Tag Archives: Congo

Ernest and Grace Lindholm: Assemblies of God Missionaries to Congo

LindholmThis Week in AG History — December 21, 1940

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 21 November 2018

Assemblies of God missionary Ernest Paul Lindholm (1907-1940) committed his life in service to God with a passion for African people. He died in the jungle just one year after arriving in the Belgian Congo. When asked the question on his missionary application in 1937, “Do you realize that certain privations and sacrifices are involved in a missionary career and do you seek appointment with the full knowledge of such possibilities and a readiness to meet them with persistent courage for Christ’s sake?” The young man, along with his fiancé, Grace Wallace, answered, “Yes.”

When Ernest and Grace set sail for the Congo in October of 1939, he was a proud husband of less than five months. Joining them on their journey were five other newly appointed missionaries: three singles — Angeline Pierce and Jay Tucker (who later married), and Gail Winters; and one couple — Ragnar and Alice Udd. Their plans had been to go to language school in Belgium, but the outbreak of World War II made that impossible, and so they traveled directly to their appointed station, taking a boat up the Nile River and settling in the Belgian Congo village of Nobe.

Ernest, a young minister with the New England district, was described as “a rare example of complete dedication to God.” He was originally appointed to serve in the Gold Coast of Africa with another single missionary, but the other missionary was unable to fulfill his commitment and so Ernest was reappointed to the Congo. By that time, he had married Grace Wallace, who also had committed her life to serve in Africa before their marriage, and she was very early in their first pregnancy when they arrived in the Congo on her birthday, Nov. 26, 1939. Their son, Stephen Paul, was born in May of 1940.

Most of their initial time was spent in establishing initial friendships, becoming familiar with the language, and opening up a construction site. Due to the outbreak of war, support checks were often delayed in arrival, so Ernest negotiated with Congolese construction workers to provide meat in exchange for labor, even though he was not overly interested in African big game hunting.

On the one-year anniversary of their arrival, Ernest awoke early in the morning with the goal in mind of finding a buffalo to pay his workers and surprise his wife with the special treat of meat for her birthday. He left before she awoke, gathered a few Congolese friends, and went to find one of the buffalo that often approached their camp.

Grace began preparing breakfast for his return when two women came running up the road and told them that an animal had killed “Bwana” (the Swahili word for “Master”). Many Congolese rushed out to help the young man they had grown to love in the past year, but found that he had been gored by a wounded African Cape Buffalo, one of the most dangerous animals on the continent. The Dec,. 21, 1940, Pentecostal Evangel published news about his death in an article entitled “Young Missionary Called to His Reward.”

When fellow missionary Gladys Taylor confirmed to Grace that her husband was dead, one of the first things she said was, “Do you think they will send me home?” Grace had felt a call to service in Africa before she was married and was concerned that the Assemblies of God would not allow a young single woman with a 6-month-old son to remain in the jungles of Africa. When Gladys Taylor wrote to Noel Perkin, the director of the missions department, regarding Ernest’s death and the desire of Grace to stay, she stated, “Mrs. Lindholm speaks well in Bagala and has a very sweet spiritual ministry.” She described Grace as having a ministry very “broken” before the Lord and “I am sure it will be more so now after this great sorrow. Such a ministry is greatly needed here.”

Grace and Stephen were allowed to stay in the Congo until she returned home for furlough in 1945. While at home, she studied practical nursing at the Salvation Army Hospital in New York. This proved to be invaluable as a need was presented in 1948 for a leper home in the Congo. Grace later wrote of this opportunity, “I left the sphere of self-reliance and entered the realm of utter dependence on the Lord. We had no money, no equipment, no land . . . to begin our work.” By 1954, Grace was providing for more than 300 lepers under her constant treatment.

Grace stayed in the Congo for 22 years after her husband’s death. She retired to New York and on March 29, 1993, her son Stephen stopped by her house to bring her the newspaper and found her unresponsive. She died that afternoon from a massive heart attack.

Gladys Taylor remarked to Noel Perkin that the ministry of broken people was much needed in the Belgian Congo. Grace Lindholm fit that description. Although her 1939 missionary interviewer remarked, “No one has pointed out any weakness in her,” it was her brokenness that God used to minister to broken people. As she said to many who urged her to return to the States after her husband’s death, “God’s grace is sufficient.”

