Tag Archives: Missions

Esther Harvey: Pioneer Assemblies of God Missionary to India

This Week in AG History — September 17, 1938

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also featured in this issue:

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

• “Not By…But By” by F.M. Bellsmith

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

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

3 Comments

Filed under Biography, History, Missions

Andrew Urshan and the Persecution of Early Pentecostals in Iran

This Week in AG History — August 19, 1916

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And many more!

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Missions

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

ambassador plane 1400c

Ambassador II, circa 1950

This Week in AG History — May 13, 1950

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also featured in this issue:

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

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

• “David Anointed King,” by Ernest A. Williams

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

2 Comments

Filed under History, Missions

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

Spanish NT_1400

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

This Week in AG History — May 1, 1943

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also featured in this issue:

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

• “Because of Covetousness” by Stanley Frodsham

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

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Missions

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

Bard

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

This Week in AG History — April 16, 1921

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also featured in this issue:

• “Looking from the Top,” by Christine Peirce

• “Tithes and Offerings,” by Elizabeth Sisson

• “Unity,” by C. W. Doney

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Ethics, History, Missions

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

Bailie

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

This Week in AG History — April 2, 1949

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also featured in this issue:

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

• “The Meaning of Spirituality” by Myer Pearlman

• “The Promise is Unto You” by Stanley Frodsham

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Missions

1930s Revival in Nigeria Sparked by Pentecostal Evangel Magazine

Wogus_1400

Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Ehurie Wogu

This Week in AG History — March 29, 1959

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 26 March 2020

A great revival in Nigeria that led to the formation of the Assemblies of God in that nation can be traced back to a single issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, which somehow found its way from America to Africa in the early 1930s. Histories of the Assemblies of God of Nigeria credit the periodical for sparking a hunger for the baptism in the Holy Spirit among Nigerians.

The March 29, 1959, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel recounted this story of the origins of the Nigerian Assemblies of God. “It is not known how the magazine came into their possession,” according to the article, “but it is known that they were deeply stirred by the accounts of healing and of believers being baptized in the Holy Spirit.”

The Nigerians who first read this “missionary” issue of the Pentecostal Evangel were members of a small Holiness denomination, Faith Tabernacle, which had headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Faith Tabernacle leaders in America told the Nigerians to stay away from the Pentecostals. But as the Nigerians searched scriptures, they saw that the Pentecostal message was biblical. They started praying, and many were healed and filled with the Holy Spirit. “Overjoyed, these newly baptized believers went from place to place testifying and preaching to all who would hear,” the article reported, “with the result that converts were won and small church groups were formed in various places.”

Augustus Ehurie Wogu, a prominent civil servant with the Nigerian Marine Department, was one of the early converts. Wogu, along with Augustus Asonye, G. M. Alioha and others, helped to lay the foundation for the young Pentecostal movement in Nigeria.

Nigerian Pentecostals made contact with the American Assemblies of God, which published the Pentecostal Evangel. American church leaders put them in contact a missionary laboring in the Gold Coast (now Ghana), W. Lloyd Shirer. Shirer helped to organize the Assemblies of God in Nigeria in 1939.

The Assemblies of God in Nigeria has experienced phenomenal growth. In 1959, the fellowship had 293 churches with 14,794 adherents. By 2019, this tally increased to 16,300 churches and outstations with 3,600,000 members and adherents. And all of this happened because someone whose name is now forgotten sent an issue of the Pentecostal Evangel to a place which had no Assemblies of God missionaries.

Read “Pentecostal Progress in Nigeria,” on pages 22 and 23 of the March 29, 1959, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Resurrection and Missions,” by Robert L. Brandt

• “Ministry on the Danish Islands,” by Victor G. Greisen

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Missions

Edmund Hodgson: Pentecostal Martyr and Missionary to Belgian Congo

HodgsonThis Week in AG History — March 6, 1948

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 05 March 2020

Edmund “Teddy” Hodgson (1898-1960) was a British Pentecostal missionary to the Belgian Congo, Africa, from 1920 to 1960. He served his Lord and his church as a preacher, teacher, doctor, dentist, carpenter, hunter, husband, father, and friend. Ultimately, he gave his life as a martyr for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Born in Preston, a city in northern England, Hodgson left formal schooling at age 13 and went to work as a delivery boy for a bakery. One day his employer asked him if he attended Sunday School. He replied that he did, but the man then asked a deeper question, “And do you love the Lord Jesus?” The question bothered him and he found no answer to give. Not long after, he knelt with his employer and committed his life to the service of Christ.

