How Pentecost Came To Los Angeles


I came home one night and found a letter waiting for me from Honolulu. For some time I had felt drawn to the Islands. Every day I would look at the foothills back of the Home in Pasadena, and something would say to me, “Hawaiian Islands.” I had seen pictures of Hawaii that resembled these foothills. The letter was a complete surprise to me, coming from a party I had never known. When I saw it I felt at once before opening it that it was a call to come there. It contained a check for $165. I had never received so much money at one time in my life. Sure enough it was an urgent call to Honolulu, from Sister Henrietta Nuzum, and the saints there. In the natural I shrank from leaving my little family, to go so far, and across the water. But it was the voice of God. I dared not disobey.

I visited Azusa Mission and Eighth and Maple to say farewell. At the Upper Room Mission they tried to discourage me from going. Some even warned me of disaster if I persisted in going. But I knew the voice of God. The leader tried to discourage me from going. I had learned however, by bitter experience, long before this, even in the Holiness movement, that one must get their directions from God, and not from the mission leader. I think one would seldom attempt anything for God if they were to listen to those who always seem ready to discourage you. No one can get our leading for us. We must hear from God ourselves. Very often we are discouraged by jealous parties who desire themselves such a call from God, but have it not.

I took my family north, leaving them at Sister Carrie J. Montgomery’s Home near Oakland. They were to have reduced rates for board, and await my return from the Islands there. I felt led to labor in that section when I should return. I paid one month’s board for them, and sailed May 15, 1909, for Honolulu. We had an exceptionally smooth voyage. I was sick the first two days, but not after that. The Lord met me wonderfully on the vessel just before I landed. He welcomed me Himself to the Islands. I was met again wonderfully by the Spirit when I reached the home of Brother and Sister Harold Hansen, in Honolulu, where I was to stay.

The “fragments” of the continents (the Islands), must be gathered up also, that “nothing be lost.” I found the Hawaiian Islands a natural paradise. Tropical fruits and foliage greeted me. There were Hawaiians and Koreans, Chinese and Japanese, but a very small white population. The sea voyage was a great benefit to me physically. Six days travel away from the little family, and without seeing land, seemed a long way, however. I had never been so far from them before. It was 2100 miles from San Francisco. From here the “southern cross” was plainly visible in the heavens.

The power of God was wonderfully poured out in our meetings. They had no hall but we met in the homes of the saints. Many were greatly benefited and quickened in their faith. I took a trip to the largest Island, Hawaii, by boat, on the leeward side. We passed by the islands of Molokai, Mauie, Lanai and Kahoolawe. I stopped at Kailua, Kone. with a missionary who owned a home there. Dr. Yoakum had visited here before me. We were in the same latitude as Central America. A party of us rode horseback to the top of Mt. Hulalai, 9000 feet high, through very wild vegetation, up the mountain side, guided by a Portuguese cowboy. We had a wonderful trip and a magnificent view, visiting a number of extinct volcano craters. I sent another month’s board home to the family from Honolulu.

After returning to Honolulu, I took another trip to Hawaii, this time on the windward side, to Hilo. I found this a very wicked place. While here I visited the active volcano, Kilauea. This was truly a very picture of the “lake of fire,” hell proper. I wrote an article on the volcano, from which I give the following extracts: “We reached the ‘Volcano House,’ Kilauea, Hawaii, at dark, and started for the crater afoot, three miles farther on, in the center of a deep basin, over a floor of lava rock seven miles in diameter. It was cold and raining. Down several hundred feet, over loose sand, and then over the hard lava flows, jagged, rough and craggy, we plodded. The lurid light of the crater glared in the distance, like a great chimney, flaring and smoking against the murky sky. The surroundings were most uncanny. The trail was dim. We were on our way to the pit.

