The Life and Ministry of Howard Carter Mentor of Lester Sumrall

Howard Carter and Lester Sumrall On the Mission Fields 1930's

Discover the life and ministry of Howard Carter, a missionary, friend of Smith Wigglesworth and Lester Sumrall, and a leading speaker at international Pentecostal conferences.

Howard Carter was a missionary to missionaries, a friend of Smith Wigglesworth and Lester Sumrall, and a leading speaker at international Pentecostal conferences throughout the world. He was most distinguished for his teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

He was a gentle and refined man, yet rugged when needed. A careful study of his life reveals an educated man after God's own heart who carried a strong passion for Jesus and a quiet sense of humor.

Howard Carter was born in Birmingham, England, in 1891. His British father married his mother, a descendant of French nobility. Growing up, Howard Carter had a speech impediment and suffered much embarrassment in school. Even with speech therapy, he still had difficulty throughout his life pronouncing r's. Still, Howard had a passion for study and a love for art. He entered art school, where he studied portraiture and life drawing.

At twelve, his work was displayed in the London Gallery of Art. When he was 18 years old, he gained employment as a designer at Thursfields and Company in Birmingham. At twenty, he was saved and attended a church of Christ until he was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Since he would not keep silent about the experience, he was asked to leave the church. While working in design, he sought every opportunity to preach the gospel that he could find. When he was 25 years old, he left the design firm and entered the full-time ministry, pastoring a work started by the Crown Mission in Birmingham, only to have it interrupted by war.

School of the Spirit

Compulsory military service was introduced in Great Britain in 1916, two years after the start of World War One. Howard Carter should have been exempt from the military because he was a full-time minister of religion. His application to be excused, however, was dismissed on the grounds that he was not a minister of a recognized denomination. Refusing to enter the military, he was imprisoned in solitary confinement in the famous Wormwood Scrubbs prison in London, some 100 miles from Birmingham.

Howard Carter feared he would break under the strain of incarceration, but God brought him through. In prison, Howard Carter kindled his passion for studying the Word of God and focused his studies on the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Later, he would write his book, "Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts." Sometime in 1918, at the end of the war, Howard Carter was freed from prison and returned to his home town of Birmingham, pioneering a church called the People's Hall.

Later, six Pentecostals gathered for prayer in London. A message in tongues was interpreted by a young visitor from Birmingham. That visitor was Howard Carter. The prophecy declared, "Gather my people from the north, south, east, and west and build for me. They will come on horses, mules, and camels, and there will be heaps of money." That same evening, a businessman convicted of not paying his tithes gave £2,500 to Howard Carter, which would launch him into a worldwide apostolic ministry.

Howard Carter was well known for his love for God and had met many other ministers of the gospel. He was one of thirteen people who signed the founding documents of the Assemblies of God in Birmingham on February 1st, 1924. Later that same year, in May, he would attend the first Assemblies of God conference held in London. 

Prophecy and Gifts of the Spirit

Howard helped many people receive baptism in the Holy Spirit and develop various gifts of the Spirit. Howard Carter would study and yield himself particularly to the gift of prophecy and the interpretation of tongues.

The first Pentecostal Bible School in the United Kingdom was founded in the Hampstead area of London by the Pentecostal Missionary Union and later became known as the Hampstead Bible School. In 1927, Howard Carter reluctantly agreed to serve as the school's principal for a few months. He stayed for 27 years. Under his direction, the school focused on training evangelists, pastors, and teachers who were sent into various mission fields around the world, including Europe, Asia, and Africa.

One time, when Howard Carter was feeling discouraged, God gave him the words that were to become the motto of the Bible School and encourage many of its students: "Let me never lose the all-important truth that to be in thy will is better than success, and grant that I may ever love thyself more than thy service."

On May 24th, 1928, he received a prophetic word declaring, "Mark the day, for the blessing will come, and you will be astonished." One year later, Howard Carter was elected vice chairman of the Assemblies of God in Britain, and on May 24th, 1934, he was elected chairman.

In 1934, Howard Carter was invited to minister at two camp meetings in the USA. He was 43 years old. With encouragement from others and confirmation from God, this developed into a world tour of 60,000 miles. In America, he would meet a 17-year-old young lad named Lester Sumrall, who would meet him later in Australia for a round-the-world tour, visiting many of Howard's former Bible school students and focusing much of the trip in China. Many of the missionaries who visited were former students.

At the conclusion of the tour, Howard Carter said, "We started with nothing, we had nothing [to spare], we returned with nothing, and we desire nothing but the privilege of proclaiming that our Lord God Omnipotent reigns." The chronicles of his journey are written in his book, "When Time Flew By." This book describes the end of this tour, with Howard Carter suffering from malaria on a bed in Amsterdam, Holland.

The Second World War brought his travels to an end until 1946, when he visited South America. Howard Carter kept detailed statistics of his ministry and estimated that he covered 150,000 miles. In 1948, Howard Carter handed over the Hampstead Bible School to George Newsholme, who turned it over to the Assemblies of God just two years later. 

Howard Carter Finally Weds

In 1952, at the third World Pentecostal Conference in London, the Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, U.S.A., Wesley Steelberg, died unexpectedly. Howard had known Wesley and his wife, Ruth, for many years. At the time, Howard Carter was considering a fine young lady in the London church as a potential candidate for his wife. God told him that she wasn't the one, however, and he should wait for God's choice.

In 1955, the Holy Spirit put Howard and Ruth together, and they married a year later. Right after their marriage, they embarked on a two-year world tour. From 1965 to 1969, Howard and Ruth assisted Howard's brother John at the Bible School in Kenley. During the war, the building was bombed, later burned, and subsequently moved to Kenley. Ruth's health began to diminish, and they moved to Springfield, Missouri.

They continued to minister together until Howard's death on January 22, 1971. Howard Carter was 80 years old. The memorial service was held in London and conducted by David Powell. His good friend Lester Sumrall was unable to attend because of a severe snowstorm that closed the airport. Echoing the sentiments of many, he testified, "Howard had faith in me and launched me out on God." In a special memorial edition of Redemption Tidings dated April 15th, 1971, there were many tributes to Howard, including that of Alfred Missen, who described Howard Carter as a man of great personality, genius, faith, and the Spirit.

Apostle by Jonas Clark








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