Finding that he was gifted with his hands, he became an apprentice to a cabinetmaker at age 14. At the same time, he became acquainted with students at a Pentecostal Bible school and a pioneer missionary in the Congo. After receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit and admitting his love of adventure, he made a promise to God and to the missionary to consider serving in the Congo.

While still a teenager, Hodgson enlisted in the British Armed Forces and served in front line trench warfare in France in World War I. Though the other soldiers called him “Holy Hodgson,” they respected his natural ability as a crack shot and his fearless leadership. Following orders to move out into no-man’s land, Hodgson was hit by a German shell. He recovered but found his trigger finger useless.

After the war, Hodgson returned to England to rebuild his life. Driven and capable, he soon built a thriving business restoring furniture. There were times when the Congo crossed his mind but, having seen enough suffering on the front lines of war, he believed he could serve God better by making money to give to missions rather than going himself. Then one day the missionary he had met before the war walked into his shop. He asked, “Well, Teddy, what about the Congo?”

Over the next days a battle as fierce as anything he experienced in France took place within his heart. He wrestled with the sacrifice it would mean for him as a young man to leave a promising business and disappear into the darkness of Africa. However, when he finally surrendered to God, it was total. After saying “yes” to God, Teddy Hodgson never looked back.

He sailed to the Congo in 1920 and found that he had to walk the last 150 miles through mosquito-infested swamps. Within a week, he was suffering with malaria. After nine months of pain he was nearly blind and argued with God about bringing him to the Congo and leaving him useless. Finally, in desperation, he cried out, “Lord, either heal me or take me to heaven.” The next day, he was able to get out of bed and he packed his bags to go into the villages to begin his work.

Though his skill in the Kiluba language was limited, Hodgson approached the village chief in Kisanga and asked to speak to the people. After receiving permission, he thought, “Well, here’s my audience, so here goes!” As he began to speak, he felt such an overwhelming love for these people that the words seemed to simply flow from his mouth. When he finished, he thanked them and left.

As he was leaving, two boys who had been helping him build his house in Kisanga followed him with great laughter. They told him how funny it was that when he was speaking to them while working they could hardly understand him but that morning as he spoke they could all understand every word. Hodgson was greatly encouraged at his miraculous provisional help from God. This was the first of many times he found that God blessed and provided all he needed when he made his own resources available.

In the coming years as he traveled from village to village, Hodgson had many hair-raising experiences with witch doctors, angry chiefs, hungry lions, rogue elephants, hippos, and crocodiles. Though his trigger finger was useless, he trained himself to shoot with his middle finger. Over the years, God used his ability with a rifle to win many friends among the villages. Over the years he killed more than 60 marauding lions. He never shot for sport or pleasure, only to protect the people he loved.

Serving in the Belgian Congo for 40 years, Hodgson also buried two wives and was constrained to send his five children back to England for care and education. These experiences pained him deeply and challenged his resolve, but his love for Christ and the people to whom he was called compelled him to continue.

In the March 6, 1948, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Hodgson wrote about a great revival that was taking place in the Congo in response to prayer for renewal among the Christians. The revival featured miraculous exercise of the gifts of the Spirit leading to the conversion, infilling, and baptism of well over a thousand souls.

After the Congo declared its independence in 1960, the atmosphere changed for Hodgson and his fellow Christian workers. The missionaries soon found themselves contained in a small area in Kamina by rebels. Other missionaries from New Zealand, Elton Knauf and his wife, joined them there. Knauf was concerned that he had left in such a hurry that he had been unable to deliver much needed supplies and money to the hospital workers in Lulungu. He was convinced he could travel safely if he went by “the back road.” Hodgson agreed to accompany him.

When they reached Mukuya, they were confronted by a band of surly rebels who were singing one of the songs of the rebellion, “We want no words from the white man’s God!” The missionaries tried to negotiate that they would leave the supplies and return back to Kamina. However, the rebel forces demanded that they march with them. A few Christians in the area heard of the trouble and followed from a distance. After marching for a short time, the Christians saw the rebels stop. They watched in horror as the machetes were raised and Hodgson and Knauf were hacked to pieces before their eyes.

