Tag Archives: Assemblies of God

Charlie Lee: Acclaimed Navajo Artist and Assemblies of God Leader

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This Week in AG History — April 24, 1960

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 21 April 2016

Charlie Lee (1924-2003), a talented young Navajo artist, won widespread recognition and numerous awards for his paintings and sketches of life on the reservation. Despite his success, Lee felt dissatisfied with his life. In the fall of 1947, an Apache school friend invited him to visit an Assemblies of God church at the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, where he found new life and accepted Christ on New Year’s Day, 1948.

Feeling called to the ministry, Lee enrolled at Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri. He graduated in 1951 and traveled extensively as an evangelist among Native Americans. In 1953, Lee and his wife, Coralie, returned to his home state of New Mexico and pioneered Mesa View Assembly of God in Shiprock. Lee wanted to share the hope he had found in Christ with other Native Americans.

Lee continued to paint, mostly depictions of Native life, but his primary concern was ministry. Within 10 years, his congregation grew to several hundred people, mostly converts who had previously been addicted to alcohol or other drugs.

Lee became one of the best-known Native American pastors within the Assemblies of God. His congregation in Shiprock, in 1976, became the first Native American church on a federally recognized reservation to make the transition from being a supported mission to a fully indigenous, self-supporting, General Council-affiliated church. While some non-Christians criticized Lee for neglecting his art in favor of ministry, Lee responded that he derived a “greater thrill” from seeing the “Master Artist” painting on the canvas of people’s lives.

Read Lee’s testimony, “Navajo Artist Builds a Church for His People,” which was published on pages 8 and 9 of the April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Africa As I Saw It,” by C. C. Crace

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

• “Has God Forgotten?” by Meyer and Alice Tan-Ditter

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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Despite Opposition, Assemblies of God Founders Supported Missionaries AND Famine Relief

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Alfred and Myrtle Blakeney, Assemblies of God missionaries to India, and their five children (1920)

This Week in AG History — April 16, 1921

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 14 April 2016

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 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) 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: www.iFPHC.org

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1937 Campus Revivals at Central Bible Institute and Southeastern Bible Institute

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This Week in AG History — April 10, 1937

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 7 April 2016

Seventy-nine years ago, two Assemblies of God colleges experienced unusual seasons of revival. The April 10, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel reported that Central Bible Institute (which became Central Bible College, Springfield, Missouri) and Southeastern Bible Institute (now Southeastern University, Lakeland, Florida) experienced “times of refreshing.”

L. R. Lynch, reporting on the revival at Central Bible Institute, wrote “For days we had expected something to happen. The air seemed laden with heavenly power. Nobody knew what to do to insure God’s best for us. Everybody was eager to learn more about Jesus.”

Lynch related that students began making public confessions, prompted by piercing messages that revealed the darkness of sin. Finally, he wrote, “the flood-gates of heaven were opened for us. God heard our humble cries. When we reached the foundation-rock, the heavenly fire blazed from the supernatural glory, while shouts of praise and thanksgiving rose from exultant hearts.”

The revival at Central Bible Institute lasted five days, during which 17 people were baptized in the Spirit and 16 felt a call into “different fields of labor, including India, China, Africa, and South America.”

Edgar Bethany reported about a similar revival at Southeastern Bible Institute. Bethany wrote, “Morning chapel service which ordinarily lasts from eight to nine could not be terminated. Volumes of prayer mingled with tears and at times strong crying, ascended to the throne of grace. Messages and wonderful interpretations were given by the Spirit. It resulted in a breaking up in practically every heart.”

What was the long-term impact of these spiritual outpourings? Lynch surmised that revival’s “true value” is something that “only eternity can reveal.”

Read the two articles on page 11 of the April 10, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
* “Blessed is He, Whoever Shall Not Be Offended,” by Stanley Frodsham
* “It Happened to Me: A Presbyterian Minister Receives the Baptism,” by E. R. Robertson
* “The Shekinah: Is the Fiery, Cloudy Pillar Ours Through Confession or Contrition?” by Zelma Argue

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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2015/2016 Assemblies of God Heritage – Now Available Online and in Hard Copy!

WoodHeritage 2016The 2015/2016 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine is hot-off-the-press and is in the mail to all Assemblies of God USA ministers and subscribers! Selected articles are also accessible for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website.

This edition uncovers the stories of Assemblies of God pastors, evangelists, and missionaries who hailed from a variety of religious and social backgrounds. Despite their differences, they shared a worldview that, at its heart, was a transformative experience with God.

Some, like Dr. Lilian Yeomans, were well-known. A Canadian medical doctor who became addicted to her own drugs, Yeomans nearly died before experiencing a transforming encounter with God. She went on to become a noted faith healer and author. Her gripping story of addiction and deliverance speaks directly to one of the great social problems in America today.

