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Sister Aimee's Travels in the Gospel Car

Against the backdrop of World War I and the infamous influenza pandemic in 1918, a young evangelist named Aimee Semple McPherson embarked on an unprecedented cross-country tour in her "Gospel Car," bringing the message of salvation to anyone who would listen along the way.

For many weeks, the saints in Tulsa, Okla., were praying definitely for the coming revival. Days of fasting and prayer were observed. With such prayers it was no wonder … that sinners began coming to the altar from the first night, no wonder the Latter Rain came down in such showers, no wonder sick were healed and some were raised from death's door, no wonder our tired bodies were rested and refreshed so that we could keep going day and night with scarcely a moment to ourselves.

The epidemic still raging, and many having been weakened and afflicted, we stood hours at a time praying for the sick, and Jesus helped those who came to Him. One man, crippled with rheumatism, insomuch that he could not move without acute pain, walked, ran, danced, and finally danced and leaped, perfectly healed. We were called into houses where poor people were lying so low their eyes seemed glassy, and the rattle in their throats, but the Lord marvelously raised them up. Bless His name!

The Gospel Car led a busy life in Tulsa. There were ceaseless calls for visiting among epidemic victims day and night. There were days of tract distribution.

Perhaps the most important work of the Gospel Car in Tulsa was street meetings. Having secured one of the best corners of the city, the top of the auto was put down, and singers, with their musical instruments, filled the car; how those dear ones did sing and testify of Jesus. Illustrated charts were hung from a stand; these charts drew crowds from all about.

Then came a call for all who were tired of sin and wanted Jesus for their Savior to lift their hands for prayer. The first night 18, the second night 29, raised their hands.

At the close of the last meeting, several hundred saints marched out of the tabernacle to the street and formed in circles about the car [to pray]. Leaving Tulsa, the Gospel Car turned for Oklahoma City, where we expected to hold a meeting that night.

On the way to Oklahoma City we were obliged to draw up at a filling station in the little town of Stroud. People came running. In another moment the car was encircled with saints telling us they had driven from nine to 15 miles, having learned we must pass through this town today.

They had waited all day to ask us to their 10-mile distant mission at Kendrick, for a meeting. Kendrick was a little place off the beaten track, and no evangelist or Pentecostal workers ever came that way, and they were not going to let us go by without coming if they could possibly help it.

Our arguments that we must keep our promise [to the saints in Oklahoma City] gradually weakened under the steady fire of their pleadings, until we consented to telephone and call up Oklahoma City as a test, that if the saints there were willing, we should stay.

The Oklahoma City saints replied that Tuesday would be just as good, that they would have more time and could get a larger crowd together. While I was phoning, the saints were lined up praying. How their faces brightened as the Gospel Car was turned from the highway and out through the country 10 miles away, where a hot supper was steaming on the table and preparation for our comfort had been made!

It was only a little village, but [their mission] seemed to be the largest building in it, and even before we got there we could see people standing outside looking in through the door. The seats were filled and some standing in the back as we sang and praised the Lord together. After a simple message an altar call was given, and one dear sister received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Next morning we pressed on to Oklahoma City. The saints were ready and waiting for us. The Lord gave us a precious meeting, pouring out His Spirit upon us without measure.

Editor's note: From Oklahoma City, Sister Aimee and the Gospel Car traveled through cities in New Mexico, Arizona and California, eventually ending up in Los Angeles, where a revival campaign had been prepared for her arrival.


Adapted from This Is That by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1923. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

founded The Foursquare Church in 1923 in Los Angeles.
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