The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International
The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International is an organization sovereignly ordained by God. From its humble beginnings - one small chapter in Los Angeles, California 1951 - it was thrust into global ministry by prophetic visions and prophecy. The Fellowship’s story graphically depicts man’s plans falling short of the mark, but God’s plan succeeding. The complete story is in the classic inspirational book, The Happiest People on Earth, by Demos Shakarian, the California dairyman who is the Fellowship’s founder. The book is co-authored by the celebrated Christian writers John and Elizabeth Sherrill.
Today the Fellowship operates in approximately 150 countries. Thousands of chapters hold meetings in small hamlets, farm towns, outlying suburbs and urban power centers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, these meetings are a time of fellowship, outreach and personal ministry.
But the backbone of the fellowship is its men - men who have a vision inspired by God to reach out beyond their personal lives - to help others find the reality of the Spirit-filled walk with Christ - ten of thousands of men putting God first and letting their lights shine to the world - men who join the Fellowship and participate in the ministry outreaches available, making a commitment to spread the Good News of Christ through the effective and powerful worldwide ministries of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International.
Our Vision Statement
Our vision for the fellowship is based upon a series of prophetic messages given over a period of time and confirmed by a literal vision from God.
In the vision, untold masses of men from every continent and nation, of all races and diverse culture and custom, once spiritually dead, are now alive. Delivered and set free, they are filled with power of God’s Holy Spirit, faces radiant with glory, hands raised and voice lifting their praises to heaven.
We see a vast global movement of laymen being used mightily by God to bring in this last great harvest through the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Mission Statement
To reach men in all nations for Jesus Christ
To call men back to God.
To help believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and to grow spiritually.
To train and equip men to fulfill the Great Commission
To provide an opportunity for Christian fellowship
To bring greater unity among all people in the body of Christ.
Our Doctrinal Statement
We believe in one God, Maker of all things and being in Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, became incarnate, was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man.
We believe in the resurrection of the dead, the eternal happiness of the saved, and the eternal punishment of the lost.
We believe in personal salvation of the believers through the shed blood of Christ.
We believe in the Bible, in its entirety, to be the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and conduct.
We believe in divine healing, through our faith, and healing is included in the Atonement.
We believe in the Christian’s hope - the imminent, personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe in intensive world evangelization and missionary work in accordance with the Great Commission, with signs following.
We believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, accompanied by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance (Acts 2:4) from the new birth, and in the nine gifts of the Spirit, listed in 1 Corinthians 12, as now available to believers.
We believe in sanctification by the blood of Christ, in personal holiness of the heart and life.
By Demos Shakarian
In 1952 God told me to start a Fellowship for men who would meet in small and large groups in cafes, hotels and public places to fellowship and minister spiritually one to another. To attempt to accomplish this, we organized a group and met in Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles every week for a whole year. Interest and attendance was so small that it appeared that we would be forced to give up a ministry I was sure God called me to do. God was so good and gave me a vision in my home while I was on my knees the night before I was going to stop the meetings.
God said to me, “I am the One, Demos, who alone can open doors. I am the One who removes the beam from unseeing eyes.”
“I understand, Lord Jesus. And I thank You.”
“And now I will let you see, indeed.”
With that the Lord allowed me to rise to my knees. Lifted me almost, as though the power which had pressed me to the floor was now bearing me up. And at that moment, Rose, my wife came into the living room. She stepped around me and walked over to the Hammond organ in the corner. She said not a word, but sat down and began to play.
As the music swelled through the living room, the atmosphere grew brighter. To my amazement the ceiling seemed to have disappeared. The cream-colored plaster, the ceiling light - they were simply gone, and instead I found myself staring up into the sky, a daytime sky although it must have been pitch dark. How long she played while I gazed into the infinite distance I don’t know. But all at once she stopped, fingers still resting on the keys, and began to pray aloud in tongues. She paused a moment, then spoke in English:
“My son. I knew you before you were born. I have guided you every step of the way. Now I am going to show you the purpose of your life.”
