New mural @ the corner of Winston & Los Angeles St.
The last vomit of Satan. One of the 100 most important events of the last 1000 years. According to Time Life in 2001, the Azusa Street Revival of 1906 was one of the 100 most important events from 1000 to 2000 AD.
The Azusa Street Revival was incredibly controversial, mainly due to the free interaction of the races under the leadership of Pastor William Seymour, the son of slaves, at a time when it was illegal in some parts of Los Angeles for a black man to be on the street at night. A prominent church leader called what happened at Azusa Street the last vomit of Satan.
Today around seven hundred million Pentecostal Christians trace their spiritual heritage back to this small side street in the Little Tokyo section of Downtown Los Angeles.
Azusa is a Native American word of the Gabrielino-Tongva people. Father Juan Crespi of the Portola Expedition coined the word Azusa from the Native village Asuksa-nga, now the City of Azusa. Father Crespi said Azusa meant “blessed miracle” as a reference to Coma Lee, a Native woman with a ministry of miraculous healing. Translating Azusa as “healing” was added with it said - if you need healing go to Azusa.
Modern Tongva language restorers now give “sweet water” as a translation of Azusa.
A group of Japanese American Christian pastors in Southern California spent two years praying and talking to Little Tokyo community leaders on how Little Tokyo could appropriately honor the legacy of William Seymour. The Azusa Street Revival took place on what is now the courtyard of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center(JACCC). In December 2012, the pastors led an honoring ceremony on the courtyard which involved the planting of a grapefruit tree.
This past February 22nd, the day William Seymour arrived in Los Angeles from Houston in 1906, was a special tour of Azusa Street and the Biddy Mason Memorial Wall led by Pastor Fred Berry of the Azusa Street Mission and Mel Roebuck of Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, considered the foremost historian of the Azusa Street Revival.
Biddy Mason came to Los Angeles in the mid-1800′s as a slave. Gaining her freedom in California, she went on to become one of the early matriarchs of Los Angeles. Today we might use the word entrepreneur to describe her accomplishments. Her life is presented in the Historic Core section of Downtown Los Angeles, a fifteen minute walk west of Azusa Street, in the form of a Memorial Wall and small park.
Part of her legacy is the first black African Methodist Episcopal church (AME) began in her living room. As it grew it moved into a building on Azusa Street. It later became a barn for horses and later the location for the Azusa Street Revival.
One of the reasons for the tour was to announce with Leslie Ito, President and CEO of the JACCC, the development of a million dollar project to build a Memorial Wall for William Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival along Azusa Street.
In December 2002, I was given a prophetic word that my life would dramatically change in twenty-seven days. Twenty-seven days later I met Elizabeth Hawker of the Tongva people. At that point I had no involvement in, and little understanding of, Native American issues. In June 2012, I was made an honorary Tongva by the San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians. My Native name is Woorypot Moompet, which means Man of the Sea.
Elizabeth Hawker now lives in Eugene, Oregon. We spoke this past February 28th because she was about to fly into Los Angeles the following day, March 1st, the first time she would be in Los Angeles in two years. I told her it was pouring rain. She told me the past couple of days the Lord had been speaking to her about the latter rain from the Book of Zechariah – “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.”
The following day the rain continued. On February 28th and March 1st Los Angeles received about eighty percent of all the rain she received from November to April.
The latter rain are the months of March and April. The former rain are the months of November through February. Both rains are needed for a harvest.
This Los Angeles rainstorm of the final day of the former rain and first day of the latter rain is a symbol of Little Tokyo (former rain) and Skid Row (latter rain).
In 1910, William Seymour gave a prophecy that in 100 years there would be another outpouring of Holy Spirit and Shekinah Glory that would be greater and more far reaching than Azusa (azusastories.com). The Shekinah Glory is a Hebrew concept referring to extraordinary manifestations of the Presence of God. An example of Shekinah Glory is a Voice from a Burning Bush telling Moses the time has now come for him to deliver his people from the bondage of Egypt.
Skidrokyo. The nickname for the overlapping area of Little Tokyo and Skid Row. According to a street sign on San Pedro, Little Tokyo begins between Third and Fourth Streets. According to a Federal Court in 2006, the boundary of Skid Row extends to the southern half of Third Street.
As this bland industrial building in Skidrokyo on a side street one block east of San Pedro undergoes a transformation by Brazilian muralists Bicicleta Semfreio, a glimpse is being painted of the fulfillment of Seymour’s prophecy.
New mural by Bicicleta Sem Freio on Boyd & Omar Streets
By Tom Grode
Blogger’s note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Trees on San Pedro Street Project editrix, Ms. McNenny. This is a Community improvement blog and not faith-based.