My Father – Thomas Lever Evans 1901 – 1996

I have wonderful memories of my father Thomas Lever Evans.

He was a proud Welshman who gave each member of his family the EVANS Family Crest with the Welsh Coat of Arms before he died.

It was his way of saying “never forget your Godly heritage!”

Although he was born in the village of Hemyock in Devonshire, England, he talked with fond memory about his youth as a coal miners son in the Cwmbach Colliery of South Wales where he worked when he left school at 14.

To be a coal miner was the ultimate of all the ambition that ever flowed through Tommy Evans.

His older brothers were miners as was his Dad.

As a teenager Tommy Evans, (as he was called), was converted to Christ at the age of 18.

Welsh Evangelist Stephen Jeffreys, was conducting a Crusade in an Independent Congregational Church in his home town of Aberaman.

A large crowd had gathered and Tommy Evans went along on a Friday night to hear him preach.

He seated himself at the back of the church building on an aisle seat. 

At the end of the service the preacher called folk down to the front to give their lives to Christ and be converted.

Tommy watched with fascination as people walked down to the alter and then were led through to the little room at the side.

The preacher was still calling for people to respond as he left the pulpit and walked straight down the aisle to where Tommy was sitting. Stephen Jeffreys looked right into Tommy’s eyes.

“Young man” he said “Are you saved?” No one had ever asked Tommy that question before.

Furthermore he had never before heard such a question.

He was nonplussed or “gobsmacked” as they would say today.

The preacher noticing his embarrassment, asked more clearly, “Are your sins forgiven?”

“Oh no Sir!” Tommy replied, “I wish they were. I pray every day, ‘O God be merciful to me a sinner’, but we’ll not know til we get to Heaven, will we?”

“Son” the preacher said, “If they’re not forgiven before you die, they’ll not be forgiven after.”

“Well” Tommy answered, “That’s what I want.”

Placing his hand on Tommy’s shoulder, Stephen Jeffreys led the way. “Come with me,” he said. Now it was Tommy’s turn to go through the side door into the little room.

The counsellor led him through the sinners prayer. The Biography of Evangelist Stephen Jeffreys.

It was done! He was was cleansed, forgiven, born again, and he knew it. It was 9:30pm on the 3rd December 1919.

His life was never the same again.

Many years later in the year 2000, I stood in front of that Independant Congregational Church in South Wales and asked myself the question.

What if my father had not received Christ as his Saviour on that eventful night?

Thankfully that one decision set the course of his life and generations of the Evans family.

Soon after his conversion Tommy Evans went to Bible School in London.

A year later he sailed for India to serve as a pentecostal missionary. There he met and married my mother Stella Prior Wheaton (an Australian missionary) and served for 30 years. 

He pioneered the Zion Pentecostal Church in Khadki, India which is a vibrant congregation to this day.

He also co founded the Emmanuel Assembly of God Church in Pune, India.

When he returned to Australia at the age of 50 he was appointed Senior Pastor of the Adelaide Assembly of God which is now Influencers Church Adelaide.

After seven successful year as pastor of the Adelaide Assembly, he returned to missionary service, this time to Papua New Guinea.

The hallmark of his ministry in PNG was that he was the first missionary to my knowledge to introduce the pentecostal message of the Glossolalia to Papua New Guinea.

Today the pentecostal church has spread far and wide throughout Papua New Guinea.

My father had four children with his wife Stella. They were married for 65 years.  

Each child was born four years apart. Eirwen was born in Wales in 1931, Andrew was born in Khadki India in 1935, Frederick was born in Adelaide in 1939 and Evelyn was born in Pune India in 1943.

TL Evans was a Godly man. My memory as a teenager growing up, was that he was a  fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ and gave his life for the cause of the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit was particularly his friend, whom he preached & talked about almost incessantly.

He made a life time study about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

During his ministry he personally prayed for thousands of believers in many countries to received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands (Acts 19:6) with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues.

He had an emphatic no nonsense style of preaching as illustrated in this edited video when he was 86 years of age,

He often would say “I believe in the Holy Ghost and nothing much else!”  

Although he was nearing the end of his life he loved to show he could still sing.

Here is the last recording of TL Evans at the age of 85 singing without accompaniment in his strong Welsh voice. The end of the video is worth watching! 

At his funeral, his good friend and beloved Australian Evangelist Norman Armstrong, gave a stirring address that epitomised the passion of TL Evans and the way he lived.

At 96 years af age Tommy Evans preached his last sermon, appropriately on “Pentecost Sunday!” 

Just prior to preaching he accidentally tripped and fell from the bottom step of the Toowoomba Assembly of God Church platform and broke his leg.

I as the Senior Pastor at the time, instructed my secretary to call for an Ambulance. He was in much pain yet insisted on preaching. 

We placed him in a wheel chair on the platform to give some support to his broken limb, as he preached his last sermon.

Fifteen minutes later, after describing the glory of Heaven, his sermon was over.

Instantly a man ran out of the congregation, leaped onto the platform and fell on his knees at my fathers side and gave his heart to the Lord.

Ten days later “Mr Pentecost” Thomas Lever Evans died in St Vincents hospital in Toowoomba, Queensland.

The family flew his body to Adelaide where hundreds attended his funeral, with some colleagues travelling from all over Australia to honour this special servant of the Lord.

The service was held at the Paradise Assembly of God in Adelaide of which he was the Senior Pastor in the 1950s.

He is buried with his beloved wife Stella & my mother in the Enfield Lawn Cemetery.

Should I die prior to my dear wife Betty, I have requested that I be buried with my parents when the Lord calls me home.

I honour the memory of my loving father, Thomas Lever Evans.

His legacy lives on through us his children and grandchildren.

His Biography “To Run With His Promises” was written by Elizabeth Evans his daughter in law

 



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