Valdez AC-Fire on Azusa Streetopt02

August 8, 2017 | Author: vivaldioz | Category: Pentecostalism, Glossolalia, Faith Healing, Baptism With The Holy Spirit, Born Again
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AN EYE WITNESS ACCOUNT by A. C. Valdez, Sr. with James E Scheer

A spiritual blaze swept Los Angeles in the early twentieth centuryeven oceans couldn't stop its spread all over the world. What happened then has special meaning now-to all of us!

A strange., subtle power fell upon Los Angeles in 1906. People trembled or shook without understanding why. Some broke into tears for no apparent reason and experienced feelings of awe and repentance.

We Jlmsa Street byA.C.

Valdez, Sr.

with James F. Scheer

Others had visions of an unimpressive two-story, paint-flaked building on Azusa Street in the industrial area and an irresistible urge to go there. Stil! others on their way to various destinations found themselves changing course, drawn by a mighty and unexplamable force to Azusa Street. Like a soul-stirring event in Bethlehem some nineteen centuries earlier, the momentous Azusa Street occurrence-a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit-centered around a stable that became a mission. Miraculous, never-before-reported things happened there and, in the midst of them was A. C. Valdez, Sr., one of a handful of persons still alive and qualified by careful observation and rare writing skills to tell the story behind the story. For the first time, this vitally important historical event has been revealed in depth, with richness of specific detail, color, charm and engaging warmth. In FIRE ON AZUSA STREET, the distant past becomes the vibrant present and points to an electrifying future. Another spectacular outpouring of the Holy Spirit is about to take place, something which the Bible calls "The latter rain," a period of God's pervasive influence on earth accompanied by astonishing miracles. Dr. Valdez deals with a bright promise of Azusa Street times as well as today-your part in the greatest spiritual renewal ever to bless the earth and its people. He tells how to prepare yourself to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, to speak in tongues and to receive others of the nine gifts of the Holy Ghost. Following are some chapter titles from FIRE ON AZUSA STREET, suggestive of content: Unforgettable First Night Into A New World Young And Reluctant Adventure In An Orange Grove Wedding Bells And Persecution Skeptics And Unbelievers


Strange Goings-On In Chico Leadership Without Leaders Simple Faith, Incredible Results The Holy Spirit and You Awesome Things to Come

An evangelist for more than 70 years, Dr. Valdez has spread the Good News in all parts of the world. He founded the Pentecostal movement in Australia in the mid-1920's. He still preaches internationally and is a frequent guest on television programs such as "The 700 Club" and "The PTL Club." James F. Scheer, collaborator, has co-authored six Christian books, including TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN (with William Lasky); NEED A MIRACLE? (with Harald Bredesen) and EISENHOWER DECLASSIFIED (with Virgil Pinkley).


by A. C. Valdez, Sr. with James F. Scheer

Gift Publications m Costa Mesa, California 92626

Fire on Azusa Street Copyright © 1980 by Gift Publications Published by Gift Publications Costa Mesa, California 92626 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 80-67301 ISBN 0-86595-003-2 All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Printed in the United States of America

Scriptures quoted are from the King James Version. Quotations from Pauline Parham in Chapter Three are from an interview with Harald Bredesen on Charisma, a Christian Broadcasting Network television program.

This book is affectionately dedicated to my wife Evelyn, who has been a great blessing to me in both good days and in those when everything seemed in reverse.

FOREWORD Fire on Azusa Street is more than an exciting, true story about the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in history—an event which points to awesome things to come. It is also the autobiography of a truly remarkable man: A. C. Valdez, Sr. After his experience with this book, Kent Garborg, president of Successful Living, a company which distributes Christian books on three continents, said, "I had the feeling I was reading about a giant of a man." Yes, A. C. Valdez, Sr., is a giant—a spiritual giant, a strong man anointed by the Spirit of God. I met him in Downey, California when I was fourteen. I loved his holiness preaching. He was one of the greatest holiness preachers I have ever heard. In his packed tent meetings, I was spellbound under his powerful messages. So was everyone else. Nobody moved. They were in as much awe as I was. He was not just a large, commanding man with a voice of authority. He was—and is—a beautiful, pure, clear channel for the Holy Spirit. When he was a boy, he was introduced by his mother to the fire and enchantment of Azusa Street—to the mission there in a former stable. It was an unforgettable experience, just as was his renewal in Christ through another dear friend of mine, Isaac Gay, as they picked oranges together in a Tustin, California grove. My parents and I never missed his Southern California tent meetings. As a matter of fact, I often drove him to the United Tent Company or Downey Brothers to arrange for tents and then helped him put them up. After we had finished work one night, he said, "Demos, do you like Spanish food?"

I made the mistake of saying "Yes." The soup in that restaurant was so hot I can still taste it. How did "Brother Val" influence me? Profoundly. Whether in a restaurant or in a pulpit, he radiated the Holy Spirit and made me long for holiness. I owe him much for deepening me for my service to the Lord that I now enjoy. Now, about his book: Fire on Azusa Street gives a rare picture of the tremendous move of the Holy Spirit on Azusa Street and after. It offers a preview of the coming "latter rain." It is important in showing that God is moving today, pouring out His Spirit. Great miracles took place in the Azusa Street Mission—every kind of physical healing known, heaven's angels singing, and the casting out of demons. What happened then will happen again—but with even more power and wonder. "The greatest Holy Spirit revival is ahead of us," he says and shows us how to prepare ourselves by returning to a life of biblical holiness. Everyone who reads this anointed book will benefit immediately from it and become conscious of a deeper spiritual need in his or her life. Demos Shakarian Founder-President Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Unforgettable First Night Into a New World Before the Beginning Young and Reluctant Adventure in an Orange Grove On the Fence Wedding Bells and Persecution The Lovegreen Story Skeptics and Unbelievers Strange Goings-on in Chico Leadership without Leaders Church on Fire Simple Faith, Incredible Results Down Under Strictly Personal The Holy Spirit and You Awesome Things to Come

1 9 13 21 31 39 45 53 59 67 73 79 93 101 111 119 133

Chapter 1

Unforgettable First Night

A strong force moved the pavement up and down in waves. Water mains ruptured, creating 30-foot geysers. Sections of a suspension bridge jammed together like an accordion. Apartment walls sheared off, and shattered bricks landslided on sidewalks with a rumbling roar. Steel girders tearing from their bolts screamed as tall buildings teetered like metronomes and then crashed into streets, mountains of smoking rubble. To finish the devastation, fire broke out everywhere. People panicked. Forty-seven nightmarish seconds on April 18, 1906! And much of San Francisco was leveled in one of the most desolating earthquakes in recorded history. With such a spectacular, natural disaster capturing front pages of the world's newspapers, it is no wonder that a powerful earthquake in Los Angeles at the same time—a quake eventually felt on all seven continents—received little press coverage. Another more basic reason for this apparent slight is that the Los Angeles earthquake was not the conventional kind. While the city was not damaged, many people were shaken to the core of their beings, and there was fire. It was a spiritual earthquake— one of the most remarkable in world history. Nothing like it had


Fire On Azusa Street

taken place in nineteen centuries. The epicenter of this quake, a one-time Methodist church and then a stable on dead-end Azusa Street in the Los Angeles industrial district, seemed an unlikely place for what occurred. Yet many had made the same comment about a stable in Bethlehem nineteen centuries earlier. It surprises me how well-known Azusa Street is today. After all, the astonishing events that made it famous happened many years ago, and few eyewitnesses are alive to reveal the full story. I am also amazed, as I preach in all parts of the world, about the curiosity regarding Azusa Street. People often ask this question of me, a former southern Californian: "Brother Valdez, do you, by chance, know what really happened on Azusa Street?" Not by chance, but through God's guidance and influence, I know what occurred at 321 Azusa Street from 1906 to 1909.1 know because I was there. I saw many breathtaking events, including miracles—the greatest of which was the dramatic presence of the Holy Spirit of God, like a rushing, mighty wind and tongues of fire appearing over heads. As a ten-year-old in 1906,1 didn't understand everything going on at 321 Azusa Street, but, for some reason, I wanted to go there whenever invited by my mother, a devout Catholic. "The power of the Holy Ghost has fallen," she explained. "This is like what happened at Pentecost in the New Testament of the Bible." My mind reached toward what she was saying, but not far enough. I knew parts of the Bible but not that one. Maybe it had something to do with an experience I had had the year before at a little Methodist church on Sunset Boulevard and Centennial Street, near our modest home at the top of Alpine Street. Although a Roman Catholic because of my Spanish ancestry, I

Unforgettable First Night

had been attracted there to special services of a visiting evangelist. The thin preacher had leaned forward from the brown-stained pulpit, a shining silver cross dangling from a chain around his neck: "Jesus died in agony on the cross to pay for your sins." Suddenly I felt as if he were talking only to me. "Jesus died for your sins and for those of every person in the world. If you admit your sins, are sorry for them, and invite Jesus into your heart, you will be forgiven and born again. When your life on earth is over, you will go to heaven." He paused for an instant. Now, for the first time, I understood about Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection. Jesus had been such a good friend to me, he had chosen to die so that I could go to heaven. And, I wondered, would I be able to do that even for my best friend? Suddenly I felt like crying. And the evangelist continued: "Unless you take advantage of His offer, His death will have been for nothing." He let us think about that for a moment, then said. "I invite everyone here to come up to the altar and tell Jesus He did not die in vain—tell Him that you want Him to forgive your sins and come into your heart for this life, and your life in heaven . . ." Before he finished, I was kneeling at the altar to receive Christ. Then, about a year later, I opened up even more to God and the Bible, due to something my mother had done. Late one night when I was fast asleep, my mother came into my dark bedroom after a service at the Azusa Street Mission. She bent over and touched my shoulder. As I brushed the sand out of my eyes to wake up, she began talking fast in some language I had never heard before. I was frightened. Why wasn't she talking English? What had come over her? Then, suddenly, she began crying, but I knew right away she was crying from joy, not sadness. I kept wonder-



Fire On Azusa Stred

ing if she would ever use English again. Then the other languagj stopped, and she said: "Son, I have had a most glorious experience! I have just beea baptized in the Holy Ghost and have been given the gift cj tongues!" I was puzzled and tried to understand her. "These are blessed times, son," she continued. "The Holj Ghost is here on earth—like at the Pentecost. Thank God we arl alive to see fulfillment of promises of the Bible!" I knew that the Holy Ghost was the third member of the Hoi] Trinity, but not much more. She went on: "Actually, the prophecy of the Holy Ghost's coming was gives more than 800 years before Jesus was born. The Bible in Joel 2:2| tells us: " 'And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out mj Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shaj prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young mei shall see visions . . .' " She flipped the well-worn pages of her black leather-coverec Holy Bible to Matthew 3:11 where it told about John the Baptist n the wilderness and how he announced to the world: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he tha cometh after me 0esus) is mightier than I, whose shoes I am no worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost ani with fire." Quickly she paged to Acts 1 and told me how Jesus, forty day after He was resurrected, commanded His apostles to stay ii Jerusalem and wait for the promise of God: "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptizei with the Holy Ghost . . ." She skipped on to Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is com upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalerr

Unforgettable First Night


and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." And a page farther on, in Acts 2, she read: 'And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Now I was eager to see what was happening on Azusa Street! On the next night she invited me along. As we came within a block of a two-story, white-painted wooden building, I felt a "pulling sensation." I couldn't have turned away if I wanted to. Inside, the place looked like a big, plain barn. Most of the seats—rough planks on wooden nail kegs—were taken. There were as many black people as white. I couldn't understand why metal mailboxes were nailed to walls. As we moved toward an open spot on a rear bench, I suddenly felt a chill. How could that be? It wasn't cold at all. Then the hair on my arms, legs and head began to stand on end. It felt as if I were surrounded by God. I was trembling. So was mother and everybody else. On the platform, a black man—mother said it was Pastor W. J. Seymour—sat behind two wooden boxes, one on top of the other. They were his pulpit. Now and then he would raise his head and sit erectly, his large lips moving in silent prayer. He was a plain man with a short beard and a glass eye. He didn't seem like a leader to me, but when I saw what was going on, I knew he didn't have to be. Something unusual was happening. In most churches, kids would be running up and down aisles or twisting and turning in



Fire On Azusa Street*

their seats. Here the children, seated between their parents—I even babies in their mothers' arms—were quiet. But it was not! their parents who kept them still. Nobody even whispered. All! the adults were praying with eyes closed. I knew the Spirit of God was there. Suddenly, people rose to their feet. Everywhere hands shot toward heaven. Mine went up, and I hadn't tried to raise them. So did the hands of smaller children and even those of babies in the arms of black mothers. Big, strong men began to cry out loud, then women. I felt like crying, too. I didn't know why. I just felt, "Thank you, God, for letting me be here with You." As I looked out over the congregation, another chill ran down! my spine. It was as if ocean waves were moving from one end of the congregation to the other—the most thrilling sight I had ever seen. Wave after wave of the Spirit went through the hall, like a breeze over a corn field. Again the crowd settled back into the seats. And prayers began to buzz through the hall. Then tongues on fire suddenly appeared over the heads of some people, and a black man with a shining face leaped to his feet. Out of his mouth poured words in some language I had never heard before. I began to tremble harder than before. When he finished, another black man rose and told us in English what the other man had said. It was a prayer to Jesus! Occasionally, as Pastor Seymour prayed, his head would bow so low that it disappeared behind the top wooden box. Just wheni quiet settled over the hall, a white woman came off the bench like a jack-in-the-box. "Oh, my blessed Jesus," she cried out in excitement, "I can see. I can see." She placed her hands over her eyes. "Oh, Jesus, thanw you. Thank you for this miracle."

Unforgettable First Night

And she plunged out into the aisle and began to dance, her open palms reaching toward heaven. "Thank you, Father. I can see. I can see!" Before the night was over, another blind person could see, the deaf could hear and the crippled could walk. It was so exciting! That was my first night of many in over three years at 321 Azusa Street.


Chapter 2

Into A New World

Everything about the Azusa Street Mission fascinated me— especially the prayer or "tarrying room" on the second floor. Usually one hundred or more black, brown, and white people prayerfully waited there for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Dozens of canes, braces, crutches and blackened smoking pipes leaned against the barnlike walls. Many times waves of glory would come over the tarrying room or meeting room, and people would cry out prayers of thanks or praise as they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Meetings used to go past midnight and into the early hours of the morning. Hours there seemed like minutes. Sometimes after a wave of glory, a lot of people would speak in tongues. Then a holy quietness would come over the place, followed by a chorus of prayer in languages we had never before heard. Many were slain in the Spirit, buckling to the floor, unconscious, in a beautiful Holy Spirit cloud, and the Lord gave them visions. How I enjoyed shouting and praising God. During the tarrying, we used to break out in songs about Jesus and the Holy Spirit: "Fill Me Now," "Joy Unspeakable," and "Love Lifted Me." Praise about the cleansing and precious blood of Jesus would just spring from our mouths. In between choruses, heavenly



Fire On Azusa Street j

music would fill the hall, and we would break into tears. Suddenly the crowd seemed to forget how to sing in English. Out of their mouths would come new languages and lovely har- i mony that no human beings could have learned. On the ground floor, where services seemed never to end, the metal mailboxes, the Azusa Street Mission's "collection plates," were always filled with coins and paper money. Never did Charles Seymour or any other preacher behind the shoe-box pulpit ask for money. They had faith. All preachers had to do was preach. Anybody who had been blessed by the service ] gave generously. Hardly ever did the Azusa Street Mission advertise in news-J papers about its services. People heard about them through word j of mouth. In the same way that my mother and I felt a strong pullj toward the mission, so did others. Many who came said that they knew nothing about Azusa Street and the Holy Spirit meetings until they had visions of the I mission and were instructed to go there. Others were moved by an invisible force to attend. Some who attended Azusa Street at the start had little under-] standing of what was happening, and feared the unknown. They had not even been taught by their pastors about being born again. Many had read in their Bibles in John 3:3 what Jesus had told Nicodemus: " . . . except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." But they had not given it much thought. Most had not learned about being baptized in the Holy Ghost and the gift or gifts that come with this experience. Old-line churches frowned on the Azusa Street Mission's Bible teachings, "so-called miracles," and "noisy meetings." Their members who came just once to Azusa Street services and were j found out, were often asked to leave their congregations.

Into A New World


Some churches tried hard to get the City of Los Angeles to close down the Azusa Street Mission, but they failed. Individuals, too, worked to break up meetings. Fifty years later, while at a Golden jubilee meeting of original Azusa Street members at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, I heard a dramatic story about such an effort from two would-be saboteurs. When they were three blocks from the mission, their jaws locked so that they couldn't talk over their plan of action. They became panicky, because now they were sure that a supernatural power had done this to them. Try as they might to turn back, some force kept them walking straight to the mission, where they tiptoed inside to a bench and sat down. Waves of glory swept over the place, and these men who knew nothing about being born again, felt drawn to talk to Jesus. In their mute reverence, God began to speak to their hearts, and they longed to cry out, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." But then God opened their mouths, and they began praising and glorifying Him for the wonderful thing He had done! They invited Jesus into their hearts, were converted and filled with the Holy Spirit. That night the men who had planned to wreck the meeting left the Mission in joy such as they had never before known. Not only did people try to break up meetings, they sometimes tried to beat up individuals who left their churches for the Azusa Street Mission. I remember well what happened to my dear friend, Owen "Irish" Lee, a Catholic who had been a bartender and street-fighter in Ireland and New York City. He had lived by the Old Testament's "an eye for an eye" before being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. Once he had knocked out a Santa Monica police chief who had tried to arrest him and, on another occasion, had battered four



Fire On Azusa Street

Los Angeles policemen who had mistreated a drunken man. After becoming a lay preacher, he even surprised himself and others with his actions when persecuted. Once, a Catholic woman and her accomplice—a giant of a man—angry that Irish Lee had left the Catholic church, brought a stout rope to Azusa I Street to hang Irish from a lamppost. The giant spat in Irish's face! and then punched him on the cheekbone. Instead of hitting back,! Irish turned the other cheek. Now even more angry, the man swung a punch at Irish's other cheek. Before it struck, the fist stopped as if it had hit a brick wall, and an invisible force jolted the man, sprawling him into the gutter. Irish never forgot the amazed expression on the faces of the two. At home he prayed on his knees for them, and was delighted when, a few nights later, they came to the Azusa Street Mission and were saved. None of us oldtimers will ever forget Irish Lee. At our meetings, the Holy Spirit power often built up in him so that he could no longer stand it, and then would boom a "Hallelujah!" that rat-j tied the windows. No one looked around to see who it was. No one had to. Like many others from foreign nations, Irish Lee, after his baptism in the Holy Spirit, returned to his native land to spread the Word about salvation and baptism in the Spirit.

