Galena, Kansas - America's First Pentecostal Congregation!
The Galena, Apostolic Faith Assembly in 1905
~Written by Mary A. Arthur~
"For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and I will hearkin unto you. and ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11, 12, 13. To tell the wonderful working of the Holy Spirit in the first mighty outpouring of His power in Galena, Kansas, it will be needful to relate God's way of bringing it to pass in healing and baptizing me with the Holy Spirit.
I was afflicted with dyspepsia of 14 years duration, and many other ailments, but my greatest distress was in my eyes. The optic nerve was affected in a way which might culminate in sudden blindness. My right eye was virtually blind from birth, as I could only see bright colors with it for a few minutes at a time, then all would turn dark. So all my seeing depended on my left eye.
I sought help from many prominent oculists, tried allopathy, moneopathy hygiene, osteopathy and Christian Science. In the summer of 1898 Dr. Tiffany of Kansas City operated for a second time on my eyes, after which they grew much worse. I spent two summers in a dark room, could neither read, write, or sew, for the pain and fear of sudden blindness. Five years passed in which I knew no moment apart from pain and everything I tried for relief only ended in sudden new disappointment.
The story of blind Bartimaeus was ever on my heart. So I often asked, "Would Jesus heal as when here on earth?" The only reply I would receive was, "No. He gave us Doctors to do it now." I had not heard of anyone being healed by faith and prayer, but I kept earnestly seeking God every day until one morning in 1903 He gave me the promise in James 5:13-16. So I made my request to my Pastor accordingly, assuring him that God HAD HEARD my prayer and WOULD HEAL ME according to His word. He replied, "You are on the right track, Sister, but I have no time to do it now, I am kept busy with the church working on my reports to get ready for the Conference in March, but after that is over I will pray for you." I was full of hope and expectation. I thought a month of waiting would be easy, but he did not come.
In May I appealed to him again. He answered, "I am too busy writing two addresses for the 30th of May, but after that I will have time for you." I waited till July quite discouraged, yet knowing no one else to call. I asked him the third time and he said, "Call the elders to anoint with oil," then who should I get to do it, and how could I get the promised blessing without fulfilling my part of God's Word? These questions confronted me, so in despair of help or hope, I grew worse rapidly. My husband now urged me to go again to El Dorado, Springs Mo., and I reasoned with him that I had been there three summers without benefits, and and it was no use to go again, I would rather stay at home. All the time the enemy was secretely tempting me with thoughts pf suicide if I suddenly went blind. My husband insistrd on my going to Eldorado Springs, so finally I went in August. A few days later I was in the park and heard a small company of people singing, after which the minister made this announcement, "If there are any here who are seeking God for salvation or healing of their bodies, come to my house tomorrow morning at nine o'clock, one block north of the spring." These were strange words, indeed, but I was sure that these words included me.
The next morning the Spirit opened to me the scripture as I listened to his gracious Word, "Himself took our infirmities and bare our sickness in His own body on the tree." That it is a full and complete redemption for body, soul and spirit, yes, ALL IN THE ATONEMENT full and complete. My heart was full of hope and I was again glad while hearing these wonderful words. The minister and helpers then prayed for the sick. A day or two later I was again in the little cottage meeting and told them how the Lord had led me to believe Him for the healing of my eyes and I asked them to pray for me according to the promise in James 5:14-15, which they did, then I asked them what I should do with my glasses...two pairs, dark green ones over the others. The minister said, "Sister, if you take the Lord for your healer, you will get along faster wihout the crutches." Thanking him, I stepped outside the door and wondered how I could get to my room. I folded my handkerchief and held it over my eyes, took the hand of my young daughter, who led me to the spring. There a young man filled my cup and while I was drinking, he said, "Sister do not get discouraged if you do not get your healing instantly, for I was healed by prayer here and I believe you will be too." My daughter led me out on the main street, and asked for tomatoes and cookies...we went two blocks to get them, and on returning, about six blocks from the place where I was prayed for, she let go of my hand to eat the cookies. Soon I spoke to her, but had no answer.I spoke again and still no answer. Then alarmed for her, I lifted my handkerchief off one eye...she was a half block behind me. I could open my eyes in the light, and no pain. It was so WONDERFUL to me. I looked on a white awning, then up at the white clouds, then at the noon day sun and it was so wonderful and so beautiful. Before now its brightness made me sick with pain. I said, "Praise God, the work is done." He answered me, "You are every whit whole." "Yes, Lord I AM every whit whole." Then His mighty healing power surged through my body from my head to my feet, making me feel like a new person. It was like being lifted from a dark pit of despair and suffering, to the mountain of transfiguration. I gained 29 pounds in a very short time and could eat four meals a day. No more starving dyspepsia, the glasses and all remedies were all past away. I could read day or night, and have never had another burning ulcer in these 18 years.
