Keeping Up with Otis Clark
By Audra Smith with Mia Evans-Saracual
The 700 Club
Otis Clark still has a sparkle in his eye, a hearty laugh, and a quick sense of humor. He says his goal is to keep up with the “young folks.” He is doing a great job for 107 years old.
Pastor Otis Clark was born in 1903, even before Oklahoma was an official state. In 1921, he fled that state to escape the Tulsa race riots.
“The Klu Klux Klan didn’t think we should be in the town at all, so they had the race riots," Otis tells The 700 Club. "In my runnin’, I made it out to the great Los Angeles, California.”
While in L.A., Otis began to live a “fast” life, working for movie stars such as Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Charley Chaplin. But during the prohibition, 25-year-old Otis was tossed in jail for bootlegging whiskey.
“While I was in jail, the Salvation Army taught us, if we would repent and turn to God, we could be saved. I got saved through the Salvation Army. Then I started to be a Christian, then they took me to a little place called Azusa Street. At Azusa Church, they believed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
Otis knew the original members of the Azusa Street Mission, which was started by
William J. Seymour in 1906 and was the location of the famous revival. Otis was eventually given power of attorney over the Azusa Street Mission.
“We felt free. We were free to sing our song, dance our dance, whatever we wanted to do," he recalls. "Blessed are the free in heart for they shall see God. So, Azusa set a lot of folks free."
In 1946, Clark was officially ordained as an evangelist and preacher.
“All I want is for us to wake up, the church world. All of us need to wake up and realize that we are greater in God. God has got greater things for us.”
Otis took his first mission trip to Africa at the age of 103 and returned again at age 104. He plans to visit Jamacia in July for another mission trip. He is in great health, takes no medications, and never stops making friends. He also continues to preach all over the world. He says his secret and source of strength can be found in the power of prayer.
“God keeps you kinda healthy, keeps you strong. Prayer is actually asking God to keep you strong, to make you have the mind to live right. It give you the privilege to talk to God. See, you can talk to God.”
Otis recently celebrated his 107th birthday in Seattle, WA, surrounded by friends and family. Today he is the world’s oldest living evangelist, but he feels the best is still yet to come.
“My favorite verse is, 'He that believeth and is baptized will be saved.' Yep, he that believeth. God will give you eternal life. You will live all eternity with God, but you got to be on God’s side.
I hold that if you are on God’s side, you are on the winning side."
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