W.W. Fordham, Associate Secretary, North American Regional Department, General Conference

 

Brother Fordham," said Elder U R. S. Watts, "how would you like to go to Port au Prince, Haiti, for a series of evangelistic meetings?" Without giving it too much thought I said, "Yes."

A few weeks later during the Autumn Council, C. L. Powers, of the Inter-Ameri­can Division, approached me with an earnest invitation to come. Later the Franco-Haitian Union Mission president, J. G. Fulfer, in his conversation, left me no escape route, so I agreed to venture into full-time evangelism after an absence of approximately twenty years. After agreeing to, accept the assignment, I was haunted with fear and doubts: (1) You are not so young as you used to be; do you really think you can stand up under a ten-week campaign? (2) You have not been active for such a long time. You will have to do a great deal of studying and planning. (3) You will have a language barrier; you don't speak French. Will you not be seri­ously handicapped in this respect? (4) Haiti is not the most promising field for evangelism; why not a more promising field? et cetera. These were some of the deep, probing questions that now began to lead me to doubt the wisdom of my de­cision.

I recall going to my study and praying to God to reveal His will to me. I talked to Him as to a friend and assured Him that I was willing to accept the challenge, that I was aware of my unpreparedness and my limitations, but if He wanted me to go and would go with me I was ready to go.

From that moment impressions were felt and indications were seen which convinced me that I should accept this new challenge and should have no fear or doubt.

The Meetings

The meetings were conducted in our beautiful evangelistic center, which is stra­tegically located just a block from the president's palace. On the opening night, Sunday, February 4, the center, which seats 2,500, was packed, with people stand­ing, and thousands on the outside.

For ten consecutive weeks, six nights a week, the crowds never slackened. In fact, we were compelled to keep our church members on the outside of the auditorium for most of the services. From the very in­ception of these meetings we were made conscious of the wrath of the enemy, but also we were made aware of the mighty power of God's Spirit and of the ministry of the angels.

The meetings, like a mighty magnet, drew the people from all walks of life. We witnessed many wonderful victories as the result of prayer and fasting as we saw many rescued by the love and power of God from the stronghold of the enemy.

To date more than 450 have been joined with their God by baptism, and a new church has been organized. In this group were lawyers, teachers, nurses, medi­cal technicians, businessmen, army officers, and government workers, including a high government official in the Department of Education who was educated at Hampton Institute and Columbia University.

The meetings are continuing three nights a week, with Pastor Prosper as the evangelist, ably assisted by Pastor Cheren­fant, the new pastor.

Teamwork

I want to pay tribute to Pastor Powers and the division committee, the Franco-Haitian Union Mission committee, the South Haiti and North Haiti Mission com­mittees for the excellent preparation made for these meetings. And to the splendid corps of dedicated workers with whom I was associated and whom I have learned to appreciate and to love. And to the work­ers and students from the college, espe­cially Pastor and Mrs. Roy Perrin. Also to Pastor Marcel Abel, who did a superb job as my chief interpreter. And last, but by no means the least, the outstanding con­tribution of my brother, Dr. F. F. Ford-ham, of New York City, whose training and direction of the musical aspect of our meetings was one of the high lights of our series.

Ingredients of Success

May I list some observations that I con­sider vital ingredients to the success of these meetings.

  1. A series of early revival meetings was held in all the churches prior to the launching of the campaign.
  2. One week was spent with the work­ers in a miniature upper-room experience, at which time there was real deep soul searching—confessions--putting away of sin in preparation for the meeting.
  3. This special week of revival for the evangelistic team was climaxed with a communion service and ordinance of hu­mility.
  4. The Saturday night before the open­ing of the series was spent in an all-night prayer meeting. More than two thousand attended this meeting.
  5. A fast day for the workers was held every Sabbath.
  6. A fast day for the church was ob­served prior to presentation of Sabbath truth and the first Sabbath in the audi­torium.
  7. Special prayer periods were held throughout the day, in which church mem­bers were invited to join.
  8. Special periods of prayer were ob­served by the speaker during the early hours of the morning. I cannot stress too much the poverty of prayer among too many of us, including the writer.

In conclusion I want to say that the en­richment to my own soul, the personal joy of seeing boys, girls, young people, and adults break away from the clutches of the enemy to follow their Lord and Master was a cherished and unforgettable experi­ence. Would I attempt such a major cam­paign again? "Here am I, Lord; send me."


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W.W. Fordham, Associate Secretary, North American Regional Department, General Conference

 

August 1968

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