Where God’s Finger Points


www.billmcalpinministries.org

WHERE GOD’S FINGER POINTS

Third Edition June 2010

OPENING STATEMENT (By Winnie McAlpin 1982)

When the Missions Board could not appoint, offerings could not send, and education could not qualify for entry into Australia, God opened the way for painters, carpenters, bricklayers, butchers and others to come to Australia as missionaries.  This short history confirms that where God’s finger points, He will make a way!

THE COUNTRY (By Winnie McAlpin 1983)

Australia is the only country in the world which occupies an entire continent. This continent  lies south-east of Asia between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. This area is often referred to as Oceania.  Australia is about the same size geographically as the United States. Mountain ranges extend all around the outer edge of the continent. However, the highest  mountain in Australia is but 7500 ft.  The land situated between the mountain ranges and the coastline plays host to most of the population. The coastline is adorned with beautiful white beaches and the Great Barrier Reef is noted for the beauty displayed in the coral formation.

The Interior of Australia has a vast plateau occupying nearly three-fourths of the continent. One third of the land mass is at present unsuitable for habitation and in another one third the rainfall is too low to permit close settlement.  Australia has the second largest desert in the world known as the Simpson desert.  Australia lacks the large inland river systems of more mountainous countries.  The largest river is the Murray which is about 1600 miles long. Australia’s total  water resources are meager compared with those of other countries. Annual rainfall for the whole of the mainland is but 16.5 inches, against the world over-land average of 26 inches.

Because of its geographical position, and absence of striking physical features, Australia has a more temperate climate than other countries in corresponding latitudes. However, the warmer climate is located in the Northern part of Australia and the colder climate in the South. Summer in the temperate regions is from December to February. Sydney, Australia is about the same distance from  the equator as Los Angeles in the U.S.A.

Australia is a country which is very rich in native flowers. They include the Waratah, desert pea, and Kangaroo paw. The best known native tree is the gum (eucalypt). This tree is found throughout the continent with about 500 varieties, One species, the Jarah, is among the world’s hardest woods. There are 600 species of the acacia known as the wattle. The wattle has found a place with the Kangaroo and the emu in the official Australian Coat of Arms.Australia has about 400 species of native animals and 700 species of birds, many of them found no where else in the world. Nearly half of the native mammals are Marsupials, animals which rear their young in a pouch. Apart from the Kangaroo family, the best known animals are the Koala, dingo, wombat, and platypus. Birds include the emu, which is the second largest bird in the world, the Kookaburra, Cockatoos, and many other types of parrots,hawks and eagles.

For many years up to the 17th century it was believed in the old world that a great Southern continent existed. Men of many different nationalities contributed to the discovery and exploration of Australia. The first European contact was in 1606 by Dutch explorers. It was not until 1770 when the Englishman Captain James Cook chartered the East Coast that any appreciable exploration was under- taken. Cook took possession of the land in the name of Britain. The name  Australia, meaning “Southland,”  is believed to have been first used in the 19th century.

The loss of the American colonies in the War of Independence led the British government to turn to Australia for alternative overseas settlement. Captain Arthur Philip commanded the first fleet of 11 ships which brought out of England 1500 people, including 800 convicts. The first settlement was founded in January 1788 at Sydney, N.S.W. This was a new beginning for Australia. This day is celebrated annually on January 26th by a public holiday (Australia Day). It is now 212 years since Captain Cook’s great voyage of discovery and in that time Australia has been developed into a thriving nation.

Before Federation in 1901, the present states were self-governing British Colonies.  Australia became a nation on January 1, 1901 after the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act was passed by the Parliament of Britain. There are six states and two mainland territories. The states are: New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia. The two territories are: Northern Territory and the Australian Capitol Territory. Canberra is the national  capitol of Australia and is located in the Australian Capitol Territory. “Australia’s Washington” attracts tourist from all parts of the world.

The system of government in Federal and State Parliament is modeled on the British Cabinet system. Voters choose between candidates at elections. The leader of the political party holding a majority in the Lower House is then called on to form a government. This government holds office for a statutory term as long as it retains the confidence of a majority of members. The main established political parties are the Liberal Party, The Australian Labor Party and the Australian  Country Party. Each state has a system of local government with areas known as cities, towns, municipalities and shires. Australia pioneered the secret ballot at elections and compulsory voting.

The population of Australia is approximately 15 million which is less than the population in New York City. Density population is 4 people to the square mile compared to 54 per square mile in the U.S.A. It is estimated that Australia can accommodate a population of 60 million people. Australia’s biggest cities are State capitols. The approximate population figures are: Sydney, N.S.W. 5 million;Melbourne, Vic. 2 million; Brisbane, Qld. 1 million; Adelaide, S.A. 1 million; Perth, W.A. 3/4 million; Hobart, Tas. 1/4 million; Canberra, A.C.T. 1/4 million and Darwin, N.T. 50,000.

The Aboriginal population, including persons of Aboriginal descent, is estimated at 140,000. It is estimated that, at the time of the first European settlement, there may have been some 500,000 Aboriginals scattered across Australia. The Aboriginal’s origin is uncertain, but it is thought that their ancestors migrated from South-East Asia. The Aboriginal tribes learned to cope very well with an often harsh environment. Living as semi-nomadic hunters and food gatherers, they did not cultivate crops or domesticate animals. Their material belongings were few, but some of their weapons and tools were extremely ingenious. The boomerang, well known around the world, was first used for hunting. They lived in small groups and spoke a number of different languages. They had complex systems of social organization and their culture was rich with ceremony and mythology. Aboriginals designed unique bark paintings and rock engravings.

Very few Aboriginals still live a nomadic life unaffected by contact with  Europeans. In northern and central Australia most of them live and work in remote areas on government settlements, missions, stations or pastoral properties.  In the Southern States, where most of the Aboriginals are of mixed descent, there is an increasing movement to the cities.  Aboriginals are British subjects and Australian citizens with the right to vote  at elections. Since 1967, the Federal Government has had power concurrent with the States to legislate for Aboriginal Affairs. A council and an Office of  Aboriginal Affairs have been established to advise the Federal Government on  policies for Aboriginal advancement. Special funds are provided to the State by the Federal Government to supplement their programs of advancement in education, health, housing and employment.

Yearly increase in Australia’s population is about 2%, nearly half of this is through net migration. Since July 1945. when the Federal Department of Immigration was established, Australia has been supplementing natural growth by admitting immigrants who can be readily integrated into the community. At present, about 120,000 immigrants a year  are granted a permanent visa for entry into Australia.

Immigrants come from all parts of the world seeking a better life in a new country.  Immigrants are granted a permanent visa on the basis of a need for a trade offered by the immigrant applying for a visa. These needs vary from time to time and a current list of approved trades are kept by the Australian Immigration Department. The Australian Immigration Department maintains centers in many countries, including the U.S.A. where application forms can be obtained for a permanent visa. It is difficult having once been denied a permanent visa to get that decision reversed.  It should be noted that if a person is denied a permanent visa, he could also be  denied a visitor’s visa on future application. It should also be noted that a minister of religion can not obtain a permanent visa without having a secular trade approved by the Australian Immigration Department.

For a nation of its size, Australia has a great diversity of industry. The fast-growing economy gives a constant demand for workers of many kinds as well as the professional and business men. About 31 percent of the work force is employed in manufacturing. Australian factories produce, often for export, a wide range of goods and products. One of the most important factors for the nation’s  economic growth has been its capacity to make iron and steel from the vast supply of natural resources.

Compared to some countries, Australia has a low unemployment rate. The present rate is about 10%. Due to this rate, school graduates find it difficult to obtain apprenticeships in the work force. However, students leaving school are eligible for $45.00 per week for unemployment benefits. The present rate of inflation is 8.8%. Education is compulsory between the ages of six and fifteen years. The school year begins toward the end of January and ends in mid-December. Three out of every four children are enrolled in State government schools where tuition is free. Others attend non-government schools, mostly conducted by religious denominations.

There are 15 Universities in Australia and a number of Technical Colleges. Only 10% of Australian students finish the 11th and 12th grade and obtain a Higher School Certificate. A Higher School Certificate is required to obtain entry into a University. 80% of the Students finish school at the end of the 10th grade and obtain a School Certificate which is equal to the High School Diploma in the U.S.A. A School Certificate is required for most trades or professions taught in the Technical Colleges. More than half the students attending University and Technical Colleges receive a Tuituary Allowance for their financial support which is equal to unemployment benefits.

Australia has one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world. Most Australians live in single family houses set on their own property. Very few private investors build houses for renting. Almost all new houses for renting are built by State Government authorities. Housing Commission houses can be rented for less than the private properties. However, most government housing authorities have considerable lists of applicants. Waiting periods can extend to 3-4 years depending on the area.

