WHO COULD FORGET WHAT GOD DID IN ENGLAND
LONDON, ENGLAND -- It was March 17, 1997 and it was very exciting. We were loading up on a Delta Airlines MD-11 at the Cincinnati's International Airport for an all night ride to England. It was a place I had never dreamed of going to. It was a place where my spiritual father had come from. He had long ago died and was buried in a grave yard in England but it was the study of John Wesley and the Methodist that brought me to Jesus Christ in my senior year at the University of Alabama in 1972. Now I was on a plane going to mother England. My great great grandfather boarded a ship from England after living in Birmingham, England. His passage was to South Africa for a brief stay. He later entered the United States through Charleston Harbor in the 1840's. Later my Great Great Grandfather Ainge would come across plains with Bright Young the Mormon leader.
You couldn't sleep on the plane, we were shoulder to shoulder and my big frame filled out the seat well. I noticed around 6 AM London time as the horizon was coming up the brilliant sun was shining over the Atlantic. It was England in the distance and it was day break. How many of his majesties wind blown ships saw the same sights that I would see as sailors came home at dawn to their native home of England. During those days Methodist preachers evangelized the world. It was the cold Atlantic that claimed the Titanic while a Scottish preacher John Harper grabbed a floating piece of debris he began to move from person to person asking them if they were ready to meet their God. After three hours of fighting the cold he found a young man and asked him if he was ready to meet Jesus. With that last salvation message delivered to the shivering young man, John Harper slipped off the debris and drifted three miles to the bottom. We were heading toward a land that had forgotten the message that they had carried to the new world.
EARLY MORNING ARRIVAL
Yes the reason we were in the air was revival. We were moving fast toward ministry. As we landed Paul Mercy met us at the Gatwick Airport and he was all smiles, seeing his old friend Cleddie Keith. Cleddie said he wanted me to ride with Paul and him. As we got in the small car we passed Royal Albert Hall where past meetings long ago called people to repentance, then we headed for Brighton Beach to the south. We drove and talked as we hurried back along a busy thoroughfare that night for a service on the eastern side of London. On our way back we stopped at a Bible School that housed several nationalities. I was 47 years old and we came to a place where at 47 years of age a man had been called to preach named Smith Wigglesworth. After receiving his Baptism in the Spirit in Sunderland, England he carried the message of healing to the entire world. We were there on his 50th anniversary of his death at Glad Tiding Church. He died at age 87 while warming his hands after coming to an old friends funeral. Just like the good kings in the Bible his time of ministry was 40 years. Starting as an illiterate plumber he brought Pentecost to many parts of the world that had never known the manifestation of God's power in the 20th Century. He brought the power to New Zealand as he heard the voice of God to leave Australia and go to the island nation. We were in the country of Wigglesworth and our host Paul Mercy was a part of all that Pentecostal history. He was bounced on the knee of Wigglesworth as a child. Mercy's father was a pastor of a great Welsh Church at Cross Keys where Wigglesworth often visited.
It was early Sunday morning as my host came by to take me to Swallownest in Sheffield. At Swallownest was a historical Pentecostal church named Bethesda. Smith Wigglesworth had made a prophecy before World War II that not a single man would fall in battle that was a member of the church. The prophecy was true. Wigglesworth lived in the house next to the church for a short while and had preached in the Bethesda Church several times. Pastor David Littlewood was the pastor of the church.
As I approached the pulpit the message was plain and simple the message of revival that had led me to be a newspaper man and to cover one of the greatest revivals in the History of the United States. The power of God flowed in the old church, nothing much had changed there as a group of 200 ready for revival sat in anticipation of what I would tell them. I can remember three young girls that had fell under the power the Friday night before in another meeting. I will never forget their laughter at the Rotherham Church as they rolled on the floor under the power of God while I assisted Cleddie Keith the Friday night before. These girls hungry for revival would come forward again as I finished but it was all together different. It was very serious, as I spoke over these young ladies and spoke into these individuals the great call each one had on their lives. I can remember the looks on their faces as they fell to the ground in the sweet peace that only the Holy Ghost allows in these types of services. God was in the house, he was going to do a work in this house today. I can tell you it is a very lonely feeling as you watch God move through you to touch individual lives. It was draining and I would travel to a very Holy Place this night as I moved to another church to share the message of revival.
