Tag Archives: Assemblies of God Missions

Assemblies of God Missionaries Ralph and Frances Hiatt: Pioneering a Church in Argentina 55 Years Ago

This Week in AG History —January 7, 1968

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, 05 January 2023

Ralph and Frances Hiatt were appointed Assemblies of God 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 stood 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 a lot of questions about the Bible and God, which the Hiatts did their best to answer.

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

This continued night after night. Some came 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 55 years ago. In 2020, the Assemblies of God had 27 missionaries and 1.2 million Assemblies of God members and adherents in Argentina.

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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Leonard Bolton: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionary to China

This Week in AG History — December 16, 1939

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 15 December 2022

Leonard George Bolton (1900-1961), veteran missionary to China, served 37 years as an exemplary servant of God and people. Despite burying his wife and three children, a God-given love for the Lisu people drove him to dedicate his life to establishing a strong Pentecostal church beyond the Mekong River.

Bolton was born in Bournemouth, and his family were nominal members of the Church of England. When his father, William, became ill with tuberculosis it depleted the family’s finances. In 1906, news came of a Pentecostal revival taking place at Emmanuel Hall in their town. The family attended the meetings where William was saved, healed, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

After that, church became a regular part of Bolton family life. Once, when Bolton was about 12 years old, he and his siblings were playing “church.” The older sister gave a Bible lesson and Leonard felt the presence of God speaking to him about his soul. He knelt by his chair and poured his heart out to God, vowing to serve Him only. Soon after this, he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

At 17, Bolton joined the Royal Air Force to fight in the first World War. Fired upon by Germans while on a rescue mission, his companions were killed and he was blinded by mustard gas. Though sick with trench fever and his eyes feeling as though they were on fire, the illness provided a respite from the fighting, giving time for the young soldier to consider his direction in life. Despite the bandages on his eyes, Bolton had a vision of Jesus who told him, “I want you to be my soldier. I need you to carry my message to the ends of the earth.”

Bolton received complete healing from the attack and, after armistice was declared, he returned home ready to fulfill the call of God on his life. He began by preaching in a Romani (sometimes called Gypsy) camp set up near his town. Among the others working with him was a young lady named Olive Chin Chin. They later married and began plans together for missions work wherever God would send them.

After hearing a missionary from the Tibetan-Burma border, the Boltons began to make plans to assist him. There were no Pentecostal mission sending agencies so they organized what came to be called “The Tibetan Border Mission.” They embarked on a tedious sea voyage from England on Oct. 20, 1924, landing on Burma soil four weeks later. After three days of anxious waiting, they learned that their host missionary, Alfred Lewer, fearing to take the rope bridge across the Mekong, had attempted to swim the river and drowned on his way to greet them.

Not knowing what to do, they traveled to the next town where they met David, a Chinese evangelist, who helped them find the missionary’s widow. God quickly began to bless the new missionary as he picked up the unfinished work of his predecessor.

Soon Leonard and Olive anticipated the birth of their first child. But joy turned to sorrow as both mother and baby died in childbirth. Bolton struggled deeply and questioned whether the work was worth the cost. After a time of grief, God brought peace and flooded his heart with a new love — the Lisu tribe, a mountainous people who had known only hardship, poverty, and oppression by their Chinese neighbors.

A trip to visit these people was an adventure in faith that included crossing the rope bridge on the Mekong where Lewer lost his life. The rope bridge consisted of two parallel ropes – one to grip with your hands and one to walk upon. Bolton wrote about this adventure in the Dec. 16, 1939, Pentecostal Evangel: “Fifty miles on the trail brought us to a rope bridge crossing the Mekong. Although one strand was broken, we praise God we were enabled to cross safely with all our supplies … we entered a Lisu village where no foreigner had ever been … we stayed for a week, holding meetings every night … before we left, many families had repented and were rejoicing in their newfound Savior.”

When a civil war broke out in the province, all missionaries were evacuated. Bolton then visited the United States where he married Ada Buchwalter and joined the Assemblies of God in 1928. After returning to China, God blessed the union with four children, although two of them did not live past infancy.

In 1949, the Communist Revolution forced all missionaries to leave China. The Boltons spent their remaining years serving in Jamaica, Pakistan, Burma, and Formosa (now Taiwan). After only seven months on the island of Formosa, Bolton experienced a fatal heart attack. His last words to Ada spoke of his life’s passion and his love for the mountainous people who were so responsive to the gospel: “The record is finished and I will meet you in the morning … I can see them coming …the Lisu.”

Note: The rope bridge over the Mekong River is still considered one of the most dangerous bridges in the world.

