The Secrets of the Argentine Revival
Peniel Outreach Ministries
On September 7, 1850, Captain Allen Gardiner sailed for Patagonia, the southern portion of Argentina, with six other men: Surgeon Williams and John Maidment, three Cornish fishermen (Pearce, Babcock and Bryant) and a ship's carpenter named Erwin. The latter had accompanied the captain on previous journeys and declared that to be with such a captain was "like heaven on earth, because he was such a man of prayer."
Gardiner's burden was: "Our Savior has given a commandment to preach the Gospel even to the ends of the Earth. He will provide the fulfillment of His own purpose. Let us only obey." Knowing that Patagonia, the extreme south land of Argentina, is a barren desert like land, the men took, what they thought, to be ample supplies. Then they made arrangements for further supplies to be shipped by sea and to meet at a set time and place.
However, the captain of the supply ship decided to considerably delay his journey in order to do some other business. Added to that, the hostile natives raided and stole from their meager supply, and there was not much the men could do afterwards to supplement their food rations.
Before long they ran out of ammunition and could not add to their rations by shooting game. After much fatigue and privation from want of food, and while waiting on the seashore for the supply ship to come, Allen Gardiner and his men departed into the Presence of their Lord between June 8 and September 8, 1851. The ship ladened with the needed supplies of food did not reach the seven men until several months too late.
One of the papers found by Captain Smyly, who sailed from Montevideo in search for them, revealed that in their greatest distress they lost not their love and devotion to God. Williams wrote, "I am happy beyond all expression…" despite the fact that they had nothing to eat, but a few limpets, mussels and a but of wild celery.
On a rock on the beach they had painted the words of their united testimony found in Psalms 62:5-8
5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.
7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.
The last words of Gardiner wrote were, "Our dear brother Maidment left the boat on Tuesday at noon to search for food and has not since returned' doubtless he is in the Presence of his Redeemer, whom he served so faithfully. Yet a little while, and through grace we may join that throng to sing the praises of Christ through eternity. I neither hunger, nor thirst, though five days without food. Marvelous loving kindness to me, a sinner."
The Lord saw to it that the diaries of these godly men, despite rough sea winds and storms, were miraculously preserved on the sands nearby their boat and these same diaries have provided excellent material for many biographies subsequently written.
Ragland, a pioneer missionary to India, wrote, "Of all plans of insuring success, the most certain is Christ's own - becoming a corn of wheat, falling into the ground and dying.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:24
At the grave of Ragland, Amy Carmichael and two other missionaries found this prayer in the depths of their hearts, "Lord, give us to live that life and to die that death, and to bring forth fruit into life eternal." In 1851 those six men accompanying Allen Gardiner in Patagonia lived that life and died the death of starvation, the seed corn of the subsequent harvest exactly one hundred years later, which is recorded in some measure in this story.
3And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
4And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, Daniel 9:3-4
20And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning,
12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
The midnight hour had long passed. All nature seemed as if it had grown very still and expectant. The bright sky, filled with glittering stars, appeared as if it was drawing closer and closer and brighter and brighter. While out of the depths of the heart of an immigrant lad from Europe, a cry - born of the Holy Spirit within - ascended into the very Heavens above.
God heard that cry, because it had originated in the heart of God. As the lad cried out to God, to his surprise, it seemed to press down upon him. Brighter and brighter they appeared until they were like pulsing sources of light. The light so increased that he could read his Bible there in the meadow at that midnight hour. Then in the wondrous brightness a greater light appeared. He looked all around in amazement to see the source of this vibrant brightness.
Finally, he looked behind him and saw a shining, glorious being from the celestial realms standing there. He knew it was an angel and it approached him until it seemed to enfold him in a tender encompassment of his very being. The teenage lad found himself engulfed in the awesome Presence of God - a place of infinite holiness, infinite love and frightening power.
