Tuesday, August 26, 2014


This month I was privileged to attend the Centennial Celebration, marking the 100th birthday of the Assemblies of God movement.  At their founding meeting in 1914, 300 ministers gathered in Hot Springs Arkansas.  They were men and women filled with love for the Lord Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  

We stand in front of the picture of that first group of 300 who committed themselves to the “greatest evangelism the world had ever seen.”  (left) Dan Campbell, an MK and former missionary to Argentina, now District Missions Director for Southern California.  He also served as the excellent interpreter for the Saturday night speaker, International Evangelist Jason Fren, (right).

Now, 100 years later, we have grown to more than 65 million believers in over 200 countries worldwide!  Yet there are so many more to reach!  If 300 Spirit filled men and women can launch a movement of this magnitude, what can 65 million do in the coming century if Jesus should delay His coming?!

I actually attended three back to back events in Springfield, Missouri in August:  

1. The Church Planting Summit held at Central Assembly, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Do you see the "hand writing on the wall?"  A young lady artist, Audrey Deford, on the right side of the platform painted a large picture during the sessions.

2.  The Sunday morning service at Central Assembly.  The Koreans brought their awesome choir. 

3. The Centennial Celebration was held in the JQH Arena Thursday through Sunday PM.  The messages at all the many sessions during the days and in the evenings were powerful, inspiring and challenging.

One of the enjoyable side benefits for me was to meet up with friends from the distant past from many locations in the world… and to meet for the first time brothers and sisters of all ethnic backgrounds and languages.  I have so many pictures of my joyous encounters that I cannot begin to include them all. 

I was delighted to see Adelita Garza who was one of the inspiring speakers in the Church Planting Summit.  Adelita had visited Argentina when she a teen-age girl and had ministered with Frances and me at our island church.  We often had wondered what had become of this beautiful, dynamic young lady.  She has, as a single girl, planted a successful church in Los Angeles area! That’s what!

Silvia Serantes, a pastor’s wife from Argentina, stands with a group of ladies from Togo, West Africa.  Aren’t they beautiful?!

My good friends, Missionaries Paul and Betty Brannan picked me up at the airport and later brought their daughters, Vickie and Dara. They started in missions along with us in 1963. 

Thomas Trask, former AG national superintendent, and Enrique Strohschein, the President of our Assemblies of God in Argentina.

Missionaries Ron and Carolyn Hittenberger.  In 1953 Ron became my friend at Southern California Bible College, now Vanguard University.

Myrna Sue Wilkins, retired after serving 40 years as a missionary in Venezuela and Colombia.  Today she volunteers full-time, 40 hours a week at Global University, correcting lessons and corresponding with spiritual counsel and encouragement daily to her more than 500 Spanish speaking disciples held behind bars in the USA!  Now that is dedication!

I encourage you to watch and listen to some of the messages available at http://100.ag.org/watch-now/archive/.  

And I double-dare you to watch and listen to Dick Brogden’s 48 minute message (same internet address) from the final Sunday night service!  His prophetic words shocked many of us to the core.  His challenge to step out of our comfort and into the jaws of persecution, hardship and martyrdom to touch unreached people groups with the message of Christ, literally stunned me and drove me crashing to my knees.  It may make you angry, but I feel every AG pastor and lay leader should hear the heartbeat of this brother.  Don't miss this message!  


Friday, August 15, 2014

It Was All Her Fault

Of course that is not entirely true, but historically mothers have had great influence on their little ones.  Both of our parents loved the Lord and all five of us children followed in their steps.  In 1987 I wrote the following short article that was published in the May 10th Pentecostal Evangel, Mother's Day issue. 

I thought about saving this for a Mother's Day blog, but I just ran across it today among some memorabilia and who knows where I will be on Mother's Day in 2015?  So here goes.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Waist Deep in a Cesspool!

Most people do not realize that when you send a family to the mission field, you are not sending a couple… you are sending, well, in our case five missionaries.