Freedom of religion is a fundamental principal of Australia’s democracy. Australia has over 4 million Anglicans, 3 million Catholics, and 2 ½ million members of the Uniting Church. There are also Baptist, Lutherans, Church of Christ, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist and others. The largest Pentecostal church in Australia is the Assembly of God with 22,000 members. It is estimated that there are 60,000 Pentecostal or Charismatic believers in Australia. However, it has been reported that only 3% of the Australian people attend church regularly which is once a month. Australia is a country with different people coming from all parts of the world, but having the same spiritual needs. We have a responsibility to reach these people with a message that will bring transforming power to the sinner and Pentecostal power to the believer.

THE MISSIONARY (By Winnie McAlpin 1982)

Billie Mack McAlpin was born in Cookeville, Tennessee U.S.A. in September 16, 1942. When we went to Australia, his immediate family consisted of his wife named Winifred, a daughter named Karen and a son named Barry. I cannot write that B. M. McAlpin  had a last name which would take him where God’s finger pointed.  In fact, when we joined the Church of God neither of us had any relatives in the Church of God. Nor can I write, that B. M. McAlpin had graduated from Lee College or any other fine institution of education to qualify him to go to Australia in 1973.  However, he had a B.A. when God called us to Australia— a Born Again experience.

Bill was quite industrious as a young boy. He traveled with his father on a truck to make fruit and vegetable deliveries. He sold fruit and vegetables along the highway before he could count and give change. He also worked in his uncle’s stores with the produce. However, he also found time to play the usual games of cowboys and Indians in the mountains of Tennessee. Here, he could see God in the beauty of  His creation.

When Bill was ten years old, he attended a youth camp sponsored by a Pentecostal church. When the altar invitation was given, he was the first one to go forward. He had little understanding of church worship. He walked up to the preacher on the platform rather than kneeling at the altar. God saw his courage and sincerity.  He not only found a new life in Jesus Christ but he was also baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Bill moved with his parents from Tennessee to Bradenton, Florida when he was twelve years old. He soon found another way to earn money. He bought a lawn mower and began mowing yards after school and on Saturdays. This work helped buy his clothes and give him spending money. One night when Bill and his friends were attending a small prayer meeting, God called him to preach. It was a definite call and confirmed by tongues and interpretation. There was no doubt about the call to a ministry. However, he was not sure that he wanted to accept the responsibility that would be placed upon him as a minister of the gospel.

A few months passed, and at the age of fifteen. Bill was seriously injured in a car accident. He was treated for a dislocated hip and kept in traction for three months. When he attempted to mow, he collapsed on the ground. X-rays showed that his broken back had been overlooked at the hospital. His back had a pinched nerve that would cause periods of unconsciousness. The doctor advised him to drop out of the ninth grade of school.

After several months of treatment, he was told that he would never lift over 5 lbs, and would not be physically fit to maintain employment. His future looked bleak. But he petitioned God with a promise to minister the Word if God would heal his back, God answered prayer and Bill began to hold youth revivals in Florida and Tennessee.

Bill and I met in August 1958 and was married in June of the next year. He was working as an apprentice Painter and Decorator. We joined the Church of God at Samoset, Florida in 1960. The call to labor with the Church of God was very real. This reality would enable us to face the future with confidence and faith. The Church of God,  granted Bill an Exhorters License in June 1961. He served the local church as youth leader and accepted invitations to minister at District Conventions. But, he was anxious to get into a full-time ministry. Bill became very burdened about fulfilling the call to a full-time ministry. I remember that on this day he had taken a very unusual place of prayer. He was praying in a tree located near our 28 ft. trailer. Our pastor came to the door and said he had been in contact with the State Overseer. A church was in need of a pastor at Indiantown, Florida. We were invited to minister the next Sunday with the possibility of accepting the pastorate. We felt God’s finger pointing us to Indiantown.

In October 1961 we left Bradenton, Florida pulling our 28 ft. trailer with a 1957 Chevrolet. Before we could leave the city, Bill had backed the car at a sharp angle and the car fender cut into the trailer. Between Bradenton and Arcadia the trailer hitch broke and we had to leave the trailer. On the way to Arcadia a buzzard hit the windshield scattering glass all over me and our nine month old daughter, Karen McAlpin.

The Church of God pastor in Arcadia pulled the trailer to the parsonage and we spent the night. The next day the pastor from Belle Glade borrowed a truck to pull the trailer. The borrowed truck had two tires blow out on the way to Indiantown. This experience taught us that being in God’s will does not mean that you will not have to face obstacles. This was a very important lesson.

Bill was 19 years old when we went to pastor at Indiantown, Florida. He also pastored at Stuart, Florida and Winter Beach, Florida. These churches were small and offered a real challenge. We learned many valuable lessons about pastoring and understanding people. Many wonderful and humorous events happened while we were pastoring. However, I will not take this time to relate them.

As I recalled the many lessons we learned while we were pastoring, I pondered how I could sum them up into three of the greatest lessons. They may sound very familiar but the familiarity should serve to accentuate the truth.  I think the greatest lesson was that God will provide for our every need in each situation, as long as we keep ourselves in the right position with God and our fellow man. The second is perhaps an amplification of the first. But, we learned that if we take the humble part, right or wrong. God will work everything out according to our good and His glory. Finally, the third greatest lesson was that “Where God’s finger points, He will make a way.”

THE CALL (By Winnie McAlpin 1982)

Bill was pastoring his third church, the Winter Beach Church of God, when God began to deal with us about moving into another field of labor. Knowing that God would soon move us, we  became restless. We were not unhappy with the church. But, we felt unsettled the entire 1 ½ years before God revealed His plan for our future.

We were sitting at dinner in the home of our church clerk in September 1971. The subject of immigration and Australia entered the conversation. Suddenly it dawned on us that God could be directing us to Australia. We read all the books and information we could find about Australia. Every time we heard the mention of Australia it would strike a chord in our heart. Soon a song of confirmation led us to reveal this possibility to our District pastor.

March 1972 marked the end of two years of pastoring at Winter Beach.  With the approval of our District pastor, we resigned the pastorate and moved back to Stuart, Florida. The church provided a farewell dinner and gave us $105.00 in offering.  Bill had been a paint contractor since 1968. However, we had never had a savings  account. We put the $105.00 offering into a savings for Australia. The next 1 ½ years we had a 61% profit in the painting business. God increased the $105. 00  to nearly $20,000.00, which provided our moving expenses to Australia.

We learned from the Missions Department that the Church of God did not have a work in Australia. We did not know this when we decided to move to Australia.  Later, in May 1973, we were asked to appear before the Missions Board. They decided not to finance a missionary to Australia. However, they gave us their blessing. They also approved Sunday School literature and rental money to start a church. At this time, we did not know that a minister of religion could not obtain a permanent visa to Australia.

By the time we returned from Cleveland, we had a letter instructing us to be in Miami for an interview with the Australian Immigration office. We were approved for a permanent visa on the basis that we could obtain a job. Taking a chance,  Bill called a painting contractor in Australia that he found in a job listing. When Bill explained why we wanted to come to Australia, the contractor sent a letter promising a job upon our arrival.

We received our visas in June and finalized our preparations to leave the U.S.A. Bill was ordained at the Ft. Pierce Church of God on September 17, 1973, just a month before our departure date. On  Columbus Day, October 12th, we left our family and friends behind and flew out of Miami for Sydney, a place where we knew no one. However, we were confident that “where God’s finger points” He will make a way.

THE HISTORY (By Winnie McAlpin in 1982-1984)

B. M. McAlpin and his family arrived in Sydney, Australia on October 14, 1973. We lived in a government hostel for the first two months. While we were at the hostel we met several Swedish Pentecostal families. Arnold Hammarlund, a Swedish pastor, opened his home for prayer meetings.

In December 1975 we purchased a house from Neville Nielsen at Campbelltown, N.S.W. Campbelltown is located 15 miles south west of Sydney. We began a Children’s church in our home in January 1974. We rented Hurley Park Hall in Campbelltown and conducted regular worship services by December of the same year. The Missions Department appropriated money to purchase a small van to pick up children and transport church equipment to the hall.

John Campbell and his family immigrated from Richmond, Va. to Busselton, W.A. in May 1975. The Campbells and their six children settled on a 160 acre farm near the beach. They began regular church services and extended the gospel to the Busselton community.

By June 1975, Colin Hedges and his family was attending and pledged their support to the small congregation at Campbelltown. They were acquainted with the Church of God in England where he had ministered among our Jamaican churches. The Hedges recognized that we were the same Church of God by our red Church Hymnal. In November of the same year the Hedges felt led of God to move to Brisbane and establish a church.

