Praise the Lord and greetings to all of the precious Saints of O’Fallon Apostolic Assembly and to our many friends. I am delighted in having the opportunity to communicate with all of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me begin our conversation today by first saying how much I appreci-ate the Lord for allowing me to serve as servant leader of so great a fellowship as O’Fallon Apostolic Assembly. I recently received such an overwhelming out-pouring of love from my family, both natural and spiritual. Having now arrived at the biblical average age of “three score and ten,” I am compelled to reflect on the goodness of Jesus.
Forty years ago, in June of 1982, at the age of thirty years old, I began my journey as pastor of a local church of Jesus Christ. My wife, Joyce accompanied me in a walk which was a filled with heartaches as much as it was filled with joy. We left our home in Chicago, Illinois, and relocated to O’Fallon, Illinois. We would commute from our home to our church, House of Prayer of the Apostolic Church in Carbondale, a distance of about ninety miles, two and sometimes three times a week. I remember when my little family; my wife, three sons and one daughter would sleep and sometimes rest between services in a little, mouse occupied hotel room in Carbondale, Illinois. I remember the sweet times of fellowship when some of the saints would open their homes to us and invite us to their dinner table for no other reason than they loved us as we endeavored to serve them as their pastor and First Lady. I distinctly recall, after having established The O’Fallon Christian Church of the Apostolic Faith in 1987, members of the church and myself painting the building wherein we worshiped. While we were painting, the owner of the building came through, giving a tour to the “NEW” owners of the building. Our tiny congregation would now need to find a new house to worship in. Then one day the Lord called my wife’s attention to a gutted-out building on State Street in O’Fallon with “For Sale” in the window. When we inspected the place, it didn’t have electrical wiring, plumbing or even floors on either of the two levels, yet the Lord told me that this was the place. He began to let me see what that space would be as the house of worship for His people. Sure enough, through a lot of hard work and faithful giving by many former members, some of whom have moved to other ministries, some of whom have gone on to be with the Lord, and some who remain faithfully involved to this day, the Lord did it. We sold that building in 1999 and marched to our current location, triumphantly with my pastor, the late Honorable Bishop Alphonso Scott, my Sainted Mothers, Mother Mary Parker, and Mother Ann Burks (my dear Mother in Love).
While our church grew dramatically, we could not foresee that times of testing yet lie ahead. We go from a having nearly two hundred and fifty mem-bers to our current size of about seventy members. Yet having gone through the downsizing of members, the struggle to maintain a ministry of excellence with such a reduced staff, and the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to this day. The Lord continues to help us as a church and to help Lady Wells and I in particular. Our omniscient God knew all that would come to pass. His provision was to bless me with a loving and committed wife, who would stand with me as I lived out my life’s calling. My loving family and the precious Saints of God have all stood with me through forty years of pastoring and seventy years of living. It’s good to pause at this momentous moment of my life to reflect on how good God has been.
Bishop Gregory Wells, Sr., D.D.