Healing and Revival
"Fire and Healing"
Adolpho Clarence Valdez (**see note) was born May 9, 1896 in Lakeview, California to Joseph and Susie Valdez. They were a very unusual family. Devoutly Catholic, they had been brought up to know the power and presence of God. Their history traced back to Eugenio Valdez, a Spanish soldier who was converted under Junipero Serra a spirit-filled Franciscan priest. Father Serra converted thousands to Christ and established nine missions along the coast of California. Valdez said "My father was filled with the Spirit, and many times I found him in the barn on his knees, praying and shaking from head to foot and speaking in tongues." Valdez said the gift of speaking in tongues dated back over 150 years in his family!
The Valdez family was living in Los Angeles in 1906 when two things happened, the San Francisco earthquake and the Azusa Street Revival. The Valdez family became involved in the Azusa Street outpouring and went to meetings at every opportunity. Valdez's mother was involved in the ministry of Finis E. Yoakum and the Pisgah Mission in Los Angeles. Yoakum took the downtrodden, alcoholic, sick, and destitute and gave them the gospel, healing, and a fresh start. Although Valdez himself was attending the meetings, he was more of a spectator than a participant. The Azusa Street outpouring broke up after three years. William Durham who had been Seymour's assistant broke with Seymour and began a new work in Los Angeles. The Valdez family followed Durham and joined the new church.
At the age of 11 Valdez went to work because his father became an invalid. The responsibilities for his family fell on his young shoulders. Although he continued attending church he eventually drifted away from God. He got in with a "bad crowd" and began to lose his way. His family was praying however! When he was sixteen he went to work picking oranges. His manager was a spirit-filled man named Isaac Gay. Gay had been dying of tuberculosis when two women from Azusa prayed for him and he was healed. Gay was a constant witness, full of joy and life. One day while Valdez was up in an orange tree he came under tremendous conviction and gave his heart to Christ. Another miracle in the family was that Valdez's father was healed and he could return to work.
Valdez began preaching the gospel part-time. He often took his bicycle and rode to surrounding communities up to 33 miles away to preach. In 1913 Valdez attended the famous Arroyo Seco, California Camp meeting, which was led by Maria Woodworth-Etter. He saw people saved, filled, and miraculously healed. A man who was sitting next to Valdez had a disease, which had fused his joint, bones together. The man shook under the power of God and his bones separated and he was healed. Valdez knew he was being called into full-time ministry. Although he resisted for a while he came under such intense conviction he knew he had no other choice.
Valdez immediately had calls to do more meetings than he had time. He met a beautiful girl named Lottie, who he married. There was hardly a day that he did not hold a meeting somewhere. Lottie became pregnant and at one point Valdez was thrown in jail for holding a meeting that was disturbing the peace. His son Alfred C. Valdez, Jr. was born while he was in jail. The persecution was intensely strong against Pentecostal teaching. People were attacked and sometimes killed for preaching. In one meeting in Willow Creek, California dynamite was put under the building that Valdez was using and a mob attacked his car with pick-axes and poured sand in his gas tank.
In 1924 something happened that made Valdez take notice that God was calling him to a new adventure. A woman, named Molly Ayers, knocked at the door of his house and prophesied to him. She was an evangelist from Australia and she told Valdez that God was calling him to Australia to preach. The event was unexpected but was a confirmation of what God had spoken to him several years before. Although he did not have the finances to go on the trip Ayers told him to be ready to go shortly. After she left Valdez told God he would go but that God would have to provide the finances. That night God gave him a vision of a ship going to Australia via New Zealand. The vision even included the ship name Mongunewy. Within a few days Valdez had received a large gift, which allowed him to take his entire family, including his children and mother on the trip. They booked the first available ship - the Mongunewy.
When Valdez arrived in New Zealand he had no plans to stop, as they only had enough money to get to Australia. When they arrived there, however, a large group of people asked him to hold meetings. He ended up staying in New Zealand for six months! He saw many miraculous healings in large meetings. After six months God told Valdez to go on to Australia. He took his family and started meetings in Melbourne. Things were a struggle and God told him to go to Sunshine, a suburb of Melbourne. The meetings took off and they eventually moved back into Melbourne. The meetings were held in the Richmond Theater, which was purchased by the new church and became Richmond Temple. People were regularly healed sitting in their seats.
God called the Valdez family back to the US and took care of them through the difficult depression years. Valdez had gotten to know the Shakarian family through Azusa Street. Now the elder Isaac Shakarian helped Valdez set up tents and his son Demos became business manager for some of the Valdez meetings. One of the things that Valdez would do to draw people to meetings was to fly an airplane over a town where a meeting was being held. He was known as the Flying Evangelist. He would toss out leaflets or soft rubber balls with meeting information on them. As time went on his son Alfred (usually referred to as A. C. Valdez Jr.) traveled with his father and took an increasingly vital role in their meetings. They held meetings together in South America, Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan, South Sea Islands, and Hawaii. The healing revival of the 1950s seemed to open more doors for the Valdez men. In 1954 Alfred established the Milwaukee Evangelistic Temple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In 1956 Valdez was devastated when his wife Lottie died. He stayed close to home, in California, for a time, speaking often in Angelus Temple. When his mother also died Valdez moved to Milwaukee to be near his son. He was often a speaker at his son's church. In 1963 J. Gordon Lindsay called for the creation of the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministerial Association. This was designed to give churches and ministers, who had been kicked out of their denominations for embracing the "full gospel" message, a place to be connected. Adolpho Valdez was selected President of this new organization and served in that position from June 1963 to October 1966.
Valdez also began a new chapter in his life when he married his second wife Evelyn in 1968. The couple traveled together as Valdez ministered. When his son Alfred became ill, R. W. Culpepper took over the church in Milwaukee in 1970 and Valdez helped for a time. He eventually retired to Sun City Florida in 1980. Valdez continued to preach and also spoke on PTL and TBN networks about the Azusa Street Revival. He wrote a book about his life and background called "Fire on Azusa Street", which was published in 1980 and is now out of print. However it is readily available on used book sites. Valdez died on February 12, 1981 in Arizona.
Names showing up in blue are other people who have biographies on this web site.
** In various stages of his life Adolpho's name was spelled Adolph and Adolfo in historical records.
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