A terror fell on the lad. In panic, he jumped up from his knees and fled in anguish from that angelic Visitor. He ran back to the refuge of his dormitory in the Bible Institute building. Little did he realize the part he was destined to play in the great move of God in Argentina. He did not know why he had been so burdened during those many months of sleepless nights, with deep, heart-burning prayers and intense longings. At first, he prayed out in the field and forests of his home in the grand Chaco in northern Argentina. Then in the early morning hours, in the sweet meadows that surrounded the Institute in central Argentina, he continued under that heavy burden of prayer. And now, god had come to him in a way he did not know or understand.
Inside the Institute building, located in City Bell (a small town near the great metropolis of Buenos Aires), everyone was tranquilly sleeping; they little anticipated the drama about to erupt in their peaceful dormitory. Outside the entry door, the terror-stricken lad shouted and pounded in desperation; the locked door only added to his terror. He called out at the top his voice to waken someone to let him in. Finally one of the students awoke – startled at all the ruckus. When he finally recognized the voice of his fellow student, he went to let him in. Thinking he would escape the awful Presence that accompanied him, the lad ran inside the building. However, to his amazement the Heavenly Visitor entered the Institute with him.
In a few moments all the students were wide-awake and trembling in fear as they felt the Holy Presence of God. The fear of God so fell upon them that they one and all began to repent – crying out to God for forgiveness – as the Spirit of the Lord, holy and mighty, dealt with them. Not one student present could escape the holy fire of His Presence. One young lady student – unwilling to uncover her sin, repent and abandon it – quickly packed her suitcase, disappeared into the dark night, found her way back to her home and never appeared again.
For many nights afterwards the students dreaded to be alone. Even those who shared one room would all vault into one bed, not even bothering to take off their clothes, because of the awe-inspiring Presence of a living, holy God that had accompanied that angelic Visitor. The fear of God had come to that student body, and they were never to be the same again.
The next morning, June 5, 1951, all the students gathered for the announced time of prayer, which replaced the regular class schedule. Outside, a great storm tore the atmosphere as if there was a titanic conflict in the very atmosphere about them. Inside the Institute and air of expectancy hushed everyone to tearful silence as they waited to see what God would do next.
A few minutes later, as the students were praying, the Heavenly Visitor came and stood by Alex, the Ukrainian lad. Immediately he was transported in Spirit by this mighty Being to far away cities and countries. He was taken on a journey over the face of the Earth to visit various cities in many nations. He saw many cities and knew the name of each one he was taken to visit. Deliberately, distinctly and very slowly he began to speak; he would give the name of each city he visited, repeating each name two or three times.
Cities, large and small, city after city, beginning with cities in Argentina, he slowly named them. Then he moved out from Argentina to other countries and continued to slowly and deliberately name other cities. It was as if he was deliberately reading off the names from some large atlas. Neither student nor traveler could have named such a long list, much less this lad from the forest jungles of Chaco with barely a primary school education.
As he moved in Spirit from country to country, he gave the name of each city in the language of the country – English, German, Slavic, Arabic and other languages we did not know. Alex, the young immigrant from Europe, told us afterwards that as he looked down, he had the sensation that he was actually visiting those cities one by one. He felt he was stopping to pray for hours over each city. To the rest of us it was only about five minutes per city, but to him it was hours. Hour after hour (for a period of eight hours of our time) the naming of the cities of the world continued. Later the Lord told us that He would visit every one of those cities before the end would come and He would return.
The next morning we gathered for prayer and this time it was as if God sent the Spirit of prayer and repentance upon the entire body of students and teachers, about fifty people in all. Strong cries for mercy arose from every heart with weeping and tears never seen before in our midst. Students and missionaries were all melted together in strong yearnings and prayers to God that He would purify and cleanse their hearts, that they would be able to come into His Presence.
As they prayed, the Heavenly Visitor again manifested Himself and stood by the side of Alex, the immigrant boy. The Angel could not be seen in human form and was seen only by those whose spiritual eyes had been opened. Nevertheless, He so powerfully manifested His Presence that everyone immediately knew without any doubt that He had come. In Spirit, He was seen by Alex as He stood and talked with him.
