Rev. William H. “Billy” Cole (1934~2009)
United Pentecostal Church International
William H. “Billy” Cole was born to Reverend Jewel C. and Reverend Mary S. Cole in Newark, Ohio, on July 28, 1934. He was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ at 7 years of age and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the age of 12 at the Buckeye Lake Camp in Ohio. Nathaniel Urshan was the evangelist and S.G. Norris was the daytime teacher.
At the age of 19, Billy married Shirley Ann Kelbaugh in Parkersburg, West Virginia, on December 22, 1953. After moving to Weirton, West Virginia, for work in the laboratory at Weirton Steel, he recognized that God was calling him to preach. God revealed this to his wife while Billy was away working the night shift. One night God awoke shirley and she heard an audible voice ask, “Are you willing to sacrafice if I call your husband into the ministry?” She was frightened and didn’t answer. The second night it happened again, and she responded in the same way. Thr third night it happened, God’s voice came to her three times, very loud and strong. Shirley leaped out of bed and told the Lord, “If this is really You and I am not having some kind of illusion, cause Billy to say something to me this morning when he comes in.” Sure enough he did, and she was convinced.
They began their ministry by going door to door witnessing. Pastor Allen Cayton came to them after Sunday morning service and asked, “Why haven’t you told me God has called you to preach?” Later, without notice, Pastor Cayton called upon Billy to preach. After his first sermon, a catholic lady, whom the Coles had brought to church, received the Holy Ghost.
Brother and Sister Cole’s first major effort was to open a new church in Ravenswood, West Virginia. Not a single Pentecostal of any sort resided in the whole county. They began by pitching a small tent and preaching every night for a month, resulting in 16 adults being baptized in Jesus’ name.
In Ravenswood, they saw their first great healing miracle. One day they received a call that Sister Barnes, who had been baptized and had received the Holy Ghost, was dying, and the doctor was on the way to the house. Rushing there, praying all the way, Billy believed God had promised to heal her. However, when he got there, the house was filled with people. The doctor had already closed her eyes and covered her with a sheet. The doctor said, “You’re too late, Preacher; she’s gone!” But Billy, believing God to heal her, told the family he would pray for her anyway if they wanted him to. Pulling the sheet down to her shoulders, he prayed. nothing happened. He prayed louder, but still nothing happened. Then he got angry and shouted, “Sister Barnes, get up!” She sat straight up in bed and was healed. Reverned Ziegler, her former United Brethren pastor who was there, fell face down on the floor.
After pastoring in Ravenswood a few years, Brother and Sister Cole traveled as evangelists. A number of people received the Holy Ghost and were baptized. During this time they also witnessed several notable apostolic events. Then they pastored a church in Spencer, West Virginia, with a congregation of one hundred people. The church was debt free when the Coles moved on.
The Coles were invited to Elyeria, Pennsylvania, to preach for their former pastor, Brother Cayton, who was starting a new home missions church. one day while Brother Cayton was at work and Sister Cayton and Sister Cole were shopping, Brother Cole was studying the book of Esther in the Cayton’s apartment. Brother Cole’s answered a knock on the door to find a visitor holding a note with the address of the Cayton’s apartment.
He said, “I am Reverened Boon Mark Gittisan, the general secretary for the Presbyterian Church of Thailand. I have been in Detroit, New York City, and Toronto, Canada. I don’t know who gave me this note or for what reason.” Brother Cole was afraid of him but invited him in anyway, thinking about the verse of Scripture, “Some have entertained angels unawares.”
Brother Cole checked to see if Pastor Cayton’s address was in the church directory, but it was so new it was not listed at all.
Brother Cole then asked Brother Gittisan, “Have you ever heard of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking with other tongues?”
Brother Gittisan said, “Yes, I speak with tongues; there are six of us in Thailand who do.”
Brother Cole then intended to ask, “Have you ever heard of being baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus?” But Brother gittisan interrupted Brother Cole and said, “Oh yes, I have been baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
Brother cole asked, “Reverend Gittisan, what is the name of the Son?” Reverend Gittisan was stunned. As tears filled Brother Gittisan’s eyes, Brother Cole asked, “Are you having a heart attack?”
Brother Gittisan answered, “No. You see I can quote the entire New Testament. When you asked me that question, all the scriptures finally came together. Like a curtain being rolled back, I could see Jesus Christ as He really is.” Reverened Gittisan was baptized the next day.
This miraculous visit led to the Coles’ being sent to Thailand as missionaries. in seven years they baptized nearly 6,000 Buddists and witnessed a mighty outpouring of the Holy Ghost. One of their first converts, Reverend Chalyong Wattanchant, has been superintendent of the Thailand churches for more then 35 years.
While in Thailand, Brother Cole suffered a stroke, which paralyzed his left arm. teh Coles returned to the USA. However, upon his being healed, they returned to Asia as evangelists. Thousands were baptized ad filled with the Holy Ghost. When Sister Cole became sick, they returned to the USA again. When her health improved, they went to Wheeling, West Virginia. They gathered together six people who were baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost, and in four years they baptized another 450 people and prayed them through to the Holy Ghost.
After leaving Wheeling, the Cole’s returned to evangelizing overseas. When Brother Cole’s father asked him to come home to help build a new building in Parkersburg, West Virginia, he did.
When this building was finished, the Cole’s moved to Charleston, West Virginia, in 1981 to pastor the North Charleston Apostolic Church. They remained in Charleston for over 23 years. Brother Cole’s grandson, reverend Anthony Moss, took over the church upon Brother Cole’s retirement.
Brother Cole preached many camp meetings and revival services, seeing many filled with the Holy Ghost. The last ten years of his ministry, he preached crusades at home and overseas. sisteen times, more than 3,000 received the Holy Ghost in a single service. The Cole’s preached for 50 years and were just short of seeing one million people receive the Holy Ghost. They were dilligent in training many young men, too numerous to mention, to carry on their ministry. Brother Cole served on the Executive Board for two terms, and he aslo served on the Foreign Missions Board, where he was an honorary member.
On July 27, 2009, Brother Billy Cole was called home to be with the Lord.