TODAY, February 22, 1906, a young Holiness preacher named William Seymour arrived in Los Angeles to become the associate pastor of a small church pastored by Julia Hutchins. Miss Hutchins wanted to go to Africa as a missionary and intended to leave her church in the care of Seymour, who had been studying at a small faith Bible institute in Houston. Seymour felt that God was calling him to Los Angeles and agreed to come.
However, Hutchins quickly decided Seymour was not the man she wanted after all; he preached that speaking in tongues was the sign of Holy Spirit filling, which she did not believe. A meeting with denominational officials led to Seymour finding himself locked out of the church. Now Seymour was in a quandary: he had no c as a horse stable and storage place for the local lumber companies. They named their church “The Apostolic Faith Mission.”
For pews they laid planks atop the nail barrels from the lumber supply. They laid sawdust on the floor to help with the “horsey smell” and began to pray that God would take them deeper and higher in His holiness. Crowds gathered, and revival broke out. Men and women of many doctrinal backgrounds, white and black, confessed their sins, testified of God’s power, and spoke in tongues. The press jeered. Unfazed, Seymour held three services a day, seven days a week for three years. Converts fanned out across California to share their enthusiasm.Through eyewitness accounts and newspaper stories, thousands heard of the revival and flocked to Los Angeles to experience the phenomenon for themselves. Many returned home to spread the fervor. The noisiness of Pentecostal meetings, the babble of tongues, and the frequent refusal of adherents to accept medical care brought them into derision and even outright persecution. However, their call for a transforming encounter with God through the Holy Spirit and their demand for a faithful witness to Christ were not easily brushed aside. Seymour told his audiences, “Don’t go out of here talking about tongues; talk about Jesus.” The modern Pentecostal movement traces its lineage back to these historic meetings.