Chapter 3

Before The Beginning

Charmed by the baptisms in the Holy Spirit, strange languages, tongues of fire, prophecies, casting out of demons, and miraculous healings, I was sure that the 20th Century Holy Spirit revival started on Azusa Street in 1906. Now I know that, although this revival reverberated from Azusa Street to all parts of the world from 1906, it actually began six years earlier and 1,500 miles to the east—in Topeka, Kansas. The awesome miracle of Charles Fox Parham, a bright, young, club-footed, Bible college student in Winfield, Kansas, helped to start it. One night Parham hobbled out on campus, gazed up at a skyful of sparkling stars, marveled at these masterworks of God, and stopped under a towering oak tree. Parham knew that God, through Jesus, could make his feet normal. He had faith—a deep, unshakable faith—even though modern churches insisted that divine healings were not for today. He prayed a simple prayer to Jesus, and it happened. A surge of warmth coursed down through his feet, and he was instantaneously healed! His miracle brought him still greater faith that whatever Jesus did while on earth 1,900 years before, He could do today through the Holy Spirit. He realized more than ever that his own Methodist church and other formal, highly institutionalized churches


Fire On Azusa Street

were making wrong Bible interpretations, discounting God's supernatural abilities. Men were trying to reduce God to an image and likeness of man. At age sixteen, Parham was the youngest ordained Methodist minister in the nation. His personal miracle made him realize that he could not stay in his church. Miracles simply did not dare happen in Methodism. So he resigned and became a member of the Holiness movement, which believed in the full gospel. Convinced that modern churches needed more of the emphases of the first century church—faith, miracles, and even the baptism in the Holy Spirit—Parham decided to demonstrate that God was practical and responsive to calls from those who loved Him. With nothing but pocket money and abundant faith, Parham, in 1898, took on a tremendous responsibility. He started Bethel Healing Home for the ill and crippled who were too poor to pay for care and lodging. Refusing to solicit funds, he called God's attention to needs through prayer. In mysterious ways, the place received beds, other equipment and steady supplies of food. Prayer spoken in faith was the only medicine used, and many were healed. In October, 1900, Parham started a Bible school, Bethel College, and moved that and Bethel Healing Home into a two-story mansion, called "Stone's Folly," on Topeka's outskirts. A man named Stone had built the structure as his home, importing costly wood from many different nations to make each room distinctive, but, by the time he was nearing completion of the top floor, he ran out of money. Parham rented the place for forty dollars a month. The college, too, was financed by faith. Students paid no tuition or board. They were taught that God's Word was fully practical and dependable. After teaching salvation, sanctification, and healing, Parham

Before The Beginning


asked the students to find what the Bible said was the evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. The students later responded unanimously. "Speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance." On New Year's eve of 1900, forty students and seventy visitors gathered in the top room to pray and seek the Lord. Parham, who had been away on a speaking engagement, came in and gasped in surprise. Illuminated only by coal oil lamps, the room was brighter than if lit by today's powerful electric lights. Tongues of fire danced above the heads of students! A young missionary named Agnes Ozman asked Parham to lay hands on her so that she could receive the Holy Spirit. "I can't do that," responded Parham. "I haven't received the baptism in the Holy Spirit myself." "Please," she pleaded, "Do it in the Name of the Lord." With resignation, he laid hands on her and asked God to baptize her in the Holy Ghost. Suddenly, a halo of light formed around her head, and a stream of exotic words poured out of her mouth. For three days, Agnes Ozman spoke nothing but Chinese! Parham was overjoyed. What he knew in faith, had proved to be true. Now he would ask for the Holy Spirit baptism for himself. Alone, behind the Bethel House organ, he sank to his knees and, according to his daughter-in-law, Pauline Parham, prayed: "God, let the husbandmen first be partakers of the fruits." Almost instantly, he began speaking in a tongue foreign to him. Inspired, all the students prayed for this baptism, and most of them were soon speaking in languages which they had never before known or studied. Strange happenings in Stone's Folly attracted newspaper reporters from all over the state, as well as government interpreters a nd college language professors.


Fire On Azusa S free J

Because Agnes couldn't stop speaking in tongues, they askeci her to write down what language she was using. Her pencil moved in an unorthodox manner. What came out on paper was! Chinese characters. Experts verified this, and also identified Parham's language as Swedish. Words of others speaking in the! Spirit were also found to be known languages. To Charles F. Parham, this was a modern-day Pentecost in To-J peka, Kansas. To reporters and other witnesses—particularly] from established churches—this was a curious, unexplainabla madness. Once the novelty died away, Parham suffered ridicule and per-] secution from newspapers and organized religion. There was ncj pulpit that welcomed him and his followers. They had to preacrl about the Holy Spirit on street corners and in parks. He closed down Bethel College and the Healing Home and lefl Topeka for Kansas City, but, once more, he and his group were treated like spiritual lepers. They moved on, financially broke and depressed. Then a dramatic occurrence during Parham's 1903 revival meet J ing in Eldorado Springs, Missouri shocked the area into respectful attention. For many years, a Mrs. Mary A. Arthur had had a host of human ailments which no doctor, pastor or Christian Science positivism could cure: dyspepsia prolapsus, hemorrhoids, bowel paralysis, unhealing inflammation on one eye and nearly total blindness in the other. She pleaded with Parham to pray for her. Parham prayed, and Mrs. Arthur was completely healed. She was so grateful and en-l thusiastic that she invited him to hold meetings in her home in Galena, Kansas. There one of her friends with an apparent cancer, which had resisted all known medical treatments, was also cured. These miraculous events brought new respectability to Parhamj

Before The Beginning


He and his workers held small tent meetings, and finally a revival in a huge tent, packed nightly by people from all over the nation. Hundreds were saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and healed. Parham's internal glow of gratitude to God showed in his eyes, actions and words. Night after night, he saw that God was not only baptizing in the Holy Spirit but doing everything that He did when Jesus walked the earth. Everywhere that Parham and his followers traveled, wonderful miracles happened. Many persons whom he met urged him to organize and head a national Holy Spirit movement, but Charles E Parham could not see himself in a leader's role. Organizing was not for him. Through the Holy Spirit, he was a lighter of fires in men, who would carry the fire to various places. Pauline Parham says that hundreds of thousands attended his succession of 1903 meetings. During one revival which continued night and day for months, 1,900 received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Similar responses to Parham occurred during 1904 and 1905 as crowds gathered in cities, small towns or just wide places in the road. In a hamlet called Orchard, Texas he held an Easter Sunday rally which Pauline Parham will never forget: "A group of people who had come from Alvin, Texas had to leave after the afternoon service. Many had not received the Holy Spirit. On the way back by train, the Holy Spirit fell. Many, including the engineer, were suddenly baptized with the Holy Spirit, and began singing and worshipping God in the Spirit," she says. Upon arrival in Houston, Texas, Parham had no idea that his work there would lead to a world-wide Holy Spirit revival. He started a Bible School like that at Stone's Folly in a huge, old rented building at Fifth and Rusk. One day W. J. Seymour, a soft-spoken, blind-in-one-eye, black


Fire On Azusa Street

man, a member of the Nazarene Holiness Faith, hesitantly approached Parham. "I was wondering . . . can I just sit in the doorway and listen tcl the lessons?" There was then strong discrimination against blacks—espe-l daily in the south—but none was in the hearts of Parham and his followers. Seeing the spiritual hunger in that face, Parham invited Seymour inside, where he listened for many weeks. The power of the Holy Spirit did not descend upon Seymoul then, but guided him, without his awareness, toward a key role in the worldwide spread of Pentecostalism, to a black woman from Los Angeles named Neeley Terry, who, in Houston, had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Upon Neeley Terry's return to Los Angeles, in late March oi 1906, she influenced the congregation at the Nazarene Church on Santa Fe Avenue to name Seymour associate pastor. To Seymour that was an opportunity and a problem. He had no money tJ make the trip. When Parham heard this, he bought a ticket for Seymour, who left immediately. But the black minister was in for a shock. His first sermon to tha congregation was to be his last. Mild-mannered Seymour unintentionally offended his pastor, Julia Hutchins. Pastor Hutchins had never shown the first manifestation of baptism in the Holy Spirit—glossolalia, or "tongues," but like other Holiness people she thought she had the baptism. Speaking from knowledge acquired in Houston and Acts 2:4] Seymour flat-footedly said that those baptized in the Holy Ghost and fire would manifest the gift of tongues, just as the 120 did on the day of Pentecost. An Arctic chill fell over Julia Hutchins. How dare this newcomer use her pulpit to announce that she and her followers had not experienced the baptism in the Holy

Before The Beginning


Spirit? Seymour sensed the changed atmosphere, but he didn't expect the treatment he got when arriving at the church for the afternoon service. The door was bolted shut. Neither he nor his message was welcome, but that was not the end of W. J. Seymour's ministerial career. Relatives of Neeley Terry, Richard and Ruth Asberry, persuaded Seymour to shake the Nazarene Church dust from his feet and hold services in their home at 216 Bonnie Brae Street, near present-day Angelus Temple. On the night of April 9, an eight-year-old black boy was the first of seven persons to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Asberry living room. And, ironically, while still others received this spiritual gift, the leader of the flock, W. J. Seymour, had not. Several nights later, according to Morton Asberry, son of Richard and Ruth Asberry, who was there, "Brother Seymour fell under the power of the Holy Ghost like he was dead and spoke in an unknown language." News of miraculous happenings at the modest, wood-frame house at 216 Bonnie Brae, drew interracial crowds too large for safety, and the floor caved in. Newspaper stories brought even greater throngs there. Then the front porch was used as a pulpit, and hundreds on the lawn overflowed onto the sidewalk and street. This led Seymour and his elders to seek a larger place. They found one not far away at 321 Azusa Street, a boxy, two-story, wooden building which, except for a tall Gothic window on the front of the second floor, looked like the general store in many a small, western town. The inside looked hopeless—debris-cluttered, cob-webbed and


Fire On Azusa Street

too filthy for occupancy—but a young pastor of the then Full Gospel Church, Arthur B. Osterberg, later my friend, saw through the dismal present appearance of the place to a bright future. Also a time-keeper and straw boss for the J. B. McNeil Construction Company—now the McNeil Construction Company, one of the largest on the Pacific Coast—Arthur personally paid two of his men to help him remove debris and clean and renovate the building, obtaining planks and nail kegs for benches, shoeboxes for the pulpit, and sawdust for the floor. J. B. McNeil, a devout Catholic, donated lumber for the altar. In a short time, Pastor Seymour and his followers moved into 321 Azusa Street without the slightest idea that world history was about to be made there.

Chapter 4

Young And Reluctant

It seems strange—at least on the surface. As a boy on Azusa Street, I was right in the middle of almost unbelievable demonstrations of God's tremendous power, but I remained little more than a spectator. I didn't then ask to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, despite having taken the first step in that direction by receiving Christ and being born again. Why had I held back? Why had I been so conservative? Because of upbringing in a family whose roots were Roman Catholic as far back as they could be traced? Even as my mind raced through family history, I could find no clue in that area. My great, great grandfather, Eugenio Valdez, a Spanish soldier under Gaspar de Portola when Mexico was a Spanish possession, traveled from Lower California to the Mission of San Diego, founded by a Spirit-filled Franciscan priest, Junipero Serra. This was the first of nine missions established by Father Serra on the coast of California over a period of fifteen years. These missions secured the Spanish hold on California, becoming flourishing economic and civilizing centers. Here, Father Serra converted thousands of Indians to Christ. My great grandfather, Eugenio Valdez, Jr., was born in Ventura,


Fire On Azusa Street*

California in 1782 in a house next to the San Buenaventura Mission, built by Father Serra in that year. His was the first name in I the church's baptismal records. Families didn't move around much in those days. In the same house, my grandfather, Jose Crescendo, grandfather Ramon and my father, Jose Dejesus were born. Today when you visit the old j San Buenaventura Mission—and you should—you will see the small, green Valdez Park, which is the spot where my great; grandparents, grandparents and father lived. Before my father died, he told about the spiritual dimension] of his father and about the Franciscan style Catholicism that he ] followed: "My father was filled with the Spirit, and many times I found! him in the barn on his knees, praying and shaking from head to; foot and speaking in tongues." He continued: "The Franciscan Order, named after St. Francis of Assisi, a priest filled with the Spirit and possessed of all the gifts of the Spirit, including speak- \ ing in tongues, was the example my priest followed." This remarkable testimony from my father verified to me that] speaking in tongues and gifts of the Spirit went back more than 150 years in our family. For this reason, in particular when 1906 and the great move at Azusa hit like a mighty earthquake, our hearts and minds were open to it and we were able to share in this^ great "sound from heaven." At the age of twenty, in 1868, my father decided to leave Ven-I tura for Los Angeles. He embraced his parents for a final goodbye, sadly saying, "I may never see you again. The little village of Los Angeles is way on the other side of those mountains." He mounted his horse and crossed the rugged mountain trails] toward Los Angeles, which was indeed little: an old mission, aj small square park, adobe homes, dirt roads and plenty of dust in the dry summers. That was when transportation was by horse-

Young And Reluctant


back, wagons, carts, and buggies—with a few surreys for the upper class. About twenty years later my father met Susie Villa, a blackhaired girl with sparkling brown eyes. It was love at first sight. She became father's wife. They are the reason I'm here writing this book. I was ten when San Francisco was destroyed by earthquake and fire, when the "sound of heaven" was heard in Los Angeles at the Asberry home at 216 Bonnie Brae and then Azusa Street. It was as though some strange, unseen cloud of Holy Ghost conviction had settled down over Los Angeles. Many who were privileged to attend the Azusa meetings had a broken and contrite spirit with unrestrained crying. This was so unusual and unexplainable that few knew exactly what was happening to them and why. The powerful Holy Spirit influence affected people in various strange ways. My mother thought something physical was wrong with her—perhaps heart trouble. She went from doctor to doctor. All of them said just about the same thing: "Mrs. Valdez, you have a strong, healthy heart. There is nothing wrong with you." But there was something. No human physician could help her, so she went to the greatest physician. Kneeling in her room, she prayed, "Lord, if I have no heart trouble, please give me whatever I need." From that moment on, she had the witness of the Spirit that she was saved—she was born again. Soon after that she received the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire at an Azusa Street meeting. Immediately mother wanted father to have every spiritual experience she had had. She also wanted him to quit smoking. So she persuaded him to attend Azusa Street meetings. At each altar call, she would grasp his arm and guide him to the altar, urging


Fire On Azusa Street 1

him to ask Jesus to save him. After he prayed, my mother would reach into his suit pocket 1 and take out his small, draw-stringed sack of Bull Durham to-J bacco and wheat straw paper used for rolling his cigarettes. It was as if she, rather than God, was going to see that he was born again} and would stop smoking. This happened over and over again until, in the quiet of one! night, God kindly told mother: "My daughter, you are trying to] save him yourself. If you will turn him over to Me, I will save him." My mother flushed. Embarrassed and contrite, she prayed: "God, please forgive me. Please save my husband." That week my father was under such heavy conviction of the Holy Spirit that he could hardly wait for the following Sunday service. Then it happened. With tears streaming down his face, he answered the altar call almost on the run and was saved. My mother was ecstatic. As they left the mission, my father took the Bull Durham and wheat straw paper out of his coat pocket and threw them into the gutter. He never smoked again. My mother thought back to her futile efforts to save him by human power and remembered the Bible quotation: "Without Him we can do nothing." These were great days, but despite the almost indescribable! spiritual things happening in my family since early days on Azusa Street, I moved slowly. I needed more time. It was impossible for me to plunge in like so many thousands. So I went along in this condition—an enchanted spectator who' knew there was more in the future for him, but who, somehow,] could not rush the future. I was content to watch the Holy Spirit's influence in the lives of others, especially my mother's. As if it were yesterday, I remember her hard but rewarding

Young And Reluctant


spiritual-social work with prostitutes and skid-row alcoholics, done in the Lord's name at Pisgah Home. At the head of this institution was F. E. Yoakum, a medical doctor who had been born again, experienced a miraculous physical healing, and was filled with the Holy Spirit during early Azusa meetings. Dr. Yoakum, a big, powerful man weighing about 225 pounds, preached on what he called "the whiteheated love of God." One of his favorite sayings was, "If you keep filled with the Holy Ghost and God's love, you can pray short and believe long." My mother often helped him with Spanish-speaking people. At midnight police picked up drunks and unloaded them at Pisgah Home, instead of the jail. The first thing Dr. Yoakum did with these people whom he called his children was bathe and de-louse them and then give them clean jumpers and overalls. "Never try to preach to anyone who has an empty stomach," he used to say. So after a hearty breakfast, he assembled them in the tabernacle to hear God's word. Hundreds of these outcasts were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. On nights when she wasn't needed by Dr. Yoakum, my mother visited the slums, playing her guitar and singing sacred songs in the poorly lighted streets for anyone who would listen. Without fear—she was armed with the Lord—she heard the troubles of many lonely and depressed people and usually introduced them to Christ. Around midnight she would walk the long way home, often arriving as late as two A.M. In the September, 1956 issue of the Full Gospel Business Men's Voice, Thomas R. Nickel wrote: "The mother of A. C. Valdez, Sr., and the mother of Arthur C. Osterberg went from Azusa Street to Riverside to hold a Sunday afternoon meeting among the Spanish people. "Many English-speaking people attended. Among them was the owner of a large orange orchard, a brother of Norman Chan-


Fire On Azusa Street

dler, present owner of the Los Angeles Times. He received a mar- j velous baptism in the Holy Ghost. After this, many Spanish people from far and near went to Azusa Street." Although mother saw my reluctance to open my life to the Holy Spirit, she, after her experience with father, did no arm-twisting. ] I was thirteen when Azusa Street closed, three years after it opened. My parents saw the end coming. Pastor W. J. Seymour I and the man who often substituted for him, Pastor William H. Durham, had deep differences in doctrine. Pastor Seymour preached the doctrine of most Holiness j churches called the "second work of grace," which they believed was sanctification. The first work was called "justification." Pastor Durham preached that when Jesus, hanging on the Calvary cross, | said, "It is finished," He believed our salvation was complete for body, soul and spirit. By the latter part of 1907, there was already some friction and, 1 with it, a decline of the Spirit. When Pastor Seymour left for I Chicago for special meetings, Pastor Durham took over the pul- J pit. Then a second, great outpouring of God's Holy Spirit took J place. It was such a tremendous revival that it was called the J "Second Azusa outpouring." Every night humanity jammed the Azusa Street Mission. Hun- ] dreds were turned away. It was clear that a larger building was 1 necessary. Pastor Seymour returned and saw that even greater crowds! were attending the Durham meetings than his own. Although he 1 might have denied it, he regarded Pastor Durham's spectacular j rise as King Saul did that of young David. Like King Saul, he began making mistakes. The most grave was chaining and padlocking the Azusa Street Mission door shut. Pastor Durham was not too upset. The time for a break was overdue. Durham and his elders rented a new location—two !

Young And Reluctant


stories of a building on the northeast corner of Seventh and Los Angeles streets. When renovated, the second floor assembly room would seat more than 1,000 persons. The third floor was to be the prayer or tarrying room, open night and day. A Western Union messenger in that period, I was furiously pedaling my bicycle south on Los Angeles Street when I saw a yellowish-haired, young man with hammer in hand, briskly striding into the Seventh and Los Angeles Street building, singing a Christian song. It was my friend Pastor A. G. Osterberg, the man who helped clean up and remodel the Azusa Street Mission, on his way to do the same for the new place of worship. Soon the mission was ready, and the crowds from Azusa Street followed the "cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night," to the city's center. Meetings there had such power that no one cared what time it was. Clocks were for human activities, not God's. People just stayed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Thousands were saved, baptized and healed. The reverence and anointing seemed even greater than at Azusa. Pastor Durham was wonderfully used by the Lord in making the transition smoothly. By this time, Pentecost was a going concern and Pentecostal churches, thanks to the Azusa Street and Seventh and Los Angeles Street Holy Spirit revival, began opening in most major cities of the world. It had to be so, for the Pentecost could find not even a finger or toehold in established churches. Despite the inspired Durham meetings, I still had not prayed for the baptism in the Holy Spirit at the age of sixteen. As a matter of fact, I was farther from that point than ever, because I began to drift away from the church. Such a thing doesn't usually happen overnight, and it didn't to me. It was a slow and subtle process that probably started when I was eleven and was abruptly thrust into the world. My father had


Fire On Azusa Street

become an invalid, and I had to work to support our family. Of course, conditions were far different from what they are to-1 day. Children that young could work. Almost immediately, I| found a job for $36.00 a month. You would be surprised at some of the prices 70 years ago: a loaf of bread, 50; a three-course dinner in town with a choice of cake, fruit, coffee, tea or milk, 150 to 250.1 Rent was cheap in North Hollywood, California, where wej then lived, and carfare to work—a distance of eight miles—was 50. (I had to change cars twice.) The dollar had value. Believe it seated next to a man suffering from ankylosis—a condition in which bones that were supposed to be separate had becoml cemented firmly together—like parts of a single bone. As Sister Woodworth Etter prayed, I saw a glow light up thl man's face. I shall never forget how his white flesh seemed to vibrate as his bones moved and came loose from the axis vertebra down to his feet. How awesome was this demonstration of God's healing power! It was equally awe-inspiring and breathtaking to see the marvell ous works of the Holy Spirit among the children and youths whq conducted their own services. Hundreds were saved. Many, sitting on wooden folding chair! or kneeling at the crude, wooden altar, received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was marvelous how God blessed them. I res called the quotation from Joel 2:28-29: " . . . your old men shal dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upol the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I poll out my spirit." And, as promised in the Bible, these children spoke in tongue! interpreted, had visions, prophesied, and even saw miracle! These were indeed great days! After much street-corner preaching, personal work and corl

On The Fence


ducting services in jails, I became an ordained minister in the latter part of 1916, with ordination in a Long Beach mission. I took a job as night engineer for the Southern California Ice and Cold Storage Company in San Bernardino to allow myself time to preach by day. Soon God let me know in no uncertain terms that I was to be a minister, and only a minister. Early one morning, the Holy Spirit swelled inside of me, so that I could hardly stand it. To divert my mind, I checked the engine room and took temperatures in the brine tanks. Knowing that the front door was locked and no one would come up by way of an outside wooden ladder to a window near the brine tanks, I climbed upon the condensers to pray. I felt miserable, and cries and loud groaning of the Holy Spirit came out of my mouth. I could do nothing to stop it. I don't know how long it went on. Then, around two A.M., as I was again taking brine tank temperatures, I was startled. Two men were crawling through the window. "Are you the night engineer?" one of them asked. "Yes. Is something wrong?" "We don't know," replied the man. "What do you mean?" Now I was concerned. "Earlier this evening, we passed this place and heard outcries and groaning, as if somebody was being beaten or burned. I told my friend here that we'd better not get involved. Maybe somebody was getting killed. "So we went home. My friend and I tried to sleep, but it was impossible. We just kept hearing those cries and groans. I went to my friend's house and said, 'Why don't we go back to the Southern California Ice and Cold Storage Company and find out what this is all about?' He agreed, so here we are." How could I possibly explain it to someone who didn't know the Holy Spirit?