The time was moving on in the afternoon my host from Bethesda Church, Pastor David Littlewood drove me to Rotherham where I would minister that night. What a glory to behold going down the major highway in England. Looking off to the left and the right you could see small villages and at the center of each village was a large steeple where a church was represented. The sad thing about most of these churches is that the people no longer attend. God is so far away from the English people. The burden of their plight was felt by this minister. The English people suffer under the depression of non belief. You could see a part of America in England as you traveled, McDonald's is becoming a part of the landscape. With a large part of the English population being Hindu and Moslem the McDonald's recognize that element by making a hamburgers made out of vegetables. In the Rotherham Church as I began to prepare myself on the platform my heart began to feel a resistance in the church. The Lord dealt with me to teach on tithing. I watched the pastor who was in his final year of ministry before retirement. He was a good pastor as he had mothered his church to this point. God was in the house this night but that resistance in my spirit would cause me to speak on the subject of tithing.
During the worship service we felt the presence of God come into the people with more than 400 people in attendance my fear was not of the people but what I had to bring to them. I launched into my sermon and began to speak on the ability of giving by the believer. I remember I told them that to not tithe was to be disobedient to God's word and if they had not tithed in the past they were required to repent. With that several people left through the back door but God was in control and the word was begin given to those who had ears to listen. God moved that night as the prayer time began the pastor got up to be my catcher and I called for the elders of the church to come forward to help catch. I asked the pastor if he would assist me in the ministry. God was powerful. As the pastor sat in his chair an elderly women came up and put several British Pounds in his hands in paper notes after the service. The sermon was right on target God used me in Rotherham that night. The prayer time was power as one came forward to receive salvation and many came forward for healing.
The elderly pastor of the Rotherham Church drove me to my next destination in Wafefield at the old Glad Tidings Church. It was a church full of music and ministry as Cleddie Keith ministered late into the night. The pastor of the church took me to the back room and sat me down in the very place that Smith Wigglesworth had died 50 years almost to the day. It was here where he came to pay his last respects to an old friend that he met his Jesus. Wigglesworth warmed his hands over a Yorkshire fire in the back of Glad Tidings Church in Wafefield and slowly ended 40 years of ministry and gave his spirit over to the one that had called him. It was a tremendous moment, Cleddie Keith still comes back to Bradford, England every year to find the Jesus of Wigglesworth. We were standing in the shadows of a Pentecostal legend, and the faith of his ministry would be with us in the coming days.
As we ministered from church to church, we prepared for the great meeting Pastor Cleddie had planed at St. George's Hall in downtown Bradford, England. The first night at was incredible. Ken & Lois Gott and Brenda Kilpatrick ministered in the evening service as the power of God flowed through the Brownsville story that Brenda spoke about. The meeting was what God had ordered. While I was on the stage assisting the prayer teams someone brought a small little man from Liverpool over to me and said, "You've got to let this man pray for you." As the little man reached up to pray for me the power of God surged through my body as I fell on the stage. Tremendous laughter began to pour through me. I was laughing so hard that I began to kick by heals into the stage. Brenda Kilpatrick saw me and walked over and said, "Now that's a picture that needs to be in The Remnant." The rest of the story I could not tell you for after they picked me up from the stage they took me back to our hotel and layed me in my bed where I awoke the next morning refreshed and filled with the love of God.
How can you count the value in a meeting like the one held in Bradford. I can tell you that many things happened during the ministry time that is still going on today in people's lives. It was only three days but it seemed as if it was longer because of all that God had done. The meetings were in the morning, the afternoon and night. God was in the building.
This is place where you meet life long friends and one friend that I met was Randy Lee. Randy was a black pastor from Washington Court House, Ohio. I met him while we toured and preached through the English country side. As I watched him minister I knew that he had been given a powerful anointing in the Holy Ghost. During the last afternoon meeting at St. Georges Hall, Cleddie Keith had directed people to line up for what is called a Holy Ghost Fire Tunnel. That's where the prayer team and the ministry team line up for the people to walk through and receive the anointing as these warriors lay hands on the crowd. Randy had a dream the night before where he was going to lunch and was touched and knocked to the floor. It was the afternoon of the last meeting and right after the morning session someone was directed to pray for Randy as he was going to lunch. He was touched so hard that he feel in the hall way of St. George's Hall unable to get up. We looked for him at lunch and could not find him. As we came back Randy was up on his feet after being out for an hour in the Spirit.
