Bro. Reva & Sis. Elva Mears
Bro. Reva Mears was born on January 24, 1898 in Carmi, IL. to James and Margaret Mears. Shortly after his birth, his father was killed in a coal mine. Reva was raised in New Haven, IL. and after approximately four years of grade school, he began working. He worked in the coal mines and also as a long shoreman at a naval station. In 1917 he married and had a child. They both died suddenly, possibly due to the 1918 TB epidemic. Shortly after, Reva was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. At this time, he was working in a factory in Evansville, IN and one night after work he had a dream. 'He dreamed he was on a river bank and there was a torn fishing net lying at his feet. He could hear the oarlocks of a small boat coming up the river in his direction, but could not see because of the thick underbrush on the banks of the river. Soon a muscular, red faced man, with his sleeves rolled up, came into view and rowed to the shore and called for him to aid him in the project of repairing the net. He began to show him a special kind of knot that would mend this torn net. He told Reva to start on one end and he would start on the other and they would meet in the middle.' In 1920, Reva visited a Pentecostal Church in Evansville, IN. There was a visiting minister from Anna, IL. named Bro. William Sowders. He recognized Bro. Sowders, because he was the red faced man in his dream. Not long after, Bro. Sowders moved to Evansville and began working with the folks there. Reva married a young lady named Elva Fulton on June 22, 1922. She had been attending the church in Evansville, even before Bro. Sowders or Reva had visited there. Reva received many keys to the scriptures from Bro. Sowders. He spent a lot of time studying the bible. His first son, Cornelius was born in June, 1923. Bro. Sowders sent Reva out to hold tent revivals in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. In July of 1925, Reva started a church in his hometown of New Haven, IL. He was also very involved at the Olmsted, IL and Elco, IL camp meetings. In 1929, he established a church in Memphis, TN. Then in 1936, Reva moved the family to Kansas City, MO and started a work there. He worked with the people there for 8 years and hosted several School of the Prophets. He also attended the camp meetings in Shepherdsville, KY with Bro. William Sowders. In 1944 he sent his son (Cornelius) and daughter in law (Alberta) to scout out a place to establish a church in Southern California. He passed away in 1947, and is buried in Shepherdsville, KY. He was greatly respected by Bro. Sowders, Bro. Jolly and many others who were blessed by his ministry. Bro. Jolly often talked about what an amazing bible teacher Bro. Reva Mears was.