By May Olusola
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you ask me for a man that has lived for 108 years on earth, still standing, preaching from the pulpit without a cane, taking no medication, has all his teeth, hair and vision intact, still travelling locally and internationally, I will gladly present Bishop Otis G. Clark.
Known as the world’s oldest evangelist, Clark is quick to clasp his strong historical hands together, display an exuberant grin that defies age and lets you know with bright eyes like that of a kid eyeing a Lollipop “I am trying to keep up with the young folks.”
Clark was born on February 13, 1903, in Oklahoma when it was an Indian territory; it became an official state in 1907. At the age of eighteen, he fled from the “1921 Tulsa race riot” in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, by hoping on a train to California in search of his biological father.
While in Los Angeles, he began living a carefree life. He got involved in bootlegging liquor, was caught and sent to serve time in prison.
It was in jail he encountered and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior at the age of 25. He came out a changed man. He had heard about the holiness movement while attending a revival at the Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Mother Lillian Coffey was the State Mother for the Church of God in Christ, and Otis had the privilege of being her driver. After attending revivals with Mother Coffey, Clark received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and was forever changed. He also had the honor of serving his mentor, Bishop Charles H. Mason, whom he affectionately called “Dad.” Bishop Mason is the leader and founder of the Church of God in Christ.
In 1930, he was baptized at the Azusa Church – a part of the Azusa Street Mission, started in 1906 by William J. Seymour. It was famous for an unforgettable revival that birth the Pentecostal church. Clark formed deep relationships with some of the original members and before the Azusa Street Mission building was torn down, Bishop Driscoll gave him the Power of Attorney over the Azusa Street Mission. A document he still has in his possession.
In 1942, Bishop Samuel M. Crouch of the Church of God in Christ, Los Angeles, officially ordained Clark as an evangelist and preacher.
During his stay in California, Clark also worked as a butler for movie stars like Clark Gable, Charley Chaplin and Joan Crawford. He and his wife lived in Joan Crawford’s home: He was the butler and she was the cook.
For the past century, Clark survived the Great depression, many jobs, four marriages and a child. He has outlived all of them. He has served as an international evangelist for eighty years. He is the Founder and Overseer of Life Enrichment Evangelistic Epicenter, Seattle, Washington, along with his daughter Dr. Gwen Williams and grand daughter Pastor Star Williams. They are based in Seattle, Washington.
He made his first trip to the continent of Africa at the age of 103 and went back the following year. He went on a mission trip to Jamaica from July 15 – 25th, 2010.
Clark exercises daily, cooks his breakfast and eats whatever he feels like eating. Every day, he walks down from his bedroom upstairs, gets to the bottom of the stairs and asks his daughter “who said I wasn’t going to make it?”
During a trip to Dallas, TX, I got the privilege to interview Bishop Otis Clark. I must confess that I remained in awe of the encounter for many days. “What is the secret behind all this?” I asked with a voice laden with so much curiosity.“Prayer and the Holy Ghost; If you are on God’s side, you are on the winning side. I am on the winning side; Lord help me!” he exclaimed.
For more information about Bishop Clark, call (253) 838-1592 or visit www.lifeenrichmentinc.com. Let us pray that the Lord will continue to protect Bishop Clark and use him for signs and wonders, in Jesus’ name.