For four years, I had devoted my energies almost exclusively to the ministry at Angelus Temple. Now, however, insistent calls were coming from all over the world, and I felt constrained to spend time on the evangelistic field. During the next 10 years, I would be away from Los Angeles almost as much as I would be there.

I departed on what amounted to a barnstorming tour across the country. I wanted to preach in as many places as possible in the 80 days I would be away, so the campaigns in the various cities were necessarily very brief—one, two or three days—with me speaking twice each day.

One stop on this tour was Baltimore. Many years before I had come to the Lyric, that great, classic theater there. Here it was that the Lord brought out in a larger way His plan for me to minister His Word to the sick and afflicted.

Because news reached reporters in Baltimore of healings God had performed in my meetings elsewhere, a newspaper headlined my arrival as the “Miracle Woman.” Of course, that theater was packed with sick people as the result of such publicity.

I came up the stairs to the stage, peeked out at the stretchers and wheelchairs that filled the front, and exclaimed, “Oh, my goodness.” I took another look and nearly fainted.

I ran back down to the dressing room, dropped on my knees beside an old chair and said: “Now, Lord, see what you have done. People up there with broken backs, in casts and in wheelchairs. Oh, Lord, I can’t heal them!”

There and then the Lord spoke to my heart. Here was an emergency, but I believe it was the real beginning of this Foursquare ministry. The Lord said, “If those sick people are healed and saved, who is going to save and heal them?”

“You are, Lord, of course,” I replied. “I couldn’t save or heal one of them.”

“Why are you nervous? Just go up there and open the Bible,” the Lord directed. “You know the scriptures on healing and salvation. You tell the people what I am going to do, and when you lay your hands on them, I will lay My hand on yours. And all the time you are standing there, I will be standing right behind you.”

He continued: “And when you speak the Word, I will send the power of the Holy Spirit. You are simply the mouthpiece of the telephone. You are the key on the typewriter. You are only a mouth through which the Holy Spirit can speak. Will you go now?”

“Yes, Lord, it is wonderful. I will speak,” I answered, “and if they are not healed, it is your business.”

When the time came, I preached. Then we prayed for the sick. Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian and Presbyterian preachers helped me and wept when they observed all of the victims on cots and in wheelchairs.

The Lord told me: “Now I lay My hand over yours. I am the Lord that heals.”

To my surprise—and with shame I add to my shock—there were more healings that day than I had witnessed in any other place. People with broken backs—Catholics and Protestants—just ran around that theater.

After it was over, the Lord seemed to say to me: “Remember, if at any time you allow people to call you ‘the Miracle Woman,’ and to say you heal them, you will have no power. Whatever the results, you are to say, ‘The glory belongs to the Lord.’ ”

Adapted from Aimee: The Life Story of Aimee Semple McPherson by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1979. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.