Without a doubt, the Spirit of the Lord can transcend anything. That includes: tradition, family pressure, and ultimately even the culture or the climate that we live in. God always responds to hunger. Hunger will cause mankind to make great strides toward the things of God and hunger certainly causes God to move on the behalf of man.
Acts chapter 10 tells a wonderful story of spiritual hunger being answered. Cornelius was a man that loved God and was serving Him to the very best of his ability. However, his hunger got the attention of the Lord and the Lord sent Simon right to his house to show him what he must do in order to be saved.
Even though this story in the book of Acts is awesome; this miracle was not a single event in human history. While I am not sure of all the events that may have similarities to the story I share with you here, I am however confident of the events that gave birth to the church now recognized around our fellowship as Hatchbend Apostolic Church.
Her name was Myrtle Dees. Even though she was a member of a local denominational church, the spirit of the Lord was dealing with her concerning something that was destined to change the lives of countless people. During a period of prayer and fasting, the Lord began to deal with Sister Dees about the oneness of the Godhead and Baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of her sins.
While this message has become commonplace to hundreds of thousands of people today, in this particular part of Florida, there had never been such a message preached. Sister Dees began to pray and seek the face of the Lord for some sort of confirmation to what she was feeling.
Well, it wasn’t long until Brother and Sister Barnett (an evangelist couple, along with Sister Barnett’s sister) stopped by her house and requested permission to set up a tent in her yard to hold a revival meeting. The first question she had for this couple was, “what kind of preachers are you?”. They were quick to say that they were “Jesus Name” preachers. They set up the tent and immediately begin to see a powerful move of the Lord.
The Barnett family immediately challenged these young converts to prayer and fasting for the Lord to send them the right man to serve as the pastor or shepherd of this infant church. Little did they know that God was already at work on the other end of their prayers…
Nearly twenty-five miles away (which was a considerable distance in 1940) God was working on the heart of my grandfather, Rev. Carl Dixon Tummond.
On this particular Sunday morning, he felt the Lord leading him to a town and community where he had never been. He loaded up their car with their children and started driving toward Branford. When they crossed the Suwannee River, the Holy Spirit compelled him to turn left on the little two-rut road that followed the west side of the river. After driving about 6-7 miles down this sandy road, he drove right to the front door of Sister Myrtle Dees’ home!
What a miracle! The divine hand of the Lord had led them right to the very place where these young converts were praying and fasting for a move of the Lord.
Some of the very first converts of course were Sister Dees and several of her family members. The revival began to grow beyond this simple tent meeting and was finally moved into the humble home of Myrtle Dees’ sister-in-law, Dorothy Land. Her home served as a much needed place to hold the first few services of this infant church.
After much prayer and fasting, the Lord moved upon the heart of someone in the community to donate a small wooden building. It probably didn’t look like much to the community, but it must have seemed like heaven had opened and rained down an unspeakable blessing. As they were pulling this building (with mules and a sled), they came within about ¾ of a mile from where they had intended to set the building, when it started falling apart.
Getting closer to nightfall, they decided to simply move the building off the road for the evening. When the owner of that particular property found out what was gong on, and knowing the building would not make the trip, she donated the church an acre of ground right there! That lady was Mrs. Riller Dees.
It wasn’t too long after until the church family began to grow, thus necessitating a new building.
Slowly but surely they began to erect a cinder-block building. It just had a dirt floor and no windows for the longest, but as the Lord began to add, the church facilities began to shape up.
As the growth continued, soon Sunday School rooms were added, then came other “upgrades” such as an outdoor baptistry, concrete flooring, windows, and gas heaters.
It wasn’t long until the old hand-pump at the well was traded for an electric pump and before you know it, indoor plumbing had brought about modern bathrooms that brought a sure end to the outhouses in the corners of the church property. The church was now well on its way!
In 1978 the church had purchased some adjacent property and decided to build another sanctuary. This building program was not without its own share of heartaches and trials. The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend found several men in the church working to set the trusses. Then on Monday, (Memorial Day) several more men came to put on the decking and dry the building in, when the worst happened.
Without warning, the side walls of the building gave way and the church fell, injuring several men in the process. As word of this tragedy began to spread, people from all over came to see the mess, and what a mess it was! However, the spirit of the church wasn’t down very long. Within one week, the whole thing was cleaned up and they were ready to go back up again.
Soon the building was complete and the congregation left the old building and gladly moved into the new, more spacious sanctuary.
In 1980, Rev. and Mrs. Carl D. Tummond retired and Rev. & Mrs. Larry C. Newbern assumed the pastorate.
Brother and Sister Newbern had assisted Brother Tummond for several years preceding this event. Brother and Sister Newbern lead Hatchbend Apostolic Church for the next eight years. As they built upon the foundation that was laid for them, the church began to grow and experience many great things during this eight-year period.
In January of 1989, Rev. & Mrs. Steve A. Boyd were elected as pastor and they still serve in this capacity.