August 24, 2019
Brief reports from our churches worldwide.
Barbados Celebrates Forty Years at Tichbourne
The brethren in Saint Michael, Barbados, held four days of special meetings beginning on June 16 to commemorate forty years at their Tichbourne Road location. Reverend Michael Anthony, Eastern Caribbean District Superintendent, and his wife, Monica, were present for the anniversary celebration.
The theme for the meetings was taken from 2 Kings 4:24, “Slack not thy riding.” Reverend Anthony spoke on this during the first service on Sunday. He reminded the congregation that though forty years had passed, they were not “home” yet. They were also reminded of the foundational Gospel experiences which allowed the work to be sustained.
A brief history of the Tichbourne Road church was given during the anniversary service, relaying that our work on Barbados began in 1967 when Algernon Blyden shared the Gospel with a few people. Services were held in a house for years while the saints worked tirelessly to acquire a church building. In July 1979, the church on Tichbourne Road was dedicated. Their current pastor is Reverend Edsil Parris, who has been serving in that capacity for twenty years.
We join the saints in thanking God for forty years at the Tichbourne location, and pray they will continue to be a light on Barbados as the Lord tarries.
A New Leader for Southern and Eastern United States
Reverend Josephine McElveen was appointed as the District Superintendent of Southern and Eastern United States Work, replacing Reverend Eugene Segres, Jr., who has filled the position since 2008. Reverend McElveen was ordained and prayed over on July 13 at the Portland headquarters camp meeting, and an installation service was held on July 21 at the camp meeting in Century, Florida.
At the installation service, Reverend Edward Dixon, the pastor in Columbus, Georgia, presented Reverend Segres and his wife, Gertie, with plaques commemorating their many years of faithful service. Later, Reverend McElveen’s testimony was read, relating how she was saved in Los Angeles, California, while her husband was in the military. After returning to Washington D.C., she began attending the Apostolic Faith Church with her mother-in-law. As a young wife and mother she was very sick, but prayed and God healed her. The doctors warned her that the disease was only in remission, saying she should expect to be hospitalized at least once a year for the rest of her life. That was in 1996, and she has been healed ever since. In 2006, God wonderfully saved her husband also, and he spent the last twelve years of his life as her spiritual helpmate until the Lord called him home in June 2018.
Reverend Bob Downey, Director of North America Work, preached the installation sermon, using Titus 1:1-9 for his text. He brought out that God chose Reverend McElveen for this position in part because she has been faithful in her service to Him. Following the message, the group prayed for her that God would guide her leadership.
Reverend McElveen was appointed to be the pastor of the Washington D.C. church in 2002, where she will continue to pastor while fulfilling her duties as district superintendent.
Northwest Youth Camp
At various locations around the world, our churches hold annual youth camps where children, teens, and young adults can spend extended time learning about the Gospel. In the United States, camps are held during the summer months in Oregon, Missouri, and Washington, with young people from several of our church locations attending each one.
The 2019 Northwest Youth Camp was held July 29 to August 3 at the Mayfield Lake campsite in Mossyrock, Washington. Campers ranged from nine years old to college age, and combined with staff there were about 290 who attended from our churches in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada. The theme this year was “Jesus Is Coming Again,” with the key verses from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
During the week, there was an in-cabin devotional time each day with lessons focusing on a different aspect of the camp theme. Topics included “Jesus Is Coming Again,” “Be Ready Today!” and “Stay Ready.” The final lesson was called “On Our Way to Heaven” and highlighted what eternity in Heaven will be like.
Each day after devotions, there was free time when campers could go swimming or paddle boating at the lake, make crafts, play sports, go down the giant waterslide, play board games, and more. Many also participated in tournaments for shuffle board, soccer, hula-hooping, and other sports, with prizes awarded to the champions on the final night of camp.
Chapel services were held every morning and on two evenings. The services featured very enthusiastic group singing, musical specials from the campers, instructive skits from the counselors, and many testimonies of God changing lives, including by some who received experiences at this youth camp. The chapel services always ended with a challenging message and then an opportunity to pray, and by Thursday, twenty individuals could testify that they had been saved during the week.
It is our prayer that the Bible teachings and prayer times from all our youth camps will have an eternal impact on the young people who attended.
Eswatini’s Fifth Camp Meeting
The fifth annual Eswatini camp meeting was held August 11-18, 2019. Reverend John Musgrave, Director of Africa Work, was there to represent the Portland headquarters, and he travelled with leaders of the work in southern Africa including Reverend Newton Jaravani, the Zimbabwe board secretary and treasurer, and Kwaziso Bhosha, a Zimbabwe board member and the South Africa liaison for Eswatini. They were warmly welcomed by the Eswatini District Superintendent, Jameson Ntshalintshali.
The Kingdom of Eswatini, or Swaziland as many still call it, is a country of just over one million people. The camp meeting was held in a large tent set up on a schoolyard, and since the convention takes place during an academic vacation period, some visitors were accommodated in the school dormitory.
About two hundred attended the opening service, which began with a children’s program. During the week, congregants from Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe were active in every service, representing their countries well. The musical specials included instrumental solos, vocal solos and ensembles, and choir numbers, mostly in the Swazi language with a few verses in English. The sermon topics included “The New Man,” “Partakers of God’s Holiness,” and “The Work of the Holy Spirit.” At the Wednesday morning Bible teaching, two new board members were ordained: Fansile Mlangeni and Enock Hlophe.
Reverend Musgrave reported that every meeting ended with a rush to the altar and a good time of prayer. He stated, “I have observed that the Kingdom of Eswatini is indeed a beautiful country, but it is far surpassed by the beauty of the Gospel and the people of God here who embrace it.”