|Nancye laid it aside, but I happened to see it. The notice was for a ministerial conference at
Williamsburg. One day I asked Nancye about that ministers' meeting. She said it was for the RHEMA
Ministerial Association International (RMAI). She checked and they let us come and meet with the
pastors. For years, since we graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center in 1998, we have prayed about
and hoped for a Rhema church in our area. The nearest Rhema churches were in Greensboro, North
Carolina and Lynchburg, Virginia, fifty or sixty miles north and south.
When she introduced herself in the meeting in Williamsburg, Nancye laughed and said we might have to
start the church ourselves. Many pastors encouraged us. They said, “You ought to go ahead and start
that church.” Nancye told me later that she had realized for a couple of weeks before the meeting that
we would have to pastor the church. The leading became stronger in Williamsburg. We didn't see
ourselves as pastors, but God was leading us. When He shows you what to do, there is only one good
answer - YES! After we prayed and talked over the situation, we decided to start Victory Family Church.
So here we are - two Christians who saw themselves as missionaries - now pastoring a church in our
hometown. We never imagined this. Life is getting more and more interesting.
But, like Job, that which I feared had overtaken me. I can identify with Demos Shakarian who said that he
was “not a preacher, teacher, healer or prophet, but an encourager and organizer, some body who could
facilitate the spreading of faith.” Without faith it is impossible to please God. I was in the Missions Group
and Nancye in the Pastor’s Group at Rhema Bible Training Center. Nancye has a special gift for teaching
and simplifying the Word of God. I plan to support, organize and facilitate and may have a word in
season. I prefer to speak to hundreds of people, one at a time.
Speaking of Demos: Back in the 1980s, I became involved in the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship.
There were several reasons that I wanted to be involved. After a meal, the speaker usually gave a
testimony about what the Lord had done in their lives. Many explained their healings and miracles. Most
speakers were businessmen or just people with inspiring stories about their life. All denominations were
welcomed. The goal was to reach as many people who needed to hear the message without the meeting
being like another church service.
The Danville, Virginia meetings were held at Mary’s Diner, where the food in always great. Mary Williams
started her cafeteria in 1951, the same year that Demos Shakarian (1913-1993) began his fellowship
meetings in California.
Demos's grandfather, also named Demos Shakarian, left a small Armenian village and came to Los
Angeles, California in 1905. The year after Demos his grandson was born, the Moslems invaded the small
village in Armenia and murdered everyone there.
The Shakarian family farm in California grew until, at one time, the Shakarian dairy herd was the largest in
the world. In 1951, Demos helped with Oral Roberts' Los Angeles campaign. After a meeting he told Oral
about his vision for businessmen sharing the power and love they received from God with other
businessmen. Oral agreed and was the speaker at the first meeting of the Full Gospel Business Men’s
Fellowship. Demos spread the word and expected a large crowd since Oral Roberts was so well known.
Only 21 showed up. Fourteen months later, in December 1952, attendance was 15. Demos decided to
end the fellowship. On the following Friday before what was to be the last meeting. Demos prayed to
God, asking for an answer as to why there was no increase. He heard an audible voice from God saying:
“Demos, will you ever doubt My power?” Demos then realized that he was struggling to run the
fellowship in his own strength.
The next morning two businessmen also heard from God. One donated $1,000, which was a large sum in
those days. The other businessman offered his company’s printing press to help spread the fellowship
around the world. This gave birth to Voice magazine which reached a circulation of 800,000. By 1975, 24
years later there were 1,650 chapters of FGBMFI around the world with an average of 500,000 in
attendance each month.
We heard about a large church in Tennessee that had a very small beginning. For a couple of years, the
pastor preached to his mother and if she was not there, he preached to the empty chairs. Nancye and I
have determined to go forward with Victory Family Church. It is in the beginning stages and we are very
happy that we don't have to preach to the chairs - people actually come.