Read the article, “Journeying Among the Lisu,” on page 10 of the Dec. 16, 1939, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Hidden Ministry” by John Wright Follette

• “God’s Delightful Surprises” by Stanley Frodsham

• “The Birth of Our Unique Savior” by Walter Kallenbach

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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Monroe and Betty Grams: Assemblies of God Missionary Educators in Latin America

This Week in AG History — December 4, 1977

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, 08 December 2022

Monroe David Grams (1927-2021) and Betty Jane Grams (1926-2000) devoted their lives to sharing the gospel in Latin America, where they served as Assemblies of God missionaries and educators.

Born in Rosendale, Wisconsin, Monroe was the youngest of 12 children born of German immigrants. Growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, he developed a strong work ethic. He graduated with a three-year diploma from North Central Bible Institute (now North Central University [NCU]) in Minneapolis in 1948, and there he met Betty Jane Haas. They were married May 1, 1949, when he was pastoring a church at Cataract, Wisconsin. Betty was born in Lead, South Dakota, and had a Hispanic and German background.

Both Monroe and Betty were ordained by the Wisconsin-Northern Michigan District. Feeling called to missions work, they were both appointed as AG missionaries to Bolivia in May 1951, where they attended six months of language school at Cochabamba and then moved to the capital city of La Paz, where they ministered until July 1969. During this time, Monroe Grams was pastor, director, and founder of La Paz Evangelistic Center and national superintendent (1960-65). He also started a night Bible school in La Paz (1960) and Altiplano Bible Institute at General Pando, Bolivia (1955). The school in Bolivia trained pastors for Aymara Indian churches and later relocated to La Paz in 1969. Monroe and Betty Grams each later earned a B.A. degree from NCU in 1963. Monroe also earned an M.A. degree in communication and anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

During the 1960s, the Gramses helped develop PACE (Program of Applied Christian Education), a traveling on-site leadership training program throughout 25 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Monroe became the founder and dean of Latin America Advanced School of Theology (LAAST) in 1968. The Gramses served as missionaries to Argentina from July 1969 to March 1977. Monroe and Betty Grams served with Christian Training Network (formerly PACE) in Latin America from 1977 to December 2003.

Over the course of their missionary career, the Gramses taught and mentored pastors and their spouses in every Spanish-speaking country in Latin America. Betty wrote articles for Women’s Touch, Mountain Movers, the Pentecostal Evangel, and other publications. She also authored a Spanish music teaching manual and wrote Women of Grace, a popular Bible study book. Monroe and Betty coauthored the Spanish family book, Familia, Fe y Felicidad (1984).

After 51 years of marriage, Betty Jane passed away in 2000. The next year, Monroe married Clemencia Hackley, who had a long career as a missionary working with Hispanics and Spanish language literature. They retired to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they lived for close to 20 years when Monroe passed away on July 31, 2021.

The Grams family has had four generations of AG ministers. Monroe’s father, Gottlieb Grams, received his ministerial license when he was in his 60s, and seven of the nine Grams boys were ordained. Two of Monroe’s three sisters were married to AG ministers. Monroe and Betty Jane Grams’ three children followed in the ministry. Son Rocky Grams is an AG missionary in Argentina, and both daughters, Mona Re and Rachel Jo, married AG ministers.

For over 40 years, Monroe and Betty Grams made a significant contribution to the training and development of church leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Forty-five years ago in the Pentecostal Evangel, Betty Jane Grams shared a powerful testimony of an Argentine woman named Pilar whom she had befriended. The woman was diagnosed with cancer and began going through treatments. She was scared and needed a friend, so Betty Jane began to meet with her to pray with her, encourage her, and enlighten her about the gospel of Christ. She shared some books on miracles and shared about the love of God. One part of their conversation centered around a wood carving given to Pilar’s father many years earlier. It depicted a man standing at a door, and she did not know who this was. She always had wondered. Betty Jane shared that Jesus is standing at our heart’s door knocking and wants us to let Him in.

Pila was excited to know the meaning of the wood carving and soon accepted the reality of the gospel. She prayed the sinner’s prayer and asked Jesus to come into her heart. She was saved at Christmastime, and soon her countenance glowed as she realized the joy of salvation. Her husband also noticed the difference.

Betty Jane Grams invited Pilar and her husband to attend the Christmas cantata that their church was presenting. Pilar and her husband, Walter, came, and they both had tears of joy as they realized the precious meaning of Christmas. It was Pilar’s first Christmas since she had given her heart to God. Not long after this, Pilar’s cancer worsened, and she passed away. The Gramses had left to come back to the United States, and Walter wrote about her death: “When she left us, she wore a resplendent smile. Her face simply glowed with a beautiful life. Now I must believe in eternal life.”

