Manila church brought back to life
Manila native Linda Wilkey Brewer, long time evangelist, is happy to be back in her hometown and is very excited about what is going on in the Harvest Fellowship Church of God located on Highway 18 Bypass, Manila.
She and her husband, Doyle, have traveled together for revivals speaking in more than 20 states in over 30 years of service. She has served as pastor of two churches, one being the Blackwater Church of God near Manila.
The Brewers live in Jonesboro and Linda said when she drove by the church, which had been closed for some time, it would break her heart.
In the 1970s she had preached in the church and served as interim pastor for a short time early in her ministry.
She received a call from a gentleman from Pathway Church of God in Blytheville talking to her about the Manila church and the need. Almost a year later a state overseer called her about the same church.
"My answer was I would pray about it," she said. "The Lord let me know there was a harvest there and the name Harvest Fellowship came to me."
The church building was in need of repair and Mrs. Brewer said volunteers from Pathway and the area came together to do the work.
On March 7 the doors opened for the first service and there were 167 attending.
"That was my answer," she said. "I realized many of the people attending were well wishers and visiting. I had one woman tell me it was just like the Lord to show me on my first service how it will be down the road."
Harvest Fellowship holds services on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m.
"We have a lot of people who go to their own church twice on Sunday and still come here in the afternoon," Mrs. Brewer said.
Nathan and Dawn Mays are serving as youth directors and average 12 teenagers. The youth recently held a car wash to raise money for World Missions and then they held at rock-a-thon to raise money to attend youth camp.
"We have had two young women come in to lead our praise and worship team," she said. "We have had a van donated to us by Blackwater Church of God. We give the Lord all the credit for the good things happening."
She said the church is averaging 60-70 at each service. A Friday night service will be starting at 7 p.m. July 9.
"The service has been named Friday Night Fire and everyone is excited about it," she said.
Work is still underway and they are working on the building adjacent to the church making it into a fellowship hall.
Brewer is still evangelizing and recently did a revival in Georgia and will be leading a women's conference in the near future.
"The Lord has blessed me," she said.
In the early 1990s she was thinking of going on a missionary trip to Bulgaria.
"I had never even flown in an airplane," she said. "We were doing a 10-week revival at a church. I was asking the Lord about my trip and it was so clear. He told me yes I would be going and it would not be the only time I would travel out of the country. A man and his wife came to us during the revival and told us they were going to sponsor us to go to Israel. Doyle and I got to travel to Israel and Egypt. It was a wonderful gift."
After that first trip, she has traveled three times in Peru, Bulgaria, Brazil, Guatemala, and South Africa.