It was the Spirit’s gifts of tongues and interpretation, given together. And as she spoke a remarkable thing began to happen. Although I was on my knees, I felt as if I were rising. Leaving my body. Moving up, away from the living room. Down below me I could see the rooftops of Downey, California. There were the San Bernardino Mountains, and over there the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Now I was high above the earth, able to see from the west to the east.
Whether the world was turning, or whether I was traveling around it, I do not know. But now beneath me the continent of South America. Then Africa. Europe. Asia. I could see people on the earth - millions and millions of them standing shoulder to shoulder. Then, just as a camera can zoom in at a football game to show first the stadium, then the players, then the very laces on the football, my vision seemed to move in on the millions of men, I could see tiny details of thousands and thousands of faces. Everywhere it was the same.. Brown faces, black faces, white faces - every one rigid, wretched, every one locked in his own private death.
“Lord!” I cried. “What is the matter with them? Lord, help them!”
Afterward Rose told me that I said nothing. But in the vision it seemed to me that I wept and pleaded aloud.
Suddenly Rose began to speak. Humanly speaking, of Course, she had no way of knowing that I was seeing anything at all. But what she said was:
“My son, what you see next is going to happen soon.”
The earth was turning - or I was moving around it - a second time. Below me again were millions upon millions of men. But what a difference! This time heads were raised. Eyes shone with joy. Hands were lifted towards heaven. These men who had been isolated, each in his prison of self were linked in a community of love and adoration. Asia. Africa. America - everywhere death had turned to life. And then the vision was over. Today...
THE VISION IS IN THE PROCESS OF FULFILLMENT.
There are many thousands of chapters meeting in over a hundred countries ministering one to another, but the greatest harvest is yet to come. You can be a part of it...
FGBMFI - Who We Are
By Richard Shakarian
The largest network of Christian businessmen in the world.
From every part of the world - 160 nations.
Every race, color, culture and almost every language - we include:
Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, former Presidents, Senators, Members of Parliament, Generals, Judges, Captains of Industry, businessmen, executives professionals, sales and office workers, factory workers, educators and young people just getting started.
Our mission is:
“Fellowship And Destiny With God And Man”
We commit ourselves to:
Personal and Business, Excellence - Honesty - Integrity
To our Lord, our families, and our Fellowship brothers we pledge:
Transparency - Accountability - Faithfulness. These are our core values.
We are relevant to today’s World, to a new wave of people looking for values in today’s World.
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
THIS STORY begins in Old Russia, more than a hundred years ago, when the Czars still reigned in Saint Petersburg. There was a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit in much the same pattern as on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. The nation rejected this visitation of God even as the Jewish nation rejected the similar visitation many centuries before. We believe these rejections of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are reasons that Jerusalem has been trodden down by the Gentiles for nineteen centuries and that Russia is the only nation on earth that officially denies the existence of God.
In 1855, an eleven-year-old Russian boy who lived in Armenia received a wonderful, supernatural visitation. For seven days and seven nights he was under the power of God writing prophecy of things to come. He neither ate, drank nor slept during the seven days and seven nights. Although he was an illiterate boy, he wrote in beautiful handwriting and drew pictures and maps and charts. He foretold that peace would be taken from the earth and that Armenia would be overrun by the Turks and that the Armenian Christians would be massacred unless they went to a land across the ocean, which the pictures and charts and maps showed to be America. God promised to bless and prosper everyone who would heed His warning and go to the country where they would be free from persecution.
As is the case with most prophecy, the warning had no meaning at the time for it was not until twenty-five years after the Pentecostal outpouring in Russia that the same experience came to Armenia. Nevertheless, the Russian boy’s prophecy was carefully preserved, awaiting such a time as its full meaning would be revealed by God.
Among the first to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in Armenia was the family of Demos Shakarian, Senior, Presbyterians. The father of Demos, however, refused to accept this manifestation as being from God, although he joined with the other Pentecostal members in their worship services.
The Demos Shakarian family consisted of father, mother and five daughters. In Armenia, in those days, it was as much a reproach for a wife to be without a son as it was in ancient Israel.