The Gramses had busy schedules, but they did not let their leadership, educational, and writing responsibilities prevent them from ministering to hurting people.

Monroe and Betty Grams started life in small towns on the northern tier of the United States, but they ended life as prominent Assemblies of God missionaries in Latin America. Ministry became a way of life for the Grams family, and countless family members have devoted their lives to sharing the gospel at home and abroad.

Read “You Have Led Me to the Light” by Betty Jane Grams on page 8 of the Dec. 4, 1977, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Disappointed Angels,” by C.M. Ward

• “What Happened That Night?” by Russell R. Wisehart

• “Through Heaven’s Gate,” by Edith Manchester

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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65th Anniversary of the Touch the World Fund: Assemblies of God Women’s Ministries and Missions

This Week in AG History — September 18, 1977

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, September 22, 2022

The Touch the World Fund — the missions arm of Assemblies of God Women’s Ministries — celebrates its 65th anniversary this year. The fund provides indoor equipment and furnishings for designated missionaries from AG World and U.S. Missions as well as compassion ministries.

When the fund was established in 1957, it was called The Etta Calhoun Fund. Women and girls who were part of Women’s Ministries and Missionettes (now National Girls Ministries) would take up a special offering for this fund on or near September 19, which is the birthday of Etta Calhoun, the founder of Women’s Ministries. Etta Calhoun died without realizing her ambition to go to the mission field. But she set a pattern of Spirit-inspired work for women by which the WMs have literally “reached their arms around the world.” The Touch the World Fund is one way that AG women and girls ministries can help support U.S. and World missions. Missionaries are indebted to funds received from programs such as BGMC, National Girls Ministries Coins for Kids, Royal Rangers Master’s Toolbox, Speed the Light, and the Touch the World Fund.

The original goal for these funds was to “help the missionary to get to the field and stay there.” This goal then led into many related avenues where funds were needed for equipment and furnishings. Over the years, this fund has helped Hillcrest Children’s Home and Highlands Child Placement Service (now COMPACT Family Services), servicemen’s centers, Teen Challenge centers, missionary Bible institutes, missionary rest houses, and special programs such as Hope for the Handicapped. A few of the items purchased through the Etta Calhoun Fund include refrigerators, stoves, water coolers, washing machines, dryers, beds, mattresses, desks, tables, chairs, pianos, and organs.

In September 1977, Linda Upton, WM representative, wrote an article titled, “Thanks to the Wonderful WMs,” which focused on the Etta Calhoun Fund. She shared some testimonies from recipients of the fund. Sam Johnson, head of the Mount Hope Portuguese Bible Institute in Lisbon, Portugal, said, “Please know we are indebted for your sacrificial contribution of $2,000.” One of the items purchased was a dishwasher. Leo Bankson, president of Good Shepherd Indian Bible School in Mobridge, South Dakota, wrote, “We have received the Etta Calhoun check, and from the deep of our hearts we are grateful!” Those funds helped the school to purchase two electric stoves, two refrigerators, and dorm furniture.

Howard Foltz, director of the Eurasia Teen Challenge, wrote, “We deeply appreciate the vital assistance that the Women’s Ministries gives to world evangelism…. We want to express special appreciation for $1,500 from the Etta Calhoun Fund for the equipment in our Teen Challenge Training Center here in Wiesbaden.” Missionary Byron Niles of Quito, Ecuador wrote, “Thanks to the wonderful WMs for your tremendous help in beginning our new Bible school program here in Quito.… Please accept our gratitude for the desks and blackboards.”

Testimonies also came from Verne Warner, coordinator of the Program of Advanced Christian Education (PACE) in Miami, Florida; the International Bible College in the Republic of South Africa; a group of AG missionaries in Temuco, Chile who gathered for a pastor’s retreat; Bethel Bible School in Bethel, Alaska; and the American Indian Bible Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

A special project organized nationally in 1976 was the purchase of a new organ for the American Indian Bible Institute. The project in 1977 was to raise money for classroom furniture and equipment for the Assemblies of God School in Suva, Fiji Islands. Many districts designate a special project each year to earmark for a special offering for Touch the World. Some churches take up special offerings once a year, but monies can be given throughout the year to the Touch the World Fund.