The Angel ordered him to repeat after Him the words that He spoke. Then the Angel began to slowly talk to him in a strange language; a tongue that Alex neither knew nor understood. In obedience, Alex began to repeat the Angel’s words slowly and distinctly. As he spoke those words, everyone present realized that is was a strange language with unusual intonations and sounds altogether different from any other language Alex had ever been heard to use before. However, no one could understand the language or knew what he was saying.
Then, a timid young Indian lad, named Celsio, came forcibly under the power of the Spirit of God. He was a native of Argentina and a lad with only three years of education. Furthermore, up to this time there was no personal friendship between these two youths; one was a native Argentine and the other a foreign immigrant. “They were of a different race, background, temperament, language and environment. There were no natural bonds to unite them except the common desire to serve God.
Now, suddenly upon this national lad, the Spirit of the Lord came and he suddenly found his ears were opened and he began to understand what Alex was saying. He could understand it as clearly as he understood his own language. Everything that was being said by Alexander in an unknown tongue, Celsio clearly understood. This strange experience bonded them together and they became one in Christ.
The content of he message so frightened Celsio that he ran from the room to escape. Outside, he told others of he strange sensation and understanding he had in the chapel and they urged him to go back to interpret the message for the rest. He complied, entered the chapel again and tried to give the message.
Then another strange thing took place. Every time Celsio tried to speak and interpret the message, he felt choked as if an invisible hand squeezed his throat shut. Frightened, he again ran from the room. Meanwhile, the Angel, through Alexander, slowly and patiently repeated the words over Andover. Alex, in the spirit, now realized that Celsio should interpret the words. When Celsio ran from the room, Alex, still in the Spirit, knew he had gone, so he called Celsio back. Throughout the time Alexander’s eyes were closed in prayer and worship, lost in the tremendous Presence o this Visitor whose atmosphere rested upon everyone in the building. Alex continued to repeat the message as the Angel waited for us slow-to-understand humans to sort out the problem.
Several times that morning Celsio ran out and was called back again in spirit, because even out of the room he could still hear Alex’s voice calling to him to return. Although Celsio could plainly understand that strange tongue, and at times the frightening messages, nevertheless, when he tried to speak he would feel that sensation of a hand choking his throat until he could not speak. Frightened, he would run out again and this action continued until after the noon hour. Finally, in the early afternoon someone suggested to Celsio that if he could not speak, then could he write the message on paper? Celsio decided to try that and began to write, and that was exactly what God wanted and waited for.
The message began to flow through his hands onto a piece of scratch paper, and then it was either copied on the blackboard or read for everyone to hear. Celsio, as God’s scribe, wrote down the messages dictated by the Angel and spoken in an unknown tongue by Alexander as he was in the Spirit.
God intended that these messages should be written and the record kept, because if the words were only spoken, they would soon be forgotten and lost. The first message, the list of all the cities that were to be visited before the end came, was forgotten and lost because they had not been written down. In fact, everything was so strange and new no one had any idea of what tremendous things were being brought forth and no one even thought of making any record of them.
One of the young men in the Institute was a medical student, who has since received his Doctor’s degree. When these strange things began to happen he was at first scandalized. “This is of the devil and must be stopped!” he protested. But when he first read the first transcribed message he was convinced it was of God. “I know Celsio,” he said, “with his lack of education and literary ability it would be utterly impossible for that uneducated lad to write like this, especially to write composition that is grammatically perfect and in a very high literary style. Only God Himself could ever cause Celsio to write like that.” He was totally convinced, and shortly afterwards, was himself filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues to his great joy. In fact, those messages had no need to have any corrections at all, not even to correct the punctuation. It was as if the Spirit of God took his hand and wrote through him.
In the extreme wonder and glory of these manifestations, regular meals were forgotten; an occasional sandwich or a quick lunch was sufficient. Sleep, a necessary interruption, was scanty at best. As the student body and teachers continued in prayer, the Heavenly Visitor came from time to time to manifest Himself and leave another message.
