Beyond The Veil: Ministering in the Gulf States

“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Genesis 17:18)

We had anticipated this trip for months with mixed emotions. We had heard it over and over, “You’re going where?!” The exclamation mark that ended our preparations and began our final and longest leg of travel to the Gulf States happened in the bowels of the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, as we were about to board our Etihad Airlines flight.

Flanked on every side by men in white robes and head wraps, and women in black abayas and hijabs, our emotions were on high alert. Looking to foster a sense of camaraderie, my husband casually asked a fellow traveller if he was going to be on this flight. Unfortunately, his response of, “NO, I’m not getting on that plane!” did nothing to alleviate our tension, and just like that, we were off to the Gulf States.

After flying through the night, we arrived Wednesday at midnight, exhausted, and very relieved to see the Worker’s smiling face there to welcome us. He loaded our luggage into his SFC vehicle and drove us to his home to get some sleep.

Early the next morning, we woke to a myriad of new sights, sounds, and smells, assuring us that our long journey had not been a dream. The Muslim call to prayer broke the predawn hush, sounding completely foreign to our ears.

Our senses were overloaded as we got out for some sightseeing on Thursday. We spent the day getting acclimated, touring downtown, the market and the local mall. We saw beautiful architecture the likes we had never seen before, and a vast desert landscape resembling a windswept canvas. Transposed against the muted earth tones of the desert, and the stark black and white robes, were the vibrant colors of the people’s zeal for living. Plush rugs, cashmere scarves, fringed veils, and always the aroma of incense wafting in the air. Amber, Jasmine, Frankincense.

Over all, we saw people going about their daily lives. Even though the unfamiliarity of their wardrobe and language seemed strange, seeing families with their children in tow, while they shopped for groceries and other household necessities, helped us to put things in perspective. People are people all over the world.

People are people all over the world. Click To Tweet

As darkness fell on Thursday night, it was time for our first service. It was to be a preliminary meeting for the official anniversary service that would be the next morning. Anxiety, that had been dispelled through the day, snaked back into our minds, as we wondered how we could have service in such a closed place.

Several people, dressed in traditional attire, walked by in front of us as we crossed the street to enter the rented building. At this point, we simply had to trust the Workers’ judgement, who were living and raising their family here.

You might expect that we found a pitiful group of worshippers, huddled together in whispered prayer, fearfully looking over their shoulders. You would be mistaken. This group of 30-40 believers welcomed us with joyful embraces and hand shakes. They listened intently as the Word was delivered, and worshipped afterward with zealous abandon.

The keyboard, drums and electric guitars were just as loud as any back home. We cast several questioning glances at the Workers, to which they simply smiled and continued their enthusiastic worship. We had no choice but to trust and enjoy the atmosphere of pure praise. Later, it was explained to us that the platform and windows were lined with sound reducing material, which kept much of the sound localized and muted to the outside.

Friday morning, which is the religious day in this area of the world, we gathered in a banquet room of a local restaurant. To the Believers, it was their sixth anniversary service. To everyone else, it was just another festive occasion, complete with decorations and a buffet afterwards. Once again, the worship was unrestrained, and this time, there was no soundproofing to buffer the enthusiasm. This small group knew how to throw a great “party,” as seventeen people received the Spirit!

Afterward, as we gathered for the meal, several of the Workers’ local friends joined us for fellowship. The women talked about raising babies, and the men spoke of their shared interest in business and farming. There was much that went unsaid among the group, but was understood nevertheless. I looked around the table at the diversity of nationalities, cultures, languages, and was in awe of the privilege to be in this moment. As I was pondering what it all meant, and where it would lead, a young Muslim wife, dressed in her black abaya and head covering, walked around the table to where I was sitting, knelt at my feet, and presented me with the gift of a beautiful bracelet that she had brought from her village. She held my gaze with her dark henna eyes, as she offered me her friendship. I wondered, if the roles were reversed, would I have offered the same to her?

Location-1 was outgrowing its borders. Forty to fifty Believers are all that can congregate together without drawing undue attention. The Workers took us to see a fifth floor apartment, which had been newly acquired for a second meeting place. We were thrilled to learn that one of the rooms was to be used to start the first Word School in the country. Again, this facility was padded with extra thick carpet, a lifted platform, sound reducing material packed into the windows, and heavy drapes. As you read this, Location-2 is thriving, and working toward a third location in the city.