Read, “Thanks to the Wonderful WMs,” on page 20 of the Sept. 18, 1977, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Jesus Noticed,” by C.M. Ward

• “Jesus Took Bread and Blessed It,” by Stan Michael

• “What Mean These Stones?” by Del Tarr

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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One of God’s Firebrands: Oren Munger, Assemblies of God Missionary to Nicaragua

This Week in AG History — September 15, 1945

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 15 September 2022

Oren Munger, an Assemblies of God missionary, died in Nicaragua at the young age of 25. The Sept. 15, 1945, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel alerted readers of his passing, which his colleague Harold McKinney, Jr. called a “great personal shock.”

Oren and his wife, Florence, graduated from Central Bible Institute in 1941 and had been in Nicaragua for three years. They had committed themselves fully to spreading the gospel. Oren was known for his powerful prayers and his musical abilities. He taught at the Bible school in Leon, Nicaragua, and often spent both days and nights interceding for revival.

Oren’s name, appropriately enough, was the imperative form of the Spanish verb meaning “to pray.” When he rode on muleback into rural areas in Nicaragua, people would ask, “What is your name?” He would respond, “Oren.” Because “oren” was a command in Spanish to pray, the inquirers would go away and start praying. After a while, they would come back and ask his name again, only to receive the same answer.

Oren lived up to his name. He regularly prayed until he was exhausted. His body weakened due to his strenuous ministry schedule and lack of sleep.

While ministering in a remote location in March 1945, Oren was stricken with typhoid. He died five months later, but not before he made a significant impact on the Assemblies of God in Nicaragua.

Oren’s passion for missions overflowed onto the pages of the letters he sent from Nicaragua. In one of his letters he wrote the following:

“The challenge of untouched regions is indeed great. God grant us in reality the purpose and power that motivated the apostle Paul. It is not in the great numbers of missionaries that the evangelism of the world lies, but in the intense glow with which the firebrands burn.”

Oren Munger was one of God’s firebrands.

Read the tributes to Oren Munger on page 11 of the Sept. 15, 1945, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Our Pastors in Uniform: Assemblies of God Chaplains,” by Harry A. Jaeger

• “Things Which Make Revivals Possible,” by Arthur H. Graves

• “Touching Our Lord Jesus,” by W.W. Simpson

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 Missions Publications: From Missionary Challenge to Worldview Magazine

This Week in AG History —August 30, 1959

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 01 September 2022

The Pentecostal revival that birthed the Assemblies of God in 1914 brought with it a revival of dedication to the mission that each believer must “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” There was an urgency to take the message to the ends of the earth and, along with that, was born a pressing need to communicate the progress of this effort, along with its needs and concerns.

The first official weekly publication of the Assemblies of God, the Christian Evangel (later renamed the Pentecostal Evangel), began publishing updates and needs from the 32 recognized missionaries approved at the first General Council in April 1914. J. Roswell Flower, the first general secretary and, in 1919, the first missions secretary, also served as the editor of the Evangel and sought to use the publication to bring increased cooperation from the churches in support of the missions effort.

In 1944, under the direction of editor Kenneth Short, a separate quarterly publication devoted exclusively to missions was created. The Missionary Challenge (later changed to World Challenge) carried a format that highlighted a variety of updates from the field, emphasized a field in focus, provided a daily prayer devotional plan, and a prayer list for each missionary’s birthday. It also included a Junior Challenge with a story written specially to communicate to children the need for world missions.

As more departments of the General Council were created, the publication was used to highlight reports and opportunities provided by the Women’s Missionary Council (WMC), Boys’ and Girls’ Missionary Crusade (BGMC), Light for the Lost (LFTL), and Speed the Light (STL).

In March of 1959, World Challenge announced that the missions publication would merge with the denominational weekly, the Pentecostal Evangel, in order to increase the circulation of missionary articles.

However, the Aug. 30, 1959, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel features the relatively new promotions secretary of the Foreign Missions Department, J. Philip Hogan, announcing a new missions publication in an article titled, “Why Another Missionary Magazine?”

The new periodical was called Global Conquest after the new initiative approved by the missions department. Hogan gave three reasons for the decision to return to a separate missions publication: 1) The 1960s promised to be an era of “stepped-up communications” and the voice of missions must assert itself to be heard amongst the competing voices; 2) The commitment of the Assemblies of God was to communicate with each donor what was happening with their investment; and 3) Missions deserved “priority status” so as not to be lost among other reports featured within the larger Evangel publication.

Global Conquest
continued as the official missions initiative, along with the free quarterly publication of the same name until 1967, when it was determined that some people incorrectly thought the title implied political ambitions. The name was changed to Good News Crusades, in support of the mass evangelism efforts of city outreaches, also called Good News Crusades, taking place on the field. The publication was changed from quarterly to bi-monthly.

