Rev. Powell met future wife during revival

Published 9:22 pm Friday, November 20, 2015

Little did the Rev. E.L. Powell realize 20 years ago that when he attended a revival at New Triumph Baptist Church he would meet the woman he would marry, and would ultimately become church pastor.

But those events became reality for Powell.

Powell came from Prentiss, Miss. to support a friend during the 1994 revival. During the revival, he met Nicole Williams, and they married approximately a year later.
The Rev. A.J. Manning was New Triumph’s pastor at the time. He soon left the church to head Sweet Rest Baptist Church in Franklinton.

“After Rev. Manning left, I preached two worship services. One was on the third Sunday in Oct. of 1995, and the second was on the first Sunday in Nov. of 1995,”  Powell said. “I was approached by some of the brothers in the church to put my name in the hat. I lived in Prentiss at the time and my mind basically was getting married and going back to Prentiss.

“On the Monday of that first Sunday sermon, my father-in-law, R.S. Williams, who was a senior deacon in the church, called me up and informed me I had become their new pastor.”

Powell accepted the position.

“It wasn’t my intention, but God had other plans,” Powell said.  “It worked out in a unique way. These last 20 years have been a blessing. Dr. James Massey calls it ‘A Burdensome Joy’ in his book. There have been some ups and downs, but through it all it has been worth it.”

Powell celebrates his 20-year anniversary with the church on Sunday, Nov. 21. Sunday school begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by 11 a.m. worship. The church is located at 801 Sullivan Dr. in Bogalusa.

Powell relates Massey’s book to his life.

“Something that gives you joy cancels out all the burdens and tribulations,” Powell said. “The gist of the book is simply saying the struggles we go through doesn’t cancel out the joy of leading a person to Christ.”

Powell likened saving souls to a woman’s giving birth.

“A woman giving birth is painful. But as soon as she gives birth, she forgets about all the pain because of the joy of having the child, because love is the principal thing,” he said.

Powell and his wife have three children — two girls and a boy. They range in age from 12 to 19. The oldest is a student at the University of Southern Mississippi, and the others are students at Northlake Christian School in Covington.

Powell estimated he has baptized over 100 souls during his time at New Triumph. He has licensed two men who later became ministers. They include Marvin Austin Jr., who is currently associate minister at Bethlehem Baptist Church, and the late Larry Ross. He has also ordained four deacons.

“I believe a strong, Christ-centered ministry is committed to sound doctrines of the Christian faith,” Powell said. “We’re not the biggest church in town, but what makes New Triumph stand out is that we have members who are strong and committed to carrying on the ministry of Jesus Christ. That is evangelism and making disciples.”

Powell said he has seen people change their lives for the better during his jail ministry, which has been ongoing for the last two years.

“I go to Bogalusa City Jail monthly and share the gospel to both male and female prisoners,” Powell said. “We’ve had a number of people accept Jesus Christ. Some have gone on to productive lives. It’s like Saddleback Church pastor Rev. Rick Warren says in ‘The Purpose Driven Life,’ that if we can reach one person, our living hasn’t been in vain.

“My motive has always been to reach as many as I can. I’ve witnessed to people at work, picnics and reunions. I have led people to Christ in those situations. It’s not me, but the Lord working through me.”