AN ARTICLE in the first issue of The Apostolic Faith paper describes the meetings on Azusa Street. “God began to manifest His power and soon the building could not contain the people. Proud, well-dressed preachers come in to ‘investigate.’ Soon their high looks are replaced with wonder, then conviction comes, and very often you will find them in a short time wallowing on the dirty floor, asking God to forgive them and make them as little children.”
When Florence Crawford went to her first meeting at the mission, she had been saved but not sanctified. She quickly recognized that the people there had what her spirit was hungering for. “It was not a fine hall, but just an old barn-like building with an old board laid on two chairs for an altar. The floor was carpeted with sawdust; the walls and beams blackened by smoke. I looked around to see if anybody saw me go in, but I would not have cared if the whole world saw me go out. I had found a people who had the experience I wanted,” she reported.
“From Monday till Friday I sought God at every possible moment,” she related. “That Friday afternoon at the mission, the preacher stopped and said, ‘Somebody in this place wants something from God.’ I pushed the chairs away in front of me and fell at the altar, and there God sanctified me.” She later referred to this experience as “the most choice treasure of my life.”
Soon, God poured out the Pentecostal experience on her life. “As I sat in my chair in the mission,” she recounted, “the Holy Ghost fell from Heaven. My tongue, which had never spoken a word but English began to magnify and praise God in Chinese. Rivers of joy and divine love flooded my soul. It was wonderful, but the greatest joy to my heart was that I had received the power to witness to lost souls.” A Chinese man was present, and hearing her speak in his native tongue, he came and listened in amazement and then said, “Chinese white woman!”
From then on, Florence Crawford’s burning desire was to spread the message that Pentecost had come. Touched by what has been called the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in history, this dynamic woman threw her energy into Gospel work. She immediately associated herself with the Azusa Street organization, and was soon accepted into the core group who helped to set policy at the mission.
In 1906, the group that gathered on Azusa Street in Los Angeles were holiness people who were saved and sanctified. They had read about the baptism of the Holy Ghost in God’s Word, and they came together and prayed specifically that they might receive it—a fact documented in history. The fire fell, they received the promised power, and the Pentecostal movement in the United States began. Florence Crawford was one of those who received the Spirit’s infilling in those meetings. Later, she felt led to come to Portland, Oregon, and established the Apostolic Faith Church headquarters in this city.
1. What were the core doctrines taught by the Azusa ministry?
2. In our key verse, what three things does the Psalmist instruct us to remember? Give an example of each.
3. One reporter who wrote prolifically about the Azusa revival penned these words: “The ‘color line’ was washed away in the Blood.” What spiritual truth did he capture in that statement?
Clara Lum’s Testimony
Clara Lum's reports in the Azusa Street Mission's Apostolic Faith paper whetted the spiritual appetites of people worldwide. In one early edition, she gave part of her testimony:
“Thank God for deliverance from all sin through the precious Blood. I had been sanctified . . . When I came to Azusa Mission, I went in for the baptism with the Holy Ghost immediately. Had some digging to do, but the Lord met me. I was filled with the Holy Ghost many times and was shaken many times by the power of God. But when I became a little child, clay in His hands, He baptized me with the Holy Ghost. At first He spoke just a few words through me. But recently He spoke different languages and sang songs in unknown tongues. Just lately the Lord healed me of quite a severe sickness. He has given me better health than ever, for which I thank Him. O, it was so sweet to have Him talk and sing through me when I was sick, during the night seasons. Sometimes I sang for hours and in a new voice and it did not tire me. He also interpreted. He said, ‘Jesus is coming.’ It rejoiced me so much, and then He sang a song right from Heaven about His coming. O, praise God for the privilege of being in His work here.” – Clara Lum