Read the report on Ernest Lindholm’s death on page 8 of the Dec. 21, 1940, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Salvation, Separation, Satisfaction” by E. S. Williams

• “Some Hindrances to Healing,” by Carrie Judd Montgomery

• “Pentecost in Central America,” by Melvin Hodges

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: http://www.iFPHC.org

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William F. P. Burton: Pioneer Pentecostal Missionary, Author, and Artist in the Congo

BurtonThis Week in AG History — December 1, 1968

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

William Frederick Padwick Burton (1886-1971) was an unlikely pioneer Pentecostal missionary. Willie, as he was known, enjoyed a privileged childhood. His mother was from English aristocracy, and his father was a ship captain. As a youth, Burton was not interested in spiritual things. He attended good schools in England and traveled around the world, developing a broadly-informed worldview. He excelled at cricket and tennis, and he became an accomplished artist. Realizing that art probably would not pay the bills, Burton focused on a more practical career path and studied electrical engineering at St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate.

In 1905, while in college, Burton attended an evangelistic service with a visiting American evangelist, Reuben A. Torrey. After hearing Torrey’s message, Burton became convinced that he was not a true Christian. Despite being a member of the Church of England, Burton came to realize that he had a very superficial faith. One night, Burton knelt by his bed, confessed his sins, placed his faith in God, and peace flooded his soul. Change was immediate in Burton’s life. He joyfully shared his newfound faith, he made restitution to those he had wronged, and he began what became lifelong disciplines of studying the Bible and praying.

Burton’s commitment to live wholly for God led him to identify with the Pentecostal movement. He heard about the Pentecostal revival in America and Scandinavia, so he and a friend decided to investigate the Pentecostal claims that Biblical spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy, were still available to believers. They formed a group that met almost every night for the entire year of 1910, studying the Bible and praying for God’s power in their lives. Before the year was out, Burton and many others had been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Burton felt God’s call to full-time ministry. He stepped out in faith and, in 1911, quit his engineering job and became known as a “tramp preacher.” For three years he walked across the English countryside, preaching in homes and on village greens. During this formative period, he led numerous people to the Lord, witnessed miracles, developed his ministry gifts, and helped the young English Pentecostal movement to grow.

Ultimately, Burton felt called to serve as a missionary to Africa, where he would spend the rest of his life. He left England in 1914, just as World War I was breaking out, and spent a year preaching at various mission stations in South Africa. He was joined in 1915 by James Salter (the brother-in-law of noted healing evangelist Smith Wigglesworth), and together they journeyed to the Congo. He married Hettie Trollip in 1918. When the Congo Evangelistic Mission (later called the Zaire Evangelistic Mission) was formed in 1919, Burton became its first field director. Importantly, he was an early advocate for indigenous leadership of churches.

Burton art

An ink drawing by Burton

Burton employed his significant giftings as a builder, engineer, teacher, and artist to advance the gospel. He authored 28 books, including an important collection of Congo fables and proverbs. Burton’s engaging stories about African missions were widely read on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The Pentecostal Evangel introduced Burton to American readers in 1916 and, over the course of his life, published over 90 articles by him. Burton also raised money by selling his critically-acclaimed paintings and ink drawings of Congolese landscapes and life.

When Burton went to be with the Lord in 1971, the Congo Evangelistic Mission had grown to almost 2,000 churches. He had spent the majority of his life in Africa, far from the life of privilege he knew in England. While Willie Burton initially sacrificed a certain level of social status to become a Pentecostal preacher, he ultimately became a larger-than-life figure in the history of African Pentecostalism.

Read one of William F. P. Burton’s articles, “Receiving Power from on High,” on pages 6-7 of the Dec. 1, 1968, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Eternal Security: Is It Conditional?” by Henry H. Ness

• “God’s Interruptions,” by Kenneth D. Barney

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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How J. W. Tucker’s Blood Became a Seed of the Assemblies of God in Congo

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This Week in AG History — November 21, 1965

By Glenn Gohr
Originally published on PE-News, 19 November 2015

Thanksgiving 1964 was a day of mourning for Angeline Tucker. The previous day, she learned that her husband, J. W. (Jay) Tucker, had been killed by Congolese rebels. The Tuckers had served as Assemblies of God missionaries to Congo since 1939. After a furlough in America, they returned to Congo in August 1964. Less than two weeks later, J. W., Angeline, and their children were captured and placed under house arrest by rebel forces. The drama that unfolded over the next three months captured the attention of Assemblies of God members worldwide.