Others, such as “Aunt” Fanny Lack, engaged in local ministry. A member of the Hoopa Indian Tribe, Lack converted to Christ at a Pentecostal revival in 1920—at age 100. She was delivered from a tobacco addiction and was also healed of physical infirmities (she was blind and lame). She became a stalwart member of the Hoopa Assembly of God and was a remarkably active lay minister until about age 109. Newspapers across the nation picked up Lack’s fascinating story, but she had been largely omitted from scholarly histories. That is, until now.

This edition also includes the inspiring stories of missionaries Anna Sanders, Barney Moore, and Emile Chastagner, as well as pastors Samuel Jamieson, Joseph Wannenmacher, and Elmer Muir. What did these early Pentecostals share in common? Each faced deep personal struggles, but when they placed their trust and faith in God, they discovered renewed meaning and opportunities in life.

Following Christ did not make their lives perfect. Some (such as Joseph Wannenmacher) experienced physical healing; others (such as Emile Chastagner’s wife) did not. And, as Anna Sanders discovered, becoming a Christian does not necessarily take away the pain or consequences of a divorce. In spite of these difficulties, she went on to become a revered founder of the Assemblies of God in Mexico.

Many readers will be surprised to learn that Bethel Gospel Assembly, the historic African-American congregation in Harlem, was started by a young German woman, Lillian Kraeger, in 1916. Kraeger was heartbroken that her white Assemblies of God congregation rejected the membership applications of two black girls on account of their race, and she did not want them to fall away from the Lord.

The congregation grew to become the largest in the United Pentecostal Council Assemblies of God (UPCAG), the African American denomination which entered into an agreement of cooperative affiliation with the Assemblies of God in 2014. Bethel Gospel Assembly, which is now jointly affiliated with the UPCAG and the Assemblies of God, has long viewed its own history and mission as one of racial reconciliation. The congregation’s story is important, particularly in this age of racial discord.

Finally, an article about spiritual manifestations in early Pentecostalism may raise eyebrows. Some early Pentecostals, for instance, claimed to have extra-biblical spiritual gifts, including levitation and writing in tongues! Early Pentecostal church leaders learned valuable lessons regarding discernment of spiritual gifts, and these lessons continue to be helpful today.

Access these articles for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website. You can also order a hard copy of Assemblies of God Heritage for yourself or as a gift. The 2015/2016 edition is available for $8, and over 100 different back issues are available, as supplies last, for only $3 each. To order, click here or call toll free: (877) 840-5200.

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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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Budding Assemblies of God Missionary, Paul Weidman, Jr., Died in Africa at Age 7

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Pastor Quaysom and missionaries Virginia and Paul Weidman, Accra, Gold Coast, 1951.


This Week in AG History — March 26, 1938

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 24 March 2016

Paul and Virginia Weidman, pioneer Assemblies of God missionaries to Africa, traveled in 1937 to Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), where they worked among the Mossi people. One of their sons, Paul, Jr., learned the Mossi language quickly and was able to interpret for his missionary father. The Mossi loved this little boy, who played with their children and who became a bridge across the cultural and linguistic divides.

Little Paul’s budding missionary career was cut short when he contracted blackwater fever and died on February 8, 1938. Paul, Jr., who was just under seven years of age, was buried in a dirt cemetery near the town of Tenkodogo.

Seventy-eight years ago, the March 26, 1938, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel shared Virginia Weidman’s account of this tragedy:

“Saturday afternoon he lay in his bed and sang with all his heart (in the More language) “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus.” Then he preached, as he so often did, saying, “Do not follow Satan’s road but follow God’s road, for it alone leads to heaven through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In a short time extreme pain started. How we did call unto God for deliverance; yet He gave us grace to say, “Not my will but Thine be done.” What a ray of sunshine he has been in our home! Only God can fill the vacancy. In times like this we are made to know that our Redeemer liveth.”

Paul Jr.’s death was the first of several tragedies to befall the Weidmans as they pioneered the Assemblies of God in Upper Volta. Was this suffering worth it? Forty years later the Weidmans, who had retired from mission work, returned to Burkina Faso for a visit. An elderly Mossi pastor, who decades earlier had witnessed the death of Paul Jr., assured them, “It was not in vain, missionary. There are now churches everywhere.”

Today, the Assemblies of God is the largest Protestant denomination in Burkina Faso, with more than 1,204,000 members and over 3,600 churches and preaching points.

Read the article, “Little One Called Home,” by Virginia Weidman on page 7 of the March 26, 1938, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

General Superintendent George O. Wood, the nephew of Paul and Virginia Weidman, recounted the story of their missionary work in Burkina Faso in the 2007 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage, which is accessible by clicking here.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Not Debarred from our Priestly Service,” by T. J. Jones

• “Setting the Oppressed Free,” by Arthur W. Frodsham

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

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The Assemblies of God Developed its Missionary Identity Amidst War, Famine, and Economic Privation

 

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A group of Assemblies of God church leaders and missionaries at the 1919 General Council, Chicago, Illinois. J. Roswell Flower is pictured in the back row on the right.

