Healing and Revival
"The Man of Sorrows Bore Our Diseases"
Stephen Jeffreys was September 2, 1876, the third of eight sons of Thomas and Kezia Jeffreys. Thomas was a miner but had asthma and struggled with breathing problems. To help support the family Stephen became a miner at the age of twelve. He would spend the next 24 years working in the mines. His father's health could not support the work, and he died when he was only 47 years old. Four of Stephen's brothers and a sister also died. His brother George was sickly. It was a hard life. When Stephen was 22 he married Elizabeth Lewis, a local farmer's daughter. They eventually had four children, three girls and a boy. The youngest daughter died when she was only six months old.
The family members were regular churchgoers. They belonged to the Welsh independent church. 1904 was a significant year for Wales. Evan Roberts said 'I have a vision of all Wales being lifted up to heaven. We are going to see the mightiest revival that Wales has ever known, and the Holy Ghost is coming soon, so we must get ready." and that's exactly what happened. Stephen, and his brother George, were converted during the Revival at Shiloh Independent Chapel in Nantyfyllon, Wales on November 20, 1904. The next thirteen months the entire countryside shook with the presence of God. Stephen had no formal theological training and had no plans to become a minister and yet God called him out of the mines and into the pulpit.
Stephen began to preach on the streets. In the town of Maesteg he preached so long that it grew dark and they had to bring a lamp for him to continue. God had called him to be an evangelist. Evan Roberts was the leader of the burning move in Wales. Later in his life when asked who was significant in the revival he stated "Beyond all those I know - Stephen Jeffreys." Jeffreys continued to work in the mines but preached whenever he had opportunity. His sermons were simple and called people to Christ.
The Welsh revival began to wind down. One of the ministers who had been involved in the revival was Alexander. A. Boddy. Hungering for more of God's presence Boddy heard about the Pentecostal outpouring in Oslo, Norway under Thomas Barrat. He first went to Oslo and then had Barratt come to his church in Sunderland, England in 1907. It became a Pentecostal revival center. In December 1907 a local Welsh pastor named Thomas Madog Jeffreys was filled with the Spirit while meeting with another pastor who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Sunderland. Stephen and his brother George were initially hesitant about this new move. Stephen's son Edward, however, had a Pentecostal experience while on vacation and came back to tell his family about it. In 1908 meetings were set up in Maestag and Stephen and George went to find out for themselves. They were baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Stephen saw an immediate increase in effectiveness in his evangelistic work.
Stephen's brother George was felt called to ministry. He joined the Pentecostal Missionary Union in 1912. George asked Stephen to preach at a small town called Cwmtwrch in October 1912. It went so well they requested that he return in December for three more days. The December meeting turned into a small revival and Stephen ended up staying there for seven weeks. Remarkable healings marked the meetings. His brother George came to join him and help with the meetings. He went from there to Pen-Y-Bont where a woman whose foot was to be amputated was instantly healed. George returned to his studies but Stephen went to Llanelly where he preached and began his own church. He stayed there for seven years.
It was in Llanelly that a notable miracle occurred. One night while preaching a vision appeared on the wall of the church. First it was the lamb and then the face of Jesus as the man of sorrows, with tears on his face. Hundreds of people saw the vision which lasted for hours as people came and went into the sanctuary. When Stephen prayed about the vision he felt that it had appeared as a sign of great suffering that was about to occur. A few weeks later WWI began. Stephen became so renowned that he was asked to speak in many churches. He retained the pastorate until 1920, but was often traveling during this period.
In 1920 Stephen joined his brother George in working for George's Elim Pentecostal Alliance. He held meetings in Dowlais and established a church and became its pastor. In 1924 Stephen and George went to the United States and Canada. They went to Los Angeles where they saw Aimee Semple McPherson at Angelus Temple. She made a great impact on the brothers. After they returned they went to London and began holding meetings. They invited Aimee Semple McPherson and then held the meetings on their own. This lasted for about two years.
There was a growing dissension between George and Stephen. Their personalities were radically different. Stephen was possibly the more gifted of the two, but George had strong administrative gifts. Stephen would often agree to meetings at more than one place for a given date. He would let meetings run on without taking offerings or letting others do their parts. Stephen would say what came to his mind, no matter what the consequences. He also came to believe that George was jealous of him. In 1926 Stephen left the Elim movement and joined the Assembly of God of Britain and Ireland. Things remained strained between the brothers for the next several years.
Everywhere that Stephen went dramatic healings and creative miracles occurred. He went to the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Crowds of thousands came to his meetings. In 1933 he traveled to Sweden and Norway to preach. He pushed himself night and day, ignoring doctors' warnings about his health. Things changed dramatically in the mid-1930s. Large crusades were becoming less popular and less successful in reaching the lost. Stephen's intense schedule wore on him and his health began to fail. He became crippled with arthritis. In 1940 George left the Elim churches he started to begin the Bible Pattern Church Fellowship. He managed to talk Stephen and his son Edward into joining his new church movement. Due to health concerns Stephen could not actively support the work. He lived the last eight years of his life in quiet retirement with his daughter May in Porthcawl, Wales. He was helped by the doctors from Bible College of Wales, run by Rees Howells. He died November 17, 1943.
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