In 1979, missions leaders realized that “crusades” might also carry bad connotations in some parts of the world and Good News Crusades was replaced by a monthly magazine, Mountain Movers. This periodical was sent free of charge to every Assemblies of God missions donor for almost 20 years. Joyce Wells Booze served as its initial editor. Under her leadership, there was a concerted effort to provide short articles written by missionaries on a reading level that would appeal to all ages.

Mountain Movers was merged into the Pentecostal Evangel in 1998, and the first Sunday edition of each monthly Evangel featured solely missions content. This practice continued until the Pentecostal Evangel ceased print publication in 2014.

Without the Pentecostal Evangel, Assemblies of God missions leaders felt it was vital to continue a steady stream of print communication about the needs and concerns of the worldwide evangelistic mission of the church. Worldview magazine was commissioned in 2015 as a monthly periodical to continue to fulfill the imperative of the mission enunciated by Hogan in 1959: to ensure that world evangelism is a priority in the Assemblies of God.

Read the announcement of the publication of Global Conquest on page 7 of the Aug. 30, 1959, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Pentecost in the Philippines,” by Alfred Cawston

• “Miracles in A Missionary’s Life,” by C.M. Ward

• “Reaching the Children for Christ,” by Leonard and Genevieve Olson

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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From Fascism to Christ: Bruno Frigoli Fought for Mussolini, Found Christ, and Became an Assemblies of God Leader in Bolivia

Bruno Frigoli (right), who ministered to Colonel Banzer’s soldiers in 1958, presenting a Bible to Hugo Banzer, president of Bolivia, in 1972.

This Week in AG History — June 18, 1972

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, June 16, 2022

In his teenage years, Bruno Frigoli was an Italian soldier and fought for Mussolini in World War II. After he was tried and acquitted of war crimes, he decided to start a new life in Bolivia, where he converted to Christ. Bruno became an Assemblies of God minister and missionary, serving in both Bolivia and the United States.

Bruno Robert Frigoli (1926-2020) was born in Ronchi dei Legionari, Northern Italy. His father was a lieutenant colonel in the Italian army, and at the age of 17, Bruno joined the war effort as a soldier under Mussolini. He attended a military college in Italy and trained for specialized anti-guerilla operations. He received several commendations for his work in this kind of warfare. He became a first lieutenant in the Italian army with the special troops of the Alps and took part in several dangerous missions.

In his last mission, before the collapse of the Italian army, he and a fellow officer were chosen to scout out an area, and they were ambushed. The other officer was killed by a barrage of bullets. Frigoli’s ear was grazed, so he decided to lay down on the ground next to the other officer to pretend he also had been killed. Later that night, once the coast was clear, he crawled and staggered back to camp, bringing the body of his comrade with him so that he would have the honor of a military funeral.

When the war ended, Frigoli and other Italian officers were confined to a prison at Sondrio, Italy. Over time, each of them were brought to trial for their war crimes, and 12 out of 13 of them were executed. Only Bruno remained. When it was his turn to come to trial, the Catholic chaplain took the opportunity to speak favorably of Bruno. He said that Bruno was a kind-hearted man. He could not be a brutal killer and was only carrying out orders. Something changed the attitude of the prosecutor, and suddenly he pronounced that Officer Frigoli should be freed. The judge said, “Cleared. Not guilty! You are free to go.”

Even with his freedom, there were still people who wanted Bruno dead because of his previous involvement with the Fascist army. He determined that he must leave Italy. He managed to scrape up enough money to travel to Argentina to begin a new life, and there he became a construction foreman under the Argentine government, overseeing a thousand workers. He married a hometown sweetheart from Italy named Tilly, and they had three children together. Even with successes in his life, he felt unsettled.

Eventually a friend convinced Bruno that riches awaited him in the jungles of northern Bolivia. He left his construction business in Bariloche, Argentina, and went to the Beni area of Bolivia in search of gold. After discouraging results from the search for gold, he established himself in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, working in the lumber industry. He became the manager of a sawmill that his wife’s family had purchased.

One day Bruno was traveling from Santa Cruz toward the jungle. He flung his army shirt over the back of the seat. After several hours he noticed the shirt was gone, and it had all his important documents in it. By this time it was getting dark. What was he going to do? He came across two women, Pearl Estep and Flora Shafer, who were Assemblies of God missionaries. They were traveling toward Santa Cruz. He told them about losing the shirt somewhere along the way. He asked if they would look for it and return it to him when he came back to the city. If they found it, the best place to meet, they said, was the church.

