the fall of 1916 the writer and Rev. D. M. Coulson went to Arizona. My health
had failed, I was completely broken down with catarrhal troubles and supposed
that the dry atmosphere would benefit me, which it did. Our trip was overland in
a Ford car, stopping en route at Hassell, N. M., for a meeting. There we fell in
with Rev. L. P. Fretwell and wife, who also went with us in another Ford car. We
stopped at Deming, N. M., for another meeting while en route.
trip was one of the real ups and downs, in more ways than one, the cars gave us
constant trouble, and the expense was enormous, sometimes broken down on the
desert, thirty miles from any town, and nothing but what we could carry in our
cars; crossing bridges with nothing but the framework of the bridge up and a
trough for the wheels of the car to run in and no floor at all; sleeping in the
sand, dreading the deadly Gila monster, which is said to be one of the most
poisonous of all reptiles. At one place we broke down and had to be towed into
Tucson, a distance of thirty-five miles.
arrived at Phoenix on the 16th day of December, went to the post office, found a
letter from home, one from the District Superintendent of the Southern
California District of which Arizona is a part, and a letter from a man whom we
had never seen nor heard of, which contained a $20 bill.
God had moved on him to send it, for we were out of funds, having a little more
than a dollar in the entire party. The cost of repairs and upkeep of second-hand
Fords was such that our funds were exhausted, and we would pray around the
campfires along the way for divine guidance. One night, as we were considering
the matter, some one suggested that the Devil had sent us on this trip. Rev. D.
M. Coulson promptly responded, “Well, if he did we will make it so hot for him
that he will never send us on another.”
rented rooms and went out to find an opening for a meeting, out of which we
hoped to plant a Pentecostal Nazarene church, but we soon found that a
Pentecostal Nazarene church was not wanted among the holiness people who lived
there. We found holiness people in fourteen different crowds, and none of them
strong enough to do much. Every door seemed shut to us. We wrote the District
Superintendent that if he could furnish us some home mission money to pay house
rent, we would rent a hall and begin something, but he had none.
in prayer over the condition one day, a knock was heard at the door and Rev. G.
F. Saffle, a Pentecostal Nazarene preacher, entered. He was spending his winter
in Phoenix for his health. He told us that the Apostolic Holiness Church (the
Revivalist people of Cincinnati) had a mission, and a good little school with
four teachers, and that they had planned a Christmas convention, and that we
were invited to join them in the revival, which we did, preaching several times
and God especially honoring each service with souls. The convention was to close
on Sunday night, and we were to take the morning service that day. As we entered
the church we were met by two leading members and the pastor, telling us that
they had written and telegraphed for an evangelist to hold them a meeting but
none could be secured, and that they thought the time had come for a revival,
and they had prayed that if God wanted us to conduct it to give us at least one
soul at that service. We agreed, and at the altar call eleven came to the altar,
and nine of them prayed through. The revival swept on and in the two weeks
following there were more than sixty souls.
people began to talk Pentecostal Nazarene Church. Up to this time we had not
talked church, only prayed over the matter. At the home of Brother Hess, one of
the leading members of the Apostolic Holiness Church, while taking dinner the
subject of a Pentecostal Nazarene Church was opened, and it was agreed to put
their people to a test at the midweek prayermeeting that week, and when the vote
was taken, out of the thirty-two members, thirty-one voted for the Pentecostal
following Sunday a sermon on the “Glorious Church” was preached and at the
close an invitation was given for membership in the Pentecostal Nazarene Church.
A church was organized with sixty-seven charter members. They soon found that
the First Christian Church was for sale, and after a conference they bought the
building for $13,000. They were given ninety days in which to raise $6,000, and
a mortgage was retained on the church for $7,000, payable in five years. At the
end of the ninety days they moved into the church building, which had a Sunday
school room built on to the church, 50 x 50 feet, cut up into classrooms, and
this was just what was needed for the holiness school that was in progress
Orval Nease was elected pastor. He was their pastor before the organization, and
has ably handled the church until now they have over one hundred members. The
school was a success and continues with increasing interest.
Pentecostal Nazarene churches have since been organized in Arizona; one at
Summerton, another at Chandler. Here we found Brother Joe Holly, who was one of
the officers of the first annual council of the Church of Christ in Texas, and
learned that Mrs. Mary Lee Cagle had already opened the work there some years
ago, and effected an organization, but it did not last long. Up to this time
there was not a Pentecostal Nazarene church in the state.