Fire On Azusa Street

"I could tell you, but I doubt whether you will understand it." "Why don't you try?" persisted the man. "All right," I replied. "The Lord God Almighty has called me : into the ministry, and I have more or less resisted, because I wanted to be sure I was doing the right thing. I felt so troubled and tortured in resisting God's urging that it was like a living death. "I climbed on top of the condensers where I thought nobody would hear me, prayed and poured my heart out to God." Deeply curious, they studied my face as I talked on: "You may not understand this, but that is exactly what hap-j pened." They glanced at one another, then appraised me for an instant, I apparently accepting what I had said, muttered, "Thank you very much," and clambered down the ladder. That was a critical event in my life. I stopped dragging my feetl and plunged full-time in the ministry, taking no thought for tomorrow.

Chapter 7

Wedding Bells and Persecution

God, who is timeless, was in a hurry for me to commit myself fully to the ministry for a very good reason, as I soon learned. He had arranged many more preaching engagements for me throughout California than I could possibly fill. And, in His tender mercy and deep consideration, He aligned events so that I wouldn't have to be a solitary traveler. Occasionally, He brought into our home Lottie May Gage, a rather plump, five foot five beauty with light brown hair, incredibly blue eyes and a sensitive, yet warm, disposition. I was then almost nineteen and Lottie was a few years older. She did not visit us for entirely social reasons. Mother was a seamstress, who often made dresses for Pentecostal ladies. After she had given Lottie a fitting, we would talk about Jesus and the Bible. More and more I began thinking, "She's exactly the kind of girl I want to marry." In her shy, introverted way, Lottie, too, showed interest in me, and, as events occurred and months passed, we became serious about one another. And the girl who came to the Valdez household for dresses, left with them and a husband. I am grateful to this day to God for Lottie, a wonderful woman of prayer, who knew her Bible and exactly how to encourage me out of depressions that came occasionally when my ministry was


Fire On Azusa Street

not going as well as I thought it should. The need was so great for those who ministered according to? the full gospel that preaching appointments came in swarms. I can't remember ever taking a single day off during the first year of our marriage. After campaigning in one city, I would conclude my Sunday meeting and have at least one or two telegrams, asking me to stop between scheduled places and give them a Monday night meeting. It was hectic but soul-satisfying to Lottie and me. In between major meetings, I would still hold street services. 1 Yet, from time to time, I was disturbed at the opposition to us Pentecostals—particularly on the streets. We tried to be casual about showers of rotten eggs and tomatoes, often responding with the loudly sung hymn, "Showers of Blessings." One day in Santa Ana, during the final stage of Lottie's pregJ nancy, I was arrested and thrown in jail, along with six other ministers, for disturbing the peace. The complaint was that the singing and "Hallelujahs" of ouij church service were too loud. The man who brought this charge against us was deaf and nine miles away at the time. We were herded into a crowded, barren cell area—called "the? bull pen"—with men who had been jailed many times. Some had robbed banks, others had committed manslaughter and a few ha< killed someone. Obviously we were not the usual criminals, so they asked. "What are you guys in for?" "We were holding a church service," I explained. "And som< body thought we were singing and praising God too loudly." One of the men threw his hands toward heaven in disbelief. "I give up," he said. "We get thrown in here for doing som< thing bad, and you men get thrown in for doing somethin; good!" This was a critical time for me to be in jail. I wanted to be ne;

Wedding Bells and Persecution my


wife when she had our first child. The next morning Alfred Clarence Valdez, Jr. was born, and I pleaded for release. Headlines of the Santa Ana paper read, "Stork Flying Over Valdez Home. Valdez released for event." During my son's ministry, he laughingly used to tell congregations, "You think my dad is okay, but I would have you know that my first order of business when I came into this world was to get him out of jail!" It surely was. During the trial, the power of God came down in a most wonderful way. There was singing in the Spirit in the courtroom—real heavenly anthems that puzzled the judge and everybody else. He called the court to order, but he couldn't silence the voices of angels. He knew something unexplainable was happening. Our first witness on the stand was a Dutch Evangelist, not long from Holland. He thought he was being given a chance to preach, so, in broken gutteral English, he said: "Beloved, if you will open your Bibles . . ." The judge was stunned, but not for long. Angrily, he cried, "Sit down." Eventually the case was dismissed. Sometimes, in the early days of Pentecostalism, it was hard to believe that the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion. The most violent persecution for those filled with the Holy Spirit came between 1906 and 1916. Many of us were thrown into jail. Others were horsewhipped, clubbed, or stoned and seriously injured, or even killed. Around 1916 when Pentecostal churches became more prevalent, persecution began to be less violent. Serious persecution of the post-Azusa days will never leave my memory. One Holy Spirit-filled minister persisted in street preaching


Fire On Azusa Street'

until a gang of hoodlums clubbed his body black and blue and he collapsed. When he finally returned to consciousness, those standing above him, bludgeons ready, shouted— "If you can carry your suitcases, walk out of town. Promisef never to come back, and we won't beat you anymore." The minister struggled to his feet, aching in every part of his j body, and lifted his suitcases. Each step to the city limit was agony, but, as he told me many years later: "Walking out of town saved my life. It kept my blood circulat-f

tag/' He never stopped preaching what was burning in his heart. I I shall never forget my dear friend Brother Green (that is the! only name I ever knew him by). He was horsewhipped almost to unconsciousness. "When that whip sliced into my back, the pain was terrible, but! I learned a lesson," he explained to me. "I looked up, kept my mind on Jesus, and there was no more pain. I was spared. All I could feel was that something was touching my back." The persecution to two of three Holy Ghost-filled Catholic! priests was unbelievable. Both were killed. One was pursued and caught between Long Beach and Los Angeles, stripped naked, and slashed with boat oars until his body looked like chopped liver. His stomach was ruptured in many places. Rushed to the hospital on the crest of Alpine Street in Los Angeles, he died before medical attention could be administered. The second priest went to South America as a missionary. As h$ preached of receiving Christ, being born again and of the baptism in the Holy Ghost, he was seized by fanatical pagans who called themselves Christians, and nailed to a rough wooden cross, where he bled to death. Before I lost track of him, the third priest had left the churcll and became a minister of an Assembly of God Church in Santa

Wedding Bells and Persecution


Ana, California. Unfortunately, all the opposition to us Pentecostals, our doctrine and spiritual practices was not from ill-educated hoodlums. Much of it came from ministers of established churches, reluctant to accept that anyone of that day could have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they went too far and the consequences were grisly and grim. They reminded me of Matthew 12:31-32: " . . . All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. . . . Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." Many years ago, when I was holding meetings in Duluth, Minnesota, a Presbyterian minister shared an experience he had had in North Dakota: "I attended a meeting of an evangelist who surprised me by talking against the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Not considering what the Bible says about them—including speaking in tongues—he announced that they were of the devil and that those who spoke in tongues were possessed of the devil." The Presbyterian minister was so shocked that he approached the evangelist after the service. "Brother, do you realize that you blasphemed against the Holy Spirit tonight and that you could be paralyzed for doing it?" A peculiar look came into the evangelist's eyes, and he did not answer. But that was the last sermon he ever preached against the Holy Spirit. Next morning, he was totally paralyzed. My friend, Pastor Harry Van Loon, once told me of a similar case that occurred in New York City.


Fire On Azusa Street

A preacher hired a large auditorium with the announced inten-1 tion of speaking against the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues. As he opened his mouth to address the large audience, nothing came out. His tongue was permanently paralyzed. Once, while I was holding a service in Chicago, a little, elderly 1 grey-haired lady, wearing gold-rimmed spectacles, received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I have never seen anyone more radiantly happy. Before leaving she told me, "I am going back to 1 my church now and work for God as never before." An astonishing train of events began from that point, I later learned. At her church on the following Sunday night before the service, she met her pastor and, in a burst of happy enthusiasm, I told him: "Pastor, I've received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, just like they received on the day of Pentecost, with speaking in tongues. I Oh, what a wonderful experience! I am going to pray for you and do everything I can to help support you and the work of God i n i your church." The pastor's face flushed in anger. "Woman, you are full of the devil," he shouted. "You haven't! received the Holy Spirit. You are possessed with demons." He rushed to the pulpit. Instead of talking on the subject an-H nounced in the newspapers, he dealt with the Holy Spirit and denounced the speaking in tongues, calling it "of the devil" and "from the pit of hell." His congregation was astonished when he] said, "People who speak in tongues are possessed of the devil."; Although taught that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was not for this day, they were amazed at his uncontrolled attack on the Holy Spirit. After the sermon, he bolted out the back door and into the parsonage, instead of shaking hands with his congregation. Nobody saw him for some time. They knew his wife and family were on|

Wedding Bells and Persecution


vacation and thought that he had probably joined them. Then they had second thoughts. If he had such plans, he would have spoken of them. Several persons tried phoning him but got no response. Now they were concerned. Never before had they seen their pastor in such a state. Several church deacons went to the parsonage, got no response from knocking, and entered the house, searching each room. They found him in one of the bathrooms—on the tile floor in a pool of blood. He had taken a large portrait of his wife and family, placed it in front of him on the edge of the bathtub and then used a straightedge razor to slash his throat. I have deliberately avoided mentioning the name of any particular church, because if one preacher commits a sin of this kind it doesn't necessarily mean that the rest of the ministers and people of that church believe the same way. Another case of speaking against the Holy Spirit occurred on an Indian reservation where I occasionally ministered. The pastor of this church, a bachelor, was deeply troubled that a large segment of his congregation had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. During my meeting, he sat in the front row to observe how we acted. As people praised the Lord and spoke in tongues, I got the impression that he was in favor of what he saw. On the next Sunday in the pulpit, he said to the congregation: "Let me tell you about what happened here last Sunday. All of you who thought you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit had just better forget it." He pounded a fist on the lectern. "You are not baptized in the Holy Spirit. You are demon possessed!" Members of the congregation were surprised or puzzled, ex-


Fire On Azusa Street

changing quizzical glances. The minister kept pounding the lee. tern and repeating himself. "You have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit. You are demon ••" possessed!" A buzz of conversation went from one end of the church to the other. Suddenly, the people were in total confusion, women and men were in tears, sobbing balefully. After the service, the congregation noticed that the pastor had a > v > peculiar light in his brown eyes. Later he was seen in the reservation township shopping for groceries, a strange, fixed expression on his face. Then, no one saw him for several days. Members of the congregation who had tried fruitlessly to phone him, came to the parsonage, and when he did not open the door, forced it open. An Indian couple called out to him. He didn't answer. He couldn't. He was on the bathroom floor, bathed in blood, a bullet hole through his brain. These are just a few cases that show the terrible consequences of fighting against the Holy Spirit. As stories of these and other similar cases spread to cities throughout the nation, a breakthrough came, and ministers schooled in modern theology began to think before daring to speak out against the Holy Spirit. Although many ministers still felt that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was a one-time event that happened on Pentecost nineteen centuries ago, they said so guardedly. And that was a positive step forward in the great Holy Ghost revival of the early twentieth Century.

Chapter 8

The Lovegreen Story

In those days—like today—skeptics loudly insisted that "the age of miracles is past." I could only answer, "It is past all right—past, present, and future—just as Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever." So many miracles of all varieties happened—cures of "incurables," reversal of sin-filled lives, and strange, supernatural events that couldn't have occurred by coincidence. I shall never forget the astounding series of major and minor miracles that occurred to a Mr. Lovegreen, a hotel owner in San Bernardino and Riverside counties of California. Thirty years before, he had been a New York-based salesman who, with his wife, had traveled many times from city to city across country. One day he told her, "I'm going west again." She sighed, "Dear, I'm tired of traveling. We've done it so much. I just can't take it any longer." That was not the response Lovegreen had expected, and he became upset and then stubborn. "All right, if that's the way you feel, stay," he replied. "But I'm going anyway." Just like that, he walked out of her life and headed for California. Now, during that thirty years, he became an alcoholic, deathly


Fire On Azusa Street

ill and seemingly hopeless. One night he fell up against our Sag Bernardino mission door, which flung open. And there, lying on the floor, reeking of whiskey, was this large, once fine-looking .man, hemorrhaging from his stomach. When I reached him, he glanced up, hopelessness in his bloodshot, blue eyes. As more blood oozed from his mouth, he gasped, What pity I felt for him! "Oh, parson. Do something for me!" Now the hemorrhaging stopped; he coughed, soon caught his breath and explained himself: "Before my mother died, she prayed for me. While she wa| dying, she took me by the hand, looked into my eyes and said, 'Son, I had hoped that, by this time, you would have given youl heart to Jesus. Your mother would then have had the joy of seeing you a born again Christian. It seems I won't have that pleasure But, son, before I go, do me a favor. Put forth the effort to be I Christian and meet me in heaven. I'll be watching for you througf the eastern gate.' " "I said, 'Yes, mother.' Parson, what else could I say? But I con> fess to you, I haven't tried." The creases in the forehead of his ruddy face deepened in grave concern. "A few hours ago, I came away from the doctor's office. Tri lining of my stomach is gone—eaten out with alcohol. The doc? tor advised me: 'Lovegreen, there's nothing I can do for yol now. Take my advice. Go right on drinking, because you won| live long anyway. And if you're drunk, you won't know the difference.' " Lovegreen's watery eyes begged me as much as his voice: "Parson, can't you do something for me?" "Yes, if you'll promise to do something for me." "What's that?"

The lovegreen Story


Again he gasped for air, and blood oozed from his mouth. "Come into the mission. Promise that you won't leave until we pray through to God. Then you'll have complete deliverance from alcohol, and I also promise that Jesus will heal your body and make you whole." As the pain eased for an instant, he looked up at me with a flicker of hope. "That's the least I can do." I have dealt with many alcoholics, and their promises are often worthless. So I was still skeptical. Lovegreen slowly, painfully rose to his feet and followed me to the altar. In this mission, we had home-made, awkward-looking, heavy benches eighteen feet long. They served me well that night, because my wife, mother and I piled many of these benches against the back door. Then we fell upon our knees and prayed. The spiritual battle was on. I don't know how many times Lovegreen collapsed on the floor, but the devil spoke to me in no uncertain terms. "Valdez, if you keep this man locked up in here, and he dies, you will be held for manslaughter." That sent fear racing through me. Unfortunately, what he had said was true. And I felt a terrible temptation to yield. But it wasn't the voice of God. God doesn't speak that way. The Lord says, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." So I turned and said— "Satan, get behind me in the Name of Jesus," and the Spirit of the Lord rebuked the devil. That was just the beginning of the story. It was a night of struggle, and Lovegreen started screaming in an unearthly way. "Get those snakes off me!" he begged. He was having terrifying nightmares of delirium tremens. He thrashed and worked his hands to untangle snakes winding around his neck. "Oh, my God," he cried. "Those witches and demons!"


Fire On Azusa Street

We continued to pray with faith, through the night and into the early morning. At six o'clock, we were hoarse and exhausted but still holding on to God in his behalf. By this time, he was beginning to flail his arms and crying out: I "Let me go! Open the door! Let me go!" But I spoke sharply to him. "You promised to stay until deliverance comes." A few minutes later, when my mother, wife and I were praying, the glory of God came down like a skyful of light, filling the room. All of us looked up at the same time. A bright shaft of light ioM cused on Lovegreen's face, and he shouted, "I'm saved, I'm saved, I'm saved." Not only was he gloriously born of the Spirit of God, he was also healed in body. His stomach was so well he was able to eat a large beef steak. He no longer wanted alcohol. An urge to be with his wife had gnawed at him off and on for thirty years and was part of the reason for his alcoholism. They had been divorced and, in a generation, had not communicated with one another. Like him, she had never remarried. On one morning, she felt a powerful desire to travel to Los Arm geles. She didn't know why. Although a Christian, she did not realize that God was leading her. Her train stopped at San Bernardino, and a strange urge made her take a layover in that city. The railroad station was then at least three-quarters of a mile from the heart of town, so she drifted down on the lefthand side of the street, looking for a hotel. At that very instant, Lovegreen felt a strong desire to go for a I walk, and he started down the same side of the street. The woman coming toward him looked familiar. He blinked his clear blue eyes. The woman saw him and squinted to make sure. The man coming toward her looked so familiar. Suddenly they were face to face for the first time in thirty years J

fhe Lovegreen Story


Lovegreen felt a surge of warmth. She was beautiful—snow white hair, still a young face. How could she be even more lovely than before? Similar feelings stirred her. They gazed into each other's eyes momentarily, and the years between melted away. Then they literally flew into each other's arms. When I learned from them what had happened, I knew that this wonderful reunion was a story written and directed by the Holy Spirit. A few days later, they asked me to marry them. It was a privilege and an honor for me. This was just one of the many flames of Azusa Street.