Bruno agreed to meet them at their church on his return trip. He arrived at the church in time for the morning service, and he met the pastor, missionary Everett Hale. The pastor told him the women had not returned, but if he would come to the evening service, he could talk to them. The women came to the evening service, but they had been unable to locate the shirt.

Bruno was not very impressed with the little church and was disappointed that his shirt was not found. But something about the church caused him to return. On Good Friday, April 3, 1953, a guest preacher from the Salvation Army preached. Bruno and his brother-in-law, Leonardo, both were in attendance. The message was about the Prodigal Son, and both of the men felt like they needed God. They both went forward at the altar call and prayed for salvation. One year later, Bruno received the baptism in the Holy Spirit at a church in La Paz, Bolivia.

Soon after this, Bruno began preparing for ministry. He became a Sunday School superintendent and pioneered a new assembly at the edge of the jungle. He was anxious to serve God in any way possible. He asked himself repeatedly, “Am I doing enough?” He wanted to step into full-time ministry.

Then tragedy struck. The Frigolis were in a terrible auto accident, and Tilly was killed. Bruno suffered major injuries and was flown back to Italy to recover. His three children were placed with Tilly’s parents. He eventually returned to Bolivia, and he became a full-time pastor.

Bruno received local ordination in December 1961. He attended Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri, in 1962. During this same time he met his wife, Frances Ruth (Hiddema) Frigoli, who was serving as a missionary nurse in Bolivia. They were married on June 18, 1962.

Bruno received U.S. ordination through the New Jersey District in October 1967 while serving as a missionary. At that time he was pastor of the Evangelistic Center of the Assemblies of God, which was Bolivia’s largest Protestant church and located in the heart of La Paz, the capital city. He also served as the national secretary before becoming general superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Bolivia. He was an international Bible teacher, and he also was in charge of a night Bible school in Bolivia. He served on various boards, including the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization.

The Frigolis served together as missionaries in Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina for 30 years. They also worked for LIFE Publishers. Frances passed away in July 2019, and Bruno passed away on May 10, 2020, in Grandville, Michigan.

In an interview with Bruno Frigoli in 1972, he shared about his amazing conversion and his subsequent missionary work in Bolivia and Latin America. He had been trained to fight in anti-guerrilla warfare in the Alps of Italy and ended up becoming a soldier of the Cross in the Andes of South America.

Frigoli’s story was also featured in a Revivaltime booklet produced by C. M. Ward that outlined his testimony of a former Fascist who later served Christ as a missionary in Bolivia.

Read “From the Alps to the Andes” on page 24 of the June 18, 1972, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Day That Changed My Life,” by Glen Bonds

• “Outreach to a College Community”

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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These Assemblies of God Missionaries Fought Sex Trafficking in Japan over 100 Years Ago

This Week in AG History — June 9, 1917

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 09 June 2022

The June 9, 1917, issue of The Weekly Evangel featured a shocking photograph on its front cover — a picture of 10 female prostitutes in Japan, locked behind a window with bars. The caption read, “Sold! Carest thou not that we perish?” This image of sexual slavery was intended to provoke readers to pray for and support the ministry of William and Mary Taylor, early Assemblies of God missionaries who helped to free women involved in prostitution in Japan.

The caption beneath the photograph further described the plight of the women: “Sold to work evil, the conditions of thousands of these poor girls is indeed pitiful. These hopeless slaves are dolled up, painted and powdered, and then exposed to the gaze of every passerby, whose trade they are expected to solicit.”

The Taylors and their ministry colleagues, through the Door of Hope Mission in Kobe, Japan, worked tirelessly to free woman who found themselves caught in a life of sex trafficking. Prostitution had been first legalized in Japan 300 years earlier, in 1617. In an article in The Weekly Evangel, William Taylor described the disastrous consequences of the sex trade. He pled for readers to pray for the women — whom he called “somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister.”

Christians must not be silent about the evil of sex trafficking, Taylor warned. He cited Scripture, “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).

William and Mary Taylor, citizens of Great Britain, first arrived as missionaries in Japan in 1905 and were sent by the Japan Evangelistic Band, an evangelical missions organization. William Taylor was the second cousin of Hudson Taylor of the China Inland Mission. They returned to Britain on furlough in 1910 and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. They transferred their credentials to the Pentecostal Missionary Union of Great Britain and returned to Japan in 1913, and then to the American Assemblies of God in 1917. They were among the earliest Pentecostal missionaries to Japan, and they continued their work with victims of Japanese sex trafficking into the 1920s.

