Short Takes Spring 2022
Nine Baptized on New Year’s Day in India
Families from our congregations in the Andhra Pradesh region of India rejoiced on Christmas day as they gathered at the headquarters church in Kaikavolu. They were not only thankful for our Savior’s birth, but for gifts they received in celebration of that event. Through donations, God made it possible for Pastor Raju Rayudu and his wife, Suvarna, to hand out warm blankets to 170 families. In addition, each child was given a wrapped gift to take home and open. The blankets were especially needed as many in our congregations are elderly and this winter has been one of the coldest they have experienced in years. In the services held since then, the testimonies have brought out how thankful the families are for all that God has provided, including these blankets and gifts.
On New Year’s Day, the saints in India rejoiced again as they met at the headquarters church for a combined service. The sermon focused on the end times and being ready, and at the close, more than one prayed through to salvation! Following the service, nine recent converts expressed their desire to be baptized in water, including some who had just prayed through. A water baptismal service was held for four from Kaikavolu, four from Pedapudi, and one from Durganagar. Afterward, Pastor Rayudu said, “We are so blessed to know that these have been added to the family of God and we pray they will seek their deeper experiences.”
New Converts, Congregations, and Churches in Romania
In January, a team led by Reverend John Musgrave, Director of Romania Work, made the first mission trip to Romania since the COVID-19 restrictions began. They visited the four regions of the work to encourage the saints, hold church services, and conduct minister meetings.
The team found enthusiasm for the Gospel in every region. At the close of the services, there were many who sought salvation, their deeper experiences, or to be anointed and prayed for. During the trip, two water baptismal services were held for recent converts and one man prayed through to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In the southern region, a new congregation has formed in Radovan as a result of God’s healing power. Back in 2020, our workers learned of a new convert who had been bedridden for two years after a spinal injury had left him paralyzed. They went to his house to offer encouragement as well as anoint and pray for him. They left not knowing the outcome, but the Lord undertook and the man was healed! Since then, he has become an evangelist, sharing the Good News in nearby towns. With the help of the leaders of our work in that area, he has been able to organize and hold services. A room was built onto the back of his house for use as a church, and when our team visited and held a service there, sixty-five attended.
Among the Romania congregations in our northern and southern regions, three churches have been under construction this past year. At our Vanatori Neamt location, the church has been completed and services are being held in the new building. Reverend Musgrave said it was very nicely done. Only a few projects remain for the church in Humulesti, and in Capu Dealului, the foundation has been laid. The saints in Romania are looking forward to holding dedication services for the Humulesti and Vanatori Neamt churches in the near future.
Two United States Churches Rededicated
A special rededication weekend was held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 10-12. During the previous winter, Fort Worth had experienced unusually cold weather, resulting in frozen pipes bursting in the church building and causing extensive damage. The building was not useable while it was being repaired, and after it was restored and beautifully refurbished, the congregation wanted to rededicate it to God’s service.
During the rededication service, Ozell Byrd, the longest-attending member of the Fort Worth congregation, gave an overview of the origin of the church. The building had been a machine shop until 1995, when Reverend Pearl Lockett Jr. purchased it for use as a place of worship. The first service was held on April 30 that same year, and then after renovations were made, the official dedication took place on May 5, 1996. Reverend Lockett served as the first pastor with his wife, Doris, by his side. When he retired, Verena McElroy worked with the youth until 2011 when Reverend Ernest Marshall and his wife, Joyce, moved to Fort Worth and he became the pastor. Today, the Fort Worth congregation is looking to God to use the newly renovated building for His glory.
In Orlando, Florida, special meetings were held February 16-20 and included a rededication service on Sunday. The rededication was to commemorate the purchase of the church in March 2008, and the repurposing of it from a three-bedroom home to a place of worship. The celebration was also to honor God for enabling the congregation to pay off the mortgage on the building in October, seventeen years ahead of schedule.
During the service, Reverend Glory Thomas, who has been the Orlando pastor since 2003, shared briefly about the grace of God in leading many to bless the congregation’s efforts in purchasing, rezoning, repurposing, and paying off the building. He said the Lord sent financial, physical, and spiritual blessings their way when they needed it most. One example was when a man visited and asked to pay tithes. When directed to the tithes box, he asked for a larger envelope. It was not discovered until later that this man had put thousands of dollars in the tithe box! The money came just in time to finish the renovations before the zoning permit would have expired.
For the dedication message, Superintendent General Darrel Lee took his text from Daniel 1:8. He said Daniel and his friends had an original purpose to serve God, and they stood fast. In contrast, the property in Orlando was repurposed for God’s use. He reminded the group that their mission and goal as individuals should be to ensure that their lives are purposed, or repurposed, to serve and glorify the God of Heaven.
Following the rededication, Reverend Thomas said he and his wife, Carmen, along with the congregation, are grateful for the support of God’s people throughout the world. Though the group in Orlando is not large, they have accomplished much with God’s help.