At the close of a youth camp, our son, Tim, 15 years old and his friend, Raul, had accompanied the pickup with barrels of garbage to the city dump.  They were overcome with compassion for the little children that lived at the dump, climbing around on the piles of garbage, now anxious to see what they were dumping, dig through it and look for something of value or something to eat.  They determined that God wanted them to do something for children like this.
We lived far away from that city dump, but only 30 minutes by train and bus from our house was one of many huge shanty-towns that surround Buenos Aires.  This one was called “La Cava” (meaning “The Pit”).  Here thousands of families lived in shacks made out of cardboard, pieces of plywood or a bedspring or whatever.  It was inadvisable, even dangerous, for non-residents to enter there.  But sometimes you can’t keep track of your teenagers.  Cell phones hadn’t been invented yet.  So, without our knowledge, Tim and Raul visited La Cava.  They wanted to do something for these people to bring them to Christ.
This is a low area with no drainage system, so rain water and sewage stand just below ground level.  They passed many shacks and came to a “lake” of stale water.  A makeshift wooden bridge took them to a little flat island and they finally came to the end.  They could walk no further.  A lady was standing nearby and they started talking to her about Jesus.  She told them that her husband was a heavy drinker, couldn’t find a job and neither could her grown son.  So the boys said, “Can we pray about that?”  And right there the two teenagers prayed for two miracles, a job for the husband and another for the son.
The next day they went back.  The lady was waiting for them.  She was very excited and called out something like, “Here come the sons of God!”  She told how both her husband and son had miraculously found work.  She offered them to use her tiny space in front of her shack to do anything they wished.  So on Saturdays they started a Bible class for children in her little space.  Over time they built up a team of about 5 teenagers, boys and girls from their church as coworkers.

One day Tim called me from a phone booth in a service station near La Cava.  He had forgotten some Bible class materials and asked me to take them to him.  I had never entered this place before.  He told me how to find them.  I had not been advised as to what they used for toilets in La Cava.  They would dig a hole about three or four feet deep and place some boards or a piece of plywood over it with a hole in the middle.  Then they would place some corrugated metal or cardboard walls about 4 feet high surrounding it.  So, on foot I found the island, crossed the bridge and was walking down the path to the Bible class.  I noticed a lady in a tiny enclosure right in my path ahead.  As I passed her I greeted her with “Buenas tardes.”  (“Good afternoon.”)  Then after passing, I realized that I had just greeted a lady that was squatting on the toilet!  When one cesspool would get full they would just toss in some dirt, dig another hole and move the little enclosure.

Then came the rainy weather and the water in the “lake” rose and flooded the little flat island.  Not to be stopped by rain, the teenage team went back that Saturday.  But several inches of water covered the trail.  Tim was in the lead as the group walked single file through almost ankle deep ugly water.  But Tim, who could not see the trail below the water, had strayed slightly from the hidden path and stepped right into an open cesspool and splash, he was waste deep in sewage.  I got an urgent call from the phone booth in the service station.  “Dad, please come get me and bring a lot of newspapers to cover the back seat of the car.  I can’t ride the bus and train home like this!” 

They kept this work up for two or three years, and even found an empty spot between shacks on the island and built a little shelter out of poles and raised the money to buy corrugated metal for a roof and a couple of walls for their “church”.  

(Rare photos. there were no digital cameras back then): 

Tim teaching the children inside the 3 walls of the "church".  

And Tim, with Raul at his right hand... and their congre-gation.  

That pole is holding up the roof.

Several whole families had been saved now including the man with the drinking problem.  When Tim graduated from high school and had to leave for Bible College, he led their little church group to an “Open Bible” church that was about 8 blocks from La Cava and introduced them to their new pastor, Brother Castro.

About 10 years later Brother Castro asked me to preach in his church.  After church several people came to hug my neck.  They had been saved through Tim’s ministry.  Way to go, God! 

Leap ahead 40 years: 
Rev. Tim Hiatt has served on the pastoral staff at Neighborhood Church in Modesto for 15 years.  Here he is, two weeks ago, along with his teen-age daughter, Michelle, as they minister in worship at H Street, Neighborhood Church's outreach to the homeless and needy.