The story of the William and Mary Taylor illustrates that veteran evangelical missionaries became some of the first Pentecostal missionaries, and that the Assemblies of God, since its earliest years, has supported ministry to meet the deepest spiritual and social needs of people around the world.

Read the article by William J. Taylor, “So I Opened My Mouth,” on pages 1 and 3 of the June 9, 1917, issue of The Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Pictures of Pentecost in the Old Testament,” by Alice E. Luce

• “Sweet Smelling Roses on Thorny Bushes, or God’s Encouragement Along the Way,” by Max Freimark

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel and The Weekly 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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Don and Virginia Corbin: Assemblies of God Missionaries to Africa

This Week in AG History —May 5, 1974

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 14 April 2022

Don and Virginia Corbin, Assemblies of God missionaries to Africa, both received a heritage of service to God from their parents and, through God’s faithfulness, raised their own children to serve the Lord while experiencing the joys and challenges of missionary living.

The Corbin family came into the Pentecostal movement though the ministry of two evangelist sisters, Zella and Lillian Green, when Don’s great-grandfather, Daniel Boone Corbin, received the infilling of the Holy Spirit, as did his son, John, in Couch, Missouri. John’s son, Cecil, was saved and filled with the Spirit in 1919. Cecil’s son, Don Corbin, was born in 1937 and committed his life to Christ at a youth camp service in the Southern Missouri District of the Assemblies of God during his high school years.

Meanwhile, Virginia Jones was experiencing the adventurous life of a pioneer missionary kid in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), West Africa. Her parents, Harold and Margaret Jones, met at Southern California Bible Institute (now Vanguard University) and sailed for West Africa in January of 1932. The third child in the family, Virginia, was born in 1936 and grew up speaking English and French on the savanna of Mossiland, where she developed a love for African culture and people.

Corbin later attended Central Bible Institute (CBI, later Central Bible College) in Springfield, Missouri, in the 1950s where he was admitted to Burge Hospital for an appendectomy. There he was cared for by a student nurse named Virginia, who was preparing to return to her homeland of Upper Volta. They struck up a friendship, but the relationship was stalled because Corbin showed no interest in serving in Africa.

While traveling with a CBI musical group, The Crusaders Trio, Don spent some time in the apartment of Talmage Butler, a missionary to Senegal. Butler kept the young singer up until 3 a.m. with stories of the need and open opportunities in West Africa. Before turning in for the night, the elder missionary looked at young Corbin and said, “I feel compelled of the Holy Spirit to ask you what you will do with your life, considering the great need in the world.”

Through a gradual but persistent calling, Corbin surrendered his life to gospel work in Africa. He later was able to rekindle his friendship with Virginia, who had returned to Springfield for more education after using her nursing skills in Upper Volta. This time Corbin was ready to commit his life, not only to Virginia, but also to the land that she loved.

After graduating from CBI, the Corbins took a pastorate in Covelo, California, and received ministerial credentials with the Northern California-Nevada District of the Assemblies of God. In 1964, they sailed for Senegal, a country that was particularly resistant to the Christian faith and dominated by Islam for nine centuries. They were asked to take leadership of a small church, Evangel Temple, in the capital of Dakar. It was the only evangelical church in the city of one million people. During their time there, they were able to establish the first Christian secondary school in the land and make friends with people in the Islamic government.

In 1969, they moved to Kaolack, an important market town on the bank of the Saloum River. There they started a weekly radio broadcast giving greater credibility to the Christian message. When the government wanted to establish a radio station in the interior of the country, they asked Corbin to provide programming to fill in the time gaps. Soon they were broadcasting 50 Christian radio programs a week, using African voices, African music, and African proverbs to show people that Christianity was a faith for the African people. Many tribal chieftains heard the programming and invited them to come to their village to teach more.

In the May 5, 1974, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Africa Field Secretary Morris Williams highlighted the Corbin family in an article titled, “The Mission House.” He told of the “huge barn of a place” that had a second floor that served as a home for Don and Virginia and their four children, Cherisse, Christine, Donald (Craig), and Cathy while the first floor was a bustling headquarters of missionary activity. Williams describes their home as “a refuge for birds, monkeys, dogs, games, toys … and a place to bring your school friends on a holiday; a place warm with love and understanding where you can roam at will and let your imagination run wild. This home is a beehive of activity, and no one has time to dwell on the shortcomings of the shell.”

In 1975, Corbin became the area director for West and Central Africa with oversight of 11 countries: Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Zaire. Virginia helped to organize ministry to the multitudes of Africa women, taught in the Bible schools, and personally led all four of their children to faith in Christ.