We held our first water Baptismal service at a Baptist church in November 1975.  Our daughter Karen and our son Barry were baptized in this service.  We were renting a community hall for services at Hurley Park Hall and did not have a place for the baptism.

B. M. McAlpin contacted the Missions Department with a request to organize the Church of God in Australia. Jim 0. McClain and Donald Jenkins came in January 1976 to organize the church. We did not know who would join the church as we had made it a practice to leave membership entirely to the work of the Spirit. We trusted God to add to the church by a conviction of His Spirit just as he had led us to labor in the Church of God. We organized with 55 members, 5 ministers, and 5 churches.

David Tittle and his brother John Tittle, who later changed their names to Randle, which was their mother’s married name, was among the ministers who joined when the church was organized.  John Tittle started a Church of God in Blacktown, a suburb of Sydney. David Tittle committed his ministry to evangelism.

We were advised by the Australian Attorney General through our solicitor that we could not use the name Church of God. This name was already being used by another church. The name New Testament Church of God was approved in July 1976. Other legal papers establishing the church in N.S.W., Australia was completed in July 1977. Legal action to incorporate the church on a Federal level was started in September I980.

Arnold Hammarlund made a trip to Sweden in August 1976. He purchased our 29 x 52 tent and made arrangements for shipping the tent to Australia. The Missions Department appropriated money to buy the tent, chairs, generator and a 1973 Ford 4 ton truck. The truck is used not only for transporting the tent but for storing the tent and equipment.

We held our first Australian Convention in January 1977 at Campbelltown in the new tent. During this convention, the tent was dedicated to the work of God. It seemed that God was pleased to fill the tent with his presence from the first time it was erected. Jim 0. McClain came to be with us a few days in the convention.  John Campbell flew over from Busselton and Colin Hedges flew down from Brisbane.  We also had Gosta Lindhal, a Swedish pastor, minister God’s word during the convention, which lasted two weeks.

In February 1977 the church at Blacktown and the church at Campbelltown voted unanimously to become one church and meet at a central location at Fairfield, another suburb of Sydney. B. M. McAlpin served as pastor and John Tittle as assistant. We worshiped on the top floor of a commercial building at 15 Railway Parade. Our meeting place became known as the Upper Room. Services would often last up to four hours. God poured out the Holy Spirit with unusual anointings of His power. People were filled with the Holy Spirit, others were healed, some were slain in the Spirit and many prophesied.

Our second tent meeting was held at Fairfield in April 1977. with David Tittle. This tent meeting will long be remembered for the unusual way the Spirit met with  the people. Quiet people were moved upon to laugh, other wept and some ran around  the tent as they felt God’s power. People were wonderfully healed and delivered from Satan’s power.

V. V. Matthew, a member of the Church of God in India, came to Sydney for a short visit in August 1977. He graduated from Melbourne Bible Institute in November of the same year. He moved to Sydney and obtained a permanent visa. Later his family came from India to join him in Australia.

In November 1977, David Tittle drove the tent across Australia to Busselton, W.A.    B. M. McAlpin and I flew to meet the tent at Busselton. Busselton, with a  population of 10.000, is located in a rural fanning area. During this tent meeting some children went forward to give their lives to Christ. The parents became upset  because the children were moved to tears of repentance. The children were not allowed to return and the attendance was small. However, three of the Campbell’s children received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The second Australian Convention was held in the tent at Fairfield in January 1978   Jim 0. McClain made a short visit to be with us in the convention. B. M. McAlpin was ill during this convention and unable to attend all the services. He  was advised by his doctor that Paint Contracting and the responsibility of the  church work were affecting his health. B. M. McAlpin attempted to make arrangements to discontinue the paint contracting.

The Campbells had been renting a small church in Busselton. W.A. from the Apostolic Church. We were granted a loan and financial assistance from the Missions Department to purchase this property in February 1978. This was the first property that the  Church of God owned in Australia.

We met Ronald Rentz from Baxley. Ga. at the 1976 General Assembly held in Dallas. Texas. It was his earnest desire to obtain a permanent visa to Australia and pastor at Adelaide. In May 1978, Ronald Rentz made a three week visit to Australia. He made a trip to Adelaide with B. M. McAlpin and Arnold Hammarlund.  He also conducted a tent meeting at Cabramatta, a suburb of Sydney.  Despite all efforts, Ronald Rentz was denied a visa. At this time we realized that a Minister of Religion could not obtain a permanent visa without having a secular trade approved by the Australian Immigration Department.

Robert Taylor and his wife pastors of the Emmanuel Mission in Sydney, had become  acquainted with the Church of God when J. H. Ingram came through Australia in 1945. We met J. H. Ingram at the 1976 General Assembly. The Taylors have always extended fellowship to the New Testament Church of  God  When T. L. Lowery and his wife came to Australia for an unexpected visit in October 1978. The Emmanuel Mission opened their church for a combined service.

At the combined service with Emmanuel Mission, B. M. McAlpin met Fijian singers  including Esther King. During the months of November and December 1978, B. M. McAlpin and Esther King conducted gospel concerts in jails, boys’ homes and churches. Esther King reported that she met a convert from the jail service at Milsens Island in one of her concerts in July 1982.

It was also through fellowship at the Emmanuel Mission that B. M. McAlpin received his first invitation to minister to the Aboriginal people. His first trip to the Tabulam and Woodenbong Missions was made in November 1978. Wayne Walker was the first Aboriginal convert. B. M. McAlpin also  met Gordon Nagas on this trip. Gordon Nagas, a Solomon Islander and Pentecostal minister, was making boomerangs to help finance an Aboriginal Bible college.   B. M McAlpin learned to throw the boomerang, to hunt and eat Aboriginal foods such as the kangaroo, turtle, snake, goanna and parrot. God blessed the ministry  of His Word and B. M: McAlpin was invited to take the tent to the Aboriginal Missions. A date was set for April and May of the following year.

Since the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregational churches had united, there were several empty church properties vacant in Sydney. Arnold Hammarlund helped locate and rent a church at Villawood in December 1978. The Missions Board  appropriated money for a down payment on this property. The final papers were  completed in September 1979 for the purchase of the church, the manse and three lots at Villawood.

The 1979 Australian Convention was held in January at the Villawood church. Jim  0. McClain was the guest speaker. The Emmanuel Mission and the Fijian church contributed  their ministry of song to this convention.

In April 1979, B. M. McAlpin and David (Tittle) Randle conducted a tent meeting for Colin Hedges at Woodridge. Qld. Colin Hedges faithfully ministered in Brisbane to his family and the clerk,  Darryl Taylor, with little results. God honored this faithfulness. God’s Spirit was mighty in the tent meetings. People were slain  by the Spirit while sitting in their seats and received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Aboriginal people from the Tabulam Mission, provided music for the tent meeting. About 35 Aboriginals slept in the tent. The community opened their homes and helped provide food. The church at Woodridge was established as God gave the increase.

Tent Meetings were also held at the Aboriginal Missions at Tabulam and Woodenbong, N. S. W.     during April and May 1979. There was also a tent meeting held in May at  Kyogle, N.S.W. the Aboriginal pastor from Tabulam conducted the song service and the Tabulam Band supplied the music. It was a time of great visitation from God. The Aboriginal people worshiped God in the power of His Spirit and old tribal strife was left behind.

Barry McAlpin accompanied his father on some of these Aboriginal tent meetings.  During one of the meetings, an Aboriginal showed Barry how to play the bass  guitar. In a few weeks he felt he had mastered the bass guitar and started  playing rhythm guitar and later lead guitar. Barry began playing in church and joined the Esther King Band in June 1982, as lead guitarist.

Eddie Southerland, from the Church of God in Christ came to Australia and ministered June and July of 1979. B. M. McAlpin took him to Adelaide to minister.  A young man who had been saved from a hippie’s life was healed in these services. He did not have to wear strong glasses after God instantly healed his eyes. Three years later he passed a truck driving test and did not need glasses. During this trip B. M. McAlpin organized the Church of God in Adelaide with twenty members.  Eddie Bayer, a German brother, cared for this church until we could obtain a pastor.  Meetings were also held in Sydney, Brisbane and the Aboriginal Mission at Tabulam before Eddie Southerland returned to the U.S.A.

In September 1979, B. M. McAlpin resigned as pastor of the Sydney church and  the assistant John(Tittle) Randle became the pastor at Villawood. He moved into the  manse and began cleaning and painting the buildings.

B. M. McAlpin and the Smith Creek Gospel Band went to Tamworth for the Country  Music Jamboree in January 1980.  Smith Creek Gospel Band consisted of the McAlpin family plus a pedal steel guitar. The meeting at the Church of Christ  was the most successful gospel sing the church had sponsored for the Country Music Jamboree. The prayer session lasted for over an hour as people from around Australia found new life in Jesus Christ. The Smith Creek Band was extended  into the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship Meetings in Sydney.  However, the band was short lived since B. M. McAlpin spent too much time traveling for the  church to be involved in a singing ministry.