On May 25, 1891, the mother was sitting in the large one-room home sewing, weeping as she worked, because God had not blessed her with a son.
A great-uncle was visiting with the family and was sitting across the room from her, reading his Bible. Suddenly, he arose, walked across the room, and stood before the weeping mother. Looking down at her, he said, "Sister, God heard your prayer. One year from this day you will be the mother of a son." Exactly one year from that day, on May 25, 1892, a son was born. The parents named him Isaac, for, as with Abraham’s son, he was a son of promise.
Revealed By God
WHEN ISAAC was about seven years old, a group of faithful Russian Pentecostal Christians began coming to the Armenian village of Kara Kala for fellowship with the Armenian Pentecostals. They would come every few months in a caravan of several covered wagons, with about twenty persons to the wagon, each wagon being pulled by four horses. These Russians dearly loved the Armenian Presbyterians who had more recently received the marvelous Gift of God as promised by Jesus Christ before He ascended to the Father.
Because Demos Shakarian could speak Russian fluently, he would place the visitors among the Armenian homes in the village, and each evening for an entire week, his home was used as a place of worship. He raised cattle, and upon notification that the Russians were coming, he would butcher a fatted steer to provide beef for the feast service upon the arrival of the visitors.
One day, word came that the Russian caravan was near at hand. Demos went among his heard to select the finest steer he could find, for this was to be given as unto the Lord. The fattest steer he could find had only one eye, the other having been destroyed by an injury. He knew it to be according to Scripture that he should not offer a blemished animal to the Lord, yet he decided to compromise with his better judgment, since the blemished steer was the fattest of the herd.
Acting on this compromise, he killed the steer and quickly severed the head. Not having time to bury this tell-tale portion, he placed it in a sack and hid it underneath a large pile of threshed wheat in a corner of the barn, then proceeded with the butchering so that the beef was ready for the feast by the time the Russians arrived.
That evening, as was the regular custom, Demos and the entire Shakarian Family went forward and knelt for the blessing of one of the Russian elders as their prophet stood nearby. After this blessing of the host, the beef offering was to be blessed, then would come the feast and the evening of worship. Suddenly, without saying a word, the prophet walked across the room and went outside. The elder did not want to continue with the prophet absent, so he asked that a hymn be sung until the prophet returned.
When the prophet came back into the room, he brought the hidden sack and opened it directly in front of the kneeling Shakarians, revealing the head of the steer with the blemished eye. He said the Lord had revealed the whole matter to him as they had prepared to ask God to bless the Shakarians and their feast offering.
Demos confessed that he had compromised with his better judgment and asked forgiveness. This was granted him by the congregation in the name of the Lord. His father, for the first time, declared that now he knew that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was of God and there and thereafter accepted it and the accompanying manifestations without reservation.
So impressive was this incident that not only the Shakarians, but also the other Armenian families as well as the Russian families determined that from that day forward they would offer to God only that service and that substance exactly as He requested it of them even though it might seem at the time that a substitute, as in the case of the blemished steer which was the fattest, would serve the purpose better.
Exodus To America
FORTY-FIVE YEARS had passed since the eleven-year-old Russian boy had written the prophecy from God. He was now fifty-six years of age and still lived in the community. Four and a half decades had passed without his prophecy coming true and he apparently was to be considered as a false prophet. Then, without any advance indication, the Lord instructed the prophet to warn the Armenians that the time had come for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Consequently, he began telling the people: "The time has come! Now is the time to leave this country!"
The word quickly spread among the Armenian Pentecostal Christians, and some of them and some of the Russian Pentecostals began their exodus to America. The year was 1900. They took the written prophecy with them and preserved it in a church they built in Los Angeles, California. Demos Shakarian did not leave Armenia for America until five years later. Then he took his wife and five daughters and thirteen-year-old son, Isaac, first going to New York and then to Los Angeles. As each Pentecostal family departed from Armenia, unbelievers mocked them just as Noah and his family were mocked before the Flood, yet the Armenians knew that Noah’s Ark finally rested upon the mountains of Ararat which were in Armenia. The Armenian Pentecostal exodus to America continued until 1912, when the last Pentecostal family left Kara Kala where the prophecy was delivered.
