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An appreciation for godly parents

By Wayne Warner

Have you met the four top executives of the Assemblies of God? They travel to churches, dedications, district councils, prayer conferences, camp meetings and the like, so it is possible that you have met them or at least heard them speak.

When I think of the four executive officers, I am reminded of their diverse backgrounds, their geographical roots and their godly parents.

General Superintendent Thomas Trask grew up in a Minnesota pastor’s home; Assistant General Superintendent Charles Crabtree was reared in a Bangor, Maine, parsonage; General Treasurer James Bridges traces his roots to a faithful deacon’s home (later a pastor) in South Texas; and General Secretary George Wood is the son of missionary parents to China.

And 11 years ago this month — at the 1993 General Council in Minneapolis — the Assemblies of God called them together as a team to guide the Fellowship through the rest of the Decade of Harvest and into the 21st century.

Each of them will tell you of the important role their fathers and mothers played in their ministry.

After Waldo Trask was saved and delivered from alcohol during the Great Depression, his old friends saw that he became even more sold out for God than he had been for the devil. He and his wife, Bea, offered themselves as pastors. Their sons, Tom and Ray, and their daughter, Patricia, saw a dedication in their parents they wanted to emulate.

“Early in the morning,” Superintendent Trask says, “I could go into the living room … and find Dad reading the Word of God, studying the Word of God and praying.”

It was a complete turnaround for the man who had tended bar at the Dutch Room Bar in Brainerd, Minn.

People who knew Clifford and Helen Crabtree couldn’t imagine their union. Clifford was the son of a Maine farmer, and Helen was a New Brunswick socialite. Helen’s family practically disowned her when she married this poor Pentecostal preacher. Despite the family rejection, Clifford and Helen became successful pastors in Bangor, Maine, and reared four children: David, Hazel, Charles and Charlotte.

The Crabtrees were strict, but the children filled their lives with church activities and their music and never missed events other kids regarded as essential. “My father was one of the most consistent men that I ever knew,” Assistant General Superintendant Crabtree adds. “He lived what he preached.”

General Treasurer Bridges likes to talk about his godly upbringing. One event that stands out is when he was deathly sick as a teenager. He saw his father and mother, Forrest and Estelline Bridges, and their church pray for his recovery. He would not forget the touch of the Lord and adds, “You can’t forget parents that will hold onto God for you and see you through.”

George and Elizabeth Wood were veteran missionaries to China when that field closed. Later they pastored some poor churches in this country. But General Secretary Wood admires their faithfulness. “I remember one Sunday night [in church] I looked up at my mother and said, ‘I know what I’m going to be when I grow up. I’m going to be a preacher.’ And I could have said a preacher like Dad.”

Do Christian parents make a difference? Ask the executive officers of the Assemblies of God.

— Wayne Warner, director
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

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