"The Latter Rain"
As Told By The Late Charles F. Parham
Re-printed in The Apostolic Faith - April 1951
We Opened the Bible School at Topeka, Kansas in October, 1900. To which we invited all ministers and Christians who were willing to forsake all, sell what they had, give it away, and enter the school for study and prayer, where all of us together might trust God for food, fuel, rent and clothing. The purpose of this school was to fit men and women to go to the ends of the earth to preach, "This Gospel of the Kingdom." Matt. 24:14 as a witness to all the world before the end of the age.
Our purpose in this Bible School was not to learn these things in our heads only but have each thing in the Scriptures wrought out in our hearts. And that every command that Jesus Christ gave should be literally obeyed.
No one paid board ot tuition, the poor were fed, the sick were entertained and healed, and from day to day, week to week, and month to month, with no sect or mission or known source of income back of us, God supplied our every need, and He was our all sufficiency in all things.
In December of 1900 we had had our examination upon the subject of repentance, conversion, consecration, sanctification, healing, and the soon coming of the Lord. We had reached in our studies a problem. What about the 2nd Chapter of Acts? I had felt for years that any missionary going to the foreign field should preach in the language of the natives. That if God had ever equipped His ministers in that way He could do it today. That if Balaam's mule could stop in the middle of the road and give the first preacher that went out for money a "bawling out" in Arabic that anybody today ought to be able to preach in any language of the world if they had horse sense enough to let God use their tongue and throat.
But still I believed our experience should tally exactly with the Bible, and neither sanctification nor the anointing that abideth taught by Stephen Merritt and others tallied with the 2nd Chapter of Acts. Having heard so many different proofs as the evidence of their having the Pentecostal baptism, I set the students at work studying out diligently what was the Bible evidence of the baptism of the holy Ghost, that we might go before the world with something that was indisputable because it tallied absolutely with the Word.
Leaving the school for three days at this task, I went to Kansas City (Missouir) for three days services. I returned to the School on the morning preceding Watch Night services in the year 1900.
At about 10 o'clock in the morning I rang the bell calling all the students into the Chapel to get their report on the matter at hand. To my astonishment they all had the same story, that while there were different things occured when the Pentecostal blessing fell, that the indisputable proof on each occasion was that they spoke with other tongues. About 75 people beside the school which consisted of 40 student, had gathered for the watch night service. A mighty spiritual power filled the entire school.
Sister Agnes N. Ozman, (now LaBerge) asked that hands might be laid upon her to receive the Holy Spirit as she hoped to go to foreign fields. At first I refused, not having the experience myself. Then being further pressed to do it humbly in the name of Jesus, I laid my hand upon her head and prayed. I had scarcely repeated three dozen sentences when a glory fell upon her, a halo seemed to surround her head and face, and she began speaking in the Chinese language, and was unable to speak English for three days. When she tried to write in English to tell us of her experience she wrote the Chinese, copies of which we still have in newspapers printed at that time.
Agnes Ozman's Handwriting in Chinese
(Continued) Seeing this marvelous manifestation of the restoration of Pentecostal power, we removed the beds from a dormitory on the upper floor, and there, for two nights and three days we continued as a school to wait upon God. We felt that God was no repector of persons, and what He had so graciously poured out upon one, He would upon all.
Those three days of tarrying were wonderful days of blessings. We all got past any begging or pleading, we knew the blessing was ours with ever swelling tides of praise and thanksgiving and worship, interspersed with thangsgiving and worship we waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
On the night of January 3rd, I preached at the Free Methodist Church in the City of Topeka, telling them what had already happened, and that I expected upon returning the entire school to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. On returning to the school with one of the students, we ascended to the second floor, and passing down along the corridor in the upper room, heard most wonderful sounds. The door was slightly ajar, the room was lit with only coal oil lamps. As I pushed open the door I found the room was filled with a sheen of white light above the brightness of the lamps.
Twelve ministers, who were in the school of different denominations, were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke with other tongues. Some were sitting, some still kneeling others standing with hands upraised. There was no violent physical manifestation, though some trembled under the power of the glory that filled them.
Sister Stanley, an elderly lady, came across the room as I entered, telling me that just before I entered tongues of fire were sitting above their heads.
When I beheld the evidence of the restoration of Pentecostal power, my heart was melted in gratitude to God for what my eyes had seen. For years I had suffered terrible persecutions for preaching holiness and healing and the soon coming of the Lord.I fell to my knees behind a table unnoticed by those upon whom the power of Pentecost had fallen to pour out my heart to God in thanksgiving. All at once they began to sing, "Jesus Lover of My Soul" in at least six different languages, carrying the different parts with more angelic voice than I had ever listened to in all my life.
After praising God for some time, I asked Him for the same blessing. He distinctly made it clear to me that He raised me up and trained me to declare this mighty truth to the world, and if i was willing to stand for it, with all the persecutions, heardships, trials, slander, scandal that it would entail, He would give me the blessing. And I said, "Lord I will, if You will just give me this blessing." Right then there came a slight twist in my throat, a glory fell over me and I began to worship Gos in the Swedish tongue, which later changed to otherlanguages and continued so until the morning.
Just a word: After preaching this for all these years with all the persecutions I have been permitted to go through with, misunderstanding anf the treatment of false brethren, yet knowing all that, this blessing would bring to me, if I had the time and was back there again I'd take the same way.
No sooner was this miraculous restoration of Pentecostal power noised abroad, than we were besieged with reporters from Topeka papers, Kansas City, St. Louis and many others cities sent reporters who brought with them professors of languages, foreigners, Government interpreters, and they gve the work the most crucial test. One Government interpreter claimed to have heard twenty Chinese dialects distincly spoken in one night. All agree that the students of the college were speaking of the languages of the world, and that with proper accent and intonation. There was no chattering, jabbering, or stuttering. Each one spoke clearly and distincly in a foriegn tongue, with earnestness, intensity and God-given unction. The propriety and decency of the conduct of each member of the bible School won the warment comment from many visitors.
Our first public appearance after others had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit was in Kansas City, in the Academy of Music, about January 21st. The Kansas City papers loudly announced our coming. Two columns appeared in the Kansas City Journal, with large headlines on the front page. These headlines, being the largest on the fron page, attracted the attention of the newsboys, andthey not knowing a Pentecost from a holocaust ran wildly up and down the street crying their papers, Pentecost, Pentecost, real all about the Pentecost.
I have on record the sermon preached on this occasion. The first upon the baptism of the Holy Ghost in all modern Pentecostal Apostolic Full Gospel movements. Also on file all that the papers had to say about these things in those days. Through great teials and persecutions we conducted the bible school in the4 city of Topeka itself, then on in Kansas City.
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearance of Jesus Christ." - Peter 1:7.