REVEREND JOHN W. BROOKS
as long as he could remember, Reverend Brooks was surrounded by Christian
influences. His father was a Pentecostal Holiness minister. His grandfather
was an itinerant Methodist tent evangelist. His early childhood was marked
by tragedy. When he was six, his father died, leaving a wife with few
possessions, no income and seven children to support. She decided to move
to Falcon, NC, which was a Pentecostal Holiness community with a school
that was run by the Pentecostal Holiness church. It was in this environment
that Reverend Brooks grew up and eventually received a calling from God
to become a missionary in Africa.
When he returned to South Africa in 1938 he was assigned to take over the missionary work of Reverend K. E. M. Spooner, who was an African American missionary who had just died. Reverend Spooner had spent many years building a complex of churches and schools among the Tswana people. His mission was located near the town of Rustenburg, which was a platinum-mining and farming community. Reverend Brooks served as superintendent of this ministry for two years.
In 1940 Reverend Brooks was reassigned to start a new mission work in the city of Durban, which was a resort and port city on the Indian Ocean. The population of Durban consisted of whites, Zulu natives, Indians, and descendants of multiracial marriages called Coloreds. The four ethnic groups were segregated into separate regions of the city. In the next seven years Reverend Brooks established Pentecostal Holiness congregations in all four segments of the city.
In 1947 he returned to the US where he was assigned to become superintendent of the Falcon Childrens Home, which was operated by the Pentecostal Holiness Church as a refuge for orphaned and troubled children. After a year he was assigned first to pastor a congregation in Vancouver British Columbia and then others in rural North Carolina. During one of his prayer and meditation sessions, he experienced an epiphany in which God called on him to establish a ministry and religious school for native ministers in some part of Africa. In a subsequent vision God revealed that the location of the new missionary work was to be Nigeria.
1955 he went to Nigeria where he spent three tours of duty and established
several congregations. He also established a religious school, which he
named the West African Bible College. It started with a few students in
a small rented building. The missionary work and the school grew steadily.
In 1967 he retired in poor health and later settled in Falcon, NC. The
school continued to grow under a series of missionary successors. His
dream of establishing a religious school that was housed its own building
became a reality many years later. A brand new building was built with
many classrooms and with accommodations to board student ministers while
they studied. He was invited to Lagos, Nigeria for the dedication of the
building. At age 89, a somewhat frail Reverend Brooks made the long trip
to Nigeria for the dedication. He returned with the satisfaction that
his vision had been fulfilled.