His book “Spiritual Conquest,” just recently released, chronicles the journey that brought him to the fulfillment of that message. It was 1982 when he first felt the need to tell his story, but it was almost 20 years before the time came.
He said, “I pray that, in writing this book of my life — where I came from, the struggles I had with my calling to the ministry and especially to foreign missions — someone may be encouraged to continue until they, too, have fulfilled their calling.” He said he hopes it will be a blessing to those who are facing the same situation of being called to work with a burning desire, yet the door is closed.
Ard was a young man just out of the Army, newly married and a new Christian, when he felt the call to the ministry. It would be many years before doors would open for him to go into mission work, but the call had been planted in his heart, and there it grew.
Ard was born Oct. 2, 1936, in Hemingway, S.C., to Flemon L. and Hattie Ard, one of eight children — five boys and three sisters (one died). In time, they all became Christians with three becoming ministers. His dad was a preacher first, a farmer and fisherman.
His mother agreed to sign for Ard to enter the military at 17, and he was turned over to another mother — his Army sergeant. “I’m your mother” were words that stuck with him through his years of training and serving in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Columbia, S.C., Arkansas and Fort Bragg, N.C., as well as serving a tour in Germany.
Ard had met his wife, teenager Doris Rouse, before going to Germany, but it was three years before they got married — after he finished his military duties. He had already become a born-again Christian and was feeling the calling into the ministry. Later a daughter came into the Ard household.
It was about this time Ard had gotten into the habit of going into the attic of their home to pray and there he felt the Holy Spirit speak to him about preaching in many countries.
In 1959, he took the church covenant at Laurel Hill, N.C., during a revival and became a member of the Church of God of Prophecy — the church which would eventually place him in mission work.
But not yet. In the meantime, he began his pastoral ministry, serving in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Ard decided to further his education and moved to Cleveland, where he enrolled at Tomlinson College, at the same time accepting a pastorate. He finally achieved his goal of receiving an associate degree in study of the Bible and continued his course of preparing for the ministry by attending four terms of Bible Training Institute.
Ard started going with mission teams and learned that people in other lands were hungry for the Gospel. He felt so compelled to minister in other countries, he would work at night or have rummage sales to raise money so he could take the trips.
Still, he was not seeing the fulfillment of his vision until he was surprised to hear his name called in the church’s General Assembly to go to Bermuda, where they ministered for two years. At that next Assembly, Ard was appointed to Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles, where he served four years before going to the Philippines.
Since God stirred his heart those many years ago, Ard’s heart has been in missions. He has gone to more than 70 countries and organized numerous churches — working first with the Church of God of Prophecy and then with The Church of God.
His book reveals the times on the mission fields his life was threatened, when suffering was the norm, when travel seemed impossible — the encouraging and the discouraging events.
“It’s been a long, rough road, but a joy,” he confided. His wife suffered a disabling stroke a few years ago and is no longer able to travel with him. Through the years, life has changed for him and his family. His daughter, Teresa Ard-Walling, a physical therapist, and his grandson, Daniel, 14, live in the Nashville area.
His retirement was announced in The Church of God’s Annual General Assembly in 2011. But Ard said there is no retirement for him, however — “missions are still in my heart.”
For information on obtaining “Spiritual Conquest” (Published by Derek Press, Cleveland), write to Herman Ard, P.O. Box 2861, Cleveland, TN 37320-2861; or call 472-9968.