“‘Surely Thou settest them in slippery places.’ ‘Give glory to God, before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountain.’ We crossed fearful chasms, rent by convulsions of internal conflict, from the fires of torment in earth’s bosom. Hot blasts fanned us from beneath. Vapors of sulphur greeted us from the fissures. The whole earth seemed ‘turned up as it were by fire.’ Finally we reached the volcano. It was a terrible sight. ‘Outer darkness’ encompassed the lurid fires. Hot air greeted us fiercely, as we approached the brink. Sulphur fumes rose almost stifling from its depths. A very ‘belly of hell.’ Nothing was lacking but the forms of demons, and they seemed hovering near. The natives worship this crater.

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.’ Truly ‘salted with fire,’ Here was a fire no one could explain. The splashing of its fusions struck the heart with terror. Like the just punishment for sin, They lashed themselves against the sides of that cavernous pit as if conscious of being confined only for a season. They seemed like living, ‘eternal fires,’ awaiting restlessly their prey. The ‘pit’ proper is 1000 feet in diameter. In it is situated the lake of fire. The dismal shadows, the lurid light cast upward on its deep, cavernous sides, by the continuous unrest of its fierce, fiery commotions, as though demons struggled with one another in fearful conflict, with the fumes of stifling sulphur that arose from its awful, abysmal depths in clouds to the top of the sheer, jagged precipices that mark the naked heights of its lonely confines, made it a picture terrible to behold. One stood solemn and awe stricken, as in the presence of offended Deity. The dark background of the mountain shadows, the rain and piercing cold of the night, all added terror to the picture. It made one, like Moses at Sinai, ‘exceedingly fear acid quake.’

“These fires, in mighty conflict of convulsion, threw up those mountain peaks, from three miles under sea level, to their present height of 13,000 feet above the sea. The ‘pit’ itself is 4000 feet above sea level. What an awful mass of uncontrollable, fiery matter must heave and roll beneath this monster chimney of the Pacific, in earth’s belly. Are not God’s fires eternal? I thought of ‘the waves of the sea that cannot rest,’ to which the wicked are likened. There is no rest in hell, ‘The lake of fire that burneth with brimstone.’ ‘And the smoke of their torment goeth up forever and ever.’ ‘They have no rest day or night. All the elements were there. It was a perfect picture.

Two great channels or fountain furnaces were pouring from their subterranean depths tons of liquid fire, molten world matter, continuously. Billions of tons were heaving in seeming production. World making seemed in process. One seemed to be standing by the Almighty as at creation’s dawn, when worlds were flung into far space, spoken into being by His fiat. But what makes these fires? What keeps them going? There is no answer from their abysmal depths. They scorn to answer. It is God.

“Their noise, between a hiss and a roar, like the cry of a wounded serpent or beast, seems crying for vengeance. They dashed against the sides of their unwilling confines, by force of continuous, internal conflict, with a cry almost human; then lashed themselves into greater fury, in their disappointed effort for liberation. What could man do once these fires were liberated?

“There was no rest for the fiery waves in that volcano. They rose by their mighty fusions, some forty feet high, all over this lake of fire, continuously night and day, only to fall back again baffled, with a sickening, terrifying thud, like the muffled rumbling of distant thunder. Their failure to scale their prison walls seemed but to enrage them more. As they lashed themselves against the sides their matter cooled, clinging to the rocks of their own production, but to encase and entomb them further. Others fell back, only to be fused again in that awful furnace of unbearable heat and fury. There is no escape from hell. A million years but makes the doom more sure in those lonely confines of despair.

This mighty stream of molten lava was churned continuously into an underground passage at the other side of the lake. And still those two great feeding furnaces poured their red hot, molten matter from God knows where, to where God only knows, by some subtle, awful power, in a continuous, fiery flow. There is no Niagara to quench its fires. Its torment is only increased by its continuous, constant action. There is a fire that feeds itself, a worm that ‘never dies.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’

“There could be no trifling with the fires of that crater. The natives call it Pele. They say Pele was a woman. She was robbed of her husband by another native woman, who enticed him. Pele wandered from island to island (leaving extinct volcanoes behind her), and finally settled on Hawaii in her wrath. The natives fear her. They throw bottles of gin, their favorite drink, to her, in order to appease her. And should not sinners fear a ‘jealous’ God? Presumption means swift, certain ruin. I turned from these lurid, mysterious fires in earth’s bosom, with the weird surroundings of gloom that hung like a pall over the surrounding situation, with a feeling of awe, almost akin to terror. I shall not trifle with God.” - F. Bartleman.

