“Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” (Joel 1:2-3).
The Pentecostal Holiness Mission is a church that Originated from Pentecostal Holiness Association which started in 1912 as a group of believers taking their faith seriously as a continuation of the new revival taking place those days in U.S.A. In their General Assembly in Buffalo New York on May 7th 1912, they decided to call their organization Pentecostal Holiness Church; then they realized that there was a Pentecostal Holiness Church existing already. In the church assembly on August 1st, 1912, they decided to change the name to Pentecostal Holiness Association or PHA. This Church was established in the hills of Bakers Mills, about 150 miles from the city of Albany-New York. People were gathering there for prayer and revival meetings; this place is called the PHA Camp till this day.
The Church started growing from Bakers Mills to other parts of New York, New Jersey, PA and elsewhere. The powerful Evangelist by the name Paul Derr was called by God to go to Africa to start a Church. God has shown him a vision about going to the village in Tanganyika (current Tanzania). He saw himself in a vision preaching in a black community, signs and wonders were happening in his ministry, the ministry started growing in the whole Tanganyika and beyond. His vision was very clear about the group he was ministering to. Since he was a member of assemblies of God Church, he shared with his church in U.S.A about his calling to Africa; his refused to send him to Africa; they told him to go to Jamaica if he wanted to preach to black people. Because he was confident of his calling to Africa, specifically to Tanganyika, he decided to join the Pentecostal Holiness Association Church.
This is the testimony he gave the people at Bakers Mills and when he arrived at Igale Village (then called Igali) – Mbeya Region in Tanganyika, (currently Tanzania). Paul Derr travelled to Bakres Mills and joined the PHA Church. He asked them to send him to Africa in order to fulfil his calling. The PHA Church sent him to Africa with much prayers and financial support. Paul arrived at Igale early in 1927. He landed in Dar Es Salaam, travelled to south west of Tanzania until he arrived at the hills of Igale where he was lead to start a church. This was the time, the British office was being moved from Igale town (back then) now a small village to where Mbeya town is right now. He and his wife Evelyne were received by Mrs. Brown who was living at Igale. The PHA Church in New York helped him to purchase 52 ½ acres from the British Government in order to start a PHA Church. The Pentecostal Holiness Association was registered officially on 10.10.1927.
The Church started strongly and as God showed him in a vision, people started coming and abandoning paganism believing in the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Signs and wonders were happening as he preached the gospel and prayed for the sick; there was great revival at Igale mission those days. The first time, he baptized 20 people.
This was the first Pentecostal Church to begin in Tanganyika and it was believed to be the one preaching the powerful gospel that people were longing for. The Moravian Church already existed in Tukuyu (Rungwe district): some people from other groups joined this movement. The majority were converted from the paganism.
In 1930, Paul ordained three elders who were:
1. Petro Mboya
2. Timoh Mwanjisi
3. Noah Sibale from Nyasaland (currently Malawi)
In 1933, Paul ordained six pastors
1. Petro Mboya
3. John Mpayo
4. Lwagha Mwaseba
5. Alinani Swila
6. Noah Sibale (from Nyasaland)
The news of this revival was heard in neighbouring countries especially Malawi and Zambia which are bordering Mbeya region and it is just a few miles from Igale village. Noah Sibale from Malawi heard about this movement,he visited Igale and was moved by the power of God working among the brethren and Paul’s ministry. He was taken by this revival and joined PHA group. He returned to Malawi and started a PHA church at Kameme-Chitipa in 1932. In 1933 he came over the leadership in Malawi. In these two countries, the PHA church is still strong and pays respect to the Igale PHA firm foundation. People around Mbeya nick-named this Church, “The crying Church”. Every time they were moved by the power of God, they wept and cried out of God to move in Africa, and so it happened. They went out and preached the gospel boldly and won many for Christ.
The beginning of Assembliies of God at Igale
In the late 1930s (possibly 1939), Paul visited U.S.A, his former Church hear about the good work he was doing in Africa. They were thrilled with the testimonies he shared about the work in Tanganyika. Prior to leaving Africa, Paul warned his congregation not to be convinced by anyone to change their faith and Church. The AG asked him to change the church from PHM to AG when he returns to Tanganyika. When he came back in 1940, he tried to change the PHA Church to AG as he was convinced. Petro Mboya reminded him of his warnings. He apologized, but he continued with his new plan. This is where the conflict between two groups started. Among the first six leaders, John Mpayo joined Paul in these changes, the rest stayed with PHA.
From 1940 – 1948, a small congregation with a new identity (Assemblies of God) stayed at Igale while the Bakers Mills CHUch wa settling the matter with Springfield AG.
From 1940 – 1948, a small congregation with a new identity (Assemblies of God) stayed at Igale while the Bakers Mills Church was settling the matter with Springfield AG. The PHA congregation had to move temporarily to Jeriko (currently Magando village) about 3 miles away to maintain peace and wait for the Church to deal with the conflict. The matter was settled, in 1948 the PHA church returned to Igale and continued with the work while the Assemblies of God group looked for another place. Our documents show that officially, the AG Church was recognized in 1953 while the AG missionaries kept coming and held leadership of the Church till early 1970s when they let the indigenous people take leadership.
Since 1930s, the PHA/PHM have been lead by indigenous people and have been self-supporting thus slowing down the growth and causing many leadership challenges until early 1970s when the Church started encouraging minister to seek for leadership and biblical training. However, the Church has been stable and has maintained its faith that was first preached by a missionary lead by the Holy Spirit. At Igale some missionaries came for a short time only. The last missionary who visited for a few years in 1950s is the one who built a new church at Igale and Iringa where mzee Amulike Mboya has been serving God since 1960 till now, this was Rev. Winston Hunter. He served God briefly but with passion and commitment to help with Church development. He came with his wife Frances Winston and their daughter Sheila. They left Tanganyika for U.S.A in 1960.