Chapter 9

Skeptics And Unbelievers

It seemed that the Holy Spirit was pulling people to pieces and putting them together in better form, as with Lovegreen. Many things that happened soon after in my northern California crusades were equally exciting and soul-satisfying. I shall never forget the miraculous events in Eureka and then Willow Creek in the Humboldt Mountains. I had no intention of visiting that area, but a strong feeling persisted that that was where God wanted me to go. Whenever I found the peace of God ruling in my heart and obeyed His voice, my meetings were a success. Eureka didn't seem the ideal place for meetings—at least as external signs showed. When the lumberjacks came to town every Saturday night, the Devil took over, but, after all, God had sent us out to preach the gospel to sinners, not just to good people. Those who were sick needed the physician. Until we could find a building, we preached on street corners. About the only thing available was a two-story building a block away from where we held our street meetings. At one time it was called "The Popular Saloon," a barroom downstairs and living quarters upstairs. It hardly seemed appropriate for the Lord's work, but we cleaned up the place and moved upstairs. To bring in the people, I used to say, "If you want a good drink,


Fire On Azusa Street

come over to The Popular Saloon." Then I would give them scrip, ture such as, "In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus; stood up and said, 'If any man thirst, let him come unto me a n l drink/ " The Popular Saloon would fill up, and we had the pleasure Q| seeing scores of human derelicts way down in the depths regenerated and baptized in the Holy Ghost and fire. I remember one case in particular. A man named Wassam at one time had owned a beautiful music store—pianos, organs, other instruments and sheet music—but he became an alcoholic/ lost his store, and, in desperation, went into the mountains to work in lumber camps. Every Saturday night in the city he spent most of his paycheck on whiskey But the Holy Spirit gave Wassam some vision, despite almost blind drunkenness. As I preached, he would lurch ir| the doors and stagger up to the front and sit weaving on the bench. Sometimes he would fall off three or four times. I would pick him up and return to the pulpit. It did not bother me. After all, we were there to save souls—to talk to sinners, not saints. Frequently Wassam and other drunken men, unable to control themselves, would vomit on the floor. The women in our part)§ without the slightest irritation, would bring a bucket of water and] mop it all up while the meeting continued. It takes the love of God to lift you above things like that, and! believe me, they were filled with the love of God. Many meetings were interrupted by Mr. Wassam and other drunken men. This annoyed many earnest churchgoers, who did not have Holy Ghost-inspired patience. One night Mr. Wassam staggered to the front bench. By this time, those who attended meetings avoided his area. They ha| had their fill of his throwing up and the sickening sight and soul

Skeptics And Unbelievers


odors. He talked loudly, interrupted my sermon, and I prayed that the Holy Spirit would take him the next step of the way. As usual, our workers were patient and loving toward him. Then, at the close of the service, Wassam got up and silently walked out. I could sense something different about him. Early on the next Saturday night, I found him leaning against the mission's side door. "Mr. Wassam, come in for the service," I said. He shook his head, and there seemed to be tears in his watery grey eyes. "No, pastor. Never again. I made such a fool of myself last time. Everybody was so patient. I'm ashamed of myself." If he hadn't wanted to come in, he wouldn't have been there, I told myself. Something told me to act. I took him by the nape of the neck and marched him to the front bench. Somewhere, midway in the service, I saw it happen. Mr. Wassam, who usually weaved from side to side even while seated, suddenly sat straight upright. He was stone-cold sober! I silently praised the Lord. It had happened! Mr. Wassam was now wonderfully regenerated and made a new creature in Christ. The next night, he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire. He remained in the mission, exultantly shouting and speaking in tongues. After the service, we tried to get some sleep, but Mr. Wassam, who had thumped up the stairs, walked the hall all night, praising the Lord in a foreign tongue. Then things began to happen to him. "I'd better go back to my hotel," he thought. So he opened the front door of the mission. Just as he stepped outside, he fell under the power of God and dropped to the ground. Puzzled, he had to crawl back inside the mission, where he stayed another day. Next morning he tried again and barely got outside the door


Fire On Azusa Street

when he went under the power, crawling back inside on hands and knees. On the third day, he managed to get away to his hotel. He was still speaking an unknown language and didn't know when he would be able to speak English again. Everybody in the hotel who knew him gathered around ir curiosity. "Wassam, where have you been?" the clerk at the desk asked. A confused expression on his face, Wassam knew if he opened his mouth, a torrent of speech in an unknown tongue would pour out, so he picked up a pad and pencil on the desk. Everyone closed in so tightly that Wassam could barely scribble the answer: "I've been at the Pentecostal Mission seeking the Lord." Amazed, the clerk looked questioningly at him: "What's the matter? Can't you speak?" Quickly Wassam's pencil whirled across the page: "Every time I try to speak, out come words in a foreign language—a tongue I don't even know." Now the clerk was totally befuddled. "I never heard of such a thing. How long is this going to last?" Wassam, quickly scrawled, "I don't know, but I hope it never stops." And Wassam was just one of many unlikely Eureka individuals—including hard-fighting, cursing, drinking lumberjacks —to be saved, changed beyond recognition, and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Everywhere in Eureka, the power of the Holy Spirit could now be felt. We knew our work was done and that it was time to move where the Lord directed us—to the village of Willow Creek in the Humboldt Mountains. Despite its pleasant-sounding name, Willow Creek was anything but hospitable. Our street meetings—spirited singing and

c^eptics And Unbelievers


preaching—generated little more than curiosity and contempt. Groups of hostile townsmen glowered at us. If Willow Creek had a friendly, bright side, we could not see it. Unable to find a vacant building for services, we continued on the streets with little encouragement. How we needed the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. This thought had hardly raced through my mind when the Holy Spirit let us make an inroad into the community through a natural disaster. A cry echoed through the village, "Fire!" Instantly grim-faced men poured out of the general store and hotel and mobilized for action, throwing picks and shovels into every available automobile, truck or wagon, and headed for the forest. The sky was red with fire. With the men away, we were able to arrange use of the local schoolhouse for meetings, and women and children, left alone for many days, flocked to meetings. Every night many were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Returning fire-fighters found not only their wives and children but also the Holy Spirit in their homes. And, under the irresistible power, they began to attend services. A large number received Christ and were born again. Still there was some opposition to the meetings, although no one attempted violence. A local musical group, the Mountain Orchestra, began playing their string instruments outside the schoolhouse to drown out my preaching. They succeeded. As I went out to talk to them, I was overcome with the beauty of their music. I love music and stood there transformed. When they finished, I applauded: "How beautiful," I called out. "Thank you!" Their jaws dropped. Obviously, they had expected me to complain. "Please play some more," I urged. They did. "Your music is too


Fire On Azusa Street

beautiful to keep outside. Come in and play for everybody!" They accepted the invitation. And while the heavenly music came out of their guitars, violins and mandolins, another form of heavenly music entered their ears, minds and hearts. The orchestra which had come to break up the meeting, joined the meeting. Every member was converted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we had an orchestra to play for our nightly meetings. The miracle spread. Many souls were saved and many infirm and crippled people were made whole. I shall never forget two miraculous healings there. Molly Bussell, totally crippled with arthritis, was carried to the waters of the South Fork of the Trinity River to be baptized. The cripple who went under the waters came out completely healed, She told her hired woman, Sadie Bennett, "I'm sorry I must df this, but I must let you go, because now I can do my own housework and cooking." Many elderly persons who were unable to walk without support were completely healed. God worked wonderful miracle^ during those baptismal services. I shall never forget a woman called "Aunt" Fanny Lack. Shi? was 100 years old, almost totally blind and struggled to walk will two large, long, brown canes for support. She asked to receive the Lord and then be baptized in the Holy Spirit. I immersed her in the river, and she came out of the water, dripping, speaking in an unknown tongue, glorifying the Lojl Jesus Christ. It was an unforgettable thrill to see her wonderfully healed, witl| renewed vision and a firm, youthful step. Aglow with the Spirit^ Fanny Lack briskly walked to the Hoopa Indian Reservation thir* teen miles away to visit relatives. She told them what God had done in her life, but they could not believe it was Fanny. One relative said, "It looks like her, but it

Skeptics And Unbelievers


is not her, because Aunt Fanny Lack can't walk without canes and can hardly see." Fanny began to clap hands and dance in the Spirit. "Praise the Lord," she sang. "Jesus saved me and filled me with the Holy Ghost, and I feel like a young girl again." Aunt Fanny Lack lived on to work with us and others in that area for another twenty years—a walking miracle who served as an example to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. While God was working in a wonderful way in our meetings, the Devil was working to undermine His accomplishments. All sorts of wild and unfounded rumors were spread by word of mouth and newspapers about outlandish things that were supposedly happening at our services. The Humboldt Times referred to me as a "Holy Roller Apostle" holding services at Willow Creek. One news story said that I had prayed for a man with a short limb, which began to grow before the people's eyes. Instead of stopping at the right point, it supposedly kept growing, so that I had to pray for the good leg to grow out as long as the other. The most outrageous story was that I prayed for a man with a wooden leg and hair began to grow out of it. Even these distortions and untruths—Satanic exaggerations to discredit us— combined to help us . . . "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord." People by the hundreds swarmed to our remote location in the mountains. Despite the terrifying scream of mountain lions, young people would run the mountain trails even in the dark of night to attend our meetings. I asked one group how they got the courage to come, and was told, "We feel secure in the hands of Jesus." Skeptics came out in numbers, not to be saved, but just out of curiosity. "We're here to see what's happening. This should be a


Fire On Azusa Street

good show." I prayed that the Holy Spirit would give the kind of show that would turn hardened skeptics into firm believers. In the audience, I saw a highly respected local physician, a Dr. Fountain, among the curious newcomers. Just as we were holding a baptismal service, the Spirit of the Lord came down upon us, and the people began to sing a heavenly anthem. It was the kind of singing that is not of the material world: harmony of bass, alto and soprano voices in the Spirit. Its melodic beauty seemed to penetrate the congregation. The near saintly expressions of most of the audience told me that they, too, were breathless and overwhelmed. At the close of the singing, I heard one of the critics ask Dr. Fountain, "What do you think of this?" A serious expression on his face, Dr. Fountain replied, "This i| the most beautiful thing I have ever listened to. There's so much disharmony in the world—so much discord—that to hear had mony like this is absolutely wonderful." That ended the questions and most of the skepticism. The Holy Spirit had won another battle over the forces of Satan, but therf were still more struggles to come.

Chapter 10

Strange Goings-on in Chico

" . . . a little child shall lead them," the Bible says. (Isaiah 11:6). And so it was with us. As I drove our black, 1917 Chevrolet touring car out of Humboldt County south toward Los Angeles—our fellow workers followed in a Republic truck—a little child led us to spend time in a city where we had no intentions of stopping. He also led us into a strange and wonderful adventure in the Spirit. That little child, a baby just beginning to talk, was my first-born boy, Alfred, lying on his blanket between Lottie and me. For some reason, Alfred suddenly began crying. Lottie hurriedly checked to see if a diaper pin was sticking him, but that wasn't the problem. His whole body convulsed and his face flushed, as, between sobs, he repeatedly cried out, "Chico, Momma. Chico, Daddy." This was no ordinary crying spell. I knew that the power of God had descended upon him and was coming upon us. Trembling violently—as was my wife—I had to pull the car to the roadside. Our workers quickly stopped behind us and ran over, questioning looks on their faces. They found me praying. I gestured toward the sobbing Alfred. Desperately he kept calling out, "Chico, Chico, Chico!" All of us adults were aware that we were nearing the city of


Fire On Azusa Street

Chico, but an infant had no way of knowing that. Then, without warning, the power of the Holy Spirit poured on our workers, who also began trembling. The song leader shook his head , gravely. "Brother Valdez, this is of God. Your child has never heard the word 'Chico.' He's deeply moved by the power of God. We had better stop in Chico. The Lord has work for us there." That made good sense to me. "We'll stay there," I said. No sooner had these words left my mouth when young Alfred abruptly stopped crying. It was almost eerie. When we reached Chico Vecino, on the outskirts of Chico, 1; decided to hold a meeting on the main street sidewalk within sight of a large match factory. As people gathered out of curiosity, many were overcome by the loving power of the Holy Spirit and fell into harmony with our service. But on the outer edge of the group, I saw something that bothered me: two burly men with scarred faces and battered noses. Obviously they had been in the prize ring or at least were barroom toughs. They swore and shook their fists toward me. "Get out of town, holy rollers!" Suddenly, from the nearby match factory, a man in blue working] clothes came running frantically toward us, gesturing. "The match factory!" he shouted. I glanced toward the plant, fearing it was on fire. It actually was—but not in the way that I thought. Cupping my hands to be heard above the crowd, I shouted. • "What's wrong?" "Something crazy," he yelled back. Fear showed in the creasesj on his broad forehead and in strained eyes. "Everybody in the match factory is trembling and shaking hard. They can't even work. I don't know what it is."

Strange Goings-on In Chico


I did. Workers in the match factory were shaking with Holy Spirit conviction, which had settled upon much of the Chico area. Our work was clear to us: we had been led here to bring citizens to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. By means of distributed handbills, we attracted many people to nightly revival services which I conducted from a crude, wooden platform of a Pentecostal church. From the very start, meetings were anointed, and many people received Christ and were slain in the Spirit. Despite my joy, I was apprehensive. For sure, the agitators who had threatened our first street meeting would return. What I feared came upon me. In the center of the congregation, they and eleven or twelve others rose, shouting and cursing. One of them, who resembled a black bear in a dark suit and turtle-neck sweater, shook his giant fists toward the platform and shouted: "I'll roll you Holy Rollers out of town!" Now the sweet spirit of the meeting was destroyed. I tried to preach, but they hooted, cursed me and made obscene gestures. Something had to be done. I closed my eyes and quietly prayed, "Oh, God, silence them." He did—for a few minutes. I made an altar call, and a number of individuals came forward and others got up to follow them. Then the ringleader of the agitators raced forward, jumped upon the altar and bellowed: "You come up here, and we'll drag you out of here feet first." Men and women, nearing the altar, tears of conviction rolling down their cheeks, heard the threat and hesitated. Some of them fearfully made for the exit. But the Spirit of the Lord descended upon them. They were filled with the Holy Ghost, saved, and slain in the Spirit, collapslr >g to the floor. What a job we all had leading them home. Some


Fire On Azusa Street

had to be carried. I was relieved that these works of the Holy Spirit had again hindered the possibility of violence. On the next night during my sermon, I began to feel uneasy. The red warning flag went up in my mind. Nowhere in the crowd could I see the trouble-makers. They were not the type to give up easily. It seemed I heard voices from underneath the platform. Could it be my imagination? Suddenly two men who lived next to the church burst through the front doors and breathlessly ran down the aisle toward me. "Preacher," one of them yelled. "Clear out the building. Fast! There's dynamite under the platform! Only God's hand prevented people from being crushed as they mashed through the front doors. That was just the beginning of the nightmare. When the entire congregation and our party were outside, I silently prayed thanks for the hundreds spared. Some of our team rushed to the rear to defuse the dynamite. Fortunately, the fuse had not been lit. They found unused matches on the floor. Frustrated in their bombing attempt, fourteen of the hoodlums attacked my parked car. I could hear the hiss of air escaping from my tires, jabbed with ice picks. They battered the car's fenders with clubs, and then bashed in the windows, shattered glass flying in all directions. Someone cried out, "Police!" And the vandals ran off into the darkness. As I came over and surveyed the car, my heart sank. It seemed ready for a junk yard. I got in to see if the motor would start. No use. Later, we learned that someone had poured sand into the gasoline tank. I was soul-sick. My stomach felt queasy. I tried to keep from throwing up. Why had this happened to me? A deep depression came over me. Never in my life had I felt more beaten. It was as if I were black and blue in spirit as well as body.

Strange Goings-on In Chico


I couldn't speak or share my feelings with anyone—my wife, pother or workers. They understood and left me alone in my hotel room, sitting, thinking, feeling sorry for myself. I cried out, "Oh, God, why did You let the ungodly take over such a wonderful meeting? Why, when souls are so hungry for You?" Slumped in my straight-back chair, I wondered what was the use of trying to carry on. No sooner had I asked "Where can I look for encouragement and comfort?" than the Comforter, God's Holy Spirit, came upon me. I wept out of control, and then the Spirit of the Lord picked me bodily out of my chair and laid me down on the bed next to the wall. Now my body began jumping up and down with the power of God. Suddenly, I felt a presence enter the room. The hair on my head, arms and legs stood up straight. God had sent someone to rescue me from satanic depression, to encourage me, to give me the grace I needed. I sensed a presence even more. It was an angel, and I knew exactly where he was. Yet I was afraid to look. The power of God so filled me that I felt as if I were expanding. Every pore seemed growing to the size of a silver dollar. Unless the Lord helped me, I would explode into tiny particles of dust. "Help me, God," I cried out. "I can't stand anymore." In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit entering through the hair of my head. His Presence penetrated my scalp and then coursed through my entire body. What quiet! What peace! I had never known such calm in all my life. I knew then that whatever it took to continue in Chico—or anywhere else, for that matter—I would make it. And then, slowly, I turned toward the wall to look. A thrill tingled my whole being. There, just inches above the bed level, stood a beautiful angel,


Fire On Azusa Street

dressed in ever-changing, snow-white radiant apparel. He was| the most beautiful thing I'll ever expect to see in life on earth. The look in his eyes was so penetrating and yet so loving and soft that it seemed to be feeding and comforting my soul. "Fear not, son, for the Lord will be with you," he said. And it turned out to be so. Many times since, I have felt the presence of this angel when I needed strength and grace to go through a depressing period, but never was I more thankful for his help than in Chico, where our meetings then continued. Once in a while, someone would throw a rock at the building and occasionally break a window, but there was no personal conflict. The Lord protected the meetings so that the people were able to come to the altar and pray. I needed no more proof that God was looking on, that He had not abandoned me in time of trouble. He said He would be with us "even unto the end of the world." After Chico, no one had to convince me that He meant every word that He had said.

Chapter 11

Leadership Without Leaders

The amazing thing about the Pentecostal movement during and shortly after Azusa Street days was that there was little, if any, human leadership. Unmistakably, only one minister was in all Pentecostal pulpits —the Holy Spirit of God, working with and through anointed human preachers. God's people were simply hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and God abundantly provided His righteousness and love. Although the power of the Holy Spirit fell most dramatically on Bonnie Brae, Azusa Street and Seventh and Los Angeles Streets, the power fell in all parts of the world and enlisted common people in an uncommon cause. God called us into His service in much the same way that Jesus enlisted His disciples in the first church. Most of us were working class people—laborers, fishermen, carpenters, machinists—not intellectuals with a vast fund of human learning that had to be unlearned before we could become co-workers with God. There were also exceptions, university-educated ministers used by the Holy Spirit—Parham, Alfred Goodrich Garr, and Dr. Kelso Glover, among others—but these anointed men realized that God is supreme, that human knowledge is foolishness in His eyes. They understood clearly where their work left off and God's began.


