Stephen Jeffreys (1876-1943).
Stephen Jeffreys was born and raised in the valleys of South Wales, in a typical minning home. He went to work in the coal mines at the age of 12. He led a very typical mining lifestyle until 1904 when the great Welsh revival invaded those mines. For several days he was under deep conviction of sin and very sad. Other men working with him had been converted and filled with the joy of the Lord. Finally he came to Christ and became a totally changed man, he was aged 28. That year Wales was filled with the glory of God and new converts. Immediately he joined himself to Gods people, attending all prayer meetings and especially all open air meetings. He soon started preaching in the open air with great fire and passion. He continued working in the mines for some years as he became a witness and testimony to all. This is how God prepared His servant.
As far as Pentecostal things go, he had no time for them and even for a time preached against 'tongues'. But later being convinced this outpouring was of God he himself sought the same blessing of God. It was during special meetings, that he received his Baptism in the Holy Ghost accompanied with tongues. He had a mighty experience, and this made the difference in his life as a witness, he considered it an epoch in his life. He was invited a second time to hold a three day Gospel campaign near Swansea in 1913. When he was leaving the mine to go preach he turned to a friend and said, "Well, Billy, if God blesses me this time, I shall never return to the coal-mine." God did bless, these meetings continued for several weeks, with about 145 souls turning to Christ, bodies healed and a number of believers who had spoken in tongues. During these beginnings his brother George was found by his side in ministry. This was just the beginning of pioneer evangelism for him, he would enter towns where only a few people would turn up, but would pray, preach and persevere until a break came. In the early days he had prayed for the sick but seen few healed. But that changed the day a young girl diseased in both feet who was under threat of amputation sent for him to come pray. He anointed her with oil and laid hands on her in the name of Jesus, instantly she was healed and that night testified in the meeting. Great faith came into his heart to believe God for greater things still.
In 1913 men like Cecil Polhill and A.A.Boddy hearing about these early campaigns came to see for themselves. While talking personally with Boddy, these two Brothers made known their passion and burden to see the ministry of the Evangelist raised up in the young Pentecostal movement and to see it grow by soul winning. As a result the testimonies of the meetings were reported in such publications as Confidence and of course invitations came to preach elsewhere. Stephen's great burden was Wales, after holding a campaign in Llanelli, he decided to settle there, raise up a work and use it for a base for the next seven years. During that time he would head of on short trips, often to struggling missions to help break ground. Shortly after he came to Llanelli, on a Sunday night in July 1914 as he preached, there appeared on the wall behind him as it were a vision, all could see it, only when Stephen finished preaching did he go and sit down and also saw it. First it was a picture of a lamb which then turned to the appearance of the face of Christ as the man of sorrows. This lasted for about six hours with many hundreds being witness to it. Those who were at first sceptics tried everything to explain it but finally had to confess it was God. Two weeks later he preached on Christ as the "Man of sorrows", that week the First World War broke out lasting for the next five years.
In 1919 a powerful move of God took place under his ministry in Aberaman, when he arrived it was a fellowship of nine believers, when he left it had over 300 believers. Then to London at the invitation of Polhill and again God bore witness to His word with mighty conversions and miracles. In 1922 he joined the Elim Pentecostal Alliance and pastured their first Church in Britain. Together with his brother they filled the largest and most famous halls in the land. In 1924 He was in Canada and America for several months of ministry with his brother, then back to Britain. In about 1926 He left Elim and became the pioneer evangelist for the young AoG, holding mighty campaigns throughout Britain establishing this new movement and giving it an evangelistic thrust. When he visited Parrs Church, 50 believeers sat in a 600 seater building, when he left it was bunged. He then took a world tour covering New Zealand, Austraila, south Africa and America arriving back in 1931. At this time his son who had travelled and ministered with him in the 20's, came to the fore in the 30's with the same ministry. In 1933 he had the great privilege to minister in Sweden at Lewi Pethruss Church and in Norway at T.B.Barratts Church.
This fearless and tireless, rugged preacher who was often said to be like one of the Old Testament Prophets, had worn himself out in abundant labours. Quite suddenly he came to a standstill with failing health. Crippled with arthritis he spent his last days in his beloved Wales, preaching his last message just one month before he died in 1943. In those last days, friends and family stood grieved as they looked upon his form, frail and bent and hands twisted by arthritis which once were laid boldly on the sick. Truly he was known as 'The beloved Evangelist'.
by Keith Malcomson.
To read newspaper reports on just one of his many campaigns CLICK HERE.
Edited from "Pentecostal Pioneers Remembered" by Keith Malcomson. Copyright 2008 by Keith Malcomson. No part of this article may be reproduced without the permission of the author.