I hastened home to tell my husband. Family and friends joined in our rejoicing. There was someone in the home almost continually to hear "that wonderful story". One husband and wife came at eleven o'clock one night to hear the story. Men came to my husband's office to hear it, until the whole town heard of my healing. A company of business men, not even Christians came to my husband one day and said, "Mr. Arthur, this is so wonderful we want you to get that man here, we need this very thing and we must have it. If you can't get him, we will go there." We invited Evangelist C.F. Parham to Galena and had a meeting in our home for two days. So many came we did not have room, so we opened the meeting in a large tent on the lot joining our home, about October 20th, 1903. The meeting continued until Thanksgiving, then we secured the Grand Leader Building on Main Street, which was 50 by 100 feet. The doors had to stand wide open into the street, as the crowd overflowed outdoors.
The two meetings a day were held until January 15th, which caused not only "all of the city to be moved", but large numbers from the surrounding towns came, for God had "stretched forth his hand to heal" the sick by hundreds, and many "signs and wonders" of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit brought rejoicing to hundreds more.
When I was healed August 17th, 1903, joy and gladness filled my soul continually, yet with it came a greater thirst for God than I had ever known. I sought to be guided by His Spirit and in His word He gave me the promise in John 14:15, and 15:26. I read them over and over. It was for me and I must have the COMFORTER to abide, so I prayed and waited until September. "Oh Lord, I know when you saved me, called me, sanctified and healed me. How will I get the Comforter? You went away to send Him, and I can't live without Him." Then the Lord questioned me, "Would you give up friends, mother and sisters?" "Yes, Lord, you were misunderstood, and what am I to withhold anything. I give all, only let me have the Comforter."
His presence was made manifest in a white light filling the room. That night as I prayed, a fear came over me, then I prayed for the "perfect love that casts out all fear." In the morning, while I was dressing, He told me that the Comforter would come to me that day. I hastened to be ready as for a guest. It was busy day in the home and it was not till evening that I got alone to pray, then I said, "Now He will come to me according to His Word, and as I praised Him for His faithfulness and asked Him to take the throne chair of my heart, the blessed Comforter came in, and my joy overflowed in another language, also the most beautiful songs in the Spirit, indescribably glorious and so different from our singing.
About two months later in the tent meeting, the Spirit came in heavenly song, then the interpretation in English. The tent was full of angels, seen even by sinners. Those standing on the outside saw a white cloud come down and rest on the tent, Two men from St. Louis visiting a friend came to the meeting and heard the anthem by the Spirit and said it was sung in the most perfect Latin tongue, and perfectly translated in English. They said that their church choir had tried to learn it for a month, then finally gave it up as too difficult. There was a deep conviction, heart searching and humbling. Wrongs were righted as believers sought the Holy Spirit Baptism, which they received sometimes during the preaching of the Word, in their homes, or at their work. No sacrifice was considered too great by hungry hearts. One night a little company tarried with the pastor and his wife from the Byers Avenue Methodist Church in Joplin, Missouri. About two o'clock in the morning, the Spirit came in song and five who knew little of singing together, each in different part, in perfect time, and tune, sang an anthem none of them had ever heard before.
A little three year old child fell from a window of a large store down 18 feet onto the sidewalk. She was taken up dead. Three doctors were called. They said, "Nothing can be done for the child. She will die from internal bleeding, or if she becomes conscious she will have convulsions until she dies." They then advised the mother to call for prayer, agreeing among themselves that this would be a test case, as they knew the child's condition. God healed the child.
In Febreary of 1907, Russell Casey, a well known miner, with a man to help him, went into a mine he had charge of at 5th and Main Street, to timber up the roof of a large drift which had become very dangerous. They had only worked about 30 minutes, when his helper who was at the opening of the shaft, called, "Run, Casey, run." He was back in the drift and started, but stumbled and fell, and about 300 ntons of rock falling from above buried him alive. At the distress signal, hundreds of brave men responded, putting their own lives in jeopardy to rescue their brother miner. We know by many sudden deaths what such accidents meant, and no one expected to see him alive again. But faithfully, the men dug for 2 hours and 20 minutes, anf faithfully did a few saints pray there for a brother in Christ with one petition "Deliverance" in God given faith, until deliverance came, and he was brought out alive, and taken to his home. He told how awful was the shock of being buried alive under thatfalling stone. He realized there was no escape and was conscious that he was dying and knew when his spirit left his body. Then he knew no more until he reached the top of the shaft. His ribs were crushed into his chest and he could only get little short breaths. He was strapped into a chair stooped and leaning forward. Flint and stone had cut deep under the skin. But God had saved him and he was still alive, when last visiting in Galena, and giving God the glory for his deliverance.
The meeting extended to Baxter Springs, Columbus, and Joplin. Later a company left Galena for Texas, well supplied with needful things for hungry hearts.
Written by: Mary A. Arthur
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