B. M. McAlpin was in tent meetings with the Aboriginal people at Tabulam, Tamworth and Tingha during April and May 1980. The tent meeting at Tingha was outstanding  with more than 25 Aboriginals committing their lives to Jesus Christ. During the  last Sunday night service, the people sat in freezing weather to hear the Word of God preached for nearly two hours. (The tent did not have a heating system). The altar  service lasted until after midnight with people rejoicing in the Holy Spirit.

During this trip B. M. McAlpin ministered at Boggabilla, N.S.W. where Edward Hickling was serving as pastor. Edward Hickling was the first Aboriginal to  join the Church of God.  He stated that the Aboriginals believed exactly like the Church of God teachings. He was also the first minister to receive an Australian  Minister’s License. (This license was approved by the Executive Committee in August 1980).

Herbert Walker had visited Australia in January 1980. He helped us organize a Correspondence School. In July 1980 we named the School Bethel Bible Institute   and V. V. Mathews became the director. He began to revise the Continuing Education  material from Lee College for study material. About twenty students enrolled in  the school. However, the Correspondence School did not prove to be successful.

B. M. McAlpin was contacted by telephone in August 1979 by W. H. McLeod from Craig, Colorado. He asked if we needed a pastor in Australia. We replied in  the affirmative but did not offer much hope of obtaining a visa. However, he did obtain a visa as a meat cutter. He flew back with us from the 1980 General Assembly to take up the Adelaide pastorate. His wife and children joined him in March of the following year.

During the 1978 General Assembly we were contacted by Charles Hipp Jr. who wanted to come to Australia. We did not have much hope for obtaining a visa. We were  surprised and happy to learn that Charles Hipp Jr. and his family would arrive at Darwin, N.T. in September 1980. They came to Australia with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

In October 1980, we were in need of a pastor at Villawood. John Campbell and his family accepted the challenge. They sold their house and moved to Sydney within six weeks. By the time we returned from our furlough in March 1981, they  had finished painting the church and manse. They had also carpeted the church  and were in the process of building a fellowship hall next to the church.  The Sunday School averaged 40 and the Kids Klub 50.  80-90% of the people living in the Villawood area were immigrants.

While we were on furlough, we appeared before the Missions Board to give a report about the work of the Church of God in Australia. After this report we were  informed that Oceania would be placed under Lovell R. Cary as of April 1, 1981.  We were most thankful to God for this action because we felt it would insure that our  past and future labor in Australia would be used to the best possible advantage for the kingdom of our Lord. Lovell R. Cary made his first  visit to Australia in July 1981.

In April 1981 we were contacted by Neville Nielsen in Caboolture, Qld. B. M.  McAlpin and I made a trip to Queensland to organize a new church at Wamuran, Qld.,  which is about thirty miles north of Brisbane. Neville Parmenter also received a  Minister’s License and became the assistant pastor.

We were privileged to have Frank Lemons in Australia to Minister at the Villawood church in June 1981.  His ministry did not reveal that he would soon be 80 years  old. Samuel Sellick also came to Australia in June 1981 and remained until March 1982.

Samuel Sellick traveled with B. M. McAlpin to Adelaide in June 1981 and to Brisbane  in October 1982. Roger Mclntosh received a Minister’s License with the New Testament Church of God while B. M. McAlpin was in Brisbane.

In November 1981, W. H. McLeod received Wesley Irvine and his church into  fellowship at the Adelaide church. Forty-one members were added to the New Testament Church of God. He also received Patrick Beckett and his church of 40 members into fellowship in January 1982.

B. M. McAlpin, Colin Crago (the Church of Christ pastor from Tamworth) and Samuel Sellick made a trip to Adelaide in November 1981. They held meetings for W. H.  McLeod, Wesley Irvine and Patrick Beckett. A tent meeting was scheduled in Loxton, S.A. for March 1982.

A farewell was held for the Hammarlund family at Villawood on November7, 1981.  Arnold Hammarlind and his family returned to Sweden.  Jim O. McClain visited the Hammarlunds in June 1983 and ministered in three of the largest Pentecostal churches in Sweden.

Aboriginal tent meetings were held at Taree, N.S.W., Tabulam, N.S.W. and Lismore, N.S.W. During the months of November and December 1981, Samuel Sellick ministered  in each tent meeting and helped with children’s meetings at Taree and Tabulam.  Barbara Campbell traveled with us to Tabulam to help in the Children’s meeting. About eighty children attended the Children’s meetings at Tabulam.

In December 1981, the first youth camp was held at Bandanoon, N.S.W. Barbara  Campbell served as camp director. Joe Kurian and M. V, Abraham, our Indian students, came from Katoomba, N.S.W. to be guest speakers. About forty attended the camp and enjoyed a refreshing in the Holy Spirit as they responded to God’s Word.

A combined tent meeting was held at Fairfield, a suburb of Sydney in January 1982.  The New Testament Church of God, the Christian Revival Crusade at Fairfield,  and the Full Gospel Church at Merrylands sponsored the Free Gift Festival. This meeting brought a unity among the Pentecostal ministers in an effort to reach the lost in the Western Suburbs.

B. M. McAlpin and Stelian Cesmach made a trip to Melbourne in January 1982. They attended the first Romanian water baptismal service held in Australia.  B. M. McAlpin ministered the Word to the Romanian church and was warmly received by  John Draghici.

In February 1982, the Missions Board appropriated money to help buy the Angas  Boy’s Home in Adelaide, S.A. Money from the sale of the Busselton, W.A. property would also be used for this project. The New Testament Church of God gained access  to the property in March 1982 even though settlement had not been completed.

Edward Hickling, our Aboriginal pastor, reported that Tabulam, N.S.W. was having revival. He began meetings in March 1982 and reported that the revival was continuing even though he had met some opposition.  There had been some Aboriginal strife in that area. However, more than 55 people had committed their lives to the Lord in March 1962. Edward Hickling was conducting services every night of the week in the Tabulam, N. S. W. area, meeting  in homes and camp sites.

The tent was driven to Loxton, S.A. in March 1982 by B. M. McAlpin and Keith Baron.     W. H. McLeod and Patrick Beckett came from Adelaide to help in the tent meeting.  A mission was officially opened in Loxton on March 21, 1982. Since, we do not have  a pastor for Loxton, Patrick Beckett drove 150 miles to minister to this mission.

The first camp meeting was held at Bundanoon, N.S.W. in April 1982. About 75 people came from N.S.W., Queensland, and South Australia to attend the Easter  Camp, Lovell R. Cary, was the guest speaker.  Lovell R. Cary and B. M. McAlpin also traveled to Melbourne, Adelaide, Casino and Brisbane for meetings in April.

The first Minister’s Council was held at the Easter Camp with the ordained ministers. This meeting included Lovell R. Cary, B. M. McAlpin, Colin Hedges, Neville Nielsen  and W. H. McLeod. The second Council Meeting will be held in October 1982.

John Draghici and the Romanian church were officially received into the New Testament  Church of God on April 5, 1982, when Lovell R. Cary and B. M. McAlpin visited  Melbourne.  Forty members over the age of 18 years joined the church.

A. Lamb, a South African pastor, met with B. M. McAlpin and Lovell R. Cary in April 1982.  He was in Australia to minister at the Full Gospel convention held at Coffs Harbor, N.S.W. for the third year.  He was not aware that the Church of God was in Australia.  A number of his members had immigrated to Campbelltown. They attended the Full Gospel Church thinking it was the same as the Full Gospel Church of God in South Africa.

In May 1982, we returned to Melbourne to attend a Romanian wedding.  On this trip we met Diethatd Gutzat in Melbourne.  He and his family had arrived from Germany in February 1982.  He was acquainted with the Church of God in Germany through the European Servicemen’s Center.  Diethard Gutzat and his family returned to Germany in September 1982.

Patrick Beckett and his family moved from Adelaide to Sydney in June 1982.  A mission was opened at the Y.W.C.A. building in Liverpool in June 1982.  Liverpool is a western suburb of Sydney near Campbelltown.  The mission was closed in March 1983.

B. M. McAlpin and I made a trip to Melbourne for weekend meetings with the Romanian brethren in July 1982.  Cultural differences were forgotten as the people moved forward and responded to the Spirit.  The Sunday night service lasted four hours as the  people sought the Lord for over an hour in earnest prayer.

The first two District Pastors were appointed in July 1982.  W. H. McLeod became the District Pastor in South Australia.  Neville Nielsen became the District Pastor in Queensland.  Neville Nielsen was also appointed as vice-chairman and functioned in that capacity while B.M. McAlpin attended the 1982 General Assembly.

