What I learned from Dr. Lester Sumrall – Missionary Statesman and Apostle
Dr. Lester Sumrall taught me about Urban Missions.
It would take a book to record everything I learned from him (I paid attention). For now, I’ll emphasize his view of world missions.
I first heard about Dr. Sumrall through mutual friends. Norvel Hayes used to say, “You need to meet Lester Sumrall.” T.L. Osborn advised me to “Hitch your wagon to Lester Sumrall.”
However, Dr. Sumrall did not come into my life through introductions. He came into my life supernaturally, through a series of divine encounters, overseas. I ran into him in the Philippines, and in Israel, and in Germany, and in Hong Kong…
Whenever I happened to be in a country where he was ministering, I would slip into his meeting and sit in the back. Invariably, he would see me, and he would say, “Is that Larry Huggins back there? Come up here and tell us what you’re doing…” As I came forward, he would say, “This young man is my shadow. I don’t have to look far back to see him overtaking me…”
He loved me because I loved world missions. He enjoyed preaching with me in London, because the UK was where he met Smith Wigglesworth. He enjoyed preaching with me in San Francisco, because that’s where he embarked on his world travels with Dr. Howard Carter. We also enjoyed preaching together in Richmond, Spokane, South Bend, Chicago, San Jose and London — to name a few.
On more than one occasion, I heard him share his philosophy of Urban Missions. “Cities are the key to reaching the nations. Every nation has a key city. I go to the key cities. Influence flows from the key cities, downward – not the other way around.”
I’ve found this to be true: Although we don’t belittle the missionary in the field, nor do we neglect rural ministry, still, key cities are the key to winning nations. Key cities are cultural centers, financial centers, political centers, communications centers and transportation hubs. When we impact a key city, we impact the movers and the shakers of that nation.
A case in point: The modern Pentecostal revival can be traced from Topeka, to Houston; but it became a world-wide movement went it landed in Azuza Street, in Los Angeles.
It’s easy to pick the key city in most nations. But, how do we single out a single city in a great country like the USA? I’m sure Dr. Sumrall would agree, we have many great cities in our nation, but only one national Capital, and only one city that also happens to be the de facto capital of the world.
All roads lead to Washington D.C. That’s why the King’s Embassy is here.
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