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Vader church celebrates 75 years

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Former pastors and their wives presented during the Vader Assembly of God’s 75th anniversary Sunday. Left to right: Gary and Drema Deskins, Darrell and Cherri Beebe, Naomi and Larry Bentz, Betty and Pete Houchens, Becky Durham and pastor Tracy Durham.

The Vader Assembly of God celebrated the church’s 75th anniversary Sunday in a ceremony that included words from former pastors and current leaders.

Led by Pastor Tracy Durham, he told of how the church was formed in 1938 by a missionary named William "Blind Bill" Smith, so nicknamed because he was blind from birth. Smith had originally traveled to Vader to lead a series of revivals (his 13-volume brail Bible in tow) and was urged to stay and establish a Pentecostal church. Since then, 29 individuals have served as pastor, and four were on hand to speak that day.

Pete Houchens (1965 to 1970) was the first to share and explained Vader provided his first role as a pastor, at the age of 30 and only having been a Christian for three years prior, and said he was pleased to lead the church through a time of growth and involvement in the community.

"We survived because of what God does in our hearts and our lives," he said. "It was really great here. We had a wonderful move of God."

Next was Darrell Beebe (1978 to 1983) who said he was told it may have been his purpose to lead the church through its closure, as it had dwindled to 17 members by then. But he said God worked in the community and brought attendance to several dozen by the time he moved on.

"The enemy loves to snuff out lights," said Beebe. "But, let me tell you, one small light can snuff out the darkness."

Gary Deskins (1994 to 2000) then shared of how the church’s current STP ministry began in the years he was leading, which provided a much-needed source of income to continue expanding the church’s facilities. But he said the most personally significant moment for him was being able to baptize his own father at the church while his father was 63 years old.

"Without this church being here, this never would have happened," he said.

Last to speak of the guest pastors was Larry Bent (2000 to 2008), who spoke of how cohesive the church was during his time and how grateful he was for the community in providing such togetherness.

"The unity that we had here in those years was awesome," he said after sharing Psalm 133, which says: "How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity."

Durham closed the ceremony by reminding the congregation of how many lives have been affected over the years by the church and its members, reminding them to think broadly of how their actions will have an effect on those around them.

"What we do today makes a difference for someone’s tomorrow," he said.

To learn more about the Vader Assembly of God call (360) 295-3756.

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