A local minister commemorates more than seven decades of ministry.
Cecil Todd, the founder and president of Revival Fires Ministry located in Branson West, has completed 72 years of Christian ministry.
According to a press release from Revival Fires Ministry, Todd began preaching at the age of 18 in November 1949. His first sermon was delivered at a church near Willow Springs, Missouri.
“It only lasted 13 minutes,” Todd said in the statement. “It was a Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend. I still have the original outline of the post from 72 years ago.
Over the seven decades of ministry, Todd has traveled more than 3 million miles over the 72 years and has seen more than 3 million people be saved, the statement said. Todd has traveled to all 50 states and 22 countries to preach the message of Christianity.
Todd has held revivals, crusades, and rallies across town while serving as a minister in five different churches.
Todd’s biggest ministry event took place in Moscow, Russia, where he was the guest speaker at the annual “May 1” celebrations in Red Square.
“It was a preacher’s dream to preach to over a million people for this awesome gathering,” Todd said. “However, it rained that day but people still came. When I got on the flatbed truck to preach, the rain finally stopped. When I finished my message, it started to rain again. This “act of God” impressed this crowd more than anything I said that day.
In 1966, Todd launched a nationwide television program called “Revival Fires.” The TV show was picked up by no less than 200 stations and ran for 20 years. Todd produced 900 30-minute episodes.
Todd also advised two presidents, President Ronald Reagan and President Gerald Ford, the statement said. President Reagan also appeared on one of Todd’s specials.
“He was my special guest on two of my 12 (TV) specials,” Todd said. “Over 100,000 letters have been received from our program called ‘Pass it on! “He introduced Reagan as our special guest.”
Pat Boone, Art Linkletter, Anita Bryant and Lowell Mason were among the other people on Todd’s shows.
Another achievement of Todd came when his “Revival Fires Campmeetings” took place in the then Grand Palace Theater. These events included some of America’s popular preachers.
“People have come from all over the country to attend these evangelistic services,” said Todd. “They even came from foreign countries.
Todd said he has received several honors over the past 72 years. One of those honors was that Todd and his wife Linda were invited to board Air Force One with then-President Reagan.
“At the time, we were on a crusade in Costa Rica, and Reagan arrived by plane aboard Air Force One, unexpectedly,” Todd said. “When Reagan found out I was already there. He asked Linda and I to join him on Air Force One.
Todd said he was also greatly honored when he received a phone call from one of the Pentagon’s chief chaplains, Major General Gaylord Gunhus, asking if Todd would be able to provide Bibles to the troops. in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to Todd, Gunhus told him that Pentagon chaplains had never called anyone for help delivering Bibles before, but there was a critical need.
“Revival Fire Ministry has been successful in providing Bibles to over 200,000 of our soldiers, courageously serving in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Todd said. “The American Bible Society printed the Bibles and organized their shipment by military transport, bypassing all Iraqi checkpoints. (We) raised the $ 1.2 million needed to print and mail these Bibles. It was one of the greatest assignments of my life.
Over the past six years, Todd has struggled with health issues, including stage 4 cancer on three occasions and COVID-19. Todd said COVID-19 was very hard on him.
“It was so bad that I begged to die,” Todd said.
Todd said that even with everything he has done in his life, he considers his family to be his greatest achievement.
“My biggest legacy as a minister is my six children,” Todd said.
Todd and his wife of over 40 years, Linda, have made Branson West their home. The couple had two daughters, Jan and Gail, and four sons; Jon, Tim, Ronald and Cecil Wayne. The youngest Cecil Wayne died last year of rare heart disease.
Todd, who is 90, still travels across the country and holds rallies across America.
Asked about retirement, Todd replied, “How can I retire… when hell is on fire.