The ship nosed her way to open sea past the Golden Gate Bridge. The American shore faded to an indistinct shade and then vanished from sight. It took almost a month to get to Australia.
When we turned in to the magnificent harbor of Sydney, a crowd of bright-faced Christians was waiting on the pier to meet us, hoisting a large and brightly painted welcoming banner. The day in Sydney was busy as I inspected prospective buildings and discussed plans for the revival. Then it was all aboard the Melbourne express for the overnight journey to the scene of my first Australian mission.
I doubt any evangelist ever challenged a city under greater handicaps than those that from the beginning threatened disaster to this Melbourne revival. The company who had been promoting the meetings not only was small in numbers, but also was ostracized and feared by most ministers and churchmen in the city, and for good reason.
The leader had been attacking the Methodist church in print. Upon examining some of the publications of this leader, I found views diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Word of God and the historic church on basic fundamentals. The whole cause of the Holy Spirit and divine healing had come into disrepute as a result of excesses and errors. And when ministers and churches held aloof from this company’s promotion of my coming meetings, the group printed and circulated handbills declaring, “No power on earth or in hell can hinder revival.”
The result was exactly as you would expect in such circumstances. Instead of ministerial cooperation and confidence, I faced a stone wall of resistance that had to be broken down, a mountain of prejudice that must be removed, a shattered confidence that must be restored, and a quagmire of doubt about my own doctrinal views that had to be cleared away before I could build with the help of God a solid foundation of sound faith and trust for the superstructure of the campaign to be built upon. How should I proceed?
The only thing to do was to open the Bible and with unswerving faith, even with a heavily burdened heart, preach the simple Word of God. And God sent a might tidal wave of revival that in three weeks removed prejudice, swept over the city, and filled the platform with clergymen from practically every orthodox, evangelical denomination. Indeed, the very ministers who had written and preached warnings against the revival worked by my side with tear-brimmed eyes, helping welcome the hundreds of sinners home.
The meeting ended in a sweeping victory with pastors, Salvation Army bands, church choirs and Christian workers wringing each other’s hands, reading a new love in each other’s shining eyes, promising to keep the revival fires burning, and all urging a return visit.
As the Melbourne meeting progressed, I was faced with the fact that the course of construction at Angelus Temple demanded my presence as soon as possible. In order to catch an earlier ship home, we had to revise the schedule for the missions in other Australian cities. Sinners came to Christ in every service, and Christians were stirred to wait upon the Lord for the enduement of power from on high.
Few evangelists ever left a field with more testimonies to their ministries than I received from leading ministers of the cities where I held missions in Australia. Methodist, Congregational, Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Baptist, Pentecostal and other clergymen signed glowing and enthusiastic endorsements of the revivals.
But it was imperative for me to hasten home to Los Angeles.
Adapted from Aimee: The Life Story of Aimee Semple McPherson by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1979. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.