We had a rough voyage home from Honolulu. I brought a large basket of tropical fruits with me, for the family. The Lord had kept them safely in my absence. I preached at Beulah Chapel, at Sister Montgomery’s a few times, then took a trip to Ukiah, Santa Rosa, and Healdsburg, holding several meetings. God was with me in power. I then preached five times in Oakland, at Barney Moore’s tent. My next trip was to Woodland. Here I delivered my message under great affliction and suffering. The saints were in a peculiar condition of need. The evening I reached there I was seized with a terrible attack of appendicitis. It looked like death. The pain was terrible. I cried to the Lord in desperation and He delivered me. But a bad state of stomach neuralgia and colic remained. I could scarcely eat and got no sleep at nights. I could neither sit, lie down, nor walk without most severe pain. But in spite of this I delivered my message, remaining several days. My visit delivered the work from much extravagance that had killed the Spirit, but it nearly killed me also.

I had a blessed ministry at Stockton, preached a number of times more at Beulah and at Oakland, and then took my family to Santa Cruz. Here they visited with friends while I went to San Jose, preaching six times at the Pentecostal Mission there. The Lord greatly helped me. The saints were badly split up. I spent three whole days in prayer in the mission. My message was a plea for love and unity.

We then returned to Los Angeles, and located at 163 South Gless street. We had learned through a brother that Sister Throop had rooms about to be vacated. I phoned her from the depot and learned the rooms had just been emptied, and were for rent. The Lord had timed our arrival exactly. God had shown us to come, but we did not know where we should locate.

The missions, I found, were very zealous for doctrine, as usual. I began to preach at Eighth and Maple, Azusa Mission, and Hermon. Azusa had lost out greatly since we left. “How are the mighty fallen,” came to me most forcibly. But the Spirit came upon three of us mightily in prayer one evening there. He assured us He was going to bring the power back to Azusa Mission again as at the beginning. We felt we had prayed through. (And the answer came a little over a year later, when Brother Durham came from Chicago. The place was then once more filled with the saints, and with the glory of God, for a short time.)

The work had gotten into a bad condition generally at the time we returned to Los Angeles. The missions had fought each other almost to a standstill. Little love remained. There was considerable rejoicing, but in the flesh. A cold, hard hearted zeal, and human enthusiasm, had taken the place of divine love and tenderness of the Spirit largely. I suffered much from contact with this thing. The Lord continued to bless my ministry at Eighth and Maple, and at Azusa street. In some of the missions I met with persistent opposition, especially from the leaders. But I kept my eyes on the Lord. He has never allowed me to become the satellite of any man, even for a place to preach. If we are servants of men we cannot please God.

October 14, 1909, wife presented me with another daughter, Lois. God graciously undertook for her. My ministry was principally divided now between Eighth and Maple, Azusa Mission, and Brother Hill’s. The Lord blessed much and I also started weekly Bible studies at Eighth and Maple. In these the Lord blessed richly.

We had some times of real testing, being completely out money at times, but God always came in time to save
us from actual suffering.

At one time our gas bill and rent were both due. I went to Pasadena, out of money. A brother was debating in his mind whether to help me or not. But I walked away from him. The devil was tempting me and I determined to trust God and not man. I went home without a cent. Before bed-time another brother brought eight dollars to the house. It was the exact rent. He said the Lord told him to bring it and he dared not disobey. He was a poor day laborer, too. But he got his reward from God. He was able to give him ten times as much, with ease.