Two years later, the great World War I broke out, and in the terrible onslaught, when Turkey overran Armenia, every soul in Kara Kala was wiped out. The mockers and scoffers and unbelieving Christians were destroyed. The prophecy given in 1855 and reaffirmed in 1900 was fulfilled in 1914 and the years that have followed. The Pentecostal Christians who believed God and obeyed Him were safe in America, among them Demos Shakarian, Senior, and his family.
In Los Angeles, the same as in Kara Kala, the Demos Shakarian home became the place of worship for the Armenians and Russians.
Almost immediately upon the arrival of the Shakarians in Los Angeles, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the Azusa Street Mission began. Demos and his brother-in-law, M. Mushagian, and another Armenian man were strolling down San Pedro Street. As they neared Azusa Street, they heard familiar sounds—shouting and singing and praying in the same manner they were accustomed to in their own services. On reaching the horse barn that had been converted into a Mission, they discovered several speaking in tongues. They returned to their people with the thrilling news that God had begun to move in America as He had in Armenia, in Russia, in the Early Churches, and in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. In America, the newest of countries, the pattern of the Pentecostal outpouring was the same as it had been in Armenia, the oldest of countries, the very cradle of civilization and believed by many Bible students and scientists to have been the site of the Garden of Eden, the home of Adam and Eve. The Pentecostal experience came to the Jews in Jerusalem, it came to the Catholics in Russia, to the Presbyterians in Armenia, and now it had fallen upon a motley mixture of the cross-section of humanity at Los Angeles, many races and many faiths all responding in like manner.
ISAAC SHAKARIAN was sixteen years of age when his father died, and he went to work in a harness factory and labored there three years to support his widowed mother, his sisters, now six in number, and himself. At the age of nineteen, he went into the wholesale fruit business. Soon, he married, moved to Downey, near Los Angeles, purchased twenty acres of land and three milk cows and started his first dairy herd. Faith in God, good judgment and hard work eventually multiplied that first little herd one-thousand fold, until in 1943 the Shakarian herd had reached three thousand, the world’s largest dairy!
Not only did the Shakarians prosper, but every one of the Armenians and Russians who left and went to America as a result of the prophecy prospered according to the promise the Lord had written many years before by the hand of the eleven-year-old Russian boy. The promise is holding true, according to the Bible promise, even to the third and fourth generation.
On July 21, 1913, at Downey, Demos Shakarian, Junior, was born. He was born into a Pentecostal home and grew up in a Pentecostal church. Concerning this, he says: "I cannot remember a time when I did not love God. I cannot remember a time when I did not believe that I was a child of God and on my way to Heaven.
"If this sounds strange to you, it may help to point out that our Armenian families are a little different from the average American family. In the average American home, there is a lot of individuality, each member of the home deciding the course he wants to follow. Sometimes, religiously, this carries the members of the home far apart. But in the average Armenian home, we go together. Like the old Hebrews and the early Christians, our religion is a family religion. We stand by one another religiously, socially and in business.
"The effectiveness of this policy is illustrated in the fact that in our Armenian church in Los Angeles, although all our weekly services except one are still conducted in the Armenian language and after the old Armenian form of worshipping God, we still have the young people with us. Our American friends who visit the church are always impressed with the fact that there are just about as many boys and girls in the service as there are older men and women."
Learning To Trust
AT THE AGE of ten, Demos was practically deaf from a childhood injury. There were periods of time when his hearing would partially return and other times when he was totally deaf. The injury and resulting affliction caused him to pray as he never prayed before in his young life. His mother, a great prayer warrior, held on to God earnestly seeking deliverance for her son.
Three years passed. Demos was thirteen. He was sitting in church worshipping God. Suddenly the power of God fell upon him and filled him. He was Baptized with the Holy Spirit. For four hours, from eight until midnight, he was unable to speak a word of either Armenian, English or Spanish, the three languages with which he was familiar. The Spirit of God took complete charge of his vocal organs, and during those four hours he spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.