Hodgson wrote in his book, Out of the Darkness, “The Lord Jesus illustrated and commended a Christianity that bent its back, soiled its hands, and blistered its feet in stooping to help fallen man. Just as positively He denounced and condemned a professional religion that passes by on the other side when man’s need is at the greatest. Some are called to be Apostles, but every Christian is called to be an Epistle (a love letter of God, read of men).” Hodgson served God as both Apostle and Epistle.

Read Edmund Hodgson’s article, “A Pentecostal Revival in the Congo,” on page 2 of the March 6, 1948, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Test of True Discipleship” by Robert A. Brown

• “A Mighty Revival at CBI” by Kathleen Belknap

• “Jeremiah of Anathoth” by Walter Beuttler

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

7 Comments

Filed under Biography, History, Missions

Robert and Doris Edwards: Assemblies of God Medical Missionaries, Educators, and Church Planters in India

EdwardsThis Week in AG History — January 8, 1949

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 09 January 2020

Robert Wade Edwards (1895–1961) became an Assemblies of God missionary when he was 51 years old and a newlywed of only one month. He served in southern India for 14 years and left behind a legacy of 14 churches, an industrial school, and hundreds of young people who were trained to carry on his ministry while being able to support themselves through trade.

Born in Salma, North Carolina, Edwards graduated with the highest honors. After spending nine years in the Army Medical Corps, he married and began ministry soon after. When his young wife died, Edwards moved to Cape Hatteras National Seashore to begin a new season of ministry. In 1946, a tidal wave severely damaged Edwards’ church. Devastated at the losses he incurred, Edwards asked God for direction. He distinctly felt God say to him, “Establish My people here in My Word and then go to the people to whom I have called you.” Thirteen years before, Edwards had a vision of himself preaching to dark-skinned people groping about in darkness. He knew that God was changing his course of direction.

For the next several months, Edwards worked on rebuilding in addition to his normal duties as pastor. During this time, he scheduled a missionary speaker for his church. Mrs. Doris Maloney was a widowed missionary to South India in her early thirties, traveling with her young son. When Pastor Edwards shared his burden with the missionary speaker they both felt that God was opening new doors for a new family. Edwards said later, “We put our calls together in marriage on Nov. 29, 1946, and on Dec. 12, we sailed for India.”

They began their ministry in Madras State, now Tamil Nadu, in South India where there were no churches. There were six villages within walking distance and most of them had never had a gospel witness. Edwards also found that his medical experience in the army served well to minister to those who had no doctors or medical care.

In the Jan. 8, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Edwards described a typical day. “We were up at 5 a.m. to prepare the messages … at 7:30 people began coming to have their wounds dressed … there were 12 patients and two homes to go where the people had wounds which prevented them from walking. Meanwhile, Mrs. Edwards conducted Sunday School in the next village … from 9 to 12 we had a meeting in our home for a few believers … in the afternoon there were callers. From 4 to 7 p.m. there were street meetings in two villages and we paraded the streets shouting Scripture verses and giving out tracts. It was a great thrill to work like this for the Lord though we came back almost too tired to walk.”

Edwards also found his experience in building to be an asset. He continued in the 1949 article, “It will not be long until we shall have to build little churches as there is no place to have a service except under the trees.” Edwards’ practice was to buy materials and build when there was money. When the money was exhausted, they would stop building until the money came in. In this manner, he built 14 churches without debt.

One day an old man came to Edwards and asked him to take his son. The old man felt it was too late for him to become a Christian but he wanted his son to know God. With their travel schedule, Edwards did not feel they could take on a young boy. He encouraged the man to send the boy to Sunday School and they would do all they could to help. After returning from a month-long ministry trip, Edwards was met with tragic news. The boy had hung himself in a tree near the missionaries’ home.

Grieved, the Edwards family asked God to show them how they could help other young boys to have more hope for the future. Edwards believed if these young boys could learn God’s Word and develop a trade they would find more promise and meaning in life. Edwards sought permission to begin an industrial school to train young men in a craft.

Hiring an Indian teacher to assist him, Edwards took on nine boys and began their training by teaching them to build their own school. The boys did the carpentry work and lived in the unfinished building with their poultry and goats during its construction. Within a short time, they had built several building to house training classes in printing, carpentry, blacksmithing, and other areas of learning.

After 14 years without a furlough, the Edwardses returned to the States to report on their ministry. During this furlough, it was discovered that Edwards had cancer. While suffering with the effects of cancer, he dictated much of what God had done in their time in India. His last recorded words concerning the hard work they had done were, “Looking back over my career, I would that I could do it all over again. If I had another life to live, I would give it to India.”