Nearly every night found me either at Eighth and Maple or Azusa street, preaching or testifying. We passed through another hard test for rent and food, but the Lord delivered. I received money from the saints in Honolulu on two different occasions, at one time ten dollars, and at another time fifteen dollars. The last time little John had volunteered to pray for money. We were about out of food. He went to his knees and put us to shame with his childish simplicity and faith in prayer. We had been sorely tempted. He asked us if Jesus would send us money if we asked Him. What could we say? Of course he would. Very soon the money came, from Honolulu. The Lord had answered before we called on Him, as He has said. “Before they call, I will answer.” This strengthened John’s faith greatly. “He knoweth of what things we have need before we ask Him.” If this were not true He frequently could not get the answer to us in time.

Old Azusa Mission became more and more in bondage. The meetings now had to run just in appointed order. The Spirit tried to work through some poor, illiterate Mexicans, who had been saved and “baptized” in the Spirit. But the leader deliberately refused to let them testify, and crushed them ruthlessly. It was like murdering the Spirit of God. Only God knows what this meant to those poor Mexicans. Personally I would rather die than to have assumed such a spirit of dictatorship. Every meeting was now programmed from start to finish. Disaster was bound to follow, and it did so.

Many a God-sent “prophet” has been done to death, both physically and spiritually, in Los Angeles. God has been obliged to remove leader after leader for this sin. I had prayed five years for a typewriter. A sister gave me twenty dollars, and I bought a second-hand one for $12.50. This I carried around the world with me later, to write my diary with.

I now began to feel the Lord was calling me to girdle the globe on a missionary trip for Him. It was to be by faith, and I had not a cent in sight. I had really felt the call to make this trip for years, and the time had now come. It looked like madness to attempt such a thing in the natural. I was just at that time up against a very severe test both physically and financially. But the conviction became an assurance. After a very severe financial test, in which it seemed almost impossible to get even as much as a ten-cent piece, the Lord opened the way for me to start. I believe God allowed me to be thus tested in order to prove me for the journey. It looked almost like actual starvation just before the way finally opened up.

Dr. Sister Trout gave me fifty dollars to put in the bank for wife to draw on for the rent. Then Brother Pike, editor of the “Way of Faith,” sent me twenty-five dollars from Columbia, S. C. This was to be used to start around the world, and with this amount I started. All this was absolutely unsolicited. I would not have dared to take a step in such a tremendous undertaking, impossible in the natural, had not God made it so plain to me that I could not doubt His will in the matter. Besides, to leave my little family without means, to go around the world, with all its possibilities for evil and disaster, to be gone nearly a year, would have been too much for a heart of flesh to bear, except God should guide fully and strengthen.

They gave me a little offering at Azusa Mission of eleven dollars. This I left with my family. I received no help from any other mission, it was all I had to leave them.

When I started to circle the globe I was warned by many of the saints not to attempt it. Some told me God had revealed to them awful disaster to follow, both for myself and family, should I persist in my purpose. But I knew God had called me. I had to obey Him, and in doing so I realized one of the greatest privileges and blessings of my whole ministry. I felt I could read considerable jealousy between the lines in some of the letters I received. One sister even declared she did not believe the Lord was sending me because she had always wanted herself to go on such a trip and the Lord had not allowed her. Her warning naturally did not have much weight with me. I did not carry a single dollar with me from Los Angeles.

I left home March 17, 1910. (My world-trip is published in a separate book, to which the reader is referred, “Around the World by Faith, With Six Weeks in the Holy Land.” - price 50¢.) Circling the entire globe by faith, visiting Europe and most of the principal mission fields in my course, I spent six delightful weeks in Palestine, returning home by way of Egypt, India, Ceylon, China and Japan, and across the Pacific, via Honolulu. I was gone eleven months and one week. My family trusted God fully and were better cared for than they had ever been while I was with them. I returned with about one dollar in my pocket. My wife had fifty dollars in bank. “Faithful is He who calleth you, who also will do it.”