At this time period, we had one church and two missions in South Australia.  W. H. McLeod was the pastor at Parafield Gardens Church which met at the new property in Salisbury, which is a suburb of Adelaide. They were having an average attendance of 55 in Sunday services.  W. H. McLeod was also ministering to two missions located at Loxton, S. A, and Murray Bridge S. A.  Loxton was located 150 miles from Adelaide and Murray Bridge was located 50 miles from Adelaide.

Ata G. Nasrallah, pastor of the Christian Center (Arabic) in Sydney, met B. M. McAlpin at Cleveland, Tennessee in September 1982.  They met with Lovell R. Cary and with Jim 0. McClain to discuss the possibility of his return to Lebanon and working with the Church of God.

George Rolley, a pastor in Campbelltown, contacted B. M. McAlpin while he was in the U.S.A. to schedule a weekend meeting in Camden.  Camden is located 10 miles from Campbelltown.  This meeting was held November 12-I4th, 1982.  B. M. McAlpin was guest speaker with Esther King ministering in song.  The average attendance was 60 with a number of South Africans attending.  Pastor George Rolley and his church joined the Church of God on November 17, 1982.

B. M. McAlpin flew to Brisbane, Qld. November 19-27, 1982.  He visited Colin Hedges at Woodridge, Qld., Neville Nielsen at Caboolture, Old, and a new church at Clarntarf, Qld.  Neville Nielsen received pastor Blake Short and his church at Clarntarf into membership in November 1982.  Blake Short, a South African pastor, was the pastor at the church in Clarntarf, Old.  Clarntarf  is located about 10 miles from Caboolture, on the coast of Queensland. The group had about 25 in attendance.

Colin Hedges was pastoring at Woodridge, Qld. The Woodridge church had about 20 in Sunday School and 40 in Kids Klub.  Neville Parmenter was pastoring at Wamuran, Qld. which was located north of Brisbane.  The Wamuran church was averaging about 25 in Sunday School.

Neville Nielsen was ministering to an extension group in Morayfield, which is near Wamuran.  He was also having meetings with other Pentecostal groups in the Brisbane area.

The church at Wamuran, Qld. moved to Caboolture, Qld. in October 1982 and Neville Nielsen took the pastorate the following month.  The church at Woodridge, Qld. combined with the church at Caboolture in December 1982.  Colin Hedges joined Neville Nielsen as associate pastor at Caboolture.

A. Lamb and his family returned to South Africa on November 23, 1982, after a month in Australia and a decision not to immigrate to Australia.  B. M. McAlpin had taken the pastorate at Villawood on November 21st with 24 in attendance.  As a result of A. Lamb’s return to South Africa, the South African brethren left the Full Gospel Church and joined the Villawood congregation.  The attendance grew rapidly and reached into the 80′s within a few weeks.

Lionel DuSart, a South African singer, and B. M. McAlpin sang in a Carols by Candlelight in Manly, a suburb of Sydney on December 23rd.  The night was co-ordinated by Esther King with about 2,000 in attendance.

The New Testament Church of God participated in two camps.  A youth camp was  held at Bundanoon, N.S.W. from December 29 to January 2, 1983.  J.V.B. Campbell  was the night speaker and M. V. Abraham, an Indian student, was the Bible  teacher.  B. M. McAlpin was guest speaker at Camp Hebron in Thirlmere, N.S.W  January 1-2, 1983.

George Rolley and the congregation at Camden moved to Hurley Park Hall at  Campbelltown in January 1983.  This hall is where B. M. McAlpin held services from June 1974 to February 1977.  It is also the site of the official organization of the New Testament Church of God in January 1976. The attendance for the Campbelltown group was about 50.

Harry Pilt, owner of Camp Hebron in Thirlmere, N. S. W., attended the Campbelltown church.  George Rolley and the congregation participated in the annual camps held at Christmas and Easter at Camp Hebron, located about 20 miles west of Campbelltown.

The tent was used for the last time for an Aboriginal meeting at La Perouse.  The  tent was put up at La Perouse, a suburb of Sydney, for Australian Day weekend,  January 28-31, 1983.

The tent truck was stolen from the Villawood church property on February 10th and used in a robbery.  The tent and equipment were dumped in a park and one half the tent was stolen along with equipment totaling $5,000.00. The tent had been our most effective tool for evangelism.  Tract distribution and street meetings do not bring any noticeable results in Australia.  However, tthere were always new people who attended a tent meeting.

Some of the Aboriginal tent meetings had more than 350 in attendance with people sitting outside the tent.  As a result of our first tent meeting, we were contacted  in 1980 by Tuasi Tonga.  We had lost contact with him since he was wonderfully saved in the tent meeting held at Campbelltown in January 1977.  He wrote that he  had returned to Tonga and continued the past three years to minister to his people.  He wanted to organize a Church of God in Tonga.  However, due to lack of finance for supervision, we had to direct him to another Pentecostal church.

Only a final tally in heaven will reveal the total results of the tent ministry. We admit disappointment that money was not approved to replace the stolen section of tent.  We felt saddened to sell the tent truck and dispose of the remaining  tent equipment.  The New Testament Church of God will long remember the tent with treasured memories.

At the time of the theft, B. M. McAlpin was in Perth, W.A. to finalize the sale of the Busselton property.  The money from the Busselton property was used to help settle the purchase of the property at Parafield Gardens, S.A.  W. H. McLeod and his family moved their residence to Parafield Gardens in January 1983.  B. M. McAlpin visited Adelaide on his return trip from Perth.

B. M. McAlpin was in Melbourne from February 12-17, 1983, with the Romanian people, to listen to a church dispute.  He flew back to Sydney and received the Nasrallah family into membership.  Then he returned to Melbourne for a Romanian business  meeting on February 19th.  Agreement could not be reached for the election of a church committee.  The pastor agreed to start a church in another location with  those members who were in harmony with the pastor.  By August 1983, when B. M.  McAlpin was in Melbourne for a Romanian wedding 90% of the people was in harmony with the pastor.  The following month, a church committee was elected in a  peaceful atmosphere.

The New Testament Church of God sent their first missionary to Lebanon in March 1983.  Ata G. Nasrallah was a pastor in Lebanon for 2-4 years before he came to Australia in 1978.  He and his entire family were baptized with the Holy Spirit after coming to Australia.  The Nasrallah family returned with a zeal to share the gospel with their fellow countrymen in war torn Lebanon.

The Campbelltown church attended the 1983 Easter camp held at Camp Hebron in Thirlmere. N.S.W.  George Rolley helped minister the Word.  About 60 people attended the camp.

Edward Hickling, our Aboriginal pastor living at Tabulam, N.S.W., reported in April 1983 that the church work was going well.  More than 100 souls had been saved during the past two years.  His married daughter was conducting a Sunday School held at Tabulam for the first time in twelve years.  He requested Bibles and tracts to help in the ministry.  He also requested a bus for transportation.  Some Bibles and tracts were sent and the need of a bus became a prayer request.

The New Testament Church of God Executive Committee met a 14 MacArthur Place April 23-25, 1983.  The ordained ministers prepared the final draft of the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association for incorporation.  Joe Kurian and Ata G. Nasrallah were chosen for the 1983-84 mission project.  Other church needs were discussed and plans organized for the coming year.  Neville Nielsen and Colin Hedges flew down from Brisbane.  W. H. McLeod flew  up from Adelaide to attend this meeting.

Lovell R. Cary arrived in Brisbane on May 14, 1983.  B. M. McAlpin flew to Brisbane  to meet him.  They held meetings at Caboolture and Clarntarf, Qld. with approximately  40 in attendance; Adelaide, S.A. with 45 in attendance; Melbourne, Vic. with 79 in attendance; Villawood, N.S.W. with 81 in attendance; and Campbelltown, N.S.W. with 45 in attendance.

W. H. McLeod began in June 1983 to renovate one of the five buildings on the property  at Parafield Gardens, S.A.  The new sanctuary would seat 250-300 people when completed.

Meetings were held in Adelaide, S.A., Villawood, N.S.W., Tabulam, N.S.W., Caboolture, Qld. and Clarntarf, Qld. during the months of June and July 1983. Neville Nielsen, pastor at Caboolture was having about 65 in attendance.

A bus, Bibles, books and 60 pair of shoes were delivered to Edward Hickling.  The 1973 Toyota bus was purchased from the church in Adelaide at a good price and the balance paid by pledges from Villawood.  After receiving the bus, Edward Hickling reported that he was ministering to Aboriginal people at Box Ridge, Lismore, Cabbage Tree Island, McLean, Yamba, Casino and Mabugilmah.

Billy Pollard, a Foursquare evangelist from Texas, traveled with B. M. McAlpin during June and July 1983 to minister the Word.  Billy Pollard and his family flew to New Guinea from Brisbane.  B. M. McAlpin and I traveled on to Darwin, N.T. to visit Charles Hipp Jr. at the Wycliffe Bible Translators Center.