Edwards’ influence carried on in the lives of the young men he trained. They provided stability, leadership, and direction for the continuation of the Assemblies of God in South India.

Read Robert Edwards’ report, “Working in Travancore,” on page 11 of the Jan. 8, 1949, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Elisha, the Double Portion Man” by Evangelist Oral Roberts

* “Following the Cloud” by Harold Horton

* “The Congo Dancer” by E.H. Richardson

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now
.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Missions, Uncategorized

Caring for the Orphans of India and Nepal: Anna Tomaseck, Pentecostal Pioneer

Tomaseck AnnaThis Week in AG History — November 8, 1930

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 07 November 2019

Anna Tomaseck (1902-1981), a single woman known as “Mamaji” (precious mother) to the many children whom she raised on the Indian/Nepali border, spent 50 years serving God in India and is credited with opening the doors of Nepal to the Pentecostal movement.

Tomaseck accepted Christ in a Billy Sunday crusade and consecrated her life to serve in whatever way God led. She trained as a registered nurse in Ohio and began to tell others of her desire to be a missionary, sensing a call to India. Her Presbyterian Sunday School teacher and many friends pledged their support and Tomaseck arrived in India in 1926.

Almost immediately, she was introduced to missionaries who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and she, too, accepted this gift and identified with the Assemblies of God in 1928. Tomaseck spent the first 10 years of her missionary service at the Assemblies of God Girls School in Bettiah, learning the Hindi language and assisting in evangelistic efforts.

In the Nov. 8, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, she wrote, “Our school is growing and we have over one hundred students. We are much in prayer these days that God will again pour out His Spirit upon us, for we are a needy people and He alone can meet our need.”

Through these kinds of prayers, Tomaseck soon discerned there was something else that God had in mind for her. While visiting English missionary Amy Carmichael, she spent several days seeking for the specific assignment for which Christ had called her.

When Tomaseck left Carmichael’s mission, she believed that God had given her a two-fold mission: to raise children that no one else wanted and to reach the people of Nepal. Many discouraged her from this endeavor as Nepal was closed to Christianity. Tomaseck determined if she could not legally enter Nepal, she would get as close as she could.

Looking at a map of the railway system, she set her sights on Rapaydiya, the last Indian village before Nepal. In 1936, she purchased a one-way ticket and rented the house nearest the border – the last house in India – and began learning the Nepali language.

Tomaseck brought along with her three children who had been subsisting on whatever scraps they could find after their parents died. Soon local people understood that the young American lady would take in children, regardless of their health or status. Many more babies were brought to her home, from both India and Nepal. Some were orphans, some were unwanted by their families, and some were abandoned because their parents could not afford to feed them. Some had leprosy. They were all starving and sick.

Tomaseck received some criticism from other missionaries and supporters who felt that her time should be spend evangelizing rather than caring for sick children. She was undeterred. She instituted a teaching program that provided life skills for her children, seeing that each boy learned a trade and that each girl was taught to manage a home. As her children grew and moved out to find their place in life, more children came to take their place. In three decades of service on the Nepali border, Tomaseck raised 420 children in the Nur Children’s Home, teaching each of them about the love of Christ.

Tomaseck soon found that she was able to cross the border without police permission, as she was escorted by border guards who she had raised when they were boys. A string of churches was planted in southern Nepal and much of the leadership of the Pentecostal church traced their roots back to her ministry.

After 33 years in Rapaydiya, Tomaseck returned to Bettiah, where she remained until her retirement in 1976 at age 74. She moved to Maranatha Village in Springfield, Missouri, and passed away five years later.

God saw the need in a remote part of the world and He heard the prayer Tomaseck wrote in the 1930 Pentecostal Evangel, asking for His Spirit to be poured out on their work. He enabled a young single woman to raise up believers, teachers, laborers, and pastors who would go where missionaries could not go. Mamaji’s abandoned babies became men and women of the Spirit who built His church in India and Nepal.

Read Anna Tomaseck’s early report from the field on page 11 of the Nov. 8, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “In the Midst of Chinese Bandits” by W.W. Simpson

• “War, the Bible, and the Christian” by Donald Gee

• “From Witch Doctor to Gospel Preacher,” by A.R. Tomlin

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, History, Missions, Uncategorized