After the first couple of weeks, the angelic Visitor did not come so often. Nevertheless, the mighty Presence of God continued every day. That Heavenly Presence seemed to form a circle around the Institute building and extended several yards from its walls.
Visitors coming within that invisible radius remarked concerning the strange sensations they had as they entered the Presence of the Lord. Neighbors could not use a common pathway to a local store. They complained because the path was barred to them. When we asked whey they could not walk the that path, the said, “We do not know. There is something there that will not let us pass by. What is that and why is it that we cannot take our regular path to the store?” they asked. We could only answer that it was the Presence of “God, because we had no other answer to give them; we did not understand it ourselves, nor did we know why such a manifestation happeded.
Many hours were spent in deep prayer and intercession under the influence of the mighty power of God. Slowly, the great cry for god took direction and oriented itself in an intense cry for the holiness of God to be granted; a deep hunger and thirst after righteousness, and an ever-increasing hatred against sin. Broken and contrite hearts cried for grace of pardon.
Everyone that God took into those unusual but wonderful manifestations were sealed into extraordinary supplication in the Holy Spirit. Their common prayer was such as I had never seen a group of people before or since. Although there was little understanding at that time of the purpose of the tremendous waves of intercession, nevertheless, understanding or not, a deep heart-cry arose to God from each one present.
The cry, with countless variations, was mostly concerned for God to intervene and come to them in cleansing and mercy. Students, teachers and missionaries were bound together in diverse manifestations of that same cry, weeping uncontrollably in deep brokenness before the Lord as the Holy Spirit placed upon them the burden of the Lord for the deliverance for the vast, dreadful sins of Argentina.
Hour after hour, day after day, ten to twenty hours daily for ten weeks that heavy burden with its ever-flowing river of tears continued unabated. Huge puddles as large as a platter would form by prostrated bodies on a rough brick floor. (And brick are a very absorbent material) I never knew that human eyes could pour out so much water; rivers of tear would aptly describe the scene.
One certain young man would stand and lean his head against his folded arm as it rested on the wall and weep ceaselessly. A little steam of tears would form in the unpainted plaster wall where he leaned. In four hours the little stream reached the floor; in six hours that stream flowed out about eighteen inches from the wall on the floor and began to form an ever-increasing puddle in a low spot on the bricks. This happened almost every day, so regularly that it intrigued me and I timed the flow of his tears and marveled. The fountains of the deep were opened as tears flowed like streams down the faces of those young men and women as they were caught up into the Presence of the holiness of God.
The daily heartbroken cry for mercy, the yearning pleas for pardon, the longings for God’s Presence and for the manifestation of God Himself were the intense yearnings of the Holy Spirit accompanied by a flowing river of tears.
The power and Presence of the very Spirit of God made the Institute building, and the grounds around it, a vortex of spiritual activity. Neither the student body nor the teachers sat around reading, discussing and meditating on the messages of the Angel. Neither did they concern themselves about the angelic Being. The holiness of God and the guiding directions of the Holy Spirit were so paramount, that Jesus, His Cross and His mercy became the center of attraction rather than the angelic Visitor.
The Lord Himself was paramount in all things. Prayer became a strong, terrible cry into the Merciful Christ for pardon for ourselves, the church and the people. The spoken Word came forth in convincing anointing. Prophecy flowed as rivers from many vessels. God worked in individuals; cleansing, transforming and filling.
The Bible was transformed into a living anointed message direct from God to each heart. It was a book of God-spoken words of grave importance. The angelic messages at no time became pre-eminent over the Holy Scriptures. Through those wondrous words written by the patriarchs and prophets, God spoke eternal and life changing words directly to His people in that place. The Word of God, open before us, became a constant handbook to guide and enlighten us. The messages from the Angel were more like confirmations to Scriptures given, lessons taught, prophetic declarations of things yet t come and events that God would cause to take place in Argentina.