Fire On Azusa Street

However, most of the Holy Spirit ministers had little or no formal education. How marvelously God molded and used the modest, human, raw material! Many times I've thought of Gypsy Smith, through whom the Holy Spirit ministered so magnificently. As a sun-browned, dirtyfooted, little Gypsy boy, he met an anointed preacher named Brother Sanky. Was it an accident that Brother Sanky wandered into a gypsy camp and saw a spiritual potential in him? Hardly. It was one of God's deliberate coincidences. A divine urge powered Brother Sanky, who layed hands on this youngster, looked toward heaven, closed his eyes and fervently prayed: "Oh, God, in Jesus' Name, make this little boy a mighty evangelist." That prayer was answered with the power of thunder and lightning. Gypsy Smith preached for seventy-five years until God decided his mission was accomplished. There was hardly any state in the United States—or continent in the world—that did not feel the footsteps and Holy Spirit power of Gypsy Smith. Between his first and last sermons, he probably preached personally to more human beings than any other evangelist in history. That's the way it was in the early days of the Holy Spirit movement. God multiplied yielded, modest men, like Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes. What marvelous things happened to the man instrumental in helping my soul into salvation—Isaac Gay, a man dying in the material world, only to be miraculously saved in body, mind and spirit for work with God. Alfred Goodrich Garr was well-educated and articulate—also highly intelligent in not letting the pin-scratch of man's wisdom distract him from God's infinite wisdom. And what an addition

leadership Without Leaders


his lovely wife, Lillian, whose long, flowing blonde hair bobbed as she spoke with Holy Spirit conviction that vibrated the beings of congregations. This couple started as great ministers, and the Holy Spirit made them greater. And speaking of soul-stirring women ministers, God never left a mold behind to make others like Aimee Semple McPherson. How the Holy Spirit used her! Between 1916 and 1922, there was a marked decline in the Spirit and Holiness living. It was as if Jesus had appointed her to keep the flame flickering. Sensationalism was the order of the day— anything that would bring out a crowd—a converted prizefighter, an actor or actress or a murderer. In that church climate, few were saved or baptized in the Holy Spirit. When the Pentecostal Church needed a standard-bearer, Aimee Semple McPherson burst upon the scene. Revival and inspiration illumined her preaching. Many ministers in a spiritual depression got a lift from the bottom of the valley to the top of Mount Everest—a new dimension of faith and courage to spread the Word. Aimee Semple McPherson was many things in the Lord, including perpetual motion and seeming omnipresence. She never appeared to stop evangelizing, and was in so many cities to preach that she appeared to violate the physical law of being limited to one place at one time. Thousands of souls were introduced to Christ by her. Then she founded Angelus Temple—a splendid home for God and His people seating 5,300 and distinctive for its lofty dome, the life of Jesus told in stained glass windows, and dramatic red carpeting. Realizing the need to build the solid rock of full gospel teachJ ng under future ministers, Aimee started a theological school. Thanks to her efforts and those of associates, we are today blessed was


Fire On Azusa Street

with hundreds of Bible-trained ministers contributing mightily to the present worldwide revival. Aimee preached four things—salvation in Jesus, Holy Spirit baptism, healing, and the second coming of Christ. These four points were also the basis for worldwide Foursquare Gospel Churches, which she founded. I recall Aimee's charisma, personal charm, physical attractiveness, liquid fluency with words, and her rare ability to present the gospel in simple terms. When she built Angelus Temple, she had no thought of starting a new religious body. The Holy Spirit had different ideas. How well I also remember another precious friend, Harry Van Loon, assistant pastor to W. H. Durham on Seventh and Los Angeles Streets, and the work of the Holy Spirit with and in him. Once the Holy Spirit conviction settled upon him, Harry Van Loon knew that his life was God's, that he could not live with a foot in both the material and the spiritual worlds. Born in Canada of wealthy parents—they owned a large stable of racehorses—Harry became a street preacher in his city. His parents were so humiliated by this that they constantly kept the window shades in their mansion pulled down. Despite his mother's stern warning that he would end up in poverty if he persisted in associating with evangelists, Harry had no mental and emotional tug-of-war to fight. Some years later, with Harry on his deathbed, his mother pulled up in a dazzling, chauffeur-driven limousine to visit him. As heartfelt as her grief was, Mrs. Van Loon could not ignore the shabby surroundings—a dingy room whose cheap carpet had holes and a dresser with peeling paint, a spotted mirror and two casters missing from its wobbly legs. Tears welled up in her eyes as she removed her mink wrap and sat on a rickety chair near Harry.

leadership Without Leaders


"Son, I told you if you joined up with these people, it was going to be hand-to-mouth." Even in his pain, weakness and fast-breathing, he glanced up pityingly at his mother, for he knew that she was unsaved and not inclined in that direction. "Mother, that could be true—hand-to-mouth, but, oh, mother, what a hand. What a hand! No one knows exactly where, when or through whom the hand of God will manifest itself in a life. That was what was learned by Kelso Glover, trained at the University of California and in a Christian church seminary. He was introduced to Jesus through an even more strange set of circumstances than Gypsy Smith. If Kelso Glover had consciously been seeking Jesus, the last place he would have looked was to a former prostitute and dope addict, Sister Bridget, whose reddened nose was partially eaten away by cancer. Another cancer, the size of a man's hat, protruded from under her right arm, and hardly a place on her skin larger than a pinhead was not perforated from morphine needles. Sister Bridget had also been a chain cigarette smoker when, in a padded prison cell, she called upon Jesus to save her soul. God can use any yielded vessel, and He used her. When Sister Bridget met Dr. Kelso Glover, the Holy Spirit blessed the meeting, and as this woman prayed, he received Christ as Lord and Saviour. And this man, who was introduced to Jesus by a cancer-riddled former prostitute, became a mighty man of God whose anointed sermons in Angelus Temple of Los Angeles for thirteen years, and in Australia, brought blessings to tens of thousands. It was never academic attainments that made great preachers. It was—as ever—God placing His hand upon His little children which gave them callings and gifts, as in 1 Corinthians 11,12, 13,14. As I look back at these and other Spirit-inspired ministers, I


Fire On Azusa Street

can see what God did through His children in the great outpouring—this great charismatic outpouring which began at the turn of the century with Parham and rocked the earth from Los Angeles. These ministers and events seemed so much like those of the very first church. The greatest glories of these ministries rose when men died to the flesh and were born again in Spirit through Jesus and, in their new lives, were filled with the Holy Ghost. Only then could God use them to disseminate His message fully and properly by the Spirit and in the Spirit.

Chapter 12

Church On Fire

Looking back from these grey-haired years to my dark-haired days as a youth, I realize more than ever how sharply the early 20th Century Pentecostal church contrasted with the conventional church. "Contrasted" is the right word, because it differed to the extreme in almost every manner: cost of the building, location, leadership, kind of service, collections, doctrine, and practice. The buildings were modest in character and, often, in size— neglected, sooty buildings in low-rent, undesirable areas— stores, stables, garages, or warehouses. Acknowledged sinners were more plentiful there, because people had fewer material things and worldly activities to insulate them from a candid look at themselves. Earliest Pentecostal churches were rented, rather than owned, because the budget was lean and the accent was on God, not buildings. Asthetics and interior appointments were less important than members of the congregation—"temples of the Holy Spirit." As mentioned in an earlier chapter, there was almost no human leadership. The Holy Spirit took charge and spoke through anointed ministers. Beware to the preacher who dared speak from human understanding only.


Fire On Azusa Street

Occasionally this happened at Azusa Street, and immediately there was travail from the Spirit-baptized people—a storm of wailing sobs. I shall never forget a tiny slip of a black woman called "Mother Jones," foremost in situations of travail, who quietly hurried underneath the pulpit and stared up at the minister with icy, brown eyes. "Brother," she would say, "Can't you see that you are not anointed to preach?" No minister could resist that. It got so that all Mother Jones had to do was stand up, and the unanointed minister would turn tail and almost run off the platform. There was no definable pattern to the services. Any number of ministers could preach. It was free-style—as the Spirit led. There could be congregational singing for fifteen minutes or two hours, but heavenly voices almost always joined in. Sermons were not really sermons, but inspired words in English or in tongues with interpretations. These were unstructured in one sense but structured from the Holy Ghost standpoint. And there was such beauty and harmony between preacher and congregation that I marvel to this day in the Holy Spirit as conductor. From time to time, individuals would stand and speak in tongues. They or someone else would interpret, but there was never chaos. All of this happened in divine order, as if orchestrated. Often services ran continuously for ten to twelve hours. I have attended them when they carried on for several days and nights. Those in the congregation never seemed tired. They were inspired and energized in the Spirit. When meetings finished at one or two in the morning, some of us would stand under the street lamps and talk about the Lord for hours. Although there was some anointing of the sick and handicapped with oil and laying on of hands, those needing a miracle

Church On Fire


often got one spontaneously through the loving intervention of the Holy Spirit. The same thing frequently happened to those wishing to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. In the early 20th Century Pentecostal church, every word of the Bible was true, because it was the Word of God. No one tried to add or to subtract from it. Jesus was the same, yesterday, today, and forever. If He could work miracles when He was on earth, He could still work miracles through His personal representative, the Holy Spirit. People were not presumptuous enough to try substituting human wisdom for God's wisdom. They did not say, "I believe this part of the Bible and not another." They believed in the full gospel, not just in certain parts that justified their human beliefs. They did not question the Holy Spirit and His gifts. They praised the Lord for giving them a "latter rain" of Holy Spirit power and whatever array of gifts He chose to bestow upon them. While today immersion baptism with water is no longer a part of many churches—and some do not even have a baptismal font—it was a necessity in those days. After all, hadn't Jesus told Nicodemus, (John 3:5), " . . . except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." The early 20th Century Pentecostal churches had no elaborate baptismal area. Old metal bathtubs served the purpose—or a nearby river, lake or ocean. Water baptism had greater significance than ever before. First, they asked forgiveness of their sins, invited Jesus into their hearts and were born again. Water baptism now was the outward sign of the inner work of regeneration which Jesus had accomplished. People demanded to be baptized in water—right now, not three or six months from now. Next, of course, they hungered to be baptized in the Holy Ghost and fire, to speak in tongues, and receive illumination and


Fire On Azusa Street

inspiration. Often additional gifts of the Holy Spirit came to them: interpretation of tongues, prophecy, discernment or preaching the Word under special anointment, ability to cast out demons, or the gift of healing, or miracles. One of the key preachments was the literal second coming of Jesus Christ. Such a teaching was emphasized and underscored in fire by the Holy Spirit. Anybody who wanted to be ready for the second coming of Jesus had to be born again, followed by baptismal immersion. Another Bible quotation cited for this was Mark 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Preachers told us that the water baptism was symbolic of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, and that we had to be "buried in water" by baptism to prepare for baptism in the Spirit by the Holy Ghost. They often said, "Baptism without having received Christ and being born again will profit you nothing." All steps had to come in the right order. I shall thank God forever for my having been present at Azusa Street and Seventh and Main Streets and for seeing so many manifestations of the Holy Spirit, from tongues to marvelous miracles. Every service was a blessing. No preacher had to exhort or extort money to fill those mailbox collection plates attached to the walls. Everyone who attended felt so rewarded, enriched, and thankful to God that he gave generously of gifts and tithes. I have attended hundreds of meetings in which not one preacher mentioned money. The Holy Spirit suggested what to give, and they gave it. On rare occasions when pressure was used to encourage greater giving, loud sobs of travail discouraged the preacher. After all, God loves a cheerful giver.

Church On Fire


God always supplied our needs in abundance for rent, heat and light, and for paying the pastor of the mission. There was no sending of letters asking people to be partners; no soliciting; and no agencies with representatives all over the world raising money for different causes and, in some instances, paying them 40% of collections. Missionaries trusted God, and it is amazing how they could travel to China, Japan and India with the vision that God gave them, and how God answered their prayers and supplied their exact needs. But, little by little, this privilege was taken away, and they began to adopt other methods of raising money, which, to my mind, are questionable. I think George Mueller, of England, who started and operated an orphanage strictly on faith, is a good example of how they used to take care of finances in the early 20th Century revival. Mueller never talked about needs—even to his wife. He would pray alone and tell Jesus all about them. Sometimes there was nothing to put on the table, and he had the children sit down and turn their plates rightside up in faith. God always came through. Just as the church had its own unusual way of collecting required funds, so did it have its own unique method of discipline for the congregation, based on 1 Corinthians 11:28: "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup." That is what our faithful pastor taught us under great anointing at Azusa and what was followed after Azusa closed. We were instructed to be introspective so that the pastor wouldn't have to help us in this regard. Self-examination was extremely important, especially before the very sacred communion service. So, before we took part in communion, the pastor allowed a long silence to permit us to examine ourselves, to offer our sins to Jesus, and ask forgiveness.


Fire On Azusa Street

In those days we received communion almost anytime, not just the first Sunday of a month. This seemed to draw us closer to the Lord. Another scripture that showed the need for introspection w a | II Corinthians 13:5: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." God, in His tender mercy, had given us an opportunity to straighten out our lives, so that the church or He would not have to deal with us. How does one examine himself to find if he is in the faith or not? By going to the scriptures to see if his thoughts, words, or actions are in accord with God's Word. It was a blessing to the church and our pastor if we accepted and used the discernment that God gave us. Then, no one who dealt with us would have reason for offense. Obviously, unless we are really spiritual, we are not going in for self-examination. The farther one gets away from God, the more he tries to justify his actions. The closer one is to God, the more he goes in for introspection. Our early 20th Century churches believed in and practiced according to James 5:16: "Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." We took the time to hear the voice of God and to be holy. In these days, this is not always so. When we travel 25,000 miles an hour toward the moon; when, on this planet, we race at a rate of 600 miles per hour in a passenger airplane; when there is too much to do in too little time in our workaday world, we know that speed has lodged in our hearts. Some of us say we don't have time to be holy.

Church On Fire


Only those who live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and are filled with the Spirit take the time. But in the Azusa days, even on nights when there was no official service, people gathered there just to be holy—to listen to the voice of God. Following this, one and then another confessed his faults and they prayed for one another. And, indeed, they were healed. There is no better way to get healed than being near to Jesus. What humility I saw, what tenderness, what weeping before God! In His tender mercy, God gives us all an opportunity to examine ourselves without making it necessary for someone else to call attention to our mistakes, failures, faults and sins of commission or omission. That opportunity seems to me the highest order of church discipline—or self-discipline, as I call it. And, of course, the Holy Spirit plays a major part in church discipline. The fifth chapter of Galatians teaches us to "live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and keep filled with the Spirit." Those who practice self-examination are not going to make it necessary for the Holy Spirit to rebuke them and burn up the chaff in their lives. They are going to discover their sins and work to eliminate them. They will have the divine capacity and humility to look up and say, "God, I'm sorry. Forgive me in Jesus' name." By living in the Spirit, we learn of our own free will to say "no" to the Devil and "yes" to God. During and after Azusa Street, we had much instruction on another subject of church discipline—brother trespassing against brother. We would read Matthew 18:15-18: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou has gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect


Fire On Azusa Street

to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." This was the Azusa Street way of dealing with stubborn, selfrighteous persons who justified their position, rather than humbling themselves. I know of many places where church discipline is not practiced, and the first thing you know a negative element builds up, so there is no end of trouble. Division, strife and every evil work can follow. Fortunately, God has given us a provision for dealing with this element. If members fail to establish order and discipline, the pastor must take over. If he doesn't, then God's people suffer because they cannot enjoy God's blessing in an atmosphere of love and serenity. The church must be clean and provide an environment of holiness if souls are to be saved and if we want God to visit us with a rich anointing of the Holy Spirit. We must strive for an atmosphere that will exalt Jesus and honor the blessed Holy Spirit, where we can rejoice in the Lord and be glad, an atmosphere that stimulates faith. If this does not exist in our own church, it is time for introspection and selfexamination to find out if we are in the faith. If we are not, thank God we can correct our course. God's tender and infinite mercy will do for us the exceeding abundant above what we ask or even think, according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus. And, speaking of atmosphere, one of the sharpest criticisms of the early 20th Century Pentecostal church was against its "super-abundant emotionalism." I still smart a little in remembering how outsiders used to jeer and call us "Holy Rollers." This was because some of us shook, shouted, rolled on the floor or danced

Church On Fire


in the Spirit. people from the established churches disapproved of the emotional side of Azusa Street, because they knew as much about the power of the Spirit as they know about electricity. But those who are not scientists are not concerned about the mysteries of electricity so long as they can use it in practical ways. Only in religious matters are people troubled when they come to a mystery. Why? Many have said to me, "Brother Valdez, I can see the truth of such experiences in the Bible, but I cannot reconcile God to be in all of this emotion such as shaking, shouting and dancing." Of course, we do not believe that the shaking, shouting or dancing is God, but, rather, the spontaneous effect of the power of God. This emotion is not held back, because the individuals involved enjoy it. Yet we also believe there is a time for all things and that no meeting should come to confusion. It is written, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (I Corinthians 14:33). If such emotion comes from sound gospel preaching, gospel hymns, or the power of God, I say, yield to it. Much has been said about us being extremely emotional people—no doubt because many of us praise the Lord with unbridled enthusiasm. What the critics don't know is that a big portion of Pentecostal congregations is, by nature, very quiet. As a matter of fact, many individuals feared that if they received the baptism they might make too much noise or go into some other extreme physical manifestation. However, when the Lord filled them with the Spirit, they enjoyed the experience so much that they changed their minds about emotionalism. I remember one little, sedate lady—very refined, cultured and


Fire On Azusa Street

well-mannered—who frowned on spiritual emotionalism. As she looked at me through her gold-handled lorgnette, she said, "Reverend, I believe in the baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire, because it is in the Word of God, but I don't appreciate the noise, the shouting." "Sister, you are just like I am," I responded. "There are many manifestations that I see among God's people that I don't appreciate myself, but, do you know, when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon me, I enjoy it." Her small mouth pursed in mild disagreement, but I continued: "When we have a personal experience in the Spirit, it changes our mind about a lot of things. Now, my little sister, if you want to go into the prayer room and pray to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, please go ahead. And when it happens, don't shout unless you feel like it. Just be yourself. She nodded vigorously, "Oh, indeed I will." "I take it you are willing to receive your experience in whatever way the Lord gives it to you." "Yes, it sounds all right," she replied. So she went into the prayer room. I was busy in an office about seventy-five feet away and soon forgot that she was there. Suddenly, without warning I heard a penetrating outcry. Quickly I jerked open the door to look through the church, and there came the little lady out of the prayer room as if she had been shot from a cannon. She began jumping, dancing and shouting in the Lord. It was something to see this reserved, refined lady with the gold-handled lorgnette, dancing and swaying up and down the aisles, crying out and singing intermittently in tongues and in English. I went out to meet her and, smiling on the inside, commented, "Sister, what you are doing doesn't appeal to me." She made an undignified jump into the air and shouted,

Church On Fire


"Maybe not, but it sure appeals to me!" On the day of Pentecost, emotional things took place that observers couldn't begin to understand. The Bible gives much evidence of that. Some said those in the Spirit were drunk with new wine. They could only describe what they saw in terms of what they had seen or knew from personal experience. Peter stood up in defense and, in Acts 2:15-17, said: "For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh . . ." A little emotionalism is certainly biblical and not out of place in the church. It is better to have some emotion than none at all. A preacher once told me about a certain church in a southern state where they needed boys wearing white gloves to wake up the people when the preacher preached. The order was, that if they went to sleep a third time, they had to stand up for the rest of the service. By the end of the service, much of the congregation was standing. These people do not believe in emotional religion. Peter Cartwright once had a substitute minister who read a sermon for more than an hour. Cartwright commented, "At last the blessing came. He stopped preaching." Take that which causes divine emotion out of the church (the Holy Spirit), and you have a dead establishment which doesn't even know it is dead. When the apostles, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers returned to Jerusalem, they returned with "great joy." (Luke 24:52). After Philip preached Christ in Samaria, and the people got saved and baptized in water, "there was great joy in that city." (Acts 8:8). "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all


Fire On Azusa Street

with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4). Emotional expression is a part of the experience. This sort of conduct seemed extreme to Los Angeles city officials and they did their best to gather evidence that emotionalism—"fanaticism," they called it—was harmful to good health and should be stopped. We never could be sure that city representatives were not in the congregation. One night during the Azusa times, I attended a meeting in a big, empty garage on South Main Street. Dr. Alfred Goodrich Garr, one of the greatest preachers I have ever heard, and his wonderful, blond-haired wife, were conducting the services before a large audience. And the power of God came down in a miraculous way. Many people were moved to dance and clap hands in the aisles, among them an extremely overweight man. This continued for an hour. I could imagine that his heart was pounding—that he was in danger of having a heart attack. Finally, the corpulent man gently collapsed on the sawdustcovered floor. I began fearing for the worst. Sure enough, a physician from the health department was there. He received permission from Garr to examine the man. Many of us crowded around. The doctor took a pulse reading and listened to his heart beat. Then he shook his head from side to side in incredulity. "After an hour's heavy exertion, his heartbeat is normal and so is his pulse, which reads seventy-two." Puzzled, he glanced up at us.