Charles Hipp Jr. and his wife was the only Church of God people working with the other 4700 members of the Wycliffe Bible Translators around the world.  The Darwin branch, known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics, is involved with translating 21 Aboriginal languages.

After visiting at Darwin, we drove through the heart of Australia to Ayers Rock and down to Coober Pedy.  The road to Coober Pedy at that time was a dusty dirt road.  We traveled through Broken Hill and cut east to travel back to Campbelltown.  This was our outback experience where we saw Aboriginal people living on the land without housing.

In November 1981, B. M. McAlpin received notification that the Australian Governor- General approved  the New Testament Church of God for Marriage Celebrancy.  Until this time, each minister was required to apply for Marriage Celebrancy individually.  The church had been granted but one Marriage Celebrant.  B. M. McAlpin was serving in this capacity. Now, Marriage Celebrancy  would automatically be granted to any minister nominated by the Australian Overseer.  Approval for Marriage Celebrancy gave the  New Testament Church of God recognition within the country.  The church was listed in the Australian Gazette on August 30, 1983.

George Groza and his wife arrived from Melbourne on September 3, 1983.  They brought clothes for the Aboriginal Mission.  The  Romanian church at Potter Street gave $400.00 for petrol to take church pews  from the Villawood church to Tabulam.  They also gave $50.00 for a gift of food to Edward Hickling and his family.  Clothes were also donated by the Parafield Gardens, Villawood and Cambelltown churches.  B. M. McAlpin left on September 8th  to drive the truck with the pews and 15 bags of clothes to Tabulam, N.S.W.

On September 13, 1983, B. M. McAlpin received a letter from Thomas Sands, Field Representative for the Far East, stating that Paulus and Hanna Darma had arrived in Australia from Indonesia in June 1983.  Both Paulus and Hanna held minister’s credentials with our church known as the Bethel Church of God in Indonesia   The  Darma family ministered with music several Sunday nights at Villawood before  returning to Indonesia on October 26, 1983.  The Australian Immigration Department  required their return to Indonesia before they could apply for a permanent visa.  There were about 200 people from Indonesia living in the Sydney area.  A large number of these people are brethren from the Bethel Church of God in Indonesia.

Ata G. Nasrallah’s married daughter in Sydney reported in September 1983 that her father was safe in Lebanon and believing God to protect them.  She stated that even though the war was worse than in 1974, the Nasrallah family did not wish to leave Lebanon.  They were happy with the progress of the church work.  Many had given their lives to the Lord and the Lebanese people were receptive to the gospel.

The mission at Loxton, S.A. closed in September 1983.  Neil Harris, a layman from  Parafield Gardens had been driving 300 miles round trip each week to conduct services since June 1982.  We also lost an opportunity for churches at Darwin, N.T. and Mt Isa, Old.  The New Testament Church of God did not have a pastor to send to these  areas when a request was made to the Australian National Office.  Church growth  had been hindered from the lack of pastors.  The Australian Immigration policy  made it difficult to secure a permanent visa for pastors desiring to immigrate from other countries.

The church solicitor wrote during the month of September 1983, stating the  disadvantages of incorporation.  To be incorporated in Australia and to abide  within the Corporate Affairs policy would mean that the church would have to operate under an autonomous governmental structure.  It was decided that a  trusteeship would best serve the needs of the New Testament Church of God which  has a centralized form of government.

An election by ballot was held on September 25, 1983 for an assistant pastor at  Villawood.  Ted Wharemate, received the majority vote and accepted the position.    Ted Wharemate, son of a Maori chief, pastored a multi-cultural church in New Zealand for ten years.  A full-time assistant was needed to provide leadership at Villawood during B. M. McAlpin’s absence for traveling ministries.

The Villawood church was a cross-cultural church.  The largest group was South African with about 35 people.  Other countries represented were the following: Australia, America, England, Poland, Romania, Yugoslovia, New Zealand, Timor and many South American countries. In one of the Sunday morning services a Polish lady heard the message in her language while B. M McAlpin was ministering from the Word.

Jorge Robelledo and about 100 Spanish speaking people began attending the Villawood church and became the largest language group.  They held Spanish meetings on Saturday nights at Villawood and continued a Sunday night service at Ashfiled, a suburb of Sydney.

In November 1981, B. M. McAlpin was invited to Fiji to start a church work.  This contact was made through a Fijian pastor in Sydney.  This was reported to the Missions Board in February 1982.  However, no funds were approved for a trip to Fiji.

Robert Goodrich was appointed as Overseer of the South Pacific Islands in August 1982 and given the approval to establish a church work in Fiji.  In August 1983,Robert Goodrich made a request for Joe Kurian to accompany him on a third trip to Fiji.  Previous trips had not proven successful.

B. M. McAlpin made arrangements for Joe Kurian, Robert Goodrich and himself to meet at Nadi, Fiji on September 29, 1983.  A few days before departure, B. M. McAlpin received the name and address of a contact in Fiji from the Fijian pastor in Sydney.  They were given a tremendous reception by pastor Paula Tikoi even though he did not know B. M. McAlpin and had very short notice of his arrival.

Pastor Tikoi scheduled eight meetings for Joe Kurian, Robert Goodrich and B. M. McAlpin.  A number of people committed their lives to the Lord including a man and his wife who are members of the chief’s family.  The Fijians cooked an underground meal and gave gifts to show their appreciation.  The pastor also expressed his desire to have Joe Kurian return on a visa to minister to the Indian population. Half the population of Fiji is of Indian descent.

B. M. McAlpin and Joe Kurian returned to Sydney on October 6th.  Joe Kurian ministered at Villawood and Adelaide before returning to Brisbane on October 19, 1983. Joe Kurian completed his studies at the Garden City School of Ministries in Brisbane and received his Bachelor of Theology.  He had intended to minister to Indians in Fiji, but was later appointed to a church in England.

On October 23,1983, Bill ministered at Camp Hebron and W. H, McLeod ministered at the camp on the following day.  The Camp was owned by Harry Pilt and the meeting was sponsored by George Rolley.

On October 29, 1983, we celebrated the tenth year of arrival in Australia with the Curwen family. Cyril Curwen was the hire car driver who was hired by the Australian Government to drive us from the Sydney Airport to the East Hills Hostel on October 14, 1973.  Thirty guests attended the barbeque held at 14 MacArthur Place in Campbelltown.

On November 10, 1983, we spent the day entertaining Aboriginals brethren. Audley Hickling, Bob Caldwell, also Treavor’s son, and Simon came to visit.  We fixed a barbeque, played games and  looked at photos.

Shortly after the Executive Committee finished meeting on January 18, 1984, we received a telegram stating that B. M. McAlpin’s father was in the end stages of lung cancer.  Bill left Australia on January 25 for a three month trip to help care for his father. During his absence, Tommy Sands visited Australia as the Far East Field Representative.

On March 20, 1984, Tommy Sands and B.M. McAlpin, while on his return trip from the U.S. A., met in Fiji and held meetings at Nadi and Ba. (Harold McLeod organized the Church of God in Fiji on April 10, 1985).

On April 29, 1984, B.M. McAlpin resigned as pastor of Villawood and announced his decision to return to the U.S.A. after the General Assembly and his plans to enter Lee College.  This decision was due his father’s illness and the need for trained personnel for the Church of God in Australia.  Ted Wharemate  became the pastor at Villawood.

David Lanier, Overseer of Michigan, arrived in Sydney on May 16, 1984. B. M McAlpin and David Lanier drove to Inverell where they ministered to 85 Aboriginals. Col Connors was accepted for a minister’s license.  Clothes and Evangels were delivered  to Edward Hickling.

We traveled on to Caboolture, Qld., where David Lanier met Neville Nielsen and looked at property.  The state of Michigan had pledged $25,000.00  US to help purchase two acres of land. B. M. McAlpin also ministered at Caboolture and Gympie on this trip.  B. M. McAlpin preached and bade the congregations farewell. David Lanier flew from Brisbane back to the USA. During the next couple years, Neville Nielsen completed the building of a beautiful church in Caboolture. Qld., located a few miles north of Brisbane.

On our return trip to Sydney we stopped at Tabulam to visit Edward Hickling.  Edward Hickling and we traveled ten miles to Mallanganee for a visit with Robert Collins and Audley Hickling.  As a result of this visit, we scheduled a return trip to receive the Aboriginal congregation at Mallanganee into fellowship on June 8, 1984.

On June 1, 1984, Lovell Cary arrived and ministered at Villawood the following Sunday to an attendance of 140.  Sixty Spanish members were received into fellowship, and George Robolledo received a minister’s license.  Lovell Cary  also ministered at a new mission in Dapto and at the Campbelltown church for George Rolley.