This Week in AG History — March 20, 1920

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 17 March 2016

In the aftermath of the First World War (1914-1918), famine, disease, and economic privation compounded the human suffering that had been inflicted by warring soldiers. In the midst of the desperate global situation, the Assemblies of God launched and developed its fledgling missionary program.

Assemblies of God missionaries brought the gospel around the world, coupled in many instances with relief for the suffering. Assemblies of God schools and orphanages began in Egypt, India, China, and elsewhere. Every week, the Pentecostal Evangel published missionary letters that shared difficulties and triumphs experienced while sharing the gospel in word and deed around the world.

The March 20, 1920, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel published a column by Missions Secretary J. Roswell Flower, which he characterized as “a heart to heart talk,” about the importance of financially supporting AG missionaries.

In 1920, the Assemblies of God had approximately 200 men and women on its foreign missions roster. Flower noted that he had 40 additional applications for missionary endorsement on his desk. He wrote, “our best young men and young women are gladly offering themselves to go to the lands beyond the seas.”

A lack of funding threatened to keep these budding missionaries from their calling. Flower asked readers to have the faith to provide for these new missionaries, noting that missions is central to the identity of the Assemblies of God. Flower wrote, “Anyone who has had the privilege of observing the work of the Spirit as some of us have had, knows that the Pentecostal Movement is pre-eminently a missionary movement. With the first outpouring of the Spirit came an overwhelming desire to tell the whole world that Jesus is coming, with the results that many offered themselves for the foreign fields, and were sent on their mission with glad hallelujahs.”

Flower asked readers, “Shall we accept them [the new missionaries]…or shall we hold them back?” To Flower, the answer was clear — Pentecostals could not choose to ignore missions without denying their own identity. He explained, “the only thing we can do consistently with our faith and testimony is to go forward — not retrench — [and to] meet the need and care for our beloved missionaries.”

Read the article by J. Roswell Flower, “A Heart to Heart Talk,” on page 12 of the March 20, 1920, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Land Ahead!” by Elizabeth Sisson

• “Overcoming the World, the Flesh and the Devil,” by A. G. Ward

• “Great Outpouring of the Spirit at Winnipeg,” by A. H. Argue

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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She Listened to the Voice of God: Grace Agar, Linguist and Missionary to China

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Grace Agar at Bethany Retirement Home, Lakeland, Florida, circa 1962

This Week in AG History — March 12, 1967

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 10 March 2016

Grace Agar (1877-1966) was in high school when she sensed God telling her to prepare for missions work. A native of San Francisco, California, she followed God’s call and ended up on the other side of the Pacific, where she became an Assemblies of God missionary to China and a noted linguist.

Before she left America, however, Agar spent seven years in college, preparing for her future overseas. She graduated from Mills College (Oakland, California), a Christian school for women, and also studied at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, Illinois) and at the Christian and Missionary Alliance Bible School (Nyack, New York).

Finally, in 1902, the time came for Agar to set sail for China. The attractive, 25-year-old single female missionary watched her family and friends fade from sight as her boat left the harbor. Her heart sank as she realized, “I am all alone.” God whispered to her heart, just like when He called her as a missionary, and He reassured her, “I am here. I will never leave you.”

Agar excelled in school, but learning to listen to the voice of God was one of the most valuable disciplines she ever learned. In China, she continued her studies, learning the Chinese language and writing a widely-distributed book, Mandarin Tones Made Easy (1933). She also continued to draw close to the Lord in prayer and Bible study.

Her prayers and Bible teaching were very fruitful. Agar’s biography, Dark is the Land (Gospel Publishing House, 1962), noted that numerous people along the Chinese-Tibetan border accepted Christ after hearing her compelling preaching and witnessing that God answered her prayers.

Agar initially served as a missionary with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. But after she was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1912, she identified with the Pentecostal movement and spent the next decade without any denominational backing. In 1922, she transferred to the Assemblies of God, which already supported numerous missionaries in China.

The communist takeover of China forced Agar in 1937 to flee the nation where she had devoted 35 years of her life. She returned to America to a hero’s welcome. After she passed away, the March 12, 1967, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel carried a tribute to Agar. “Certainly heaven has been enriched by the presence of this missionary heroine,” the obituary concluded, “who has now answered her Lord’s final call.”

Read the article, “Missionary Heroine with the Lord,” on page 28 of the March 12, 1967, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue

  • “Unfeigned Faith,” by C. M. Ward
  • “Little Feet, What Path?” by E. E. Krogstad
  • “Sowing and Reaping in Navaholand,” by Eugene and Marian Herd

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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