Church On Fire


"I can't understand this at all," he said. We could. Plainly, the early 20th Century, Holy Spirit-inspired church differed markedly from the institutionalized, formal church of its day. My dear friend, the late A. J. Osterberg, puts in perspective happenings on Azusa Street and shows its true meaning: "Every spiritual revival such as the Azusa Street revival has its visible and invisible aspects. Whether the invisible is so recognized or not, the invisible is of greater functional importance than the visible. More than that, whether these invisible forces are inherently good or evil, they do irrevocably govern the visible aspects. "It must be understood that a perpetual conflict exists between God and evil forces. A Holy Ghost revival is a representation of that spiritual conflict . . . The Azusa revival was not just an ordinary or usual revival which we have through the years become accustomed to and even thankful for . . . It appears that it was related to a dispensational destiny norm. Its fundamental premises included factors which do not restrict it within limits of the traditional, but the revolutionary. "One of the factors related to the spiritual revolt attitude toward the greatest religious swindle of the world's history. It consisted of near nineteen centuries of misinterpretation of biblical Christianity. "Azusa's revival was an ever-rising tempo and crescendo of opposition to religion's treatment of Christianity on the part of Christians with conscious responsibility for biblical conformity. Azusa's revolt was a climactic war against the perversion of biblical Christianity. It was not inherently a conflict of doctrines, methods, administration, denominational idiosyncracies and the like. It did not concern itself with the various schools of the theolog-


Fire On Azusa Street

ical conflict. It was a fundamental revolt against an institutional system which, for nearly nineteen centuries, took to itself the embezzled right to modify, alter, repudiate, misinterpret and confuse the entire Christian pattern whenever it chose to do so. "This constituted one factor in Azusa's revolt. In factual analysis, this is not to be confined to Azusa alone. It is also related to the perpetuation of the spiritual dynamics within the Pentecostal movement of our day. If it is ignored or compromised, the movement or part of it, will be doomed by a process revealed again and again by the historicity of other restoration groups relegating them to oblivion."

Chapter 13

Simple Faith, Incredible Results

For some years after Azusa Street, people continued to have simple and implicit faith that God was not only the God of the infinite but also the God of the infinitesimal. It was standard procedure to call on the Creator of all things to help solve pressing problems—no matter how trivial or tremendous. Once my precious, old mother, alone in her room in San Bernardino, California, was fifteen cents short of carfare needed to take her to nearby Rial to. She longed to attend a tent meeting there. Falling to her knees on the hard floor, she glanced heavenward. "Father, I'm your little child, I must go to the tent meeting in Rialto, and I'm a little short on carfare. I don't like to bother you with such a small matter, but I desperately need fifteen cents." Hardly had she risen to her feet when she heard a knock at the door, opened up, and saw her friend, a little grey-haired, wrinkled-faced sister. "Mother Val, I just had a peculiar experience. Maybe I shouldn't tell you, because you'll probably say, 'She's getting old and losing her mind.' " "Tell me," urged my mother in anticipation. "There's nothing much to it," said the sister.


Fire On Azusa Street

"Now listen, I've been praying and waiting for you," mother replied. "What did the Lord tell you?" "All right. I heard a voice saying, 'Take Susie Valdez fifteen cents.' " She handed the money to mother, who said: "Thank you, Honey," and squeezed her gnarled, brown-spotted hand. "That's exactly what I prayed for." The elderly sister seemed puzzled. "I needed fifteen cents more for carfare to Rialto. You obeyed the Lord, and God will bless you for it." That our infinitesimal problems are not too small for an infinite God was proved again by what happened to "Mother Jones." It seems Mother Jones had worms—tomato worms ravaging the green tomato plants next to her modest house. There were too many to pick off, and she was perplexed. How could she prevent them from destroying tomatoes she badly needed for eating and canning? Then came the perfect answer and perfect faith to go with it. She stared at the plants and said firmly: "Worms, you've got no business here. I'm a Christian. Get out of here. Now Mrs. Smith who lives down the road is not a Christian. If you have to go somewhere, go there. I command you, in the name of Jesus, to leave!" Mother Jones marched into her house without looking back. Later when she came out to water, she casually looked at the tomato plants. Every worm was gone. Mother Jones didn't bother to check Mrs. Smith's tomato vines. She was delighted that God had worked a marvelous little miracle for her. An even more remarkable mini miracle happened to a Modesto, California, widow whose orchard was threatened by an invasion of army worms. The newspapers were full of stories about a pesti-

Simple Faith, Incredible Results


lence like that in the Bible. Any area through which they passed would be stripped bare. Early one morning, I received an excited phone call from her. "Brother Valdez, hundreds of thousands of army worms are coming in such waves that you can't even see the ground." I felt a pang of heartsickness, but before I could comment, she continued: "You know how good the Lord has been to me?" "I do." "Well, before the army worms arrived at our place, I got on my knees and talked to the Lord, just like I am to you. 'Lord, You said if I obeyed your commandments, paid my tithes and lived for You, You would rebuke the devourer and the pestilence. Lord, you know that when my husband gave me this orchard, I dedicated it to You for the poor. I'm expecting you to stop these army worms before they reach this place.' " She stopped for breath: "Brother Valdez, I could tell you what's happening, but I want you to rush right out here to see for yourself." My curiosity got me. As soon as I arrived, she took me to her back property line, where I saw something almost unbelievable. Waves of army worms moved to her property line and then did an about-face, as if responding to the command of a superior officer. We hurried to the other sides of her property, where the same thing was happening. Within my line of sight, trees in adjoining orchards had been completely stripped. A thrill of praise for the Lord went through me. He answers prayer according to His Word! There was great faith in the Spirit-filled church of Modesto. In those early days, many Christians in Stanislaus County stood on God's word and reaped amazing results. I remember well when hoof and mouth disease spread to the San Joaquin Valley. Beautiful, sleek, pure-bred cows were shot by


Fire On Azusa Street

the dozens when just one cow in the herd was infected. Dairymen dug deep trenches and then bulldozed the cows into them, spread lime and then dirt over them. Prayers of dairymen in Stanislaus County went up, and not oi\e cow of God's little children in that county was touched by the terrible hoof and mouth disease scourge. That county was spared, because God took care of His people who lived by the Word and had simple faith. I shall never forget another remarkable incident in the grapegrowing land around Modesto. One of the most frightening things for growers of grapes is the plague of mildew. This is something to witness—flies and bees swarming in and around the vines. It came to Modesto. One of the elders of the church, Brother Fred Radley, approached me after service and said, "Brother Valdez, God is doing a wonderful thing for me. I want you to visit my vineyard with the family and have dinner." We accepted. From the house, it was impossible to see where Brother Radley's vineyard ended and the adjoining ones started. As far as the eyes could see, there were grape vines, because neighboring rows were exactly in line with Radley's. He took me to the boundary of his property, and never in my lifelhave I seen more beautiful, luscious grapes, all covered with that film that almighty God uses to protect them. Not one bunch was touched by the mildew, but just a foot away in the rows that belonged to his neighbors, the grapes were infected with mildew. Bees and flies boiled around them. I wanted to fall on my knees right in that vineyard to thank and praise the Lord for a miracle. God knew exactly where the bound' ary lines were on all sides, because, while surrounding vines were infected, Brother Radley's grapes were completely free from mildew.

Simple Faith, Incredible Results


Now I had seen more evidence that God protects those who obey His Word and believe in Him. He still rebukes the pestilence and any plague that would come nigh us. I love to speak of these things, because they are typical of the simplicity and faith of God's people during and after Azusa Street. On numerous visits to the Hoopa Reservation, where the people also trusted God, I observed that the Indians asked and received help from the Lord in circumstances beyond their control. Never did they fail to give Him the glory and praise. One day an Indian friend stopped me and pulled back his shirt sleeve to display an arm that was angry red, swollen almost twice its normal size. "What's the matter, brother?" I asked. "A screwtick, Brother Val. A screwtick has gone right up the arm into my shoulder. He's been there for a couple weeks. I want you to pray I know Jesus can make him come out." I closed my eyes and offered a simple prayer. No sooner had I opened my eyes when I knew it was happening. The arm seemed to be throbbing. Something strange was taking place. The screwtick seemed to be unscrewing itself from the shoulder and arm. Then, suddenly, out it came! As the Indian brother watched this miracle, he wasn't the least surprised. "I knew God would do it!" he said. It would have been impossible to explain in physical terms how a screwtick that had been lodged in this man's shoulder for weeks, came out within minutes. I can't explain how God protected Brother Radley's grapes, or the cattle of Stanislaus County, or how He made the legions of army worms do an about-face. Possibly there was a little flame of invisible fire on borders of Brother Radley's vineyard, Stanislaus County and the Modesto



Fire On Azusa Street

orchard. I don't know, because the ways of God are unfathomable. But He supplies the know-how and does it. All we have to do is pray and have faith. "Only believe the Scripture," He says, "and you shall see the glory of God." Like God's miracles of protection, His miracles of healing during and after Azusa Street days were numerous. The Holy Spirit's power was so great that few, if any, divine healing services, so popular today, were held. People were healed en masse during our regular evangelistic meetings. The blind would receive their sight and deaf ears opened. Those at the services would rise and cry out in delight to the Lord. There were no special prayers for people with anything from migraine headaches to cancer. I shall never forget one incredible healing of blindness. It almost strains the ability to believe. The healing was not instantaneous. It was gradual. You know that the Bible teaches gradual healing, too. "Some were healed as they went their way," the Scripture says. "Some began to mend from that hour." I knew a man called "Blind Martin." There were only flat places where his eyes should have been. He had been examined at Johns Hopkins University by the best specialists in the United States. These men said there was no way he would ever see. Blind Martin was married to a lovely lady who took the best care of him. As he and his wife attended services and heard of miracles happening all around them, their faith increased. One night during a service, I witnessed something that thrills me to this day—the unfathomable, unexplainable working of the Lord. Blind Martin stood up. He didn't know why. A redness first appeared on the flat places where eyes should have been. These areas began to puff out and swell. Then something unreal happened. Eyes the size of a chicken's were begin

Simple Faith, Incredible Results


ning to form. Little by little, they expanded to normal size. Oh, Lord, I can see!" shouted Martin. Tears of gratitude began to flow from Martin's new eyes. I could only marvel at the Lord's work. Martin's eyes were not the only ones that were moist! No less spectacular than physical healings were miracles of casting out demons. During Azusa Street days and for 10 years afterward, I witnessed dozens of deliveries from demon possession. Occasionally individuals who were filled with the devil would come to disrupt meetings. That was the signal for God's people to start praying. And what response from prayer! Sometimes you could feel the evil spirits like a cold wind flying out of a body. Other times, you would hear them come out screaming. The Italian people in those days were wonderfully blessed in praying for the demon-possessed—especially the fiercely resistant evil spirits. These Italian brothers and sisters believed unswervingly in what Jesus said: "This kind cometh not out but by prayer and fasting." How persistent they were with fasting and non-stop praying for two or three days. They wore out the demons. One of the most exciting exorcising of demons took place early in the 20th century in an area of Chicago where a giant circus had just moved in. Italian Christians gathered to pray for a man driven to the brink of insanity due to demon possession. Praying went on night and day until, finally, the demon cried °ut, "Let me alone. I'll come out, but let me alone. Let me rest." That was the last thing to do when the evil spirit was becoming tired and weak, so they prayed even more fervently. "Satan, we bind you," they called out repeatedly. "In the name °f Jesus Christ come out now."


Fire On Azusa Street

When this demon obeyed it was with a roar that could be heard for a mile. People rushed into the streets, thinking that a lion had escaped from the circus. I shall never forget a suspenseful battle with a demon by Dr. F. E. Yoakum, founder of the Pisgah Home. This big, remarkable man of faith had been given many gifts of the Holy Spirittongues, healing, miracles, and the ability to cast out demons. Walls of several rooms of Pisgah Home were lined with wheel chairs, canes, crutches, casts, and various mechanical devices for the handicapped who had been delivered through his ministry. One day an excited phone call interrupted his meditating in the Lord. He was asked to drop everything and race to a house where a man was demon-possessed and dangerous. He responded immediately. No sooner had he stepped inside the door when the man rushed toward him, murder in his eyes and a huge, gleaming butcher knife in his right fist. Before Dr. Yoakum could pray, the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon him. The man thrust the knife toward his heart, and Dr. Yoakum grabbed his wrist and cried out: "Father, in the Name of Jesus, I bind this devil hand and foot, and I command him to come out of this man in the Name of Jesus." The man's grip loosened, and the knife clattered to the polished wood floor. When the devil rushed out of this man, the house shook and paintings on the wall spun around. The place looked as if a hurricane had whirled through it, but this mail was wonderfully delivered, converted to Jesus Christ, and later filled with the Holy Ghost.

Chapter 14

Down Under

Sharp knocking at the front door of our Modesto, California, home shocked me out of the tranquility of Bible reading—the green pastures and still waters of the 23rd Psalm. I opened up to an unknown, wild-eyed, middle-aged woman with long, brown hair in a bun at the nape of the neck. Suddenly her hands shot into the air, and she began to prophesy: "Brother Valdez," she cried in a shrill voice that knifed through me. "Thus saith the Lord: 'I've called you, my servant, to minister to my people in Australia.' " That rocked me back on my heels, but I recovered enough to invite her into the living room. I learned that she was Molly Ayers, an evangelist from Australia and, obviously, under heavy anointing. This prophesy reminded me of the message to the same effect that the Lord had given me a few years before her 1924 visit. My first thought was, "Lord, you know that I am in no position to go right now. I've never had less money, but I'm ready. I know that wherever you want me to go, you'll furnish me with the necessary funds." Molly's sharp voice intruded: "Brother Valdez, you are to leave very soon, so prepare for it." Sleepless in bed that night, I had a vision of a large ocean liner steaming across a huge map of the South Pacific, first to New


Fire On Azusa Street

Zealand and then Australia. Even its name "Mongunewy" was visible. In complete faith, I made arrangements for the elders of the church to replace me as pastor, invited my mother to join us, and asked my wife to pack for the trip and explain what was happening to our three children: Alfred, Jr., Fern, my daughter, and Ralph Gage. Several days later, I was surprised by a financial miracleenough money for our fare, from a totally unexpected source. That confirmed that Molly's prophecy had indeed come from God. We booked passage on the first available liner and learned that its name was "Mongunewy". When the ship docked in New Zealand, I looked down at the wharf. Obviously they were expecting some famous person. There were swarms of people, gazing up searchingly a brass band, ready to strike up, and a long line of yellow cabs. One of the men near the band leader cupped his hands and yelled up, "Is Reverend Valdez on board?" Reverend Valdez? My heart plummeted to my shoes. This reception was for me! "Yes," I hollered down. "I'm Reverend Valdez!" Then I understood the reason for the band and yellow cabs. They had planned a parade to take my wife, my family and me to the banquet hall. That frightened me. "My God, they think I'm a great preacher," I thought. "They think I'm somebody like Moody or Charles Finney." I tried not to panic. Things didn't improve when we were whisked off to one of the most elaborate banquet halls I have ever seen and served a fine dinner on magnificent china with gold trim. Then my hosts made welcome speeches, further making me ill at ease. Sooner or later it was going to be my turn and what impressive thing could I say?


Down Under


Now I was being introduced, and I quickly asked Jesus for help. A simple idea occurred to me. I talked about how God had sent Sister Molly Ayres, of Australia, to my door, confirming exactly what the Lord had said to me earlier about going to Australia. A ripple of applause raced across the banquet hall, as they rejoiced with me, and my host asked: "Brother Valdez, you're not going to leave New Zealand without holding meetings, are you?" I hesitated a moment. "I don't know. I haven't consulted with the Lord about it." Actually, we had no plans to stay. We had just enough money to reach Australia. "I'm going to pray and see what the Lord has to say about it." My host insisted, "Brother Valdez, you cannot leave here without holding some meetings." Enthusiastically, the whole group backed him with loud handclapping. Well, we stayed, but not for just a few meetings. During our six months in New Zealand we held meetings in various places, mainly in a huge, domed auditorium. An unforgettable revival broke out. It was so tremendous that we had to have a tarrying meeting in the Masonic Temple, separate from the auditorium. The auditorium was packed, including many denominational church people who were excited about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. That night, in the middle of my preaching, I heard the roof crack—a terrifying noise as if the dome were splitting in two. Fearfully, I raised my eyes toward the dome. They never got that far—or needed to—for the dome was all right. Awesome things were happening in the balcony. In wholesale numbers, people were being slain in the Spirit, slumping in their seats, leaning against one another and talking in tongues. More than 500 received the baptism in the Holy Spirit during that meeting.


Fire On Azusa Street

Another extraordinary thing then happened. I saw a large group of Anglican Church and Catholic priests stand in excitement, pointing to various parts of the auditorium. They consulted with one another and tediously edged through the almost impassable crowd, finally climbing the steps to the platform. "Brother Valdez," one of them said, "Look down there. See the tongues of fire hanging over the heads of those people speaking in tongues! Does this happen in all your meetings?" I had to say "Yes," because it does happen, although, in many cases, the fire is not visible to human eyes. I shall never forget the exciting experience of Mrs. Madeline Reeves. For many years she had suffered an incurable spinal disease and an incredible assortment of other ailments which no physician could do anything about. A lot of her backbone had been eaten away, and there was a series of spinal curvatures. ' She had had a choice of remaining until death in a plaster of paris cast or getting fitted for a steel frame to support her rigidly. She chose the frame, made from a plaster of paris mold. But, after the fitting process, she noticed that her bones had all loosened. She feared she would soon also need support for her neck and head. Madeline Reeves had to use a walking stick, too, because she had no control over the movement of her legs (locomotor ataxia). The sight in one of her eyes gave her upside-down images, and she suffered a loud, endless, nerve-wracking ringing in her ears. She received no hope from physicians. She had been brought up in a godless home, but felt that God was her only hope, and attended one of my 1924 meetings. She was too weak to come forward for healing, so I went to her. Attendants held her up while I said a short prayer. Suddenly she screamed. For an instant, I didn't know whether she was in pain or out of it. Then she broke loose from those supporting her and


Down Under


stomped out of the place like a soldier. There is a sequel to the story. About 30 years later, my son Alfred C. Valdez, Jr. was holding a meeting in Spurgeon Temple in London. A little lady approached him, saying, "Brother Valdez, you wouldn't know me, but your father does. You were too young to remember what happened in New Zealand in 1924." "Tell me about it," urged my son. "When your father was in Auckland, I had an incurable spine condition and many other ailments that no doctor could cure. After he prayed, I was healed instantaneously. And here, today, I am in perfect health. I have never had one day of trouble. God completely healed me." That was a most remarkable miracle of God—as if any are not remarkable—but especially so, because it was creative: God had replaced wasted-away bone instantaneously. The Reeves' healing was one of hundreds at regular services, where many more hundreds received Christ and then were baptized in the Holy Spirit. I shall never forget a third moving experience in New Zealand—one of an unusual nature. We had had children's Holy Spirit-powered meetings on frequent occasions. Mr. H. Bruce, one of New Zealand's big chain store men, had heard that gifts of the Holy Spirit were being manifested among the young people. A staunch Presbyterian and thorough student of the Bible, he often was bothered that 20th century people—especially himself—didn't have the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So he came to a children's meeting to observe what was happening. Emotionally overwhelmed by their heavenly anthems sung in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, interpreting and prophesying, he sensed the falling of Holy Spirit power. His heart said to him, "Amen. Amen. This is scriptural. I know it is the real thing."


Fire On Azusa Street

Mr. Bruce, this highly successful business man, who appeared to need nothing from anybody, went down and knelt among the little children and said, "I want all of you to put your hands on me and pray that God will give me the Holy Spirit." They prayed, and their prayers were answered. The tremendous power of God came upon Mr. Bruce in a white light and a beautiful, serene, happy expression shone on his face. What a marvelous experience for him to have and for me to see! After six months of such soul-satisfying happenings in New Zealand, I was told by the Lord that it was time to go to Melbourne. There I had one of the hardest battles of my entire ministry. Dwight Moody once said he always knew how great the victory was going to be by how great the battle was. On that basis, it was to be a great revival. Many churchmen called it the greatest Holy Spirit revival in the history of Australia, but it didn't start out that way. The first church where I had been invited to minister turned out to be the wrong place. My Bible teachings met with such powerful resistance that it was impossible to preach. It was something more than just people resistance. We were invited to a second church, more or less to rest and regroup. Such black thoughts assailed me that I knew I was being weighed down by satanic oppression. The atmosphere was thick, heavy, depressing. I began to have self-doubts. If we were not needed here, why had God brought us all this way? My wife and mother were equally troubled and downhearted. I needed to talk with God for renewed strength and guidance. We all did. Many times before, I had been assailed by Satan emotionally, but never before physically. Alone in my room, near the closed door, I knelt to pray. I didn't know that my mother, who was in the next room with Lottie and the children, had also knelt to pray on her side of the door.

