As thousands flocked to Wilmore, Kentucky, to join in the Asbury revival that began on Feb. 8, among them was 95-year-old Jim Foulkes, a retired missionary surgeon from North Carolina.
Watching the glorious sight of young students streaming forward to the altar to confess and repent of their sins, his mind quickly went back in time 73 years to when he himself was a student at Asbury, sitting in Hughes Auditorium for chapel, and revival broke out.
“I was sitting there this time, just reliving the incredible move of the Holy Spirit that happened in 1950,” Foulkes shared. “It was a glorious time in my life, and it has just gone on and on, like all true revival. The fire doesn’t go out.”
Foulkes, who served as a general surgeon at a missionary hospital in Africa for 38 years, recalled the events that led up to the 1950 revival, which continued nonstop for a week, night and day.
“There had been eight or 10 students praying for what I would call a ‘big man’ on campus,” he related. “He was probably the most famous unbeliever in the whole place. But one day at chapel, the spirit of conviction was so heavy on him that he went to the altar, prayed through and got up and gave his testimony.”
Soon, another well-known student rushed forward.
“He came roaring down the aisle and threw himself on the altar,” Foulkes said. “There was a big crack, and we were hoping it wasn’t his skull, but fortunately the wooden altar gave way.”
Before long, student after student came forward confessing and repenting of their sins under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The fires of revival were ignited, and as Foulkes puts it, “In revival, sin is recognized as exceedingly sinful.” Students came night and day to Hughes Auditorium to fully surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ.
“The presence of the Lord was so real,” Foulkes recalled. “I spent the next three days in the chapel, sleeping in the basement at night. They had a water fountain and a toilet, and that was all I needed. Food wasn’t important. Students were renewed in God’s love and putting their arms around each other. There was a fullness of the Holy Spirit.”
Over the next weeks, Foulkes was part of a 20-member team that went out in buses to campuses and churches. They sang, and a chaplain presented the Word of God, and the revival spread under the moving of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, before the chaplain could even preach, congregants were streaming forward as the Spirit worked in their hearts.
For those who wonder whether this Spirit-led revival today is merely a temporary and emotional experience, Dr. Foulkes has a response.
“The fire has been burning in my heart for 73 years now. The blessing is still going on. And I am so grateful for what’s happening now. For me, at age 95, it’s a foretaste of Heaven.” ©2023 BGEA
Photo: Jeff Beason/©2023 Samaritan's Purse