March 7, 2019
St. Louis Special Meetings
Midwest special meetings were held at the Apostolic Faith Church in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 8-10. All of the Midwest churches were represented, and although many had to travel through the snow and bitter cold to attend the meetings, everyone was thrilled at the opportunity to worship and fellowship together. The guest speaker was Nathaniel Segres, the pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, who came with his wife, Sharron. There was also a group of around fourteen who traveled from Atlanta for the meetings.
The Friday evening service began with Jimmy Waddell and Jon Cantrell playing “Feeling at Home” on their trumpets. During the testimony portion of the service, Barbara McCarville shared how God was with her when she suffered a serious stroke on Christmas Day. She found out she could trust Jesus day by day, and her caregivers have been astonished at her quick recovery. Deloris Oliver testified that she came to her first Midwest special meetings five years ago, and God sanctified her and filled her with the Holy Spirit. She is thankful that God saved her daughter, and that there is an Apostolic Faith Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she can worship.
Isaac and Helen Akere sang “He Set Me Free,” and before the sermon, Sister Sharron sang “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” Brother Nathaniel shared that he grew up in Winfield, Kansas, and that he was glad to be back in the Midwest again. He took his text from 1 John 4:7-8, and brought out that while the world gives a false portrayal of love, God is the essence of true love. He encouraged the congregation to love God with all their hearts so they will be ready for the place He is preparing for them in Heaven.
The Saturday morning service began with a group of violins playing “Yes, I Know.” Antonia Schleicher testified that after she was saved in Nigeria, she earned the nickname “Sister Joy” because of the joy God put in her heart. Solomon Akinduro shared how God protected him a few weeks earlier when a tire blew out in his car. A vocal ensemble sang “Someone Is Praying for You,” and before the sermon, Sister Deloris sang “My God Is Real.” Brother Nathaniel read Luke 15:1-13, 20-24, for his text, and spoke on loving those who are lost in sin, and placing a value on their souls. He encouraged the congregation to look for opportunities to witness to the lost and make every effort to convince them to be saved.
The youth service on Saturday evening began with a trombone solo by Rebecca Oyedokun. Angelina McCarville led the congregation in several enthusiastic choruses. During the song “Spring Up, Oh Well,” Gozie Uzendu and Goodnews Osunkwo impressed everyone with their high jumping! After the congregation sang “I Came Here Expecting God to Move,” several young people shared their testimonies. Bolu Ajanaku and Brother Goodnews both said they were thankful for the opportunity to go to Jamaica recently for a mission trip. Anezi Uzendu shared how God has been with him the last two years through some serious health issues, including when he had a stroke in December. God touched him, and he was able to play in a piano recital shortly afterward.
Shannon, Matthew, Kaleb, and Lily McCarville sang “Shine on Us.” Before the sermon, Felicia Billings sang “The Love of God.” Brother Nathaniel read 1 Peter 5:7-8 for his text, bringing out that Christians are on the devil’s “hit list,” but there is no need to fear as long as we keep our trust in God. He told of being diagnosed with stage four cancer, and how his family and church prayed for him. After a few months of treatment, he went in for another test, and the cancer was completely gone. He encouraged the congregation to keep their faith and trust in God, and let Him fix what needs to be fixed in their lives.
On Sunday morning, an ice storm came through the St. Louis area, resulting in service being cancelled. Although it was a disappointment to many, there were around forty church people staying at the same hotel. The hotel let them use a conference room to hold a service, and the presence of the Lord was there. Brother Kent Thompson, the pastor in Minneapolis, Minnesota, led the group in singing a few well-known hymns, and then several shared their testimonies in one minute or less. Karen Storey, the pastor in Worth, Illinois, shared that her church had a month of special prayer asking God to bring people from the neighborhood to hear the Gospel. Just recently, some have come and showed an interest. Before the sermon, a group from Atlanta sang a medley of “How Great Is Our God” and “How Great Thou Art.” Brother Nathaniel wrapped up the service with a short sermon, taking his text from Psalm 3:1-8. He encouraged everyone to keep looking to Jesus with their faith steadfast in Him regardless of what comes their way.
By the afternoon, the roads had cleared for everyone to travel home safely. In spite of the weather, the special meetings were a wonderful time of spiritual renewal and fellowship for all who attended.
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