We traveled south by plane to a more remote city for another assemblies’ one year anniversary service. Location-1 had been flying two people weekly for a year to this city in order to establish, teach and stabilize this daughter work.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel where the group assembled in a banquet room each week. We were definitely not going to blend in here, where everyone that we passed in the hallways was dressed in their traditional attire. Once again, we asked ourselves how we could possibly have a service in this clearly closed place.

The next morning we awakened to rhythmic percussion and voices lifted to lively music. The banquet room was a few doors down, and these Believers were apparently very serious about their praise team practice. My husband and I looked at one another in disbelief, and I said what proved to be prophetic, “You know they’re only going to get louder.”

Once again, we had a powerful celebration service, complete with music, decorations, and a buffet filled with food. Sixteen new Believers were Spirit filled in that service, making a total of thirty-three new babies in all. Most of these were immersed in the Only Saving Name at a later time, after we and the Workers had left.

Although we have a long list of personal stories we could tell about the people we met, one most reflects the hearts of the people we encountered. My husband and the Worker went out for a few hours on a guy excursion to visit a nearby camel farm. As they wandered up, uninvited and unannounced, there was a group of shabab (young men) in their late teens and early twenties hanging out, as youth do.

My husband’s spiritual sensors immediately went on alert as he wondered how he would be received. He had no need to worry. Hospitality permeates even the culture of their young people. The young men welcomed them into their tent, made them hot tea, which they drank while sitting on the floor, talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. My husband was even treated to a free camel ride, which he may or may not have fallen off of.

We think often of the man in the airport, at the beginning of our journey, who reacted with such hostility at the thought of boarding “that plane.” When we juxtapose that image alongside these young men’s hospitality, and the memory of my new friend on her knees at my feet, offering a gift, our hearts are saddened to realize the majority of the people we know and love will never have the opportunity to overcome their fear, and come to know these precious people.

I have heard that the Total Immersion Technique is the most productive when learning a new language. This is exactly what we experienced. We were totally immersed in the culture of the Gulf States. In twelve days, we went from being anxious and awkward, to loving these people like family. The sights, sounds, smells and faces, once so foreign, are forever part of us. We will continue to carry the people they represent with us, and lift them up in prayer. Their story has become ours, and we are honored to be able to tell it for them.

Warm Regards, -Pat Vick

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter, and email me: Pat@PATVICK.COM.

*NOTE: This article was previously published in the May/June 2017 issue of The Pentecostal VOICE of Tennessee magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Hoping For Heaven, But living Like The Devil?

Years ago, I knew a lady who lived like the devil. She had enough Church influence to know right from wrong. If you happened to get into a conversation on the Bible, she knew all the right answers, and could even quote scriptures.

She knew and believed the Oneness of God. She knew and believed the New Birth experience as taught in Acts 2:38-39. She knew and believed in Holiness. She had a general knowledge of Endtime events.

Did I mention she lived like the devil?! Being a young Believer, and full of zeal for the Lord, I was astounded at this phenomenon.

As is often the case with people who know the Truth, but aren’t living Him, she loved to engage others in conversation about the Bible. One evening, we were having one such discussion concerning the Rapture and the Mark of the Beast. She said to us, “I know I’m not living right. I know I won’t make the Rapture, but when the time comes, I have decided, no matter what, I won’t take the Mark.” (I’ll reserve my comments on her belief in a pretribulation Rapture for another post.)

Being a young Christian, I didn’t know what to say to her then, but in the years that have passed since, I have often thought of her remark. If someone were to say the same thing to me today, I would share with them Jeremiah 12:5.

“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5)

I fear that there are many people that think like this lady did. They think that after living their lives in whatever manner they choose, that somehow, by sheer determination, they will be able to decide to do right “when the time comes.”

If you are one of those people, I would ask you the same question that Jeremiah did. If you can’t serve God and do right while living in peaceful times today, how do you think you will find the resolve to live for God when hard times come tomorrow? When persecution comes? When tribulation comes?

