by Jennifer A. Miskov, Ph.D.
The Bonnie Brae House in Los Angeles is the place where the catalytic fire for the Azusa Street Revival was first ignited. In those early meetings at the Asberry house on Bonnie Brae Street, there were only about fifteen people including children, many of them coming from Julia Hutchins’ mission. Even though William J. Seymour had yet to receive the “evidence” of speaking in tongues, he continued to teach about it. On April 9, 1906, just before leaving for the prayer meeting, Seymour's friend Edward Lee began to speak in tongues after he laid hands on and prayed for him. After this, Lee, Seymour, and the others walked the couple blocks up the street to the Asberry home on Bonnie Brae Street for the 7:30 p.m. prayer meeting.
There, a handful of African-American saints gathered together because they wanted to encounter God in a greater measure. They had a song, a few prayers, and several testimonies released. Seymour shared the testimony of how Lee spoke in tongues less than two hours before. He then began to preach from Acts 2:4:
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)
Then something happened that they had all been waiting and longing for. God crashed into that meeting like never before and someone started to speak in tongues. Several others got baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues as well. Ruth Asberry’s cousin Jennie Evans Moore, who lived across the street, was resting on a stool, when she suddenly fell to the ground and began to speak in tongues. She is known as one of the first women in Los Angeles to speak in tongues during this time.
She recalled that it felt like a vessel broke inside of her and water “surged” through her entire being. When this rush came to her lips, she spoke in six different languages that she had seen earlier in a vision. These tongues were each interpreted in English. Following this release, Jennie, who had never played the piano before, walked over to the piano and played it under the anointing while singing in tongues. She recounted the story in an article called “Music from Heaven” in the Azusa Mission’s newspaper called The Apostolic Faith:
For years before this wonderful experience came to us, we as a family, were seeking to know the fulnes of God, and He was filling us with His presence until we could hardly contain the power… On April 9, 1906, I was praising the Lord from the depths of my heart at home, and when the evening came and we attended the meeting the power of God fell and I was baptized in the Holy Ghost and fire, with the evidence of speaking in tongues…As I thought thereon and looked to God, it seemed as if a vessel broke within me and water surged up through my being, which when it reached my mouth came out in a torrent of speech in the languages which God had given me…I sang under the power of the Spirit in many languages, the interpretation both words and music which I had never before heard, and in the home where the meeting was being held, the Spirit led me to the piano, where I played and sang under inspiration, although I had not learned to play.
-Jennie Moore, The Apostolic Faith 1:8 (312 Azusa Street, Los Angeles, CA: May, 1907), 3.
A few days later on April 12, 1906, Seymour spoke in tongues for the first time after tarrying with a white brother and not giving up until he “came through” at nearly four o’clock in the morning.
Crowds of both black and white people from Smale’s First New Testament Church, Hutchins’ mission, and other Holiness groups in the area came to the house on Bonnie Brae Street to see and partake in what God was doing. At one point, the house swelled with people so much that the front porch caved in. No one was injured, but they realized that they had outgrown the house and it was time to get a larger place. Within a week, they moved to a vacant building at 312 Azusa Street, which used to be a Methodist Episcopal church before it had been damaged by a fire.
*The above is an excerpt from new book Ignite Azusa: Positioning for a New Jesus Revolutionwith the following authors, Jennifer A. Miskov, Ph.D. (Destiny House), Heidi Baker, Ph.D. (Iris Global), Lou Engle (TheCall), and Bill Johnson (Bethel Church in Redding, California) who partner together in Ignite Azusa to inspire courage to step into the momentum set before us today. They will also be in Los Angeles April 9, 2016 for the 110 anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival at the AzusaNow gathering. We are believing for a new Jesus Revolution in our day. Join us at The Call Azusa (thecall.com). Order your copies of Ignite Azusa HERE. Also receive powerful impartation from the above authors on this video here: