Short Takes

May 13, 2018

Brief reports from our churches worldwide.

2018 Zambia Camp Meeting

Zambia’s annual Easter camp meeting took place April 1-15, and Reverend Darrel Lee, the Superintendent General, was welcomed there for his first visit. He arrived the evening before at the Eastern Africa headquarters in Lusaka, the site of the camp meeting, accompanied by his son, Randy, and eight-year-old grandson, Oscar.

Making this a truly momentous occasion, Reverend Lee was joined by the three leaders of the Apostolic Faith work in Africa: Reverend Timothy Kaibula, who oversaw the camp meeting as the District Superintendent of Eastern Africa, Reverend Oniyas Gumbo, the District Superintendent of Southern Africa, and Reverend Emmanuel Adeniran, the District Superintendent of Western and Central Africa.

The first service was well-attended with about 1500 people inside and an overflow of about 1000 standing outside. It began with the Sunday school children marching in, singing, and waving flags of the different countries represented at the camp meeting. In addition to the United States, there were delegates from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, the Congo, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe. The students presented a program of singing, recitations, and a skit depicting the five wise and five foolish virgins. This brought out the camp meeting theme of “Behold He Cometh. Are You Ready?”

The choir sang beautifully throughout the service. Before the Scripture reading from Luke 24, they sang “The Resurrection Morn,” and before the message, “I’ll Be Waiting in Paradise.” The sermon was taken from Luke 24:18, “ And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?” It focused on knowing Jesus as Savior, not as a stranger. At the close of the service, there was a rush to the altar, and the Spirit of God descended, pouring out His blessings on hungry hearts.

The annual camp meeting concert was held the next evening, and many different instruments were heard. The flutes were featured in “Arise O Zion,” the brass in “Jesus Is Coming Again,” and the strings in “The Meeting in the Air.” The organ played throughout the concert and was featured in several songs including “Meet You by the River.” Solos, duets, and ensembles also highlighted the evening, including one beautiful soprano voice singing “The Holy City.”

The choir sang in a variety of languages. They sang “Simukai Imi Mose” or “Rise Up Everyone” in the Shona language, and “Ninatamani” or “I Wish” in Swahili. They also sang in Bemba, Namwanga, and Tonga, as well as English. Toward the end of the program, they sang “Panono Panono” or “Little by Little” in the Bemba language, and many in the congregation were moved to pray. A few songs later, after “I Can Almost Hear the Sound of the Trumpet,” written by Ted Friesen, the concert came to an early close as many had gone to the altars seeking God. 

Afterward, Reverend Lee’s grandson, Oscar, pronounced the concert “Awesome,” and anyone who attended would agree that it was a wonderful performance followed by a wonderful prayer meeting.

For the next three weeks, the camp meeting continued with morning teachings, afternoon youth services, and evening evangelistic services. At the close, sixty-three people were baptized in water, and many more reported blessings, including thirty-one who were sanctified, thirty-two who received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and 119 who were healed. We thank God for His presence during the camp meeting and the many blessings poured out.

 

Four Churches Dedicated in Romania

Four Apostolic Faith churches were dedicated in Romania during the month of May. The first took place on Wednesday, May 2, in Margaratesti. There were about seventy in attendance, including the town mayor and his wife. The pastor, Reverend Aurel Crucero, opened the meeting and gave a brief history of the work in Margaratesti, which began in January 2009 with a small group of people meeting in a tiny chapel provided by the city. The chapel still stands next to the new church building and serves as a Sunday school department. As the humble beginnings of the congregation were recounted, the handful of people who had made up the original group shed tears of gratitude for the beautiful new church they have today.

The second dedication was held on Thursday, May 3, for the Craiova church, which is the largest Pentecostal church in the Oltenia Province of Romania. It is pastored by Reverend Pavel Balnoiu, who oversees our southern Romania work. There were just over one hundred in attendance, filling the sanctuary. As there were several visitors present, the message focused on the need to devote one’s life to God. 

Next, the church at Motatei Sat was dedicated on Friday, May 4. The work in this location began in January 2009 with about a dozen people meeting in the house of the pastor, Reverend Mitita Udrea. In 2010, property was donated by some in the congregation for use as a church site. For years, Reverend Udrea labored to build the church, making cinder blocks one at a time and then testing their integrity by throwing them on the ground. Today, this congregation has a beautiful church building with room to grow. Thirty attended the dedication service. The sermon, taken from Acts 3:1, used the account of Peter and John going to the Temple to pray to show that the dedication of a church as a house of prayer is what makes the difference in people’s lives.