Willpower is a lousy disciplinarian when it comes to spiritual matters. If you are not truly CONVERTED to Christianity, If you are not truly BORN AGAIN of the WATER and the SPIRIT, your willpower is like a spider’s web in satan’s face.

Willpower is a lousy disciplinarian when it comes to spiritual matters. Click To Tweet

The Apostle Paul told the young minister, Timothy,

“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:25-26)

You may think you are calling the shots while being backslidden. You may think that one day, in the future, when you have sown the last of your wild oats, when you have achieved a certain measure of success, when you have gained notoriety among your peers, when you have consumed all of this world’s pleasures…that you will simply “decide” to come to God.

You are being deceived, my friend, and it is the most delicious deception the devil offers on his buffet of deceitful delicacies. The Truth is that you are being held captive at his will. Not only is he calling the shots, but he is doing so in relatively peaceful times.

What true persecution does the North American Church know of? If you squirm when someone asks whether you go to that Pentecostal Church, do you truly think that you will have the fortitude to live for God when the “Horsemen” arrive? When the whole world is reeling out of control?

I implore you. I beg you. I reason with you. If you feel the tug of the Spirit reading these words, don’t wait to “decide” to serve God. Turn to Him now. FIND A CHURCH that teaches the Acts 2:38 New Birth message, and go there as soon as possible. Repent of your sins, be baptized in the name of Jesus’ Christ for the remission of those sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Commit to living a life of Holiness.

If you have known the Lord, but have walked away, if you have filled your life with the world’s delicacies, WAKE UP! Realize your soul has been snared. Turn away from satan’s table of deceit, and turn back to God, while His Spirit is dealing with you. The horsemen are fast approaching, and you need to be prepared for spiritual battle.

Warm Regards,
-Pat Vick

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter, and email me PAT@PATVICK.COM.

 

 

How Were You Baptized? (It Matters, You Know.)

In Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples, He commanded them to go into all the world and baptize converts to Christianity. He also expected the disciples to teach these converts all the doctrine that He had entrusted to them for the three and one-half years that He had mentored them.

Although there are many scriptures on baptism in the Bible, two are used most frequently to teach from. The first, Matthew 28:19, is most often referred to by trinitarians, and Acts 2:38 is most often referred to by Oneness believers.

Knowing that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and without contradiction, let’s take a look at BOTH to see how they COMPLIMENT one another.

MATTHEW 28:18-20

18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

ACTS 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

 

A FEW OBSERVATIONS:

1. Matthew 28:19 is spoken by Jesus. (Notice the red letters.)
2. Matthew 28:19 mentions titles.

3. Acts 2:38 was spoken by Peter.
4. Acts 2.38 mentions a specific name, Jesus.

How can both of these baptismal formulas be correct? I have heard people say, “Well, I’m going to use the formula that Jesus said to use.”

I COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!

Does that mean that Peter and the rest of the Apostles disobeyed Jesus’ command, and baptized new converts incorrectly after He ascended back into Heaven?

Does it mean that every baptism that is recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles is heresy?

Does it mean that for 229 years, from Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection in 33AD until 325AD, the Apostles were using an ineffective baptism formula, and baptizing people wrong by calling the name of Jesus Christ over them, as they put them under the water?

It should be noted here that it was at the Council of Nicea in 325AD that the Roman Catholic Church decreed that to baptize in Jesus’ name was anathema (a curse). Before this time, the early Church always baptized in Jesus’ name.

…OR…

Could it mean that when the Apostles baptized new converts by calling on the name of Jesus Christ, that they were actually FULFILLING Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 28:19 by invoking the ACTUAL NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

Could it be that Jesus was expecting the Apostles to do what He said, and not just say what He said when they baptized? (Stop. Read that statement again and think about it for as long as it takes to sink in. Selah.)

Could it be that Jesus felt confident that the Apostles understood that He was speaking of Himself?

Could it be they knew JESUS was the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?

Could it be that they called on Jesus’ name in baptism because they understood that His name is the only name that has the power to remit sins?

Could it be that Oneness Apostolic Pentecostals have been doing it right all along?

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

So, I’ll ask you again…How were you baptized?

…It matters, you know.

Warm Regards, -Pat

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and email me at PAT@PATVICK.COM