Our doors and our hearts were open wide as we welcomed guests from nine countries to the Eightieth Anniversary weekend of The Way International on October 1 and 2. Over thirteen hundred guests gathered at the Gazebo on Saturday for a picnic lunch and to hear the Board of Directors—the Reverends Vern Edwards, Bill Greene, John Rupp, and Dr. Angela Priester—share their hearts regarding our ministry’s past, present, and future.
Speaking of changes we have made in recent years, Rev. Greene pointed out, “These changes were a unique blend of restoring our ministry’s heritage yet modernizing the way we need to move the Word today.” Concerning our ministry’s goal of “The Word Over the World,” Dr. Priester emphasized, “Every generation must take the Word to that generation…. This was not our idea. This was God’s idea…. As we move the Word across the land, we will…indeed shine brightly and we will bring the light to a dark world.” Rev. Rupp looked to the future as he said, “We’ll build on our past and present as we launch into this next year and beyond with focused determination. We’re going to be strategic, we’re going to be bold, and we’re going to be vivacious…. As we do this, we can anticipate that God will not only give the increase, but people will be healed; people will be delivered….” Rev. Edwards concluded with these words, “Fan the flame and stoke the fire of this spiritual movement that God has begun. It’s time to move ahead with gusto, with energized believing, and with high expectation. So, God bless you!”
Translations teams provided live translations for the Directors’ sharings on Saturday as well as for the Sunday Teaching Service. A believer whose primary language is not English expressed thanks for the live translations into French and Spanish. She explained, “The translation is very good. When we hear it, we get more of the whole idea of what’s going on.”
The rest of the afternoon allowed plenty of time for fellowshipping with friends old and new from far and near, all around the beautiful and peaceful grounds of this place that so many call “home.” Some took the short walk from the Gazebo to the House of His Healing Presence, a special oasis for prayer, tucked into The Way Woods. Some visited the Bookstore and loaded up on new theme items, apparel, musical CDs, two newly published books, and more. And others dug into the historical displays near the pavilion tents.
A young believer from Venezuela visiting Headquarters for the first time said he has watched the videos of Sunday services for years, but to finally get to be right here and take it all in was bringing him great joy. Another saint observed, “This is a whole new personality for The Way Ministry.”
Way Productions emanated power and love from the stage at Saturday evening’s concert in The Word Over the World Auditorium. After the concert while fellowshipping in the lobby, people described the show as electrifying, energized, on fire, inspired!
Sunday morning began with a flag raising outside The Word Over the World Auditorium, followed by bagels and coffee at the pavilion tents.
Then more than thirteen hundred fifty guests were seated in The Teaching Center of the auditorium and the overflow location for the 11:00 a.m. Sunday Teaching Service. Rev. Vern Edwards taught from II Corinthians 2:14, setting the pace for the ministry’s theme for this year, Living Victoriously Today. “As we reflect back on this legacy that has gone before us, we must still recognize that it is God Who has brought us to this day and time to move His Word to this generation around the world…. Absolutely nothing has the power to separate us from the love of God. And as we really believe this, then we know God is always there for us…. And He is still leading us victoriously through Christ Jesus at all times. He always leads us triumphantly when we let Him.”
After the Sunday Teaching Service, guests crossed the road to the pavilion tents, bubbling with thankfulness for God, His Word, and this ministry as they broke bread and fully shared one with another. “It’s just so sweet and exciting to see how far we’ve come,” a mother with her baby in a stroller remarked. Another saint said, “God is putting things on my heart as I hear the Word and see the example of the people here. This weekend has inspired me.”
Before departing on her journey home to Canada with a group of twenty, one young woman declared, “This is the lightest, most loving, most interactive anniversary celebration I have ever been to. I saw the Mystery in motion this weekend. People’s ministries were energized, and we were able to give back.” And a long-standing disciple said, “I saw the great freedom that comes with the genuine love of God being manifested all over the place this weekend.” On her way to the parking lot, another guest shared these final words: “The ministry is in a new day, and it’s amazing to be a part of it.”