Brother Pike very kindly wrote the following notice of my trip in the “Way of Faith” when I started: “We take pleasure in publishing the personal letter of Brother Bartleman, who is following what he believes to be divine guidance, in his trip around the world. We do not know of anyone whose ministry is more needed, and will be more helpful in the present stage of the Pentecostal movement, than our dear Brother Bartleman.” - J. M. Pike. I appreciated greatly this note of confidence. Also the following by the editor of the “Latter Rain:” Brother Bartleman spent a few days with us just before he sailed for England. Our Brother is filling a very important place in this movement, in Bible teaching, and sober counsel, which is as ballast to a ship in storm. Let us follow this self-sacrificing servant of God with our prayers and support, as he goes out into the regions beyond.”

Brother Albert Norton wrote for the “Way of Faith,” from Dhond, India: “We were privileged last month to have a visit at Dhond from Brother Daniel Aurey, and Brother Frank Bartleman. Both of these beloved servants of Christ, like Barnabas, were “full of faith and the Holy Ghost,” and they received a warm welcome both at Dhond and at Kedgaon (Ramabai’s). Our only regret was that they could not stop longer in India.” - Albert Norton. Brother Aurey and myself arrived in India on different vessels, providentially, at the same time.

Brother Pike wrote in “Way of Faith,” at my homecoming, as follows: “Our readers will join us in humble and hearty thanks to God for keeping our dear brother on land and sea, in storm and calm, amid friends and foes, unwholesome surroundings and uncomfortable lodgings. Amid all he has been kept in health, and we believe has fulfilled the mission which was accomplished, under divine direction. The results of that mission will only be known when the books are opened and the record read. Money to meet every necessity as it was presented was on hand, sent in direct answer to prayer, without any personal solicitation.” - J. M. Pike. I feel personally I can never be too grateful to God for the facts contained in this statement.

Pastor Alex. Boddy, of Sunderland, England, very kindly wrote the following in “Confidence:” “Brother Bartleman is known to many through his recent journey around the world, and also through his writings. His life is a “life of faith,” and on that round the world journey all his needs were wonderfully supplied. He never, however, mentions his circumstances, and we should uphold him in prayer. He is always about his Father’s business, without a thought as to self.” - Alex. Boddy.

While I am not able to describe my world trip here (the reader can secure this from me, in separate booklet, at any time), yet I feel to repeat a few statements published from my pen in the “Way of Faith,” upon my safe home arrival, as follows: “I am so glad I was ‘not disobedient to the heavenly vision,’ Before I started I received a number of communications, both encouraging and discouraging. Some prophesied blessing, others disaster. Having settled it in my heart however that it was God’s call, and not my own imagination and desire, I could do no other than go. If the Lord did not take me around I do not know who did. I did not pull any wires, no individual or Assembly pledged my traveling expenses, and I did not pledge or commit myself to any man or party. I knew that God was sending, and I trusted Him fully to take me through. Physically I had reason to believe, in the natural, that I might not live to get half way around. But I was not going in the natural.

“In a wonderful way the Lord preserved me from sickness. I passed through cholera, plague, and smallpox districts and exposure, and through fever sections at the most deadly time of the year. But the Lord preserved me. I came home weighing ten pounds heavier than I had weighed for years. My family had been kept in fair health during my absence, and with plenty for their temporal needs. I never asked for a penny nor a collection. All was given me voluntarily. I only received fifty dollars from America after leaving her shores. In Palestine, India and China, help came from the most unexpected and unlikely sources. God proved He could provide abroad as well as at home. I reached China with only ten dollars. No money came from America to me there. I visited England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Egypt, Palestine, Ceylon, India, China and Japan, touching at Honolulu on the way home. Reached home February 25, 1911.”

Blog editor: This chapter is not proof-read and may contain small spelling errors.

Powered by Blogger | Entries (RSS) | Comments (RSS) | Designed by MB Web Design | XML Coded By