The Director of the AGIF for the past 19 years, Pastor Theodore (Ted) Lanes, was promoted to glory at the age of 91 on Sunday November 7, 2004 in San Diego, California. His daughter, Joy Lanes Ekeroth, Son-in-law, George Ekeroth, nine grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren surrounded him.
Pastor Lanes was born in Duluth, Minnesota on May 13, 1913. At the age of 15 he had a living encounter with the Lord at a Salvation Army meeting. It became the foundation stone of his life. A short time after this he attended a Pentecostal revival meeting and received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Before he was twenty-years-old he was conducting evangelistic meetings marked by a fire and enthusiasm that remained to the final hours of his life.
By his 21st birthday he had married his sweetheart, Mildred and moved to Hibbing Minnesota. There he pioneered his first church, building small homes to support his young bride and their one and only child Joy.
In 1940 he was invited to become a member of the staff at the Philadelphia Church in Chicago. There he became acquainted with Levi Petrus founder of the Philadelphia Church in Stockholm, Sweden and Joseph Mattsson-Boze who became a life-long friend and counselor.
While continuing his work in the Publishing House in Chicago, he pastored the Grove Street Baptist Church in DeKalb, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He built Radio Station WLBK in DeKalb and also with Mildred owned and operated a bookstore in the city.
In 1951 Ted moved his family back to Duluth and shortly thereafter founded the Calvary Temple Church. He was also a moving force in the establishment of Duluth¹s first television station.
In 1964 the family moved to San Diego, California to start a printing and publishing complex known as Master Productions.
In 1986 he became the chairman of the Assemblies of God International Fellowship, a position that he held until his promotion to “high ground.”
Writing from the viewpoint of his son-in-law, it is difficult to pinpoint his greatest strengths. He was a multi-talented man. He could build a house, build a radio station, participate in founding of a television station; he preached the gospel on radio and television and one-on-one wherever he had the opportunity to let people know his abundant love for his Saviour.
In retrospect I will have to say that one of the greatest legacies Ted left us was his love for the Scriptures and his anointed insights into the Word which brought revelation to countless preachers and laymen in America and many other countries.
His counseling, consoling and encouragement to ministers was nothing short of incredible. Heaven will only reveal the souls he brought back from the depths of despair to return to a fruitful and blessed ministry. (continued on next page...) His greatest loss in life was the death of Mildred in January of 2003. From that moment on, his desire to be with Mildred never abated. I don¹t know if I have ever known a man who missed his mate (68 years) more than Ted. I only mention this to say that, though he was lonely, no one that ever called for help could detect the slightest hint the sadness that was in his heart. Though saddened, he never lost his desire to raise his hands and thank the Lord for all His blessings.
Finally, I must mention his unbounded generosity that caused him to respond to nearly every need that came to his attention. We knew he was a cheerful giver, but not until Joy started to sort out his finances did we realized he gave to such a wide variety of ministries and individuals.
Ted had suffered a few physical attacks over the past twenty years but for the most part shunned medical attention; through prayer he always came through victorious.
We saw in August, by the way he moved, he was in pain, but he would never admit it. We urged him to see a doctor but he would not hear of it. He was a scheduled speaker for the AGIF Summer Conference with the Gittens in Stanley, North Carolina in late August. We urged him to cancel. This also he would not hear of. We flew overnight from San Diego to Stanley. He rested for a short period before going to the Wednesday evening service. It has been said over and over again, “He gave every ounce of energy left in his body that night to deliver, what became, his last message, entitled ‘The Crumbs Ministry or Bread to the Nations.’”
We took him back to his hotel room, which he did not leave for the next five days; nor did he eat any food during that period. Only a miracle enabled us to fly him back to San Diego.
He lived alone a short distance from our home and we had contact with him everyday. We continued to urge him to seek help, but for him it was not an option. Throughout September and into October he would have good days and bad days. These were just our evaluations. He would never confess a pain or discomfort.
On October 11 at 11 a.m. he called me and said he had fallen in the bathroom and could not get up. He saw that we would not take “No” for an answer any longer. In the emergency room of Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego the Doctors said had we waited two or three hours longer he would have been gone. When they diagnosed all of his health problems it was amazing that he was still alive and was able in the ER to tell the doctors and nurses how thankful he was for their help and how wonderful they were. He had Joy give one nurse a big hug for him.
The next three and half weeks were a roller coast ride for him and for his loved ones as well. Good days and bad days continued, but one thing that never changed was his positive mindset and the image he left in the minds and hearts of many of the hospital personal. Nurses were seen coming out of his room with tears in their eyes after hearing him tell them how great they were, while they knew what he was really going through.
I did not question the Lord, but I did wonder why Ted was put through this period of suffering when in all his ministry, and in his own family, he had seen so many instances of healing as the result of prayer and seeking God. I believe God gave me a very simple answer, “We had been given an unmistakable example of a man thanking God and praising Him to his very last breath.” I don’t know how many of us can duplicate this example, but it is there for us to know that it is possible when a life is so committed to the Lord.
He was a pilot and owned his own plane during his ministry in Dekalb. He used the following chorus often in his messages. He knew how to fly an airplane but he was also very adept at soaring to spiritual heights in praise and worship and expounding the Scriptures and carrying many passengers along with him.
Rise and soar into the sunlit rays
Using both the wings of prayer and praise
Mount like eagles higher in the sky
You will find things look so different
When you fly
You often asked us, “What do you have to be thankful for today?” Here are just a few things, because this could take all day.
We are thankful for the Thursday night studies, guided by your spiritual leadership, Learning about the Mystery of God, his “golden hinges” and the “wheel of fellowship.”
We are thankful for your love of Grandma and what you always told us to do, To never go a day without telling our loved ones, “I love you.”
We are thankful for the incredible generosity you showed us all, And telling us if we were ever in trouble, to give you a call.
We are most thankful for the incredible legacy you leave,
The lesson that hope is never lost to those who believe.
We never imagined we would ever have to say goodbye,
“Come on, folks! If you¹re still here, say I.”
We will always have a thought that will bring a smile to our faces, Grandma and Grandpa “sitting together in heavenly places.”
The message of your life can be summed up perfectly,
With the last words you gave us: “Jesus Loves Me!”
Love Always, Your Family