Short Takes Fall 2020
Visiting New Churches in Malawi
Malawi District Superintendent Chris Nkhata reported that in early July, he and other representatives from the Malawi headquarters church had the opportunity to visit the two newest Malawi branch churches, located near the border with Mozambique in Nsanje and Maraka.
The first stop was on Saturday, July 4, at the Nsanje branch, where Reverend Danken welcomed them. They held a church service with a sermon centered on “Jesus, the Light of the World,” using Scripture references from John 8:12 and 12:46, and 1 Peter 2:9-10. Though the congregation was small due to many working in the fields at that time of day, there was a spirit of revival present, and a fervent altar service followed.
After the prayer service, a meeting was held to formally welcome the congregation as part of the Apostolic Faith Church family. During this time, it was announced that special meetings would be held in September 2020, Lord willing, with the purpose of encouraging unity and revival among the branches. The saints were overjoyed to hear this news.
The next morning, Sunday, the team traveled by motorbike to the Maraka branch in Kembo Village. Their arrival was warmly welcomed by a group that included Reverend Madi as well as the village chief’s top representative.
After exchanging greetings, a church service began. The topic of the sermon was “Jesus’ Royal Bounty,” with text taken from 1 Kings 10:1-8, 13 and Matthew 12:42. The message brought out that One greater than King Solomon was in Kembo Village, who could answer any hard question a person might have. Also, God gives from His royal bounty such things as salvation, sanctification, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and healing to those who repent, believe, and commit to doing His will.
The Spirit of the Lord was felt strongly throughout the service, and a wonderful prayer session followed. The chief’s representative was among the many who prayed at the altar and were anointed and prayed for. The next day, he called to say he had been healed instantly and wanted to know when the team could return to the village.
During the visit, it was formally announced that Pastor Madi had donated land for the purpose of building an Apostolic Faith Church in Maraka, and Reverend Nkhata accepted the gift on behalf of the Apostolic Faith Church of Portland, Oregon. This announcement was known ahead of time by the congregation, and they had already purchased twenty-six corrugated metal sheets and begun molding bricks for the structure. The team left the village with great joy in their hearts.
World Headquarters Campground’s 100th Anniversary
June 28 marked one hundred years since the first camp meeting service was held on the 52nd and Duke Street campground in Portland, Oregon. Though camp meeting could not be held this year due to health restrictions, the special occasion was commemorated with a service held in the tabernacle. A limited number of people were able to attend in person and many more joined through the webcast, collectively thanking God for one hundred years of past camp meeting blessings and more to come as Jesus tarries.
The commemorative service began with a small orchestra playing “Surely the Presence.” Reverend Darrel Lee then welcomed the audience and read Psalm 150, which is the same text Florence Crawford read in 1920 at the conclusion of her opening camp meeting sermon. The orchestra then continued with “Come, Thou Almighty King,” and the congregation sang “Lead On O King Eternal” and “Revive Us Again.”
A trio sang “Moses, Take Your Shoes Off,” and then Jane Ewers shared memories recorded in the diary of her grandmother, Elsie Ott, about the first camp meeting on the current campground. She read, “The time came when it seemed harder and harder each year to find a suitable place for camp meeting to be held, and also such a task to get a new campground ready in time for camp meeting. In the summer of 1920, the Lord laid it on the heart of our brother Bill Paulson to buy the Woodstock grounds. We were all so happy over this. We fenced the grounds the first year, and I believe it was on Decoration Day [Memorial Day] that the saints gathered together to plant roses around the fence and on the grounds. Sister Crawford had told them that they could each bring a rose bush and plant it, and we were a happy crowd with our rose bushes. God certainly has blessed us on this campground and it has been such a help to not have to hunt for a new place each year.” The diary recorded that the following year, the tabernacle was built on the property, and a few years after that, a children’s tabernacle was added. Sister Jane commented that improvements have continued right up to the present day, and each year the facilities seem better than before.
Sister Jane also read an excerpt from the diary written in the fall of 1918, when the Spanish Flu epidemic swept through the United States. The diary stated that many of the saints became sick and the mission had to close for a period due to civic restrictions, but “the Lord was surely with us, and very few died.” How encouraging to realize that the God who helped the saints of 1918 is the same One who guides us today.
On a more personal note, Sister Jane related that she was born twenty-five years after the campground was purchased, and today she is deeply grateful that her grandparents and parents remained faithful to God and raised her in the Gospel, too. As a child, she prayed in the children’s tabernacle and was saved, and the Lord has kept her since then. She said she is thankful her spiritual heritage has extended to her children and grandchildren, some of whom were in the meeting with her.
Continuing the service, Reverend Dave Lambert read 1 Samuel 7:2-10, and for the message Reverend Lee began by reading verses 11-12 from the same chapter. He reminded the congregation that looking back over the last one hundred years, one can note the Roaring 20s, the Great Depression of the 30s, World War II in the 40s, the Korean War of the 50s, and Vietnam in the 60s—times of upheaval and crisis in every decade—but also times of revival and individuals being saved all along the way. Faithful saints of past generations experienced God’s help, and those who remain faithful today will be able to look back at 2020 and see how God has helped us as well. The service closed with the song “I Present You to Jesus” before a final prayer.