God’s Moving at Azusa Mission1
“While my husband and I were attending a Free Methodist camp meeting in June 1906, we heard there was a company of people in an old building, speaking in tongues as on the day of Pentecost. My husband passed by the building and heard such wonderful singing in the Spirit.
“I went with him, and as we entered the old building, somehow I was touched by the presence of God. It was such a humble place with its low ceilings and rough floor. Cobwebs were hanging in the windows and joists. As I looked around I thought of Jesus when He came to earth and was born in a manger. There was no place for Him in the inn. I thought of the fine churches in Los Angeles, but the Lord had chosen His humble spot to gather all nationalities, to baptize them with the Holy Ghost.
“The building was soon cleaned out and the ceilings were whitewashed. A large box served as the pulpit. William J. Seymour (one of the leaders) stayed behind the box on his knees before the Lord, hidden away from the eyes of the world so much of the time. Oh, how God used that old black brother and gave him wisdom as He did Moses to lead and teach the people.
“The first afternoon I went there about twelve of God’s children, white and black, were tarrying before the Lord, some sitting and some kneeling. My attention was especially drawn to two young men, a Brother Clifford and a Brother Johnson. (The latter soon after went to Sweden and later to Palestine as a missionary.) These two young men were sitting with eyes closed, with faces uplifted toward heaven. With a heavenly glow on their faces, they spoke in tongues to themselves and to God.
My soul cried out, ‘O Lord, these people have something I do not have.’
Brother Seymour gave out the Word and made an altar call, inviting the people to seek the Lord for pardon or sanctification or the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I thought, ‘Well, praise God, he is not doing away with any of my experiences or beliefs but just adding to my experience — the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which he said could only come to a clean heart.’
“I went home and began to search the Word of God. I saw that it was in the Bible. And then I went again to the mission in July 1906. By that time crowds were beginning to gather. This time when Brother Seymour gave the altar call, I went with many others to the altar. Raising my hands toward heaven, I said, ‘Lord, I want my inheritance, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire.’ Instantly in the Spirit I saw as it were a bright star away in the distance and my very soul cried out to God. Oh, I knew it was God, and as He came nearer, He was in the form of a beautiful white dove. As He came so close I thought I was going to receive the baptism. I was then slain upon the floor. Then the Lord began to deal with me. I had died out to everything of which I knew and believed. I had a clean heart in the sight of God, but He asked me about my denomination. I said, ‘Lord, my church will receive anything that is from you.’ Then I was shaken by the power of God. … The Lord knew that my church would not receive the experience. So he had me die out to opinions of my church before He could baptize me with the Holy Spirit.
“Later the Lord showed me that I must go to Springfield, Missouri, and tell my family what he had done for me. He wanted them to hear the blessed message. So in May 1907 my husband agreed that I should go to Springfield. Before leaving I went to the Azusa Street Mission and asked the believers to pray with me that the Lord would make His will plain. The evidence came so clearly: ‘My child, you may go and I will be with you.’ After the believers gathered around me and laid their hands on my head and prayed, they gave me a minister’s license.
“On the way to Springfield by train, I traveled with a dear black woman who had been at the Azusa Street Mission and who was on her way to carry the glad message to Africa. We talked with everyone we could about the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The conductor gave us permission to hold services on the train, and the people listened intently and many were convicted.
“After arriving in Springfield, the Holy Spirit spoke through me in tongues and then gave the interpretation: ‘The Holy Spirit as a dove shall hover over this place.’
“Soon the neighbors came in to inquire about the great Pentecostal revival in Los Angeles. After telling them how the Lord baptized me with the Holy Spirit, I said, ‘We have been talking of the wonderful works of God. Let us kneel down and pray before you leave.’ And while I was praying, the Holy Spirit prayed through me in other tongues. When my sister heard me praying in tongues, she reached her hands toward heaven and cried, ‘O Lord, this is You, and I want the baptism in the Holy Spirit.’ She was slain under the mighty power of God and received the baptism, spoke and sang in tongues. She was the first to receive the baptism in Springfield. How precious and holy the very atmosphere seemed in that all-night meeting, June 1, 1907.
“The power began to fall that night and has been falling ever since and will continue until Jesus comes. Hallelujah.”
Rachel A. Sizelove
1. Wayne E. Warner, ed., Touched By the Fire (Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, 1978), 9–12.
In 1913, Rachel Sizelove returned to Springfield. One afternoon while alone in her sister’s house, the Lord showed her a vision. “There appeared before me a beautiful, bubbling, sparkling fountain in the heart of Springfield,” she later described it. “It sprang up gradually but irresistibly and began to flow toward the East and toward the West, toward the North and toward the South, until the whole land was deluged with living water.” Mrs. Sizelove and others later understood this vision to be of the Assemblies of God and its publishing ministry that was organized in 1914 and moved to Springfield in 1918.