Another dedication followed on Sunday, May 6, for the church in Bucharest, pastored by Reverend Gheorghe Macovei, the Eastern Romania District Superintendent. The building was filled to capacity as over seventy were in attendance. There were several music specials during the service including selections by the youth group and a ladies’ choir. The dedicatory sermon was taken from Deuteronomy 12:11 and referenced the dwelling places built by the Jewish people for the worship of God, from the Tabernacle to the Second Temple. It was noted that God’s presence filled these buildings, but what He really desires is to dwell in hearts.

During the service, a history of the Apostolic Faith organization and how it eventually led to the work in Bucharest was recounted. The aspect that has stood out most about this location through the years is the fellowship that has abounded since the beginning. This congregation has always enjoyed coming together, and has hated to part, even after a long service. That was the case on this day also; as delegates from other Apostolic Faith churches departed for home, they left the saints at Bucharest continuing in fellowship.

 

Campground Tabernacle Dedicated in South Africa

A newly completed tabernacle, located on the South Africa campground in Bapsfontein, was dedicated in a service held on March 21, 2018.

The dedication service was held under an awning near the new building. It began with an organ prelude followed by the orchestra playing “Plea from Africa” and “Nditungamire Jehovah,” which is Shona for “Lead Me to Jehovah.”

A variety of music was presented throughout the service, including two songs by the choir: “The Gospel of Jesus Christ Must Shine” and “To God Be the Glory.” Several numbers were sung in native languages. One of these was “Waye Khon’ e Mandulo,” or “Ancient of Days,” presented by the youth choir in the Zulu language.

The Scripture reading was taken from 2 Chronicles 6:40,42; 7:1-3, which speaks of the glory of the Lord filling the Temple in answer to King Solomon’s prayer. The dedicatory sermon was taken from 2 Chronicles 7:12, 15, and 16, including “Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place” (verse 15). It brought out that the dedication of a church building involves an action on man’s part followed by an action on God’s part. Man’s part is to set the building aside for God’s use and glory. When this is done properly, God will do His part and bear witness to the consecration by filling the building with His Spirit, blessing those who attend, and answering prayer.      

Reverend Oniyas Gumbo, district Superintendent of Southern Africa, gave the dedicatory prayer, and then everyone gathered at the tabernacle for a ribbon-cutting ceremony before going inside to hear a brief history of the campground. The land was purchased in 2001, and the first camp meeting was held there in 2006 in a large tent. The tent continued to be used for the annual fall camp meetings as several other buildings were added over the years, including cooking facilities and guest accommodations. Construction of the tabernacle, which has the capacity to seat 1700, began in 2017 and was completed in less than five months—an amazing accomplishment!

As the Lord tarries, reports are expected of many blessings received as a result of those who gather to worship in this tabernacle.  

 

A Vibrant Sunday School Program in Iquitos, Peru

Sam Ajayi, Director of South America Work, and his wife Shade, visited the Apostolic Faith church in Iquitos, Peru, on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 13. The work in Iquitos, which is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon, began in 2011. Since then it has produced a vibrant Sunday school run by pastor, Reverend Modesto Aranda, and his wife Clara. Over sixty children participate in the program during the dry season of the year. 

The congregation lives in an area that receives heavy rainfall all year with flooding nearly every April. For this reason, all of the buildings, including the Iquitos church, are on raised platforms, accessed during the rainy season by a patchwork of makeshift wooden bridges linking the neighborhoods.

As the rainy season had just concluded, only thirty children were able to attend Sunday school on Mother’s Day. However, they came accompanied by their parents and other family members. They enjoyed singing action choruses such as “I’m in the Lord’s Army,” and listening to the Bible story. They also recited their memory verses and colored pages from the lesson. Toward the close, the children were challenged to have good attendance, participate in class, and bring their friends to church. They were happy to hear that meeting these challenges would result in a reward at the end of the year.

Following Sunday school each week, the children are served a full meal, and this week they also received a sweet treat in honor of Mother’s Day. Many of the parents stayed even longer to share a Mother’s Day cake and learn more about salvation.