When he arrived home, he had another wonderful experience, which he describes as follows: "The power of God smote me down to the floor and there I lay absolutely helpless, unable to rise or get in bed. As I lay there in that helpless state, God spoke to me and said, ‘Demos, will you ever doubt My power?’ Then I tried to get up, but found myself still helpless. Two more times the Lord asked me that question and two more times I assured Him that I would never doubt His power. From that hour, I have proved over and over the reality of the power of God in my life. Jesus will never fail those who dare to believe.
"I needed that experience and that assurance in the days and years to come, for the pathway has not always been rosy, and in the trials and testings I have been able to remember that when I was completely helpless, flat on my back on the floor in my bedroom, God called upon me to trust Him completely, and I assured Him that I would!"
During his high school years, Demos decided to venture into business for himself. Isaac, who had always been successful and prosperous, gave his son a capital nest egg of $2,000. With this, Demos and a friend, Dan, started into the dairy business. Dan and Demos built their dairy herd up to sixty milk cows. With this herd, they were able to make more money than their high school teacher drew as a salary.
But this business triumph was short-lived. Soon the depression came upon them and they lost everything except the $2,000 nest egg provided by Isaac. Demos decided when he got down to that next egg that he should get out of business, and he did. God would not allow the $2,000 which had been earned and provided by Isaac to be lost even by his son!
Demos then ventured into the beef-cattle business and made some profit but soon lost it when he entered the baby-beef field and again was forced out of business. Demos now declares that God was trying to teach him a valuable lesson, that money and work alone would not achieve success.
A Miracle Ministry
ROSE GABRIEL then came into Demos’ life and they were married. Demos was twenty years of age and knew that now he must make money in order to support himself and his new wife. Here is Demos’ own account:
"Once again I started out to make money, but in spite of all my efforts I found myself a failure. After six years of this, I finally woke up one day to the fact that the reason I was a failure was that I was trying without God. I was in business, but God was not in there with me. When I came to this realization, I got under deep conviction. I realized that I had been drifting away from God, and it was time for me to begin to seek Him. My wife and I reconsecrated our lives. We decided to go in business with Him. Regardless of financial circumstances, I meant to serve God wholeheartedly.
"I looked around for something to do for Him. I thought about sponsoring a meeting for some minister. My father had done that kind of work for the Lord several years before. Since I was not a preacher myself, perhaps I could set up a tent and put some preacher to work in the Lord’s service. I found a young man who was interested in the work of God and a faithful minister of the Gospel. So I sponsored him in a tent meeting in 1940. That was my first meeting, which was conducted in a tent which seated 300 people. God honored that revival and sixty-seven people were saved and received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
"Next year, I formed an acquaintance which meant much to my spiritual life. I met Dr. Charles S. Price, noted healing evangelist. Although healing was nothing new to me, having been brought up in a church that believed and practiced it, I found Dr. Price’s ministry different. His faith and devotion to God set an example for me that I have never forgotten.
"I remember a wonderful healing that occurred in answer to Dr. Price’s prayers. Since it concerned my own family, it made a lasting impression on me. My sister, Florence, was on her way to Whittier College one morning driving her own car. She had a collision with a truck carrying a heavy load of hot asphalt. The car was wrecked and hot asphalt was spilled all over my sister. When they finally got her out of the wreck, she had third degree burns covering large portions of her body. Her pelvis had suffered seven fractures, and her leg was torn loose. When the left leg was reset, in the hospital, it was three and a half inches shorter than the other one, due to the injured pelvis. She was compelled to lie in a bed of salve because her burns were so severe that she could not stand the touch of bed clothing. X-rays showed that the sharp points of broken bones were headed into vital organs of her body. Subsequent X-rays were taken for seven days. These showed her condition growing worse. The doctors said that if she lived, she would always be a cripple.