On June 7, 1984, B. M. McAlpin and Harold McLeod flew to Mallanganee.  They received 50 Aboriginal members into fellowship and arranged for five ministers to receive a minister’s license.  We were told that this was the first Aboriginal church to join a Pentecostal denomination. This was the last time we saw Eddie Hickling, we received word on February 13, 1985, that he had passed on.

After visiting Mallanganee, B. M. McAlpin and W. H. McLeod also flew to Melbourne. On June 9, 1984, they held services Saturday night and Sunday morning with the Romanian group and had 150 in attendance.  They ministered the Word and B. M. McAlpin stated his farewell. These trips introduced W. H. McLeod to the people groups of Australia, whom he would later serve as Overseer of Australia.

On May 5, 1984, a farewell for the McAlpin family was held at  Campbelltown.  The Villawood church held a farewell for us on May 12, 1984.  The churches also gave gifts of appreciation.  Leaving seemed almost unreal both to us and the church people, who would forever hold a special place in our hearts.

COMMENTS      (By Winnie McAlpin 1982)

We did not go to Australia as Missionaries. We simply moved from one country to another as God directed. We realized that a missionary has a high calling requiring many qualifications with heavy responsibilities. We did not consider ourselves worthy of such a position in the plan of God.

In Mission services at the Florida Camp Meeting, I would often be moved to tears as I considered the spiritual needs around the world   But, I never considered the possibility that we would become Missionaries. I had reasoned that we did not know any foreign languages and lacked other necessary qualifications. It had seemed to me that there was a great need for finances and no lack of qualified personnel for the Missions field. Somehow, God slipped this calling upon us without my hardly realizing it as such.

Years later, when I fully realized the responsibilities that would be placed upon us as overseers of a growing mission work,  I began to ponder the small pastorate back in the sunny state of Florida. But now, I thank God for the privilege of serving Him in the capacity of a missionary. We appreciate the opportunity given  to us in 1976 when the Missions Board appointed us as Representative Missionary to Australia.

There are many times that a missionary needs the assurance that he is in the direct plan and purpose of God. On August 3, 1969, we were traveling from Florida to Tennessee. We stopped in Chattanooga, Tennessee to visit a Florida pastor.  During the Sunday morning service, a prophecy was given by a visiting minister from England. After the service, he stated that the message from God was given to us in relation to God’s plan for our ministry.

The prophecy spoke of God’s call. We would be like a hub on a wheel.  The spokes of the wheel would be people depending on us. It also spoke of the rim and then other wheels who would help carry a great load. Then the prophecy spoke about the  loneliness and solitude that would be associated with being the hub. Lastly, it spoke of the help and protection that would come from God.

I had never heard many prophecies and this was the first one given to us. The day before we had stopped  in an antique shop and had admired some old wagon wheels. It seemed possible that this could be God speaking to us through a prophecy.  I wrote the prophecy in my diary and never remembered it again until after we  were in Australia.

When we dedicated the tent in January 1977, one of the   Australian pastors related how a small prayer group had received a prophecy in  1969.  The prophecy spoke about a wheel and related how someone would come across  the sea to minister to them. Excitedly, I looked back in my diary and found the  same Prophecy in the same year. God confirmed that he had called us to work in Australia.

When we reflect about Australia and the past, we can see God’s hand at work. We are confident that “Where God’s finger points, He will make a way.”  However, being in God’s perfect plan and purpose does not mean that it will be easy.  There will be obstacles to face, difficulties to experience  and  disappointments to be endured.    But, we continue to move forward as “God’s finger points the way.”  One day when we reach our final destination, we will hear him say “well done.”

UPDATE (By Winnie McAlpin 2008)

On June 19, 1984, Bill McAlpin shipped seventeen boxes, including six for our married children, and arrived in Livingston, Tennessee on June 23, 1984.  His father’s condition had steadily deteriorated until his death on July 19, 1984.  Our two married children and four Australian grandchildren were delayed due to visa paperwork.  They did not arrive until July 30 and September 1984.

After attending the General Assembly in Dallas, Texas, we arrived in Cleveland, TN on August 22, 1984, where Bill enrolled in Lee University. He graduated from Lee University in May 1989 and ranked 20 from the top of the class for his academic achievements. He then enrolled at the School of Theology.

While Bill was enrolled at Lee University from 1985 to 1989, he served as the Security Chief. He continued as Security Chief while attending the School of Theology from 1989 to 1992.  We also pastored the Michigan Avenue Church of God  from 1989 to 1992.  During this same time period, from 1985 to 1992, I worked in the Bookkeeping Department at the Church of God International Offices.

We had thought that the education, which Bill received at Lee University and School of Theology, would be used in Australia, but that did not happen. While education has its merits, Bill  learned that education had not been needed for what God wanted to accomplish in Australia. He concluded that success on the mission field is a result of being able to hear what God is saying and then moving in the direction He points.

When we left Australia in June 1984, we had intended to return.  We rented our house to a South African family and stored most of our personal items  in the garage.  In 1987, we made a trip to Australia to sell our house and ship our remaining personal items to the U. S. A. Our fourth grandchild, Kurtis McAlpin at 3 years of age, made this trip with us.

In June 1990,  Bill McAlpin and I took a group of eleven  Lee University students and my sister, Delors Hollis, for a six week trip to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.   The work in these areas was growing and they gave us a warm welcome.   We also visited the Aboriginal groups on this trip.

While visiting Australia in 1990, we learned that we could not renew our permanent visa to Australia, unless we moved back to Australia immediately.  We decided that a move could not be made at that time because it would mean dropping out of the School of Theology.

In June 1992, thinking that Canada would offer opportunities to minister to the cross-cultural sector, we accepted an appointment to plant churches in Calgary, Alberta.   W. H McLeod, who had been appointed Overseer of Australia in 1984, and his wife drove to Calgary to help us with this move. We planted one church and returned to Cleveland in March 1994. Having learned that we were expected to plant only European churches in a multi-cultural city, and a permanent knee injury, prompted our return to Cleveland.

After returning to Cleveland, Bill returned to paint contracting, his secular trade. Paint contracting  had gained our entrance to Australia, where he painted every tax year  except one.  He had also painted the Moose Jaw Bible School, the Western Canadian Offices and the overseer’s residence for the Church of God in Canada. While in Canada, it was not possible to receive monies for painting because we did not have a Canadian permanent visa.

From 1994 to 2000, we made several trips to various churches  to collect monies for property in Fiji. The 2000 mission appointments at the General Assembly made our travel no longer needed.  Lovell Cary was serving as the Mission Department Director at that time.  The monies collected was used to construct a Bible school in Fiji, where we now have about 30 churches.

In 1996, W. H. McLeod was appointed  Director to the Far East and Peter Openshaw became Overseer of Australia.  Before we left Australia, we had explored the possibility that  Australia could receive the  Y.W. E. A project. The  Y. W. E. A.  Project was given to Australia  in the year 2000.  The Church of God Men of Action went to Australia to help with the building of the Ministry Training Centre located at Campbelltown, N. S. W.

In January 1998, Bill accompanied Harold Mcleod for a ministry trip to the Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, Pakistan and India. The meetings held in India had about 15,000 in attendance at the Kerala convention. They had a great trip, which gave much insight into the culture of the Far East, and met many dedicated believers in these countries.

In January 2001, we made a trip to Australia to attend the opening of the  Ministry Training Centre.   The building, presently valued around three million dollars, was erected very close to the spot where we first put up the tent in 1976.   While attending  the opening, we met with Fijians, who remembered Bill’s ministry and our 1990 trip to Fiji. We also met with South African people to whom we had ministered prior to leaving in 1984. The South African brethern were attending the Hillsong Church in Sydney.

We did not have time to visit the Aboriginal people during the January 2001 trip.  However, we did make inquiries concerning our Aboriginal brethren. Perhaps we could not properly judge the state of the work in Australia at that time, but we did have some concern.  At that time, none of the work among the Aboriginals existed excepting one church.

Bill continued with paint contracting until 2003, when he could no longer contract due to health issues. He became the Captain of Security at M & M Mars plant in Cleveland, TN, and also works in security at the Church of God International Offices.  In 2004, Peter Openshaw was replaced by Tommy Sands as the Church of God Overseer in Australia.  Tommy Sands  also served as the Regional Director of the South Pacific, with W. H. McLeod serving as the Field Director of the Far East.

In March 2007, we made a trip to Sweden with Barry and Esther McAlpin to visit the Hammarlund family.  It had been 26 years since we last saw the Hammarlunds at Sydney in 1981.    I made a photo presentation showing photos from 1973 to 1981 and thanked the Hammarlunds for their ministry in Australia. At that time, we obtained  the statistics for the South Pacific.  In 1974, we had 20 children sitting on fruit crates in our living room. The January 2007 statistics reported the following: 8357 members in 131 churches/missions in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, New Guinea, Samoa (W) and Tonga Island.

