they hurriedly left with no further harm to the women.

In 1934, the Holy Spirit spoke through a Chinese believer who knew no English, speaking in perfect English with instructions to go north. Bailie moved to Pak Noi, where she experienced many fruitful years of ministry, despite the heavy fighting and bombing of the city by the Japanese army.

When non-Chinese residents were imprisoned, Bailie was able to avoid detection due to her mastery of the language, dark hair, and petite frame. A local villager, fearing retribution from their oppressors, ended up betraying her. Though she was placed in a Japanese internment camp in China, Bailie reported that her captors were not overly cruel. They allowed Chinese Christians to bring food to her and she was able to freely minister to others in the camp.

In June 1942, Bailie and other Americans were released from the camps and returned to the United States. In 1947, after the end of World War II, she returned to Pak Noi to find that the village had been leveled but that the church was rebuilding. In 1947, through joint efforts between the Assemblies of God and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Ecclesia Bible Institute was established and began to train workers to minister to the Chinese people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the healing of the Holy Spirit. In a letter published in the April 2, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Bailie asked for prayer that more of the students would receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Bailie worked freely in Pak Noi until 1949, when forced to leave due to the Chinese Communist Revolution. She entrusted the church to the care of a local pastor and moved to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, she helped to establish and operate four schools, provided scholarships to young Christians, and returned to the ministry of hospital visitation and tract distribution like she had done in her early years in Pennsylvania. Many were saved, healed, encouraged, and filled with the Spirit due to her loving ministry.

In the late 1970s, Bailie was able to return for a visit to her beloved friends in Pak Noi. She discovered that the government had recently returned the church building to the congregation, which was still being led by the pastor who Bailie had discipled and left in charge in 1949. Not only had the government returned the property, but it paid rent for the many years the church building had been used as a warehouse, giving the congregation enough money to renovate the church and to purchase Bibles for every member.

After Annie returned to Hong Kong, her health began to deteriorate. She died at the age of 86 and, in accordance with her instructions, she was buried in Hong Kong, not far from the church she started almost 40 years before.

Read Annie Bailie’s report, “In South China,” on page 11 of the April 2, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Salt and Light of the World” by Donald Gee

• “The Meaning of Spirituality” by Myer Pearlman

• “The Promise is Unto You” by Stanley 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
Website: iFPHC.org

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Filed under Biography, History, Missions