"In desperation, I called Dr. Price and asked him if he would come and pray for my sister, and he agreed to come. It was the seventh day after her accident that Dr. Price reached her. As he prayed for her, God laid His mighty hand upon her body and completely healed her, to the amazement of the doctors and nurses and to the great joy of our family. New X-rays were taken, and every bone had gone back in place and the left leg that was three and a half inches shorter than the other was restored to its normal length. My sister was able to come home from the hospital a completely well woman. That miracle meant so much to me that I have, ever since, given of time, effort, influence and money to help promote the ministry of those God has chosen to deliver the people. I know Divine healing is real!
"Naturally, Dr. Charles S. Price became endeared to the Shakarian family. About two months before his death, he kept telling me that a Time of Deliverance was coming. He said: ‘In these days, we are finding it very hard for people to come to the Lord. Evangelists are preaching and preaching, yet only handfuls are coming to the altar. We are not seeing scores and hundreds coming to the altars as we should. The Lord is showing me that in the very near future, He is going to raise up men with tremendous power from the Lord and they will preach to thousands at a time. People will pour to the altars because they will see the mighty, miracle power of the Lord in operation. They are going to see signs and wonders performed, and the healings and other miracles of deliverance by God’s power will cause the people to rush to the altars and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Deliverer. When you see these things happening, another thing will come to pass. Men will enter the hospitals, where all manner of human sickness has caused people to be bedfast, many doomed to die from cancer, tuberculosis, heart trouble and other disease. People who have been given up to die by the doctors will be raised up by the power of God, and they will walk out of the hospitals. They are going to leap and shout with joy. This is going to be a demonstration of the power of God the world has never seen. The whole world will be stirred!’
"We already have seen the first part of this prophecy coming to pass since Dr. Price’s death. Hundreds rush to the altars in the great healing campaigns, not because they are whipped and beaten and scared to the altars, but because they have been shown the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and the power of God in action.
"Since we have seen the first come true, then we are convinced the other will shortly follow just as Dr. Price, being filled with the Holy Spirit, said would happen. Faith is rising. People are expectant. The time seems near at hand!"
God In Business
EVER SINCE Demos’ first tent campaign in 1940, when he began his active service for God by sponsoring evangelistic campaigns as his father had previously done, the Lord has blessed his efforts and prospered him. In 1948 he and Rose entered into an even deeper consecration to serve the Lord, and almost immediately that consecration was put to a test.
In addition to the large dairy, Demos and Isaac had an extremely busy feed-processing plant. It was very difficult for Demos to get away from this activity. Nevertheless, putting God’s business first, he agreed to sponsor a large campaign at Fresno. As the time drew near for the campaign, all of Demos’ time was required to look after the tremendous volume of work in connection with the feed business. The price of feed began to drop and the plant began to lose money at a staggering rate. To leave now for two or three weeks could easily mean that the Shakarian Family stood a chance of losing an enormous amount of money. A choice had to be made between protecting the business and canceling the Fresno campaign, or the reverse. Rose and Demos decided they would take little Steve and Geraldine with them, leave Richard with his grandfather so that he could remain in school, turn the affairs of the feed business over to the Lord and go to Fresno doing the Lord’s business.
As God began to bless the Fresno campaign, reports from home made it almost imperative that Demos abandon the campaign and return to his rapidly-failing business. Then little Steve came down seriously ill. He needed attention and care that seemed to demand that he be taken home. Demos knew that if he cancelled the campaign, his service to the Lord would always be in jeopardy. He knew that if he went bankrupt, his testimony and ability to serve the Lord would be very small. He got a nurse to help care for Steve, he asked God to look after Steve and to send a buyer for the feed business, and he and Rose continued the campaign.
Steve improved, and a Norwalk business man phoned that the Lord had awakened him at three o’clock in the morning and told him to buy the feed business and to give the price the Shakarians asked. This took care of two great needs, but another still remained.
In the midst of the other two difficulties, Rose had discovered that she had lost her very expensive wrist watch which Demos had given her. After all searching had failed to produce the missing watch, Rose and Demos prayed that the Lord would return the watch safely to them. They realized that had they not been away from home in the campaign, the watch might still be on Rose’s wrist, so they felt God would, somehow, undertake for this need also.