"God always uses a man," Cleddie Keith
As the meeting began he was stationed at the front of the Fire Tunnel. One after another in the line came through the beginning of that tunnel. As Randy Lee laid hands on them they were slain under the power of God. It was getting very hard to find space for all of those that were touched. It's these kind of things that you remember and make you think about how God uses some people in great manifested power at times. I like what Cleddie Keith says, "God always uses a man." Its not hard to interpret that statement. What Cleddie means for all those who are skeptical is that God is alive and He manifests Himself through men on the earth today to give great direction.
Early during the trip we went to Sunderland, England. The first night we were there God moved in a tremendous way. Ken and Lois Gott were the pastors at Crown-House where God had moved in a powerful way after returning from London in years past. Gott like Steve Hill had received a powerful anointing after going to Brompton's Holy Trintiy Church in London. Holy Trinity is an Anglican church. What was strange about the touch he received was that once again God moved in an Anglican Church to touch England. It was at the turn of the century in England that Sunderland's Alexander Boody, and Anglican Priest, touched several that had come to receive the Baptism in the Holy Ghost in Sunderland. Smith Wigglesworth received the Baptism in Sunderland at the rector's house through the hands of Boody's wife. Sunderland is placed mark by God to display his power.
As we arrived it was very cold and the church was situated in downtown Sunderland close to the Post Office. We entered in the worship and I was asked to represent the United States when they did their song to touch the nations. I remember standing with a U.S. flag in my hand with East Indians, Polish people, Germans, Australians and several others. It was an awesome night. That night I was asked to stay and so we were taken to our hotel rooms. I was up high on the 10th floor. As I looked out my window you could see a white building on the side of cliff. I asked what building was that and it was an Old Roman Temple that was still standing since times that they had occupied this part of England. The next morning as I woke up I went down stairs to have some breakfast. I was joined by a very handsome man from Australia. His name was Steve Penny. I didn't know it at the time but he had a church in Australia and was very well known as a prophet. We had a great conversation about revival and it origins. I was learning people and it was exciting. That morning as the service began Cleddie Keith spoke at Sunderland. The power of God swept through the building as Gary Shelton led worship. Very often God moves and you can't feel a thing but you know he is in the building. As people were called to pray for each other, Dianne Sloan came to pray for me. I didn't feel a thing at the moment but when we got in the car to go back to Bradford something hit me in a powerful way in the back seat. The power of God was all over me. Isn't it strange how God does things sometimes. While you can't feel His touch in the building when your there but when you leave you can sense Him all over you.
People being touched was what the meeting was about in Bradford. Almost thirty-five percent of the population is from Pakistan or India and during these meetings several were saved. To the right is a picture of a family that was saved by the power of God. For the Moslem people that are saved, it is very hard to go back into their communities. It is a glory to God that this young family above came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. We were touched by the power to save. One of our early hosts in London was an Assembly of God minister and his heritage was in India. Once one of the most power fighting solders in the world the Seike people were India's infantry during the colonial period of the English. Many Seikes, Moslems and Hindu people live in England and in Canada today.
Many were blessed during the 10 days of travel and ministry through England. What was it like? I can tell you this that the three days that we spent in Bradford was like being on another level of revival. My spirit man was fed well their. Anyone that was on this trip knew that God had his hand on our group. Cleddie Keith has a burden for England, God spoke it to him several years ago on a golf course. Keith has been obedient to the call toward the United Kingdom. It will be in October when the small group travels again and those that have been before will once again fly across the Atlantic for an encounter with God. The heart of Cleddie Keith is to bring unity to the Body of Christ. God loves this man and he loves how he loves other ministers. He is unique and if he is your friend you surely have a friend in deed. Bless you Cleddie Keith for having a burden for ministry.
TO SEE THE 1998 TRIP TAP HERE