We recently got back from our trip to the July Prescott Conference and bring a report of a fantastic, inspiring and unforgettable time.

Dust storm in Phoenix

Though we take no religious view of it, Prescott stands as the Jerusalem of our fellowship – the place where the gospel was first preached by Pastor Mitchell and from where revival fire broke out. 44 years later, here we were, travelling from the new work in Milton Keynes to the place the very first work was established.

Meeting up with Pastor Brown, Carol, and brother Kodjo and sister Ada from Walthamstow at Heathrow, we hopped on the plane to be greeted, much less pleasantly, by 40 degree Celsius temperatures in Phoenix. You can’t describe it as anything less than like being in front of a giant oven! That experience was compounded by the warnings that were popping up on people’s phones about an approaching sandstorm. We could start to see the red haze rolling in from the mountains, and with Pastor Brown finding the whole thing exciting, we just made it to the hotel as the storm started to hit with gale force winds and eyes and mouths full of sand if you were caught out in it! The broken down trees in the parking lot later that evening were a testament to the power of the storm.

Pastor Mitchell teaches the Bible hour

We stayed a couple of days in Phoenix to rest and do a spot of shopping, joined by Pastor Emmanuel and Claudine Okonkwo from Lagos, Nigeria,  before getting in the cars for the two hour drive to Prescott (while PB and Carol jumped on another plane to Redlands, CA). Realizing that the car we had was not going to fit two families, brother Kodjo headed back to the car rental at the airport, did his best to tell them how much of a better service he gets in England and then proceeded to get a free upgrade to a car that we affectionately called ‘The Beast’ (a huge Ford Xpedition XL).

The Prescott church – where it all began

The drive was spectacular, as we left the Northern Sonoran desert in Phoenix and began to ascend, past cactus forests, canyons and ridges into the mountains to the North of Arizona. The change in elevation was amazing, as we gained a couple of thousand feet somehow and lost about ten degrees of temperature in just 85 miles!

Arriving at The Prescott Resort, we were greeted with beautiful vistas over Prescott, and towards Prescott Valley.  We had managed to fly down to the One80 concert venue in downtown Prescott just beforehand, and see the powerful things God is doing in the Prescott concert scene. Though being far away from MK, we somehow felt very at home, and indeed, Prescott’s motto is ‘everybody’s home town’.

The big gospel tent

Sunday we were blessed to be able attend morning and evening services in the Prescott church. Several things strike you – firstly that Pastor Mitchell fulfills the duties of any regular pastor, secondly the age and thus faithfulness of people in ministry, and thirdly that, save for what we know, the Prescott church seems to be just a regular church among the many in Prescott (we were amazed to find out later that even some folks living in Prescott didn’t know the church!).

When I was greeted by one of the sisters of the church, I told her how privileged we felt to be there, and she replied ‘we’re just regular folks, the only difference is we send’; There is a lot of profound truth in that statement. We were blessed by ministry from Pastor Tom Payne and Pastor Serge, now assisting Pastor Golubev in Russia, who had recently been released after being sentenced to two years in a Cuban jail.

Worship in the tent

Getting into the conference, we were struck by the international/mission-minded spirit and blessed by a great opening night sermon by Pastor Mitchell, who laced his message with the fellowship story and experience. More powerful sermons followed by Pastor Joe Campbell, Mark Aulson and Scott Lamb as stand-outs, and we were blessed by powerful reports of what God is doing around the states and the fellowship at large, especially in realms of the supernatural.

Thursday night’s announcements

It was great to see our own Pastor Emmanuel Okonkwo and Clement Okusi give reports, as well as friend Pastor Patrick Nyamai of Kenya. Pastor Emmanuel’s report was special – he boldly challenged the conference body about the need in Nigeria, saying that there are 180 million people waiting for them. Several of those ministering, including Pastor Mitchell himself picked up on this and you could sense it was a real challenge of the Holy Ghost.

Extending the Kingdom – what we are all about

After a week of Walmart, coffee and a lot of great Mexican food, we came excitedly to Thursday night and the international video and announcements. The video was extremely challenging, reminding us that we are on Plan A, as there is no Plan B, and it was incredible to hear five new missionary works announced- three more for China, one more for Columbia and one more for Madagascar. One of the reports given was from China and it is was amazing to hear how God is opening up doors for our fellowship to connect with hundreds and potentially thousands of Chinese in the underground house churches.

Good Thai in Prescott Valley!

Friday night saw many national works and new evangelists, with the exciting announcement of Greg Mitchell’s daughter Emily, alongside her husband Steve Ciaccio, going into Denver, Colorado. This was very powerful, considering only a matter of years before she had been backslidden and in a near-fatal car crash before giving her life back to Christ. It was also powerful as it represented a second generation of Pastor Mitchell’s descendants going out into the harvest field.

Pastors Mitchell, Greg and Joe Campbell in worship

We were sad to leave on the Saturday morning, but glad to be able to head home, taking the legacy of a powerful experience with us back to the work we love. And despite me, Kehinde and Nia being struck with a big, brash American-style cold, there was no dampener for the experience of a life-time of being able to travel thousands of miles across the ocean to see where it all began, in a still fairly small town in Prescott, Arizona.

More photos below:

The Beast – its gas-guzzling self!
The view across Prescott
Pastor Joe Campbell preaches
Big cactus at Anthem!
Pastor Mark Aulson preaches
The desert outside Phoenix
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