Who is Perry “Fred” Stone, Sr.? Some would say holy-roller preacher, others would say healer. To Mr. Stone, the most important title would be Proud Servant of the Most High God. Born on February 11, 1933 to William Henry Stone and Nalvie Dunford Ball in Johnny Cake Hollow, West Virginia, his initial entry into the world was met with challenges, for after his mother gave birth, the mid-wife attempted to kidnap him. If Fred’s father had not arrived in the nick of time to rescue him, only God knows what his fate would have been. From the beginning, it seems Satan has tried to interrupt God’s plan on Fred Stone’s life. However, he has prevailed and has used his ministry to honor and glorify the God of Israel.
At age sixteen, Fred attended a revival in West Virginia that changed his life. During the service the preacher, Mildred Collins asked, “Fred, if you should die at midnight tonight, where would you spend eternity? You are lost without God.” The amazing thing is that Mildred did not know Fred and later informed Fred that she never spoke those words. What’s more intriguing is that none of the parishioners heard Mildred speak those words to Fred. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit convicted his soul that night and Fred went to the altar and gave his life to Jesus Christ.
After his conversion, Fred witnessed spiritual gifts operating throughout the church by other people and went to the altar and prayed to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t a long, drawn out prayer unto the Lord. It was a simple one. He prayed, “Lord, whatever this is that everybody else has, I’d like to have it too. It looks to me that like I need it.” After three days of praying, God answered his prayers and he received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
During Fred’s early ministry, the Lord moved tremendously. Fred healed countless people: A woman whose face had been eaten with cancer was healed through prayer and anointing. A man who was born blind in one eye miraculously healed and gained eye sight he never had. As he grew spiritually in the Lord, he met a beautiful singer, Juanita Bava at a revival. They had four children: Diane, Melanie, Perry Jr, and Phillip.
The Holy Spirit constantly moved through the churches which Fred pastured. Although there are numerous churches in the world, it is important to allow the Holy Spirit to move through out the church. More importantly, it is necessary for the pastor over the congregation to allow the Lord to use him/her as a His vessel. God has used Fred Stone as an instrument in displaying all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit; he explains each gift in detail:
Word of Wisdom- A spiritual declaration that applies the Word of God.
Word of Knowledge- An inspirational revelation that provides knowledge from God about a specific person or circumstance.
Faith- A supernatural ability to trust and believe God for the miraculous.
Gift of Healing-From prayer of a believer in Christ, the supernatural of God heals physical and emotional health to the sick.
Working of Miracles- Supernatural acts of God that often change the course of natural law.
Prophecy- An utterance that comes directly from God by prompting of the Holy Spirit that reveals the will of God in a specific situation.
Discerning of Spirits- Enables the believer to recognize whether a spirit, a prophecy, a word is truly from the Holy Spirit.
Different Kinds of Tongues- The Spirit-filled believer supernaturally speaks in different languages unknown to the speaker.
Interpretation of Tongues- Through the Holy Spirit, this gift makes known the meaning of the revelation that was spoken in tongues.
Some denominations claim that the gift of tongues no longer happens in today’s age. That simply is not true. On one occasion when he was at the altar praying for a man, Fred spoke in tongues and when Fred finished praying the man said, “You were praying in a perfect Arabic language. You spoke my name and asked the Lord to fill me with the Holy Spirit.” Fred Stone has never been taught to speak Arabic. Just like on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is still using the gifts of tongues to reach unbelievers.
Throughout his life, Fred often mentions how the Holy Spirit has warned him of coming trouble. What is so amazing is that sometimes these warning are in dreams, visions, or a clear audible voice. In 1952, as he was driving through English, West Virginia, the Lord told Fred to slow his car down because the tie rod was about to fall off–Fred obeyed and minutes later the tie rod fell off as he drove across a bridge. In 1968, the Lord gave him a vision about an impending attack against his brother serving in the Vietnam War. He quickly wrote his brother, telling him of the details of the vision, which proved to save the life of his brother due the vision the Lord gave Fred. In one circumstance, Fred did not heed the warning of the Holy Spirit and he and his family paid a heavy price. In 1960, near Elkin, West Virginia the Lord tried to warn him three times of an impending accident and Fred did not heed the warnings and his family was involved in a near fatal accident.
Perry “Fred” Stone, Sr. has been on the great commission to spread the Gospel for God since the Lord called him during that revival in West Virginia. You may not be familiar with his name or know who he is, but he is a unique treasure. In reading the story about his life, there has been a noticeable common thread: the altar. He constantly went to the altar before God and humbly asked for whatever he needed. In going to the altar, Fred has led many people to Jesus Christ. Not to mention, his son Perry Stone continues his father’s legacy in spreading the Gospel. Apostle, prophet, man of God…any of these titles Fred Stone could easily claim. However, I have no doubt the most important title to him is “faithful servant” an honorable name bestowed to those most deserving. After he finishes the race, I’m sure he’ll hear those words that all Christians long to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
To learn more about his life read Fire on the Altar by Perry Fred Stone, Sr. available at http://www.voe.org.