The Historical Legacy of the full gospel Temple of Prayer, inc
(As Told By Mother Ernestine Williams)
My family and I came to Yakima in 1924 from Trinidad, Colorado. My mother and I had already been saved five years. When we settled in Yakima, we noticed that there were no Pentecostal Churches to attend. We became acquainted with any families in the neighborhood. In 1926 we started a prayer meeting among our community. We rented a barn that was located on “1st" Street. It held about 500 people. Many were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost during this time; some of which spread the gospel by moving to other states. This building was only rented temporarily. Then we had to find another building. During the meantime, I, Ernestine, held a “street meeting” on Yakima Ave. I was 16 years old then. Some of the other saved young people came along too. A crowd gathered around us at the street meeting. This was an indication that there was need for us to find a place to have our services. My mother, Hattie Ferguson, along with Bro. Eddie Henderson, Bro. James Robinson, Bro. and Sis. Kile and their daughter- Mamie, and I decided to rent a place on “B” Street between 1st and North Front Street. We assembled there on a nightly basis for about six months, until the Lord began to pour out His spirit again. We continued the street meeting also. Many people began to come into the church as a result of the constancy of prayers and supplications unto the Lord. During one of our services, some people carried a man that was lying on a stretcher. He had a terminal disease of the spine. Sister Ferguson was preaching an anointed sermon, when she stopped and turned to the man and said, “You’re healed! Get up!” The man was bowed over and began to move off the stretcher and started to leap like a frog. With each leap, he would get stronger and stronger, until we were an eyewitness that he was a very tall man- well over six feet in height. A crowd began to gather outside the building, waiting to see the attraction of these praises to God. After Bro. Abel’s miraculous spinal healing, the Lord sent a mighty outpouring of the Holy Ghost, so much so, that the seating capacity was no longer sufficient in the church to hold the crowds that attended. Many were healed, saved, delivered from habits and all sorts of sins and then Jesus baptized them with the Holy Ghost and fire. It was glorious! Afterward we purchased a church on Moxee Avenue and remained there until the freeway came through that area. We had to sell the church and property at that point.
From there, we were led to go to Toppenish, Washington. Sis. Hattie Ferguson purchased the property. It wasn’t long before there was a tent meeting, which supported by local Pentecostal churches. It was a tremendous tent meeting being held for two months- Many were saved and healed. After the tent was taken down, a place of worship was established, although we still had a sawdust floor. (See photograph)
Numerous saints were faithful helpers in the gospel work: Elder Paul Smith was one of the first ones to help establish the church at Toppenish. Elder R. E. Williams, as well as other brothers and sisters were additional helpers. Street Meetings were held in downtown Toppenish which reaped a prosperous harvest of souls. Many were drawn to the Lord and also remain today as faithful workers in the Toppenish Church. Mother Hattie Rachel Ferguson remained pastor of the Toppenish Church, while Elder Williams was her assistant. When the time was favourable, Elder Williams was appointed pastor of the Toppenish Church. Mother Ferguson felt led to start another church- to be located at the corner of South 10th Street and East Mead Ave. in Yakima. Elder Williams and I and our family worked several years continuously in the Toppenish Church.
Mother Ferguson used the frame building that was already on the property at 10th and Mead. She had a vision of building a block church on the corner of the same lot.
Bro. and Sis. Culvers, Bro. and Sis. Meacham, Bro. and Sis. Evans, as well as other saints agreed to work together towards funding the building project at Yakima. Elder and Sis. C. S. Shelton were Co-Pastors at the church in White Swan, Washington with their specific ministry among the Indian Nation. Elder Guthrie Portley was pastor of the church at Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Sis. Corrine Watts as State Missionary. Elder and Sis. Eddie Henderson were in charge of the rescue mission in Ellensburg, Washington. Mother Rosie B. Simms was Overseer of East Oregon, working together with her husband as pastor at the church in Portland, Oregon. Other ministers in that district included Bro. and Sis. Karlo Tilus of Eugene, Oregon. Sister Ruth Tilus was Overseer of Western Oregon and Idaho. Elder G. J. Jones was Overseer of California and also pastor of the church in Los Angeles. Bro. Martinez was pastor at another branch church located in Los Angeles too. Sis. Denny was pastor of the church at Wapato, Washington. Sis. Martin and Sis. Watkins preceded her in the same capacity. (See photograph)
Sis. Ivy was the Minister of the Rescue Mission work in downtown Yakima. There was also a work established in Arizona. Mother Ferguson became seriously ill and was limited as a result, to keep up with the demands of being a pastor and an Elect Lady over the National Work. It was at this time that Elder and Sis. Romeo Bradford came to work as pastors of the Yakima Church. On February 16, 1950, Mother Hattie Rachel Ferguson, the founder and Elect Lady of The Full Gospel Temple of Prayer, died after finishing her course and fighting the good fight of faith. Hundred of souls were blessed, saved, and delivered under her ministry. Many churches were wrought out during her Oversight.
At the death of my mother, I knew that the burden of the general work was upon my shoulders and I wanted to continue with the ability that the Lord had given. I had a married daughter, a twelve year old son, and a ten month old baby (Sis. Karon). Because I had a family to rear, I couldn’t handle all the responsibilities and extensive traveling that was required to oversee the churches affiliated with the organization. Both Elder Williams and I felt that all we could handle was pasturing of the Yakima and Toppenish churches and besides that, we were a part of the ministry affiliation of The Full Gospel Pentecostal Missionary Association under the late Bishop E. F. and Mother O. B. Morris. We had worked with the Morrises for many years in administrative capacities. I had personally known the Morrises since childhood along with their several family members. In God’s timing we met shortly after coming to Washington State. As a matter of fact, my mother and I were co-workers with them to establish what came to be known as The Full Gospel Pentecostal Missionary Association. (See photograph)
Written March 17, 1974, by Mother Cleo Ernestine Williams
Update: Mother Cleo Ernestine Williams went home to be with the Lord on July 4, 1985. And since that time Apostle Karon Williams has carried on the work of the ministry of The Full Gospel Temple of Prayer, Inc.