Isaac Shakarian brought Richard up for the weekend and they and Demos went to the fairgrounds to see the livestock, especially the cattle. Suddenly Richard saw a man selling little chameleons and asked his father for money to buy one. Demos was utterly opposed to having Richard carrying a lizard around in his hand and emphatically refused to buy the chameleon. Richard ordinarily graciously submitted to parental decisions, but this time he put on quite a scene and refused to be denied. Isaac, thinking the chameleons were made of rubber, overruled Demos and bought one for Richard. Almost immediately, he discovered that Richard was holding a live lizard in his hand and quickly regretted that he had made the purchase. From that time forward, even after reaching the place where they were staying, both Isaac and Demos tried to get Richard to turn the lizard loose, but without success.
Rose entered the scene by refusing to allow Richard to keep the chameleon in the house, as he preferred to do. The Nurse who was helping care for little Steve felt led to come to Richard’s aid, so she said she would help him find a cardboard carton of suitable size and they would make a temporary place for the chameleon in the garage. A number of empty cardboard cartons had been placed on the rubbish heap to be hauled away the next day by the trash man to be burned. The Nurse kept searching among the cartons until she found one that seemed to her to be the very one for the chameleon’s container. She opened it and found Rose’s wristwatch inside. God had answered prayer in a most unusual fashion!
THE SALE of the Reliance Milling Company by Isaac and Demos Shakarian to the Coast Grain Company, owned and operated by Adolph Weinberg and sons, Bob and Denny, was an important epoch in the Amazing Shakarian Story.
Two supernatural things occurred in connection with the transaction: The Lord had awakened Adolph Weinberg at three o’clock in the morning, in answer to the prayers of the Shakarians, and impressed him to purchase the business and to pay the price the Shakarians would require; and almost immediately after the transfer of ownership, the mill became a real success for the Weinbergs.
At the time of the sale, more than half a million dollars, all cash, was paid to the Shakarians by the Weinbergs. In the business world, this was such a historic and tremendous transaction that The California Dairyman devoted the front cover and three inside pages to the newsworthy event, with a photograph on the front cover and four photographs inside.
From the date of the purchase of the feed business, the Weinbergs have continued to abundantly prosper. Then they were farming more than twelve thousand acres in the Imperial Valley, raising alfalfa, flax, wheat and beets, in addition to feeding thousands of head of beef and conducting the Coast Grain Company with an enormous tonnage. Now the Weinbergs farm more than twenty thousand acres, with all their other business activities in proportion. It paid Adolph Weinberg to heed the Word of the Lord that came to him at three o’clock in the morning!
The disposal of the feed business by the Shakarians not only stopped the huge financial loss, but gave Demos the time necessary and imperative in order to help build up the immense Reliance Dairy Farms, with four drive-in sales outlets, the ever-increasing shopping center expansion, and his real estate and other investments. But above all else, the disposal of the feed business made it possible for Demos to devote much more time to the work of the Lord.
When Demos, in utter dedication to serving God, made the choice to continue the Fresno campaign, turning his own interests over to the Lord to handle, he was shown how quickly and easily the Lord was willing and able to handle such varied needs as the healing of Steve, the finding of Rose’s lost watch, and the sale of the burdensome feed business for more than half a million dollars cash. Furthermore, the Lord has blessed the Weinbergs in the feed business and the Shakarians in the dairy business, proving that when God is in a transaction, it must succeed.
The Birth Of A Fellowship
ABOUT THIS TIME the Full Gospel young people of the Los Angeles area decided to hold a great rally so that all Pentecostal youth could get together for fellowship and spiritual edification. They estimated that advertising and rental of a meeting place would cost about $300 and they didn’t know where the $300 would come from. Someone suggested that Demos Shakarian be asked to raise the money for them. Always thinking in big terms, Demos suggested that they increase their budget to $3,000. He began to speak to some of his friends about the idea of several of them going together and helping finance a big one-night rally at the Shrine Auditorium, but those he consulted seemed to think the cost was prohibitive.