The tragedy came in the midst of a civil war which broke out in 1960, following the power vacuum that developed after Belgium granted independence to Belgian Congo. One group of rebels, the “Simbas,” eventually took control of the town of Paulis, where the Tucker family ministered. The rebels took Jay into custody and held him, along with other hostages, in a Catholic mission.

Fearing an attack by American and Belgian paratroopers, the insurgents hardened their attitudes toward the prisoners, and several were murdered. After days had passed with no word of her husband, Angeline was able to telephone the mission to inquire about his welfare. “How is my husband?” In guarded words, the Mother Superior hesitated, and then answered in French: “He is in heaven.”Those words became the title of a popular book written in 1965 by his widow. He Is In Heaven shared J. W. Tucker’s story and helped him to become the best-known martyr in Assemblies of God history.

Reflecting back on her husband’s martyrdom, Angeline wrote an article, “Congo: One Year After,” which was published in the November 21, 1965, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. She described, in painful detail, the events that changed her life forever:

“It was Thanksgiving morning, 1964. The sun was shining beautifully in Paulis, Congo, when I awakened. I looked at the clock; it was 6:10. I lay there a moment wondering what the day might bring forth. I had slept well in spite of the tenseness of the situation…. The previous morning when I had called the Catholic mission to inquire about my husband’s welfare, I had been totally unprepared for the reply of the Mother Superior, ‘He is in heaven.'”

Angeline Tucker was devastated. She knew that she, her three children, her coworkers Gail Winters and Lillian Hogan, and all foreigners were in grave danger. Not knowing what was ahead, she prayed for protection, and God answered. Later that day, a combined Belgian and American rescue operation brought the Tuckers and their coworkers to safety in the town of Leopoldville.

One year later, as she was looking back on the Congo situation, Angeline reported that the national army had regained control of Paulis and other towns in the Congo and that “the political situation seems to be fairly stable.” It was safe for missionaries to return.

One might expect that Angeline, overwhelmed from the loss of her husband, would want nothing to do with Congo. But she worked tirelessly to ensure that her loss would be Congo’s gain. She declared, “If Jesus tarries, there should be a wonderful harvest of souls in all of northeast Congo: for we truly believe that the ‘blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.'”

The Tuckers’ efforts, before and after J. W.’s martyrdom, paid off. The Mangbetu tribe had been resistant to the gospel when Jay Tucker ministered in the Congo. However, his death became the catalyst for many of them to accept the gospel. Missionary Derrill Sturgeon later reported that one of Tucker’s converts eventually became the police chief of Nganga, which was the homeland of the Mangbetus.

The police chief told the people about Tucker’s murder and that his body was thrown into “their river.” The Mangbetu culture considered the land and rivers where they lived to be theirs personally. Since Tucker’s blood had flowed through their waters, they believed they must listen to the message that he carried.

As a result of J. W. Tucker’s martyrdom, a great revival swept through the region. Thousands decided to follow Christ, and hundreds experienced divine healing. It was even reported some were raised from the dead. The Assemblies of God reported 4,710 adult members and other believers in 1964 in Congo. Fifty years later, in 2014, this tally had risen to 570,859 adherents. At least part of this incredible growth was due to the sacrifice of J. W. Tucker, who gave his life for the people of the Congo.

Read the entire article, “Congo: One Year After,” on pages 12-13 of the November 21, 1965, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
• “Songs in the Night,” by Emil A. Balliet
• “A Beachhead in Hong Kong,” by A. Walker Hall
• “Are We Loyal Americans?” by Gail P. Winters
• “Moments of Inspiration for Thanksgiving”

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Photo: Missionary J. W. Tucker standing at the airport gate in Little Rock, Arkansas, preparing to leave on his final trip to Belgian Congo, 1964.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of 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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