Sacramento Special Meetings

Special meetings were held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Sacramento, California, on October 1-3 to commemorate thirty years since the Sacramento church was established. On a beautiful fall evening, after much anticipation, friends arrived from many locations amid heartfelt greetings and much joy to join the local congregation for the opening service on Friday. The service began with a beautiful trumpet solo followed by enthusiastic congregational singing, with many voices blended together in one grand chorus, making the walls ring with praise. The special music was wonderful, and the testimonies of victory were an inspiration to all. One thanked God for guidance in a move that impacted their family’s spiritual direction. A young mother had been overwhelmed with the task of raising young children, but God gave her a new perspective and an appreciation for His Word. Another told of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit just a few months before, and how the witness to that experience carried through as he attempted to call his wife.

It was an honor to have Darrel Lee, Superintendent General, from Portland, Oregon, as the guest minister for the weekend. His text on Friday evening was Luke 7:24-26, which included Jesus’ question, “What went ye out into the wilderness for to see?” in reference to John the Baptist’s preaching. Brother Darrel brought out that the founder of the Sacramento church, Gilbert Olson, also had a passionate mission to offer a message of hope and deliverance, which is still available today for all who will surrender their lives to God.

On Saturday morning, there was a time of reflecting on the Sacramento work from its beginning until now. After congregational singing, memories and photos were shared. It was brought out that before the Sacramento church was established, a family requested that a minister come and hold Bible studies. Brother Gilbert, a minister in the San Francisco church at that time, developed a passion for the work in Sacramento, and in time, he and his wife, Phyllis, began to look for a house in that area. Sister Phyllis had a dream about a house with a carpeted garage, and after a realtor showed them such a house, they felt led to buy it. Bible studies and church services were held in that home as Brother Gilbert’s passion continued. He began reaching out and visiting homes where he played his guitar and sang Gospel songs. Many from the newly immigrated Romanian community became interested, and eventually a larger facility was rented to hold services. As the group increased, an abandoned turkey farm was purchased and renovated into a church building. The church was dedicated on June 10, 1990.

Brother Gilbert continued to mentor souls, and he made a way for the youth to attend branch church special meetings and Portland camp meeting. At times, the young people were rambunctious and disruptive, but Brother Gilbert saw the potential and opportunity for them to grow in the Gospel. In time, many of those “rambunctious” young people became pastors, ministers, musicians, Sunday school teachers, and are involved in many other aspects of the work as well.

Several shared their memories of the early work in Sacramento. Cathy Eldred, who commuted from Sacramento to San Francisco with her young daughter for church, felt in her heart that a church in Sacramento would be established. For many years since this promise came to fruition, she has used her talents in the Lord’s service, including playing the piano. Gale Morgan shared about the bus ministry, talking about the many hundreds of miles traveled by vans, and later buses, to bring children to Sunday school and church. This happened not only on Sunday mornings, but also Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Cliff Compton told how he felt God’s call to move to Sacramento to assist the youth with learning to play musical instruments.

Sorin Filimon was the emcee for the presentation, commenting that he was one of the young people being mentored during the early years of the Sacramento work. He shared amusing and inspirational anecdotes, and related how each pastor has contributed to the growth and maturity of the Sacramento church.

Brother Darrel shared some thoughts at the end of the presentation, using Matthew 9:35-38 for his text. He brought out that just as Jesus had compassion on the multitude, Brother Gilbert was gripped with compassion for souls who were aimless and broken, and introduced them to Jesus, the solution for every need. The presentation concluded with the congregation singing “Lay Some Soul upon My Heart.”

Following the presentation, everyone was treated to a wonderful meal of grilled chicken with delicious side dishes, and cake commemorating the thirtieth anniversary. The evening meal included pizza and ice cream.

The special music throughout the weekend was a great blessing to all, and the Saturday evening youth service began with an inspiring choir selection. Again, several victorious testimonies were given, and one told of receiving his sanctification at Midwest camp. Another shared how the Lord had helped him with teaching high school students who were not much younger than him. Another teacher told how God made it possible to mention Jesus during a class discussion. Others mentioned how the Lord and Christian friends were an encouragement during challenging times. Sola Omolayo, from Richmond, California, took his text from Isaiah 43:19, bringing out that God wants to do something new for those who surrender their all to Him. A wonderful prayer meeting followed the service, and many blessings were received.

Sunday began with Sunday school, followed by the morning service, which opened with a beautiful violin duet. The congregational singing filled the sanctuary with heartfelt worship. Brother Darrel’s text was from Daniel 1:17-20, and he brought out that the attempts to destroy the values of Daniel and his three friends were not successful because they purposed in their hearts that they would not change. Brother Darrel encouraged the congregation to value their heritage and purpose, and remain loyal to God.

During the Sunday evening service, more inspirational music and victorious testimonies were presented. One told of feeling God’s grace and comfort during the death of a loved one. Another shared how she had drifted away from God, but after admitting her need for salvation, her life is now blessed and victorious. Brother Darrel took his text from Luke 19:8-9, the account of Zacchaeus’ salvation. He brought out that when a person is saved, every aspect of his life will be transformed, and he encouraged the unsaved to surrender their lives to God.

A special thanks to Pete Sferle, the pastor in Sacramento, and his wife, Simona, for their efforts in coordinating the special meetings. Many others contributed as well, and God truly blessed their labors as many hearts were touched throughout the weekend. The Sacramento congregation is rejoicing for the spiritual revival and wonderful fellowship experienced by all who attended.

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