Down Under


Suddenly a thunderbolt over the door rocked me, followed by a second clap of thunder that vibrated through my head. Then a hand struck me in the back between the shoulder blades. I could feel cold fingers of a demon grasp my shoulders. At the same time, the Holy Ghost power within me rebuked this satanic force. I spoke in tongues more violently than ever before, and slowly, this black, terrible, demonic atmosphere retreated. All of a sudden, I felt a warm, beautiful sensation all over—from the hair of my head through my body to the bottom of my feet. Then the Lord spoke clearly to me: "Go to Sunshine! Go to Sunshine!" Sunshine? Did He want me to go out into the sunshine or was there a place called that? I just had to tell the Lord's message to the others. My mother already had a hold of the doorknob on the other side. I almost pulled her in on top of me. "I know what we're supposed to do," she cried exultantly. "The Lord just spoke to me." "What did He say, mother?" "Son, he said, 'Arise and go to Sunshine.' " "Praise the Lord," I shouted. "That is exactly what He told me." We learned that Sunshine is a suburb of Melbourne. The great revival started there and wound up in Melbourne itself, where we held meetings in different town halls, ending up in Richmond Theater, which was bought by the people and converted into Richmond Temple—all within twelve months of the Sunshine revival. Now the Pentecostal movement had its first permanent place of worship on the Australian continent. People flocked to Richmond Temple from all over the nation—and New Zealand—eager to receive Christ and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I shall never forget the force and beauty of this revival—the


Fire On Azusa Street

healings, the dramatic speaking in tongues, the prophesies—and the broad range of society that attended in brotherly love: the poorest, common laborers to the country's wealthiest. Many members of the House of Parliament came regularly, as well as Sir David Hought, Foreign Secretary. Dr. John Davidson, one-time managing editor of the world's largest law publication, brought his family and all received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Numerous denominational leaders came, including the Reverend J. M. Roberts, a Methodist minister for forty years. Despite a convincing move toward Pentecostalism there was still a hard core of opposition—especially from one of Australia's leading physicians, Dr. S. MacColl, connected with Melbourne's largest hospitals, and a powerful force among denominational religions. He strongly opposed me, publicly insisting that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was not for today. He also enlisted support of denominational churches against us Pentecostals, because people were leaving them to join Richmond Temple. There were so many front-page newspaper stories about healings and tongues in Melbourne papers—plus word-of-mouth— that Dr. MacColl and fellow medical doctors and surgeons attended one Sunday morning service in the Melbourne City Auditorium. They wanted to gather evidence to debunk supposed miraculous healings. One of the social elite, a Lady Carrington, whose husband was associated with the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, was also there, but for a different purpose. She wanted a healing for a disease in her back and a complication of pinched nerves which caused excruciating pain throughout her body. Doctors had given her only a short time to live. Right in the middle of my service, I heard a crack in the roof, as in New Zealand earlier. It was the awesome thunderous power of

Down Under


God. People up in the balcony were slain in the Holy Spirit, some falling against one another, some forward, and others slipping to the floor between seat rows. The same thing started on the first floor. This was a most magnificent display of the Holy Spirit's power. At the close of the service, Lady Carrington came forward, introduced herself and enthusiastically told me about the healing of her condition. "The Lord healed me," she said in joy, "but I want to tell you the spectacular way in which it happened. When people began to fall everywhere, something took me by the chin and lifted my chin up." She demonstrated just how it had been done, then continued: "As I looked up, I saw a whirling ball of fire, about twenty-four inches in diameter, come straight down. Before I could move, it hit me on top of the head. Fire raced down through my backbone. I knew I was healed. My tongue began to move rapidly in my mouth, and out came a strange, unknown language. Best of all, Jesus came into my heart." She asked me what that language was all about. "Lady Carrington," I replied. "God not only healed you and gave you salvation, He also baptized you in the Holy Ghost and fire." But Lady Carrington was not the only one who experienced a dramatic healing. All over the auditorium, people were jumping and leaping in the aisles and screaming, "I am healed. I am healed." After the meeting, Dr. MacColl sheepishly came up to me, his face ruddy with embarrassment. "I must apologize to you, Brother Valdez," he said. He pointed at a man going through vigorous gymnastics. "That is one of my patients. He is healed—no doubt about it. What he is doing now, he couldn't possibly do in his previous physical condition."


Fire On Azusa Street

He nodded toward a middle-aged woman, bending to the floor and touching her toes. "Another one of my patients. She could hardly move a finger before." Dr. MacColl indicated a Church of Christ minister nearby. All he was doing was breathing deeply through his nose—nothing remarkable. Then Dr. MacColl explained: "He had an appointment for surgery to remove a growth under his nose. It was so large that he couldn't breathe through his nostrils." There was nothing but normal, healthy, pink skin under his nose. Tears of joy skidded down his cheeks and he kept shouting jubilantly, "Praise the Lord, I'm healed. Healed!" The whole auditorium rang out with a joyous bedlam of praise, prayer, and tongues. Never in my life have I seen such mass healing. Never have I seen the love of the Lord melt away illness, blindness, deafness, physical handicaps, so dramatically. Dr. MacColl needed no more convincing. Nobody who was present did.

Chapter 15

Strictly Personal

Despite our intense concentration on evangelizing in Australia and, later, in the United States, Lottie and I never neglected the upbringing of our six sons and one daughter. All were reared according to Christian teaching in a God-filled home. Most of the time we could guide them with loving firmness, but when, on rare occasions, they disobeyed, I drew upon Bible wisdom—"Spare the rod, and spoil the child"—and applied a firm hand to their bottoms. Never was this done in anger. I always prayed for them first. God's blueprint for child-rearing resulted in seven happy, well-adjusted and successful adults—in marriage and careers. (Five of our sons are prosperous Christian businessmen). Love and prayer knitted our family together so well that the outside world could not unravel it. We brought our problems to God. Every morning before school, the children would kneel beside my chair for a blessing. God was wonderful to us health wise. When the children had an ailment of any kind, they would kneel beside my chair and ask for prayer. If not healed with the first praying, they would tell me, and I would do it again—sometimes two or three times before the condition was gone. Doctors and druggists would not have prospered on our family. We never spent so much as 500 for medical


Fire On Azusa Street

care or medicine. Our one and only Physician, who was in us and around us, always cured us. He was out of this world! So far as finances were concerned, we rarely took thought about tomorrow, because the Great Physician was also our Treasurer, and He took care of our budget and budgeting. Even during the depression of the 1930's, He always gave us good housing and plenty of nourishing food. Our Treasurer was also our Protector and Comforter in the trials of daily living. He always anticipated our needs, because He knows the end from the beginning. So many times He delivered the solution to a problem before we realized there had been one. I shall never forget how much I needed help for tent meetings. And who should rally to assist me in putting up my tent but the Pentecostal Isaac Shakarian family and their mission, the Armenian Church, which rallied around me as if it were their own project. God presented Isaac to me at the Azusa Street Mission, when he was fourteen and I was ten. Despite our age difference, we became close friends. I loved and enjoyed this Christian brother right up to his departure to be with the Lord. I am still fascinated with the story Isaac told me about how the Shakarians happened to discover the Azusa Street Mission. New from Armenia and unemployed, Isaac's father and his father's brother-in-law, Magardich Mushegan, eagerly seeking a job in the numerous livery stables on San Pedro Street near Azusa Street, heard a familiar sound over the whinnying of horses: people praising the Lord in tongues. It was surely of God, because they had no idea that any church in the nation worshipped God as their Armenian church did. A quarter of a century passed, and Isaac's son, Demos, later to become founder of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International, was my right hand man. Then a high school

Strictly Personal


student—strong, willing, and dedicated to the Lord—he helped ine put up and mend tents. Demos Shakarian managed some cf my meetings, two of which made evangelical history: a colossal tent meeting at Whittier and Goodrich in East Los Angeles, and another in Fresno (three weeks of ministering) where hundreds received Christ. I am grateful to Demos—not only for what he did then, but for what he has done since then: guiding and stimulating growth of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International which, through chapters all over the world, has brought countless millions to Christ. My gratitude goes also to Demos' lovely and gracious wife Rose, who has always been a source of spiritual blessing and strength to him. It is my strong conviction that the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International is playing a tremendous part in the worldwide charismatic breakthrough, a greater spiritual breakthrough than that of Martin Luther's day, for this one will end in the return of Jesus Christ. When Demos and I now meet from time to time, he reminds me of my days as a flying evangelist. I learned to fly in Seattle, Washington, in times when pilot training was not too formal or long. My instructor took two turns at it with me, jumped out of the cockpit and said, "It's all yours. See that high chimney over there? Don't head for that." "O.K.," I told him. I roared off the runway in a quick takeoff and while keeping out of the way of that high chimney, began to pray for a not too abrupt landing. My prayers were answered with a perfect three-point landing. I used an airplane to create comment and publicity for our meetings, launching a hundred or more small parachutes carrying bags of candy and an announcement of the meetings' time and place. Many of them plummeted to earth so fast that the U.S.


Fire On Azusa Street

Department of Commerce warned me that someone hit in the head could be injured—or even worse. Rather than risk doing away with people before they were saved, I went to something safer—sponge-rubber balls parachuted to areas such as playgrounds. An advertisement in the local newspaper would offer a small money reward for returning certain numbered balls and their parachutes to our tent. At the start of meetings, the kids would line up and present the balls and parachutes, collect their prizes, run home, and tell their parents what had happened. This turned out to be a splendid way to attract more people. Another successful promotion was trailing a forty-foot, sevenfoot wide, white linen sign from the airplane's landing gear. All it said in bold, black letters was "Hallelujah." The newspapers invariably publicized the "Hallelujah" airplane and our planned meetings and location. In tent meetings and church services, I met tens of thousands of individuals through the years and, in many instances, found a remarkable change that came over those baptized in the Holy Spirit. Many went through rejuvenation, almost like starting life anew. Similar to Aunt Fanny Lack, they became younger not only in spirit, but also physically. My dear brother W. A. Hinderliter, the first chairman of the board of elders of Angelus Temple, became markedly younger and more active with the quickening of the Holy Spirit. Even after passing his 100th birthday, he worked for Jesus, visiting the sick in hospitals and introducing many to Christ. God drew upon him until he was 108. Once a snow-white haired lady who told me she was 87 years of age asked me to pray to solve a difficult situation in her family. "Brother Valdez, I want you to pray for my father. He is discouraged." That puzzled me.

Strictly Personal


"Wait a minute, Sister," I said. "You are 87 years old, and you ask me to pray for your father?" She smiled, "Yes, here he comes!" Sure enough, an elderly gentleman with a shock of thick, coarse, white hair and deep wrinkles, strode briskly toward us. I was surprised at his erect posture and youthful steps. "Sister, you are 87. Tell me, how old is your father?" "Brother Valdez, he is 126." I learned that this man had been filled with the Holy Spirit long before Azusa Street and he had been serving God for all these years. As he joined us, I reached my hand out to him and said: "God bless you, my brother. I understand you are discouraged." He nodded, "Yes, Brother Valdez, for the first time in my life." That was some kind of record—one discouragement in thirteen decades! "Tell me about it." "Well," he said. "I've always taken care of the flower and vegetable garden around the house. I love to do that sort of work, but now my children won't let me do anything. They think I'm helpless and bought me a big easy chair in the front room and want me to sit there all day long like a Buddha. So I am deeply discouraged. Brother Valdez, why doesn't the Lord take me home?" I thought for an instant. "I know why. You are a permanent fixture, and you are going to stay around here as long as God wants you to. God has a purpose in letting you live—a purpose that you or I may not know. So don't be discouraged. God will bless you and give you peace, as He said He would." It didn't occur to me until after our conversation, but this man certainly served as an example to show others how long a person in the Spirit can live in good health. What an encouragement to those in their seventies or eighties. They're just kids with big things ahead!


Fire On Azusa Street

I am inclined to believe that God not only helps rejuvenate those baptized in His Holy Spirit, but also protects them from unnecessary stress when they do more than it seems physically possible in His work. Many of us build up unnecessary stress and deplete our energy and age too rapidly in the process. I doubt whether I would be in my ninth decade on earth if I didn't often turn to Jesus for energy, strength and endurance. He will take over if we ask Him to bear our load. He has for me. He will for you—no matter what your age. Effects of the Holy Spirit upon people during campaigns never cease to amaze and excite me. Ever fresh in my memory are campaigns which my son, A. C. Valdez, Jr., and I conducted throughout the world—South America, Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan, the South Sea Islands and Hawaii. Sometimes the power of the Holy Spirit would be so strong that a thousand persons would come up front to receive Christ. During thirteen days in Hawaii, more than 15,000 were converted. And miracles were used by the Holy Spirit, not only to heal but also to change hard-core unbelievers. Numerous Buddhists accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, even though they had been trained to believe that Buddha, rather than Jesus, was the prophet of God. Some of them who approached me to talk after meetings were college graduates. One said: "Brother Valdez, the reason we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour is that, tonight, we discovered beyond a doubt that Jesus is greater than Buddha. We've taken our children to our priest and had them ministered to, and nothing ever happened. But, before our eyes, we saw the blind receive their sight and the deaf and dumb hear and speak and the lame walk. We are convinced that Jesus is the greatest of all, and He is our Saviour." I couldn't agree with him more. How many times He came through for me! Our boys went through two wars—World War II

Strictly Personal


and the Korean conflict—and came back to us safe and sound with only minor scratches and scars. And, during my complete devastation in 1956 when Lottie died, He was there again to soothe a wound that I thought would never stop aching. I can't imagine what life would be like without Him. Yes, I can. It would not be life. Again, He was there when my mother, almost ninety, unsteady and losing confidence after several bad falls, retired from evangelizing. Guitar in hand, she traveled by Greyhound bus from California to Phoenix, where we met her at the station to bring her home. Memories crowded in on me when she said she had little time left to live: The night in my boyhood when she spoke in tongues at my bedside . . . Azusa Street together . . . stories of her work with Dr. Yoakum at Pisgah House . . . playing her guitar and introducing the lost and lonely to Christ in the poorly lit slums. It was more than I could stand when she handed me the guitar. Never again would she play a chord or sing Christian songs. Shortly after this, Jesus called her home. I consoled myself with having Jesus and my son Alfred, Jr., who had completed his worldwide evangelistic efforts to settle in one place. God directed him to Wisconsin, where a pastorate for him opened in what is known as the Milwaukee Evangelistic Temple. That was a wonderful opportunity because, in one year, almost 30,000 came to his altar for salvation. He never asked any of the saved to join his church, but rather to return to their home churches and tell the story of what had happened to them. Many did just that and received mixed response. Sometimes their pastors were impressed. Other times they were deeply upset. Little by little, many drifted to the Milwaukee Evangelistic Temple which, at one time, had 1,600 members, with hardly any solicitation on my son's part.


Fire On Azusa Street

God blessed him in a wonderful way for he had a great love foicongregation members of all ages—particularly senior citizens. They knew it, and how they loved him! It was a terrible blow when God, who is sovereign, took my son, after 37 years in the ministry, because I had always hoped that, someday, he would take the torch from me. The torch is still in my hand. Many times I was guest preacher at Milwaukee Evangelistic Temple. As I looked out over the large congregation, I noted one particular face. The face and its sweet expression belonged to a grey-haired lady named Evelyn, who always sat directly beneath the pulpit, raptly attentive to Bible teachings. There was such strong compatibility between us that, in 1968, we were married. Today Evelyn is my associate in an evangelical program which still involves my preaching all over the world. My activities in the Lord have slowed down a trifle in recent years, but I will not relinquish them entirely until I receive final orders from Supreme Headquarters. During my seven decades in the ministry, I have seen many astounding miracles. No miracle is small. All are great, but two of the miracles that are most fantastic and soul-satisfying to me are being involved in a person's coming to Christ, and in seeing how the Holy Spirit transforms and beautifies the faces of temples which He enters. Nothing can possibly be more glorious than the way the Holy Spirit shines from eyes and radiates from loving faces. A pure, sweet temple of the Holy Spirit—something made in Heaven to be enjoyed on earth—never fails to warm me with happiness.

Chapter 16

The Holy Spirit and You

Nowadays people are in such a rush that they want a short-cut to being baptized in the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. Their attitude often is "Lay hands on me, and—presto!—it will happen." Well, it doesn't usually come about in that way. If it does, you can be sure that the person has prepared himself or herself in ways of which we are not aware. Short-cuts bother me, because they often delay the results or even make them unsuccessful. Today we see men of letters teaching others how to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit and how to speak in tongues. It is almost like saying: "Poor God, we know that You are having a hard time filling everybody, so we have to help You." Actually, God doesn't need your help or mine. He will give the baptism in the Holy Spirit but only according to His requirements: sufficient hunger for Him, a yielded spirit, being of one accord with Him and His commandments, and having a clean temple. If we satisfy them, all we have to do is step aside and let Him work in us. In Azusa Street days that is the way it was. Oh, we did lay hands on some when God led us that way, but usually they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit before we could lay hands


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on them. Although it is not always necessary to tarry to receive this baptism, we can't run ahead of God either. We must accept His timing. Don't forget that King Saul of Israel lost his kingdom because he got ahead of the Lord. Remember that he had strict orders to wait until the arrival of Samuel, the priest and prophet of God. Samuel was then supposed to make a sacrifice and offering to the Lord. But the people were frightened. The breath of the Philistines was hot on their necks. The temptation was great, Saul yielded and offered up a burnt offering and sacrifice. Just as he had finished, Samuel appeared and reprimanded him: "You've disobeyed the commandment of the Lord. Therefore, the Lord is taking away from you the kingdom and giving it to a man after His own heart." Well, individuals who try to outrace the Lord will not necessarily lose their chance for baptism in the Holy Spirit, but they will have done nothing to enhance it. The Holy Spirit baptism is not a right. It is a gift based on God's grace, rather than our merit, although we cannot leave the whole job to God. Some present-day teachers, without even asking if students are baptized in the Holy Spirit, instruct them in how to speak in tongues. This violates God's order of things as described in the Scripture. "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to, speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." First, the Holy Spirit baptism occurs, then tongues—not the other way around. I am frightened by the practice of some men of letters in theology who are teaching speaking in tongues, while leap-frogging over qualifications and requirements of the Holy Spirit to have

The Holy Spirit And You


this gift. It is impossible for those who have not been born again, who haven't passed from death to life, who haven't been translated out of the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light and been baptized in the Holy Spirit, to speak in tongues, provided as a gift of God. Note carefully that expression, "provided as a gift of God." Certainly it is possible to speak in tongues with sponsorship other than the Holy Spirit's. Satan, the great imitator, can counterfeit "tongues" and—at the same time—invade those who practice the counterfeit gift with his demons. It is also possible to delude students into thinking that they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit when they are merely using mind, tongue, breath and vocal chords and saying whatever comes into their minds. Those responsible for misleading the untutored are also depriving them of Holy Spirit power and protection so desperately needed in these last days. The Scripture says, " . . . kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last times." The slowest route to baptism in the Holy Spirit is often the fastest: the basics of readying ourselves as God wishes. Remember how the Lord withheld the baptism in the Holy Spirit from me for three months due to my argumentativeness with the Jewish youth? We must take the time to cleanse our temple, to ask forgiveness for our sins, to become holy, and to bring a broken spirit before the Lord. The Holy Spirit will not come into an unclean temple. Sinless perfection cannot live within sinful imperfection. Under the Old Testament economy, we know that God dwelt in the temple and spoke to the priest in this temple as he went before God asking forgiveness for the sins of Israel for another year.


