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This Week in AG History -- Feb. 19, 1979

Loren Triplett, with his wife, Millie, invested their lives in ministry — first as pastors, then missionaries, and even after Loren served as director of AG World Missions, they continued their passionate quest to see the lost won to Christ.
Loren O. Triplett (1926 - 2016), the son of pioneer Pentecostal church planters, led the Assemblies of God into world-wide growth as director of its world missions efforts. He lived by the motto: “You don’t measure yourself by your success but by the unfinished task.”

Born to L. Otis and Gladys (Behnke) Triplett, Loren Triplett was the eldest of eight children who grew up trekking the nation with his family, planting churches in places like California, Michigan, Iowa, and Oregon. It was while his father was pastoring in Newberg, Oregon, that he felt his own call to ministry and enrolled in Glad Tidings Bible Institute (later Bethany University) in San Francisco, California.

After graduation, Triplett was invited back to his home church in Newberg as interim pastor. While there, he chose a life partner in a girl from the youth group – Millie Johnson. The two were wed on New Year’s Day in 1949 and in October, they accepted the pastorate of a small church in Syracuse, Nebraska.

By 1953, Triplett was serving as vice president of Christ’s Ambassadors (the Assemblies of God youth organization) for the Nebraska district, but he felt the call of God to serve in Latin America. During family camp that year, Triplett asked for prayer from those in attendance, sharing his desire to follow God in mission work. One of the pastors stood and said he believed in Loren and Millie Triplett and wanted to be the first to give toward their support. This ignited somewhat of a competition to see who could give the most toward the young couple’s missions budget – including one man who went to the auto dealer in town and drove up with a station wagon offering it as their first Speed-the-Light vehicle.

Somewhat overwhelmed with the response, District Superintendent Lester Dickinson called Noel Perkin, the director of world missions for the Assemblies of God, asking what he should do since the young couple had not yet even applied for missionary appointment. Perkin responded, “If you folks have this much confidence in these young people, proceed with your plans to raise support during the camp. Just hold the funds until we can meet with the Tripletts and make our decision as to appointment.”

Approval of their application was soon granted and the Tripletts, having their budget already raised from that one camp meeting, enrolled in a language school in Costa Rica. Within one year of their initial prayer request for guidance, they arrived in Nicaragua, their home and ministry base for the next 12 years.

Due to the previous groundbreaking work of Melvin and Lois Hodges, the Nicaraguan church made good use of Nicaraguan preachers who were able to evangelize effectively within the cultural context. It was during these years that Triplett became convinced of the wisdom of the indigenous church principle, believing that fostering dependence on the Holy Spirit would produce a more lasting work than encouraging a dependance on missionaries.

In 1966, Triplett was asked to take leadership of Editorial Vida, the new Spanish-language literature ministry that was operating out of the basement of the Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Missouri. After tearful goodbyes to their Nicaraguan church family, the Triplett family moved to the United States to oversee the publication of Spanish-language Assemblies of God Sunday School materials, songbooks, Bible school textbooks, and discipleship materials. He moved the publishing office from Springfield to Miami, Florida, which allowed Triplett to hire more Spanish-speaking employees and to cut shipping costs. Editorial Vida soon became a leading publisher of Spanish-language materials throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

When Triplett was named regional director for Assemblies of God World Missions in Latin American and the Caribbean in 1973, succeeding Melvin Hodges, he moved forward in providing leadership and support to 280 missionaries in 26 countries. During the 16 years that he held this post, he oversaw the development of a Pentecostal study Bible that was the brainchild of missionary Don Stamps. Stamps’ dream to provide a “one book library” that would resource pastors and students in Portuguese eventually developed into the Full Life Study Bible (also known as the Fire Bible) which is now available in over 40 languages, making it the most widely published study Bible in existence.

In 1989, Triplett was elected to succeed J. Philip Hogan as the director of Assemblies of God World Missions. In the eight years he served in this position, the world-wide Assemblies of God family grew by 55 percent. Perhaps even more meaningful to Triplett, the number of national ministers increased by 48 percent, showing his continued commitment to the indigenous church principle.

After their retirement in 1997, the Tripletts continued to minister in both the United States and overseas, strengthening local churches and encouraging young people to follow the call of God in giving of themselves to the great task of world evangelization. Loren Triplett passed away at age 90 in 2016, followed four years later by his beloved, Millie, having done much to resource the Pentecostal world for the unfinished task of world evangelization.

Read Loren Triplett’s article on the importance of women’s contributions in missions in, “The Challenge of Open Doors,” on page 10 of the Feb. 18, 1979, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Divorce is a Lonely Road,” by Thelma Harris

• “Elijah’s God Still Lives Today,” by Phyllis Taylor

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel
archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Ruthie Edgerly Oberg

Ruthie Edgerly Oberg is an ordained Assemblies of God minister and fourth generation Pentecostal. She served in senior and associate pastoral roles for 25 years. Oberg speaks at national conferences and local churches.