The unseen war in the Heavenlies marched steadily forward; however, we were no time aware of that war or involved in open spiritual warfare against the forces of the devil. True, the cry of our hearts reached out for the fulfillment of God’s promises over the cities that had been mentioned and for this great country so utterly bound in paganism and idolatry.
We cried out for liberation from the ruthless idolatry and tyranny of the Roman Catholic tenets and from the ritualistic religious pretense, which satisfies the fleshly man, but left the inner spiritual life a pitiful vacuum. Nevertheless, it was appalling, as we saw how infinitely far we were in the inner man from that highest glory of holiness. At the same time, the revelation of divine purity created deep longings for that holiness; longings, which became poignant desires burning like a flame in the heart. No gift from God was so longed for and prayed for than the gift of being brought ever deeper into the infinite heaven of holiness. Also, those revelations, given while inter the hovering cloud of holiness, developed acutely painful prayers for mercy, pardon and cleansing.
It was not our desire of goal to be brought suddenly into some state of great sainthood, but rather is was a vision of the furious beauty and alluring attractiveness of God’s righteousness. Simultaneously, there came an ever-increasing hatred and repudiation of all evil. First came an understanding of the ugliness of sin in all of its forms, and then a denouncement of all the rulership of evil – a rejection of the rights of the king of evil, which is the devil.
The Holy Spirit brought an ever clearer vision of the beauty of holiness along with an ever-increasing hatred of evil that had far more to do with the loves and attitudes of the heart and mind of the inner man rather than outward actions. This new awareness did not cause any attempt to make one’s self into some little saint by religious actions or self-made goodness.
Attitudes and heart thirsting for God’s righteousness seemed to increase daily as the revelation of the vileness of evil and sin became so abhorrent and despicable. Sin was like a violent intrusion into the holy, heavenly atmosphere prevailing in that place.
This flow and manifestation of the Holy Spirit was not something accomplished by some extraordinary teaching or highly anointed ministry of some individual, but rather, the Presence and work of the Holy Spirit Himself acted directly on our hearts. The river of tears could not be stopped as it ran continuously night and ay. Such a river from so many eyes for so many weeks, I have never know or seen, either before or since. It just flowed – unstarted or maintained by any direct human action.
Everyone present was united by the mighty inertia of the wave of intercession, which continued on daily, hour after hour. Ever upward into His Presence, the Spirit of the Lord carried that mixed body of people hungering and crying for God. It seemed to us as if the Lord Jesus Himself wept through those yielded vessels over His beloved world – a world that did not know Him, nor would receive His gracious pardon given at such cost to Himself.
One missionary, prostrate on the floor for several hours, was lifted up into the Heavenlies in a vision and given to see vividly, in great detail, the scenes of the crucifixion. He wept and sobbed most pitifully as the reality and pathos of Calvary was shown to him. That vision made an unforgettable impression on him and affected his spirit from that day forward.
Then, one Friday morning in September, the Word of the Lord came forth directly and in mighty power, “WEEP NO MORE … THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH HATH PREVILED. I HAVE OVERCOME THE PRINCE OF ARGENTINA.” Then various instructions and promises over Argentina followed, foretelling the wonderful things God was going to accomplish in that nation.
With this word came a mighty release. Immediately there was a great transformation of the mood of the Holy Spirit; it was as if a great weight had fallen from off all shoulders. A song of praise was born in each heart. Great joy rested as a mantle upon each present. The sound of laughter, at first strange to our ears after the months of weeping, was heard. The holy laughter of victory and praise occupied the place of sorrow and crying. Praise came forth as spontaneously as weeping and intercession had formerly come. God had come in victory!
This is an excerpt from an awesome book called “Secrets of the Argentine Revival”. This one is worth having and reading believe me. The great Argentine revival is still burning. I have a daughter working in YWAM in Buenos Aires and she sees it.
For a copy of this book contact:
Peniel Outreach Ministries, Inc.
P.O Box 68
Fairburn, GA 30213-0068
Or contact at www.penielonline.com
Or at www.peniel-argentina.org