The mission work of the Pentecostal Holiness Church started in the Union of South Africa around 1913, with the arrival of Missionary K.E.M. Spooner.
Krugersdorp, in the province of Transvaal, became the headquarters of the missions operations where, later, the first Bible School in South Africa was established and named after Missionary D.D. Freeman.
Although the work among the black people flourished and grew, no Pentecostal Holiness church had been established among the white population in this city due to its predominantly Afrikaans speaking, and staunch Dutch Reformed population. In fact, the general consensus among missionaries was that a P.H. church would never gain a foot hold in Krugersdorp, and for the next forty years the resident missionaries and their children had no English speaking Pentecostal church to attend.
But, then, Missionary Jimmy Gardner and his wife Esther, arrived from the United States and challenged the longstanding belief that an English speaking Pentecostal Holiness church could not be established by doing just that. He rented a church hall and began to conduct services and some of his English speaking friends started to attend. It soon became evident that a bigger place of worship was needed and Jimmy started to look around for a suitable site to build a church.
He found the ideal lot in the center of town, a prime spot and a very good location, which he discovered belonged to the city and was not for sale as the city had plans to create a park on that land. But Jimmy had his heart set on that location and made it an object of fervent prayer.
Meanwhile, he frequented the city with a request to purchase the land, but was turned away each time with an emphatic “No.”
Jimmy Gardner knew God had plans for that lot so he continued his prayers and pursuit to purchase that property. Under Jimmy’s ministry not only was a P.H. Church established in Krugersdorp, but the city fathers changed their plans and gave the lot to Jimmy, for a fee of fifty(50) dollars (just to make the transition legal), to build his church.
Jimmy Gardner built one of the most beautiful churches in the P.H. movement on a spacious lot surrounded by beautiful flower gardens, which became the prominent church of the city and one of the largest churches in the IPHC movement.
Through Jimmy Gardner, God performed the impossible!
[Editor's Note: My good friend, Daneel le Roux of Greenville, NC, wrote this story. He is truly an African/American who is white. He was born there and can speak the language. His father was a judge. I had heard Daneel tell this story a couple of times, and I wanted it to be in writing. Now is the time to share this story with the readers of Hugh's News.
Jimmy Gardner was a graduate of Holmes Bible College and has demonstrated the dynamic qualities of leadership that made him an extraordinary missionary. He and Esther, his darling wife, left their home in the United States to go to Africa to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. They gave everything they had to build a great church in Krugersdorp.
I believe that God is still calling young men and women to full time ministry, and to Holmes Bible College in Greenville, SC, which may be the very place they need to study and prepare for whatever God has for them to do.
I would personally like to see no less than 100 students enrolled for classes by the fall at Holmes Bible College. The campus is beautiful and the new Holmes Memorial Church is now being constructed.
God has sent a man by the name of James D. Leggett to be the president of Holmes Bible College and senior pastor of Holmes Memorial Church. God is using Bishop James D. Leggett to reclaim this, the oldest continuous operating Pentecostal Bible college in the world to my knowledge, to the greatness it once had, and move beyond that.
However, we must not forget the leadership of those who have preceded Dr. James D. Leggett, and the students who have left a legacy of service to this world as missionaries, evangelists, pastors, chaplains as well as professionals in many fields of service to humanity in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Wed, June 27, 2012
by Hugh Morgan