WHERE GOD’S FINGER POINTS…… NEXT GENERATION

(By Winnie McAlpin  2007)

This history has not ended!  In June 2007, Barry McAlpin made a trip to Australia.  He made contact with the  Aboriginal brethren through Wayne Walker, who was Bill’s  first Aboriginal convert in 1978. Wayne  told Barry that he had prayed every day for five years asking God, “Where is Bill McAlpin?”  Therefore, it was with great joy that Barry and his ministry were received by the Aboriginal peoples.

While Barry was in Australia, he wrote me for the last address and telephone number for Pastor Barbara Taylor, who was presently pastoring at Emmanuel Mission. When  Barry called Pastor Taylor,  Wayne’s sister happened to be there.  She talked to Barry, stating excitedly that she remembered him. Wayne called Barry and made arrangements to pick him up at the Brisbane Airport on Sunday 6.3.07 and traveled to Kyogle by car. Barry  stayed with Wayne until the following Wednesday.  Vera also related how Wayne prayed that he could make contact with Bill McAlpin.  It was almost in disbelief that Barry had come to them.

Aboriginal artifacts on our wall remind us of our ministry to the Aboriginal people, including those made by Gordon Nagas and Wayne Walker.  Wayne related his 1978 dream to Barry and how he got saved.  Bill had told Barry about the dream before Barry went to Australia. Wayne stated that he had dreamed the same dream for three months when he was 17 years old. The dream had  three men, including Bill, who would pray for him.  Wayne had been quiet during the day of hunting. Wayne called for Bill  during the night to help pray, while Wayne gave his heart to the Lord.  The other two men in the dream were Gordon Nagas and John Everingham.

Barry showed the Aboriginals people  the photo presentation, which I had made for the Hammarlunds in Sweden entitled  Remembering Australia 1973-1981. Barry showed Wayne photos of the hunt on the day he sent for Bill and the men to pray for him.  Wayne took Barry to the house where he became a Christian and the site where he had shot the Carpet Snake.   Wayne and  Barry visited various sites and met  Bob Caldwell  and Treavor, who had helped with music in the tent meetings.

Barry attended an Aboriginal meeting at Muli Muli.  He also sang and ministered to a group of about 25 people  at Kyogle on Wednesday night, which was called together on short notice.  Barry led some worship songs and preached for over an hour.  Barry talked about  the passing of the mantle from Elijah to Elisha.  He stated that  there was a great anointing and he prayed for many of the Aboriginal people.

The Aboriginal people remembered Barry, who was with Bill in the tent meetings held between 1978 and 1984.  The Aboriginal people gave Barry a great acceptance.  Barry stated that Bill is a legend among the Aboriginal people and is remembered with loving memories. They speak with tears about the move of God and state that it was the greatest.   Sadly, they also stated that it could not happen again in their life time.  They would like for Barry to bring Bill to Australia .  Barry stated that both Gordon Nagas and his wife, also Col Connors, were no longer alive.

Wayne married Vera Nagas, who is Gordon Nagas’ daughter.  They were living in Kyogle, faithfully serving the Lord  and continuing in a ministry.  They have eight children, with  one adopted child, and several Grandchildren.  Wayne still makes and sells boomerangs and other Aboriginal artifacts.  Wayne and Vera are respected as leaders among the Aboriginal community. Vera is singing with a group of women, who are touring Australia.  She also writes and sings her own music, and has recorded a CD.  Wayne and Vera go to hill near Kyogle to pray for the area and revival for the Aboriginal people.   They also conduct days of prayer and fasting with other Aboriginal groups.

Wayne felt that Barry’s Discipleship Manual is needed and could be used for the Aboriginal people. He stated that there has not been a great move of God since Bill came with the tent. It was Gordon Nagas’ desire to have a Bible School, but it was not accomplished.  There is a lack of leadership among the Aboriginal people and there is a need to be founded in the Word.  . The Aboriginal people also lack work skills for employment.  Failures of the past attempts have resulted in little present effort from the Australian churches to minister to the Aboriginal peoples.

In June 2007, Barry also visited Tommy Sands and Jack Morris at the Ministry Training Centre.  We did not have any COG work left among the Aboriginal people. At that time, there were three groups meeting in the Ministry Training Centre at Campbelltown.  Barry s felt that the Church of God had not been able to relate to the Aboriginal groups in Australia. Barry was not quite sure what role he should play in a ministry to the Aboriginals.

UPDATE (By Winnie McAlpin June 2010)

On September 4, 2009, Barry and Esther McAlpin moved to Sydney, Australia.  They took a few months to assess the need and find direction for working with the Indigenous people.  Barry made contact with several people, which we had known before leaving Australia in 1984, including Esther King. He flew to Tennant Creek, NT  in January 2010, to visit Wayne and Vera Walker. During the Tennant Creek  trip, Wayne introduced Barry to his friend.   Barry and Pastor Will talked via a telephone and  later met in Sydney.

Pastor Will Dumas serves as pastor of an Assembly of God  church of about 250 in attendance and also conducts an Indigenous Bible college.  The Bible college, called Ganggalah, is  located in Tweed Heads, NSW. The primary focus is to train Indigenous students at Ganggalla, and then send them back to impact their communities.  While attending Gangalla, the students engage in weekend outreaches to various Aboriginal communities within driving distance.

Barry made several trips to Tweed Heads since January 2010. He also accompanied Pastor Will Dumas for a student outreach at Tenterfield in May 2010.    After prayerful consideration, Barry and Esther accepted the offer extended by Pastor Will to become part of the ministry team at Tweed Heads. G. R. O. U. P Ministries, a discipleship group incorporated by Barry McAlpin in 2000, is partnering with Gangalla Bible College.  Barry will help with discipleship, lead student outreaches and also help recruit new students.  Barry and Esther will move from Sydney to Tweed Heads in August, after returning from the USA.

In 2008, Pastor Angel Roldan, who was living in Victoria,  was appointed as the  Church of God Overseer in Australia. Barry has not met this overseer, but he has met with both Jack Morris at Campbellton and Marc Morris, who was visiting from the Philippines.  Marc Morris, who lives in the Philippines,  will become the Regional Director.  W. H. McLeod will be retiring as Field Director for the Far East at the 2010 Church of God General Assembly.  The  Ministry Training Centre does not have any congregations meeting in the building presently.

The following is a letter written on May 23, 2007 to the Aboriginal brethern:

To the Church at Lismore and all the Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

It is with great joy and fond memories that I send to you Christian Greetings from Cleveland, TN through Barry, our son.  We have often spoken of the wonderful moves of the Holy Spirit in the blue and yellow Gospel tent during the years we ministered among the Aboriginal families.  We were blessed and privileged to preach, sing and share fellowship with you. I am delighted to know that many who were in the tent meetings are continuing their walk with God.

It is my prayer that you are well, and that your body, soul, and spirit is renewed daily by the promises of God and His Holy Spirit.  I exhort you like Paul of old in 2 Corinthians 4:1, Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.  And in verse 8 and 9 Paul writes: We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed: we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Then verse 16 states, For which cause we faint not: but though the outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Many years have passed since we have seen you face to face.  Time no doubt has  brought all of us some pains and sorrow, both physically and spiritually.  We have experienced happy times and also known times of sorrow. Some of us have experienced the loss of loved ones, who have gone on to their reward. We have had  family members who have not put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. We look at the world and say “Surely the Lord is coming soon.”  I pray that we may see you once again.  But, if this  does not happen in the flesh, I look forward with great anticipation for the time we will share together in eternity.

After hearing Him say “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” I can visualize my inviting you into my mansion which He has gone to prepare for me.  Or maybe, I will be walking down the streets of gold and hear you say, “ Come on in for a cuppa.” Who knows, we might even have some kangaroo stew.  Be encouraged and faint not,  God is faithful. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Yours for Him, Brother Bill and Sister Winnie McAlpin

We give praise and honor to God for what has been accomplished.  We would also like to express our appreciation to all those who have given finances, prayed, and labored in Australia. History about the Church of God in Australia and its influence in the South Pacific can read in  Until All Have Heard by Bill George located at http://www.faithnews.cc/2010/07/09/centennial-history-released/

G. R. O. U P. Ministry updates can be read at Barry McAlpin’s website at http://groupministries

THIS HISTORY IS PROVIDED AS A SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT AND TO CHALLENGE YOUR FAITH TO BELIEVE THAT  “WHERE GOD’S FINGER POINTS, HE WILL MAKE A WAY.”

NOTE: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED billmcalpin@aol.com

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