Fire On Azusa Street

Under the New Testament economy, the Scriptures are very clear that ". . . ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." So the temple must be cleansed before the Holy Spirit will come in. That is why it is important to wait before God. The high priest in Old Testament days had to cleanse the temple by blood—an animal sacrifice. Inside the temple, he sprinkled blood over the Ark, and it had to be clean before the Holy Spirit would speak to the priest. Holiness and purity come first. Likewise, Jesus shed His blood on the cross for our sins—to help us cleanse our temple, to bring us salvation from sin, to give us Heaven and eternal life. He gives us even more—the desire to be made "a new creature in Christ." We just don't decide that we want to be born again. Salvation is of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord influences us. As the Bible says, "No man can come to the Son, except the Spirit draws him." According to the Scripture, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God . . ." Even after being born again and seemingly having done everything necessary, some individuals still may not be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we have failed to yield ourselves completely to Jesus and are still subject to old sin habit patterns. Being born again wipes out our sins, but it does not license us to continue sinning. God expects us to take advantage of our new birth and grow away from the Adam and Eve in ourselves toward Him. None of us can judge when we are ready to receive the baptism

The Holy Spirit And You


in the Holy Spirit. Nor can any outsider. Only the Holy Spirit knows. And He comes in His own time and in His own manner. Pockets of darkness may remain in the temple: concealed sin habits or unrecognized sins. How can we break the steel grip of concealed sin habits? By turning to Jesus with a contrite heart and placing the burden on Him in faith. How can we become aware of unrecognized sins? By holding up the Bible's negative and positive mirrors to ourselves. I do it by asking myself these questions: "Do you ever put your will above God's? Do you ever resist God's commandments? Are you ever rebellious—no matter how subtly? Do you falter in your love for God when problems are the heaviest? Are you envious, proud, hateful, slanderous, unforgiving, bitter in spirit? Do you bear false witness, lie or cheat? Are you ever hypocritical, malicious, ill-tempered? Do you ever entertain adulterous thoughts?" Then I try the positive mirror, asking: "Do you pray to learn the will of God and then follow it? Are you always loving to God, your neighbor and strangers? Are you peaceful, joyous, long-suffering, strong in faith, meek, gentle and good? Are you always aware of the ten commandments and God's golden rule in your conduct of life?" Unfortunately, deterrents to Holy Spirit baptism come not only from inside the temple, but also the outside. Though increasing numbers of church members sense that the Holy Spirit baptism is for today and for them, they fear ostracism by their pastor and fellow congregation members. The Bible promises us the "latter rain," the falling of the Holy Spirit as in Azusa Street days. These are times when people should think for themselves. The Scripture says, " . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." If millionaires were



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as careless in their business as the Christian world is with salvation and baptism in the Holy Spirit, they would soon become paupers. The Bible promises baptism in the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentence: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." (Matt. 3:11). The same information comes in Mark 1:8, and, again, in Luke 3:16. John says, "And I knew Him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." (John 1:33). And in the Old Testament, the power of the Holy Spirit is cited again and again. Those who believe that the power of the Holy Spirit is no longer available to man either do not know Bible history or are ignoring it. This greatest force ever known is the EXECUTIVE of the Godhead, the articulator of the Godhead. Genesis 1:2 says, ". . . and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." No one can go back farther than the beginning. The work of the Holy Spirit starts with the creation. The Holy Spirit has always been available and will be as long as there is an earth. The Old Testament often refers to the move of the Holy Spirit in prophets, priests and kings, the giving of gifts to special ones—no different than in the present dispensation: "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the Son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving

The Holy Spirit And You


of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship." (Ex. 31:1-5). This gift to Bezaleel will help us realize how God will move into our brain, hands and fingers—if needed—to accomplish His will and purpose. The Holy Spirit can do anything in any of us. The more I study the work of the Holy Spirit, the more I realize that we have scarcely scratched the surface. When Pharaoh saw the rare talent and abilities of Joseph, he recognized that he was a Spirit-filled man. "And Pharoah said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?" (Gen. 41:38). The Spirit of the Lord came down upon Gideon (Judges 6:34), who with only 300 men, scored a smashing victory over countless legions of Midianites showing that, with God, odds against us mean nothing. God does not need man's help, but since He has chosen to work through sanctified men, God and one man is all He needs. Even mighty Samson could not have killed a lion with his hands, slain one thousand Philistines and pulled down a temple without the mightiest power that ever existed—the Holy Spirit, as cited in Judges 13:25; 14:6; 14:19; and 15:14-16. In almost seven decades in the ministry, I am as nothing until my feet are behind the pulpit. Then the Spirit of God comes upon me, and out pours a message that I could never have composed. It has to be His, not mine. There are many more references to the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament, the schoolmaster who takes us by the hand to Jesus Christ and the New Testament. Isaiah prophesied what would take place under the new covenant with God on the Day of Pentecost. (Isaiah 28:11-12). Remember, this revelation came to him about 800 years before its fulfillment: "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to


Fire On Azusa Street

this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." At the same time, Joel—as quoted in an earlier chapter—was moved by God's Spirit to describe the same event and link this outpouring of God's Holy Spirit with the coming of our Great God and Redeemer, Jesus. (Joel 2:28-32). Eight centuries later, Paul gave the same prophecy and then added, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe." (I Cor. 14:22). If we had only the prophecy and the fact of prophetic fulfillment, these would prove the authenticity of the inspiration of God's Word. After resurrection, Jesus gathered His apostles and commanded them that they should not depart, but shoukP'wait for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence" (Acts 1:4-5). And then came the day of Pentecost when 120, including the mother of Jesus, received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and witnessed fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah and Joel. From that time on, Jesus, seated at the right hand of God, gave commandments to His apostles through the Holy Ghost. (Acts 1:2). Just as God the Father promised the coming of His Son, in turn, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the latter months of His ministry, promised: ". . . It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." (John 16:7). Importance of the Holy Spirit is shown not only in events but

The Holy Spirit And You


also in frequency of mention in the Bible: 142 times under fifteen different names in the Old Testament and 256 times under seven different names in the New Testament. Noting the Holy Spirit's prominence in the Bible—398 references—it is sad that He is obscure as a person and power in the church of Jesus Christ today. Let us bear in mind that the Holy Spirit is a person, not just an influence—the third person of the Trinity. The words of Jesus, John 14:16, show that the Holy Spirit is a person and will always be with us: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." Some sixty years after the Pentecost, when the early church was already in decline, the Bible, in Jude 3, offered a warning not to let the Pentecost be taken away: "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Even before that, in Acts 2:38-39, Peter said baptism in the Holy Spirit was not just for the early Christians, but for all: " . . . Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Some persons think that the Holy Spirit did not baptize men after the day of Pentecost mentioned in the Book of Acts. This is not true. My in-depth study of twenty-six theological writers and Pentecostals from the first century A.D. through the 19th century shows many instances of Holy Spirit baptism, speaking in tongues, interpretation, miracles, discernment, knowledge,


Fire On Azusa Street

and, among others, casting out of demons. Harper's Bible Dictionary states clearly of the charismata "...that this phenomenon is by no means restricted to early Christianity, is universally recognized... It was common in the Christian community as late as Terullian (160-220 A.D.) and Irenaeous (130-202 A.D.)." Martin Luther passed through great religious crises which led into the evangelical experience of knowing that the just shall live by faith. He became convinced that God was neither malicious nor capricious but gracious, offering salvation by grace and through faith alone, it not being earned, but a gift. He described this experience: "I felt myself being reborn and to have gone through open doors into Paradise. The whole of the Scripture took on a new meaning." That Luther's conviction was sealed with the charismata is verified in Sour's History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, Page 406, which referred to him as a "Prophet, evangelist, speaker in tongues and interpreter in one person, endowed with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit." Some modern scholars do not accept Dr. Sour's conception of speaking in tongues, but others accept his definition as well as the other experiences of a charismatic nature, faithfully recorded in the works of the reformation. Like Martin Luther, John Calvin (1509-1564), the leader of French Protestantism, admitted that the Spirit supplied him with words, regulated his tongue and prayed through him. In Commentaries Upon Corinthians by Calvin (Grand Rapid, Michigan, 1949, Vol. 1, p. 437) Calvin writes: "There are, at present, great theologians who declaim against them (tongues) with furious zeal, as it is certain that the Holy Spirit has here honored the use of tongues with never dying praise. We may readily gather what is the kind of spirit that actuates these reformers who level as many reproaches as they can

The Holy Spirit And You


against the pursuit of them . . . Paul, nevertheless, commends the use of tongues. So far is he from wishing them abolished or thrown away." John Wesley, the charismatic leader of Methodism, considered one of the great Christians of his time, wrote a commentary that might apply to establishment churches of today. (Journal of John Wesley, 15th August, 1750). "By reflecting on an old book which I had read in the journey, I was fully convinced of what I had long suspected: that the Montanists in the second and third centuries were real scriptural Christians; and that the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were soon withdrawn was, not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost, but that dry, formal, orthodox men began even to then ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all, as either madness or imposture." Centuries later some individuals still scoff at the gift of "tongues" or glossolalia—utterances by the Holy Spirit in languages not known by the speaker or understood by the hearer. Several researchers in linguistics say glossolalia is not real language, only fragments of phrases or strings of meaningless syllables, sounds put together at random that give the impression of real language. Certain persons say it is gibberish. The headlines of a Los Angeles Times story on early Azusa Street meetings read: "Weird Gargle of Wordless Talk Stirs New 'Religious' Sect to Frenzy in Azusa Street Shack." What is the other side of the case? Historically, at Pentecost in the Book of Acts, witnesses testified that tongues spoken were definitely languages. Government and university language experts at Charles F. Parham's Bethel House checked various speakers in tongues—Agnes Ozman, Parham, and others, and found them to be speaking identifiable languages.

Fire On Azusa Street


I am personally aware of numerous speakers in tongues whose words have been verified by authorities as existing languages. A Swedish missionary couple whom I remember from Azusa days only as Brother and Sister Hanson had a rather unique language blessing when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire. They both spoke identifiable tongues and, shortly after, were sent to China by their missionary board. There the Holy Spirit chose to bless Sister Hanson richly in languages, empowering her to spread the gospel in Chinese dialects for every area in which she and her husband were stationed. When my Aunt Mary Bertin was filled with the Holy Ghost, she, too, was given the gift of several tongues. During a meeting held in a San Bernardino theater, where the manager, a Frenchman, and many theater people were present, she felt the Spirit come over her and erupted in tongues—in a language different from any she had ever before used. All eyes focused upon her. Speaking eloquently, she walked up and down the aisle, arms crossed in front of her. After the service the manager, smiling warmly, approached and shook her hand. "You speak the most beautiful and purest French I have ever heard," he said. "You quoted the second chapter of the Book of Acts about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire, explaining that speaking in tongues is a definite sign to the unbeliever." The manager and his party were amazed to learn that she did not know a word of French. Once when Aunt Mary was preaching and singing on a street corner, a group of Jewish people, out of curiosity, stopped to listen. Suddenly the power of the Spirit came over her, and she preached to them in a language she had never before heard. Now they really paid attention. After she concluded the service, the newcomers surrounded her. "You speak Yiddish well. How long have you spoken the language?"

The Holy Spirit And You


"This was the first time," she replied. That puzzled them, but it did open the way for her to explain "tongues" and witness to them in English. God helps such dedicated, consecrated and sanctified channels with whatever languages and words they need, but in these last days, God, too, has a need. He requires many more channels to bring the gospel to all peoples and nations.

Chapter 17

Awesome Things To Come

All the electrifying adjectives in the dictionary shaken together, pressed down and running over will not begin to describe the soon-to-come, greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit of all times —what the Bible calls "the latter rain." My purpose in presenting some glimpses of Azusa Street history—Bonnie Brae to Azusa and Seventh and Los Angeles Streets—was to show what God did for His people under particular conditions of a particular time, as a preview of exciting future events. You are going to see lay members carry out an amazing ministry through gifts of the Holy Spirit. There will be wholesale cures of "incurable" conditions, healings of the blind, deaf, dumb, and handicapped, and creative miracles that will strain the imagination. For those born without eyes, ears, fingers, arms, or legs—or those who have lost them through disease or accidents—God will make new ones. Many astonishing miracles will happen to bring on an international Christian breakthrough. The Babel of denominationalism will cease. The Lord Jesus Christ, our general, is mobilizing the largest Christian army in the church's history. God is breathing on our Catholic brothers and sisters, numbering 700,000,000. Catholics and Protestants, already beginning to worship God to-


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gether, will soon be united in the true church, the Bride of Christ. But while the Holy Spirit is working wonderful, constructive deeds, Satan will be feverishly working awful, destructive deeds to make Christians waver in their faith, and to shatter the morale and hope of the unsaved so that they will stay in his domain, instead of turning to their only hope: Jesus. Satan's major weapon against Christians will be persecution, which Jesus predicted would be a sign of His second coming: " . . . cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake; but he that endureth to the end shall be saved " (Matt. 10:22-23). Some are going to experience what Jesus did, for as He said, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled " (Luke 21:22) "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matt. 24:22). Beyond a doubt the elect—God's people— will be on earth then. Despite trials, God's people will triumph. Many are afraid to hear of these things or refuse to believe them, because they seem negative. Today, if you don't just repeat "love, love, love" and stick to everything positive, people won't listen. You have to sound like a politician working with his constituency. But Jesus spoke these things, and nobody then called it negative preaching. Bible teaching is honest in saying, " . . . God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). That is positive preaching. When the Scripture says, "Men's hearts will fail them for fear of those things that are coming upon the earth," (Luke 21:26) it is not talking about God"s people—only about sinners. Have we who are God's people anything to fear? Of course not.

Awesome Things To Come


We know the one source of protection: God. When these things come to pass, we will lift our heads and rejoice, for our redemption draws nigh. We will have the power and the joy—the sweetest anointing, for we will be led by the Holy Spirit in every move we make. Then, as in Azusa days, God's people will be on their knees. They will want to stay there and pray. It will be difficult to get them off their knees, because they will feel the need of God as never before. Under those conditions, God's people will draw near to God, and God will fulfill His promise and draw near to His people. They will want to go to church. They will be tried in their spirits, hungering to get to evening services, not for a social event or ego satisfaction, but to get closer to Jesus—the real purpose for going to church. That will be the day when we will truly want the support of our elder brother, Jesus, when we will want to hide in Christ, in God, the only place of safety and security. There will then be no strain on the minister—waiting to see if people will attend church that night or how they will respond to the message. God's people will be eager to get to church, to pray, to hear the gospel, to make sure that they are in the will of God in word, thought and action. Unlike the man who builds his house upon the sand, God's people, His faithful little children, will continue to listen to and follow God's Word. "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock." (Matt. 7:24). When the winds and storms and floods came and beat upon his house in all their fury, it didn't fall because it was soundly built on the Rock of Ages— the Lord Jesus Christ. So God's people will tell the truth of salvation. They will warn others that, if they refuse God, there is one predictable conse-


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quence: hellfire and brimstone. Even in this life people who don't live for Jesus have to pay the price, for the Scripture says "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." The Bible is the criterion. Let us take Bible truths to the world. If we do that, our hands will be clean, and on the day of judgment we won't be ashamed, because we have given out the Word of God that makes all men free. If God gave us such strong Holy Spirit power under conditions existing during Azusa days, we can look forward to something even more tremendous and earthshaking. That is why Satan is working so hard to sidetrack God's people and those who haven't come to God through Jesus. The Bible was never more important than in these times, for Satan has his counterfeit sermons, distractions, distortions that, to some, appear to be the real Word. Satan will be working overtime with all power, signs and wonders, with all deceitfulness and unrighteousness. Jesus warned us to be on guard. One of the first signs before His coming will be all sorts of satanic deceptions. "Take heed lest any man deceive you." God's Word, prayerfully read, should be our guidepost. About the second coming of Jesus, I challenge God's ministers and all of God's little children to take Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, as the truth on the subject. The disciples went to the top authority, Jesus Himself, and asked, "When are You coming back?" What Jesus answered is the true answer, not what some book writers tell us. There are five different schools of thought about when Jesus will return. Why depend upon books written by men, when you have available a book written by the hand of God, which offers the best authority? Jesus warned us of deception, because He is God and knows the end from the very beginning. He knows there will be grave

Awesome Things To Come


danger of being taken in. Our best policy is to stay with the Bible, the framework that the carpenter from Nazareth nailed together for us in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. If what men's books say or what they tell us doesn't fit in that framework, it is not worth considering. God's Word just the way it is written is the truth, and I am saying that as one who belongs to a church that wasn't given the right to think about and interpret the Scripture—I didn't have the divine capacity. Only the pastor had that. It was frightening when God opened my eyes to see how far astray we had gone by following that sort of direction. In the Valdez household, we made up our minds that regardless of who was preaching, that person had to produce chapter and verse to be accepted. What a blessing that, while listening to the pastor, we could follow what he was reading with our own Bibles and then listen attentively to his sermon. Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we could get a clear revelation of the truth. Living in, walking with and keeping filled with the Spirit make us qualified to read and interpret the Word, and the Word of God has no private interpretation. Nothing but the Bible should be a criterion on any particular subject in the Bible, because it is not only the Word, it is the last word. And it will make us free in these last days, when signs that Jesus predicted will be revealed. I want to know that I am in His divine favor. These are not times for risk-taking. I want to know I am born again, that I have had a real baptism in the Holy Spirit and am blessed with the sweet anointing of the Holy Spirit. I want you to know this, too. That is why I have gone carefully back to the first chapter of Genesis and through the Old Testament to help you realize the prominence and importance of the great office held by the Holy Spirit. Within yielded and clean vessels, the Holy Spirit becomes


Fire On Azusa Street

resident. He guides us in things we should be doing as a part of God's kingdom while still on earth. We have seen the linking of the Old and New Testaments through the Holy Spirit, the baptism in the Holy Ghost of 120 on the day of Pentecost, and testimonies of early reformers—Martin Luther, Calvin and John Wesley, who helped us move into and enjoy our spiritual experiences today. I also offered a bit of history of the Spanish Franciscan fathers with whom my forefathers lived and by whom they were instructed—men who were filled with the Holy Ghost in an order founded by St. Francis of Assisi, who was filled with the Holy Ghost, spoke in tongues, spread love, healed the sick and worked miracles. I can trace the baptism in the Holy Ghost in my family for more than 150 years, and, therefore, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not new to us. I thank God for the inheritance He gave our family, because when 1906 arrived—the time of that great Azusa Street spiritual earthquake in Los Angeles—we accepted and became a part of it. In those days, a mighty cloud from heaven all over Los Angeles brought conviction upon tens of thousands of people. And now, we are on the edge of a spectacular, international, theological breakthrough on an imagination-staggering scale. Do you think that Christian soldiers recruited through a "latter rain" of the Holy Spirit will not be met by Satan's massive recruitment program? Billy Graham says that persecution has started all over the world, because Satan is angry about the great spiritual revival now growing in numbers and tempo. In these last days, you can multiply what happened in the Holy Spirit on Azusa Street by 10,000 times, and you will be near to the truth of what will soon happen. I do not fear these times, because I am in God. You need not fear these times if you are in God. It is

Awesome Things To Come


only those who remain a decision away from receiving Christ who have something to fear. I only hope that God lets me live to see those glorious times, for this will be the revival of revivals that will definitely cleave the Church (God's domain) from the world (Satan's domain). And the Lord will take that church, clothed in pure, white linen, which is the holiness of saints, and make it His bride. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. With holiness, any man can. No human imagination can predict the ecstasy, the joy beyond joy or the beauty beyond beauty, that the Lord plans for us. Persecution, wars, natural disasters that are to come upon earth won't shake my faith, because the Bible tells me that they won't. In the not too distant future, the second coming of Christ will be upon us. I am looking up with expectancy. My chin wants to stay up all the time, because I already know of my redemption. Jesus will appear, resplendent, in the air above the earth, and humdrum worldly activities will suddenly halt. Paul has said that the dead in Christ will rise first and then we, in Christ, who are alive shall be caught up to meet Jesus in the air. And don't forget how it is stated in the Bible. He is not coming to meet us. We are going to meet Him. Then we are going somewhere with Him. If you believe the Bible, you know that place is the Mount of Olives. And that mountain is going to split right in half, and a beautiful river is going to flow through Jerusalem. So shall we ever be with the Lord!

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