After Morris Williams retired, Corbin was the logical choice to serve as the next field director (now regional director) for Africa. The Corbins faithfully served in this position for the next 17 years, seeing the Assemblies of God churches in Africa grow exponentially. Upon retiring in 2002, they continued to teach in the African context and travel the United States raising awareness of the need for new missionaries to carry on the work of God on the African continent. All four of their children continue to serve the Lord in education, African mission work, and in caring for their parents, now in their 80s.

When Daniel Boone Corbin came into the Pentecostal movement in the early 1900s and when Harold and Margaret Jones set foot on the shores of Africa in 1932, they could not have imagined that their grandchildren and great-grandchildren would carry on the Kingdom work that God had only begun in their lives. Continue to pray for the Corbin family, that God would raise up even yet another generation of workers in the whitened harvest fields of the world.

Read the article “The Mission House,” on page 8 of the May 5, 1974 of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Ruined Place that Became A Garden” by Ron Snider

• “Our Night of Miracles” by Medora Harvell

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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From Norway to Nepal: Agnes Beckdahl, Pioneer Pentecostal Missionary

This Week in AG History — April 9, 1967

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, April 7, 2022

Agnes Nikola (Thelle) Beckdahl (1876-1968) was one of the first Pentecostal evangelists to Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and England, and for over 50 years she served as an Assemblies of God missionary in Northern India near the border of Nepal.

Beckdahl was born at Andoen, an island near Kristiansand off the coast of Norway. She made a commitment to serve God in her teen years and later renewed her dedication at age 20. At that time, she felt a strong conviction that she was called to the mission field.

In December 1906, soon after the aftershocks from the Azusa revival had reached the European continent, Beckdahl ventured to Christiania (now Oslo), the capital of Norway, to help in mission and jail service at the Christiania Bymission (City Mission), founded by T. B. Barratt. While attending Barratt’s mission and Bible school, she opened her heart to more of God. Soon she received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Beginning in May 1907, Agnes, and a Norwegian coworker, Dagmar Gregersen, traveled as missionary evangelists in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, and several other places. Many years later she reported on these travels: “We were the first to bring the Pentecostal testimony to Germany in spring time 1907. Went through seven countries in Europe including the Eastern United States from Boston, Massachusetts and Connecticut and New York State. I think more than 2,000 were saved and filled with the Spirit on that tour. It was a wonderful revival with an outpouring of the Holy Ghost in convicting power upon the whole world during that time!”

After traveling in evangelistic work in Europe and the United States, Beckdahl attended the Missionary Institute at Nyack, New York, in preparation to go as a missionary to India. Stopping in Norway and in England first, she arrived in India on May 10, 1910. She visited Pandita Ramabai’s Mukti Mission in Poona, India. While at Poona, she met a Salvation Army officer from Denmark named Christian Beckdahl. They kept in touch. Agnes ended up going to the Mission House at Fyzabad, India, and Christian began missionary work near the border of Nepal with the American Pentecostal Mission. Later Agnes and two coworkers were at a mission station in Nepalganj, also on the border of Nepal. Christian and Agnes decided to get married. The marriage took place in the Scandinavian Evangelical Mission in Brooklyn, New York, on Aug. 14, 1915. Two days later, they both were ordained as missionaries with the Assemblies of God at Wells Memorial Gospel Assembly in Tottenville, New York.

After some deputational work, the Beckdahls sailed for India in December 1915. They established a work in Nanpara on the border of Nepal, where Agnes had previously lived. The Beckdahls traveled throughout Northern India and in Nepal, evangelizing everywhere they went. They served as missionaries together in India for over 50 years until Christian’s death in November 1950. They raised one son, Samuel Beckdahl, who also served as an AG missionary in India and who married Ruth Merian, daughter of AG missionaries Fred and Lillian Merian.

After her husband’s death, Agnes Beckdahl returned to the United States where she lived in retirement in Pinellas Park Home and later in Bethany Retirement Home in Lakeland, Florida. She passed away on Jan. 17, 1968, at the age of 91.

During the 1960s, the Pentecostal Evangel published a series of profiles of early Assemblies of God ministers and missionaries. One of these profiles featured Agnes Beckdahl and her missionary work at Nanpara, India.

Read Agnes Beckdahl’s article, “Along the Nepal Border,” on page 22 of the April 9, 1967, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Old Farmer” by Bruce S. Williams

• “Tend Your Garden,” by Joyce Wells Booze

And many more!

Click here to read these issues 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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