October 18, 2017
Wharton Special Meetings
Special meetings at the Apostolic Faith Church in Wharton, New Jersey, were held August 20-27. The theme verse was Haggai 2:4, “I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts.” The opening service began with the orchestra playing “He Is Exalted,” followed by the choir singing “Whom Shall I Fear?” and “Awesome God.” Before the sermon, Tayo Ajayi sang “I Will Not Forget Thee.” Taking his text from Joshua 1:5-7, Juan Smith, the pastor in Roselle, New Jersey, admonished the congregation to trust and obey God’s commandments to receive His blessings.
On Sunday evening, the orchestra played “Keep on the Firing Line,” and then the choir sang “God’s Choir.” After the testimony portion of the service, a mixed quartet sang “Kneel at the Cross.” Alfredo Gumbs, the pastor in Paterson, New Jersey, took his text from the first chapter of Haggai, and his topic was “Maintaining Our Body as the Temple of God.” He poignantly reminisced about how he learned to worship as a youngster, including singing the old hymns. Comparing the building of Zerubbabel’s second Temple to the human body, he encouraged the congregation to worship God in holiness and keep their bodies holy so they can experience God’s blessings. A wonderful prayer meeting followed, with many drawing closer to God. A woman was saved and healed, and a mother who was praying with others was wonderfully reanointed.
The next service was on Wednesday evening. It began with a violin and flute duet, followed by a quintet singing “Down on My Knees.” Before the sermon, Ifeoluwa Fawole-Tetteh and Joy Fawole sang “Don’t Turn Him Away.” Alfred Ikotun, the pastor in Hempstead, New York, took his text from the theme verse. He encouraged the congregation to get grounded in the Gospel and to reset their spiritual “GPS” to lead them in the right path.
On Friday evening, the service began with a flute solo by Daniel Adewoyin, “There Is Power in the Blood.” Then the choir sang a medley of “He Is Here” and “Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome.” Before the message, Ruth Mperey sang “I Dreamed I Searched Heaven for You.” Elvido Ortiz, from the Bronx, New York, read Ruth 1:14-18 for his text. He recounted the story of Ruth, emphasizing the need to be steadfast in our walk with the Lord. He brought out that faith, not circumstances, moves the hand of God, and God will reward the faith of those who put their trust in Him.
On Saturday morning, a two-hour session of intercessory prayer, singing, and brief exhortations led by Sister Ifeoluwa and Taku Mhundwa was an inspiration to all who attended.
A music concert on Saturday evening included musicians from Hempstead; East Bridgewater, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Wharton. The combined orchestra, directed by Daniel Tetteh, opened with a rousing rendition of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.” Several other instrumental numbers were presented, including a violin solo, trumpet concerto, flute trio, clarinet solo, and cello solo. Josie Adenuga and her daughter, Jessica, from Toronto, beautifully played a violin duet “Canon in D” and “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” with “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” The choir sang “We Believe” and “Down to the River to Pray.” The concert concluded with the combined choir joyfully singing “Joy in My Heart” and “Joy in the Camp.”
On Sunday morning, a woodwind quartet played “Blessed Be the Fountain” and “Crown Him with Many Crowns” with “Holy, Holy, Holy.” The choir sang “Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King” and “In the Twinkling of an Eye” with “Goodbye, World, Goodbye.” The Scripture reading was taken from Exodus 33:1-18, and before the sermon, John Adebayo, from East Bridgewater, sang “No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus.” Lana Alofe, the group leader in East Bridgewater, emphasized the theme of the special meetings by recounting how God was with Joseph, Job, and Moses, bringing out that God is still with those who wholeheartedly surrender their lives to Him. Brother Lana concluded his sermon by reading excerpts from the song, “Someone Is Praying for You,” and the poem, “Footprints in the Sand,” underscoring that God is always with His people.
The traditional fellowship service, with visitors from nearby branch churches, was held Sunday evening. It began with the orchestra playing “Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in this Place,” followed by the choir singing “God of Angel Armies.” A young men’s sextet sang “Daddy Sang Bass,” and before the testimony portion, a young ladies’ trio sang “There Is a Remedy.” Before the sermon, Ikpedeme Ekpin and Bose Odulaja sang “Will There be Any Stars in My Crown?” During his sermon, Ene Ekpin, the pastor in Philadelphia, recounted background information from the Book of Haggai, from which the theme verse was taken. He brought out that just as Haggai’s message resulted in the people’s willingness to rebuild God’s House, the congregation should also respond to God’s Word, and work hard to ensure that nothing stands between them and God.
Attendance during the concluding Sunday’s services was eighty-four in the morning and one hundred in the evening, exceeding the seventy-five seat capacity of the sanctuary. Those who attended the special meetings are rejoicing in those who were saved, sanctified, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and healed. It is also noteworthy that since the special meetings, two more people from the Wharton congregation have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
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