Then Demos and Isaac arranged a dinner at Knott’s Berry Farm, inviting about a hundred Full Gospel business men as guests. They were told that their dinner was to be free, but that an offering would be taken to sponsor the youth rally. Before all the details of the plan were fully explained to the gathered men, Fred Friedmeyer, Dell Arganbright, Bryan Smith and many others began walking up and laying checks for $500 and other large amounts on the table. This kept up for twenty minutes. When the voluntary offering was counted, it amounted to $6,200.
When the youth rally was held in the Shrine Auditorium, so great was the crowd that the building was packed and throngs massed on the outside. Among those unable to get in was a young evangelist by the name of R. W. Culpepper. Someone asked that he pray for them. The Lord sent a wave of glory over the gathering, and a mighty revival broke on the outside of the Auditorium. News was rushed to those in charge of the rally and the revival caught fire inside with an equal intensity. God moved in a mighty way inside and outside the Auditorium.
The offering was so liberal at the rally that it, combined with the $6,200 raised at Knott’s Berry Farm, paid all the expenses of the rally and left a fund of $5,000. In considering what to do with the money, it was suggested that a massive Pentecostal Rally be held in Hollywood Bowl. More than 22,000 people packed the Bowl for this event, and the news spread far and near that the Full Gospel people were becoming united and powerful. Money left over from the Bowl rally was used to help finance the Azusa Street Golden Anniversary, some years later, and was later transferred to the Pentecostal Fellowship of Greater Los Angeles which was formed as a result of the Anniversary.
These events revealed to Demos Shakarian what a mighty force for God the Full Gospel business men would be if they could only work together. He talked to many who had actively participated in the rallies and they all expressed a like feeling. One of the persons who encouraged Demos was the President of Southern California Bible College, Dr. Irvine, J. Harrison, who, in the providence of God, became Executive Secretary of the Fellowship five years later. A Full Gospel corporation lawyer, Paul B. Fischer, was employed to help draft the necessary organizational documents, and an organizational meeting was called to meet in Fresno, California.
Men gathered from many parts of the country, choosing Demos Shakarian as President, Lee Braxton, George Gardner and Miner Arganbright as Vice-Presidents, and Earl Draper as Secretary-Treasurer. It happened that Oral Roberts was holding a campaign in Fresno at the time, and he introduced the officers of the newly-formed organization to his tent audience.
THERE IS one question that people ask Demos Shakarian more than any other. They want to know how he can keep up his dairy and ice cream business, his real estate and shopping center activities, and still be so active in the work of the Lord. Here is Demos’ answer: "Business demands are very exacting. Besides our dairy herd of approximately 1,700 head, our four dairy drive-ins, and other retail and wholesale aspects of the dairy business, my father and I have two shopping centers and other real estate interests to look after. Any business man will admit that these holdings require a great deal of a man’s time. One thing that helps in our situation is that my father and I work together as partners, and we are both interested in the Lord’s work. The bigger you get in business, the busier you must be in God’s work to keep up your spiritual life!"
Richard is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather both in the business world and in the ministry. At the age of fifteen he was called to Washington, D.C., to address the Congressional Prayer Meeting. He has engaged in the work of the Lord as far away as the West Indies. He is shouldering much of the supervision of the vast Reliance dairy business as he, at the same time, continues his work for the Lord.
Florence Shakarian, miraculously spared from suffering and death or a life of invalidism when the Lord answered the prayer of Dr. Charles S. Price, has thrilled thousands with her beautiful and anointed voice. She, too, follows the Shakarian pattern by being busily engaged in the office of the Reliance Dairy headed by her brother and father.
We have told The Amazing Shakarian Story in as brief a manner as possible, beginning with God’s miraculous events back in Russia and Armenia, on up to the present time in America and around the world. If this story causes others to give God the glory due Him and causes them to strive, in some measure, to let God direct their lives as he has directed the lives of the Shakarians, then we shall have been abundantly repaid for our efforts!