And I will stand on the words from the first chapter of Jeremiah :
7 But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and
say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares
9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words
in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to
destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
|Date: September 23, 2007
|Danny Ricketts met Demos
Shekarian at a convention of the
Full Gospel Businessmen's
|Where was Lumpkin’s Ferry on Dan River? There are references to the ferry in the 1700s, but there
seemed to be no records in Pittsylvania Courthouse. I now believe that Colquhoun Street was the road to
the ferry. The Lumpkin family owned a large tract of 150 acres which was a land grant to John Boyd in
1748. George Lumpkin, Sr. sold this tract to his son George Lumpkin, Jr. in 1771. The eastern property line
for this tract was the present Colquhoun Street. In 1784, the elder George Lumpkin (age 61), his son John
Lumpkin (age 22) and grandson Wilson Lumpkin (the future governor of Georgia only one year old) left
Pittsylvania and settled in the Long Creek area of Oglethorpe in Wilkes County, Georgia. Wilson Lumpkin,
who was born January 14, 1783 in Pittsylvania County ten years before Danville was established, was “called
after the husband of my father’s only sister.” His aunt was Mary Lumpkin Wilson, the wife of Col. John Wilson
of Dan’s Hill. Wilson assisted his father for five years (1799-1804) as Clerk of Superior Court. and was
admitted to the bar in 1804 at the age of 21. He practiced at Athens, Georgia and later was elected to the
lower house of the Georgia legislature.
Wilson Lumpkin served as governor of Georgia from 1831-1835. There was a Creek Indian village named
“Standing Peachtree” in the area which is now Atlanta which was ceded to Georgia in 1821. Just ten years
after the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Gov. Lumpkin was instrumental in obtaining state support for the first
Georgia public railroad. The Western and Atlantic Railroad Company was built from the Tennessee River at
Chattanooga to the Chattahoochee River. Wilson served as president of the line. At the southern end of the
line at old Fort Peachtree (1814) the area was first called Terminus. In 1843, the name was changed to
Marthasville in honor of Gov. Lumpkin’s daughter Martha Atalanta Lumpkin. Some say that when the
legislature changed the name to Atlanta in 1847, Martha’s middle name played a part. Atlanta, in Greek
mythology, was the beautiful fleet footed maiden who offered to marry any man able to defeat her in a race.
Atlanta became the capital in 1868 and now the largest city in the state.
Now, back to the ferry: It seems that George Lumpkin, Jr. remained here in Pittsylvania County on this tract.
Land owners Petitioners George Limpkin & Thomas Worsham petitioned the state legislature on October 15,
1792 for a ferry. The petition stated that they "Owners of land on the Dan River ask for the establishment of
a ferry from their lands on either side.” The Worsham tract on the north side was 437 acres. Joshua
Worsham owned the land on the north side from the long mill down to the city farm. Thomas Worsham
inherited the lower half of the property from his father.
The Colquhoun Street location would have been the best ferry crossing for these two tracts. East was the
ford where crossing was possible when the water was below the axles of the wagon.. Below Fall Creek was
not suitable for access to the courthouse and Henry County to the west. In 1797, Thomas Worsham was
authorized by the court to build a bridge across Fall Creek, near Dan River, for better access to the Halifax
Court house to the west.
Not so far above the Lumpkin Ferry and the ford, the first bridge was built. On December 9, 1801,
Petitioners John Barnett & Others ask for a law to enable John Barnett, Thomas Barnett, John Walker &
Thomas Worsham to build a toll bridge across the Dan River opposite the town of Danville. Later, a petition
by Elizabeth Worsham and others on December 17, 1818.stated that "Proprietors of a toll bridge across the
Dan River ask for an increase in tolls.”
This area near the original town of Danville was first called the Great Falls of Dan River, then Wynne’s Falls
after Col. William Wynne, an early settler. Danville was established in 1793 on 25 acres along the old road
from the ford. From ancient times the Native Americans crossed here. Except for times of low water,
crossing the Dan River was difficult before the ferry and bridge were established. I can imagine that days
and weeks of waiting to cross was not uncommon in the 1700s.