PUBLISHED SUNDAY NOVEMBER 18, 1997
Copyright 1997 The Pensacola News Journal. All
fails to add up
By John W.
Evangelist Steve Hill says he has
poured money into a multitude of foreign missions
His attorney, Walter Chandler, specifically
mentioned three, including an orphanage in San
But when the News Journal called the orphanage
for details, staff members said they have not
heard from Hill in 10 years.
They asked the News Journal for Hill's address
so they could write him and ask for a donation.
Many missions that Hill mentions cannot be
reached to confirm his giving because he does not
provide addresses, phone numbers or other forms
of contact. The News Journal reached the
orphanage by contacting the U.S. Embassy in
Buenos Aires, Argentina, which found contacts and
phone numbers that eventually led to the
Hill is fondly remembered at the orphanage he
was in a mission group that built it in the
1980s, said Betina Fernandez, executive secretary
to orphanage director Pastor Omar de Felipe.
Fernandez, who said she has never met Hill,
spoke highly of him for helping create the
orphanage, the Asociacion Civil Hogar Evangelico
El Amanecer. It provides beds, food, counseling,
medical treatment and schooling for 70 children.
It relies on government funds, Fernandez said.
Hill's stories about his ministry's
benevolence help inspire the Friday night
Brownsville Revival crowds to give generously
$100 apiece is the amount the revival leaders
Asked for specifics about his giving through
his ministry, Together in the Harvest, Hill and
his attorney gave the News Journal two different
financial statements showing three different
totals for his giving to missions. None of those
three totals match the list and total on the
ministry's IRS return.
The different figures are:
- $900,000 - On his ministry's
financial statement, Hill noted: "75
percent of Friday night offerings are
allocated for foreign and home
missions." Hill's ministry receives
the entire collection every Friday night
at the Brownsville Revival. That amounted
to "about $1.2 million" for the
ministry from August 1996 to August 1997,
so 75 percent would be $900,000.
- $789,689 - Elsewhere on the
financial statement, Hill provided Hill
said that 31 percent, or $789,689, of the
ministry's total budget of $2.2 million
went to foreign and domestic missions. It
did not list the missions.
- $639,383 - Hill's attorney
provided a missions list for the same
time period. It said $639,384 went to
missions and Teen Challenge centers in 17
foreign countries and two American
states. Some missions were named, most
were not and were identified only as a
country. Some were designated as
"Ministerial giving" and
identified three Teen Challenge centers
in Florida as receiving $18,260.
Officials in the Teen Challenge Florida
headquarters, however, said only that
Hill has contributed to several Florida
centers. They declined to say how much
Hill has contributed or where the money
- $102,212 The IRS return states that
Together in the Harvest gave $102,212
about 9 percent of its revenue of
comparison, $421,438, or 35 percent, was
the year-end unused balance.
Hill and his attorney both said they did not
know whether the IRS return was for the 1996
calendar year or for the same August to August
fiscal year as the two other financial
statements. The return does not specify the time
period, but it was dated Aug. 12 and received
Hill has emphatically reassured revival
audiences that their donation to Together in the
Harvest will be well-spent. He has often said to
the audience, "our books are open" and
"there is nothing to hide."
"Don't get blown out of the saddle when
someone asks you for a missions offering, Hill
said to the crowd at the Friday night revival
Sept 26. "You should get blown out of the
saddle you should and you'd have every right to
if the money is being squandered."
In a recent interview with the News Journal,
Hill said that in 1984 he asked the Assemblies of
God headquarters in Springfield, Mo., to send him
into the mission field. In 1985, Hill and his
wife went to Costa Rica to learn Spanish. In
1986, they moved to Buenos Aires.
While in Argentina, Hill said, he watched and
learned from revival leaders like Carlos
Anaconda, credited with inspiring the Great
Hill said he traveled back to the United
States periodically to raise money, then returned
to Argentina to use that money to build churches.
"I was the one. I would go to a city. I
would pray over the city. Someone's got to be
leading this thing, and so I was the one doing
that," Hill said.
One of his crowning achievements, he said, is
the Evangelistic Center in Neuquen, Argentina.
Hill and Pastor Hector Ferreyra started the
church 10 years ago in Ferreyra's garage,
according to The Sheaf Report, a newsletter
mailed out by Together in the Harvest.
The church now has a multi-use building with a
gymnasium, a 3,500-seat sanctuary and eight
dining rooms, according to Pastor Oscar Revelino,
who said he and Ferreyra are members of an
Assemblies of God union in Argentina.
Revelino said the church feeds 800 children
per week in its dining rooms and ministers to
about 10,000 children on the street.
Revelino said Hill has "helped with
money," but said he did not have figures.
Revelino said the News Journal needed to speak to
the church's accountant, but he did not identify
Hill's financial statement shows his ministry
sent $137,084 to Argentina between Aug. 1, 1996,
and Aug. 1, 1997.
On a videotape of the Sept. 26 revival, Hill
said he has sent $45,000 to Ferreyra to buy an
abandoned movie theater in Cipoletti, Argentina;
$30,000 to a Bible school in Argentina; and, he
said, he has been sending $3,000 a month to
Colombia to help establish a Teen Challenge
The ministry's IRS return, however, does not
list any of these places as receiving money.
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