“You are that Man” – a Missions Story
By Dan Van Veen with Debbie Pratt
For three years, H. H. Davis had detailed dreams — more like visions — of
himself preaching inside of a church filled with people. But for an aspiring
minister with a young family pastoring in Antlers, Oklahoma, it wasn’t a church
he had any reason to dream about. All he knew was the church was in Ghana — a
temple with distinct white pillars and decorations on the interior and the
church was filled with Africans eager to hear the gospel.
“I would wake my wife up in the middle of the night, because I was preaching to the people,” Davis recalls with a laugh.
In his vision, a thin, sickly looking white man he didn’t recognize, greeted Davis upon his arrival. In one of his final visions, God informed Davis that the man needed him to come to Ghana in August — it was April. It was also 1960 and Davis had never traveled much and certainly had never flown . . ., but what was about to take place then and what transpired nearly 60 years later in 2020, is a story worth sharing.
“All of our lives, we have heard the stories of the miraculous journey my father took to Ghana, West Africa,” says Debbie (Davis) Pratt, who is an associate pastor with her husband, Gary, at Lawton (Oklahoma) First Assembly. “All through my mother and daddy’s ministry, they have had a love for the people of Africa. They have built 29 churches over the years in various parts of the continent of Africa.”
Back in 1960, Davis did not have the money to go to Ghana, he also needed to get approval through the Assemblies of God, as well as a passport and the paperwork needed to enter the country. Yet as it was an undeniable call of God, the funds, the approval, the passport, and the paperwork (which he received just prior to boarding the plane to Ghana out of New York) were all provided. And as directed, he arrived in August.
Davis flew into Accra, the capital of Ghana and then on into Kumasi, which is roughly 250 miles north of the capital. His friend, missionary Dale Brown, met him at the airport in Kumasi. But this wasn’t the Dale Brown he remembered. Brown had contracted hepatitis in June and had lost 60 or 70 pounds and was very sick. That’s when Davis realized Brown was the man in his dreams/visions and why his arrival in August was so important.
Brown drove Davis to visit the church in Kumasi, what is now known as Lighthouse Assembly of God. Brown was to speak there that Sunday, but now was too ill to do so. Davis’ arrival was perfect timing. But when he entered the church for the first time, Davis fell to his knees and began to weep — the white pillars, the décor . . . exactly how the interior of the church had appeared in his visions!
It was only to be a single service, but as Davis spoke through an interpreter the first Sunday, the Holy Spirit showed up in a powerful way.
“The glory of God came down in such a way, that a revival broke out that lasted for two weeks,” Davis says. “I learned later 145 people were saved and 80 were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Following the first night, three young men asked to speak to Davis. Their names were Yakow, Nacanchee, and Frimpong. They explained that for the last three years they had been praying for revival. They told Davis that each of them had a vision, telling them that when the time for revival comes, this is the man I will send.
“We did not know you until you walked up on the platform,” one of the young men said. “You are that man God showed us would come.”
When asked if miracles took place, Davis just laughs. There were so many miracles that they lost count of them all. The miracles, however, drew in people out of curiosity and quite likely to receive healing for themselves.
There were two healings that Davis vividly remembers. “One night, I see this man sprinting around the outside of the church, praising God — it was Dale Brown, God had healed him!” Davis says. “From that time on he never exhibited any signs of hepatitis — his health had been fully restored”
Another evening a man came and the pastor granted him the opportunity to share his healing testimony. The man explained to the crowd that the night before they were instructed to stretch out their arms if they desired healing. The problem was, the man was born without a fully functional arm — the flesh was there, but the bones were not.
“He said, ‘I stretched my good arm out and lifted my shoulder for the other arm to receive healing,’” Davis recalls the man saying, “‘and then my arm just began to fill out and became exactly like the other . . . and tonight I have brought 27 people from my neighborhood that know that was the way I was born and they know that I’m speaking the truth.’”
Following the revival, Davis stayed six more weeks in Ghana, preaching in villages in the evenings and helping the now healthy Brown work on his home during the day.
One day, the men traveled to Chereponi in northeast Ghana, near the border of Togo, to visit a tribal chief on the pretense of seeing the tribe’s altar, known as one of the largest in the region. The wise chief, however, asked why they had really come so far — opening the door. Through an interpreter, they shared about Nyame (God), His sacrifice, authority, and the plan of salvation with the chief — not knowing if any of it was making sense to him.
If the words weren’t making total sense in the chief’s head, the Spirit was certainly working on his heart, for as the men concluded, the chief got off his rock, placed his face in his hands, and said that he wanted to make peace with God – accepting Christ that day.
The men then learned that the chief’s youngest wife had been stricken with undulant fever.
“We went to pray for her, with the witch doctor and medicine man right
behind us,” Davis says. “She was leaning up against a hut, under a shaded arbor
they had built for her to protect her from the sun. When I touched her
forehead, it was so hot, it was almost like fire.”
They anointed the woman with oil, prayed, and God answered — healing the woman in front of the witch doctor and medicine man.
“The two of them, their eyes just bugged out and they started talking real fast and jumping around, amazed!” Davis says.
The chief then shared a vision he had with Davis and Brown — that Davis would come back to Ghana, but it would be long after he (the chief) was dead.
Although many other works of the Spirit took place over the eight weeks, Davis ultimately had to return to the United States and his church in Antlers. Over the next 60 years of ministry, he maintained a heart of compassion for Africa, planting many churches in several African countries, but for some reason it never worked out for him to return to the land of his visions and God’s many miracles — Ghana.
. . . until his 90th birthday arrived in September 2019.
MINISTRY: FULL CIRCLE
On his 90th birthday, Davis’ three daughters and son surprised him — they were going to give him a trip back to Ghana and the three girls were coming along. The chief’s decades’ old prophetic words were about to be fulfilled!
“I remember saying to God, ‘I need to know that this trip is something that you want us to do, not just something we want to make happen — he is 90 years old, you know,’” Debbie says. “The words immediately came to my mind, ‘Go forth in Jesus’ name.’ So, that’s when we began to make plans to go to Ghana.”
Missionary Bill Moore was secured as their host, and Deatra, Fara, and Debbie worked feverishly to raise funds, get passports, get approvals — much like their father had done on his original trip to Ghana. “Rickey couldn’t go because his wife has been ill,” Debbie explains, “but he was with us in spirit.”
When they arrived in Accra in January, the Office of the Ghana General Superintendent sent an SUV to pick them up. As they began to enter the vehicle, the sisters noticed the driver was playing a song from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir — their favorite music.
“It wasn’t until we began to exit the airport, that I realized what the song was — I began to weep,” Debbie says. “The song playing was, ‘Go Forth in Jesus’ Name!’ It was the very words God has given me months ago — God confirmed himself to our family that indeed this trip was ordained.”
“We went back to visit the people at the church in Kumasi — they went out of their way to make us welcome, giving us gifts and showering us with blessings,” H. H. Davis says, gratitude clearly evident in his voice. “There were even people there who still remembered the revival back in 1960, and others who remember how their parents talked about how God’s Spirit moved and so many were healed during that revival.”
Davis chuckles at one gentleman’s memory of a woman, possessed by demons, who leapt over the altar and jumped on Davis, wrapping her legs around his waist and pulling his hair while hissing like a snake in his face.
“We cast the demons out of her,” Davis says. “The gentleman told me that the woman joined the church choir the next week!”
At 90 years old, Davis completed a ministry circle long in coming, but with a full and grateful heart.