This Week in AG History — February 8, 1930
By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 06 February 2020
When “Aunt” Fanny Lack, a 100-year-old Hoopa Indian woman, accepted Christ and was healed in 1920, she became a local sensation on the Hoopa Indian Reservation in northern California. She was among the earliest Native American Pentecostals, and was almost certainly the oldest. She became a faithful member of the Hoopa Assembly of God and shared her testimony wherever she went. Lack lived for at least nine more years, and during this time she received considerable attention by the press for her longevity and remarkable life story.
Aunt Fanny was revered among members of her tribe for her age, for being a link to their past, and for her Christian testimony. Pentecostals also identified her as one of their own, and her story was published in the Feb. 8, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Born in about 1820, Aunt Fanny recounted the sacred stories of her ancestors. She herself had lived longer than most everyone else. She remembered, as a girl, seeing the first white men come to her small village. She initially thought they were creatures sent from the Thunder Sky by the Great Spirit. Afterward, she witnessed white soldiers massacre many Native Americans in her village. She survived the massacre and forgave the white men who killed her people.
Sometime later, Aunt Fanny’s husband was hunting with a white man and saved him from being killed by a bear. He shot the bear through its heart with a flint-pointed arrow. The man, grateful for his life, gave a gun to Aunt Fanny’s husband. The gun made him the envy of others in the tribe. Aunt Fanny also learned to chew and smoke “pedro” tobacco from the white men. She became an addict.
Aunt Fanny accepted Christ under the ministry of a Mexican-American Pentecostal evangelist, A. C. Valdez, who visited her reservation in 1920. When she became a Christian at her advanced age, others in the tribe took notice. Before her conversion, she was badly stooped over and was partly paralyzed in her mouth and an arm. After she accepted Christ, she was healed and could stand straight and would regularly walk 8 to 10 miles each day. Numerous articles about Aunt Fanny appeared in newspapers across the United States throughout the 1920s. She shared her Christian testimony wherever she went, according to these press reports.
According to a lengthy 1925 article in the Times Standard newspaper published in Eureka, California, Aunt Fanny walked between five and eight miles to attend services at the Hoopa Pentecostal mission. The mission (now known as Hoopa Assembly of God) affiliated with the Assemblies of God in 1927. The article also noted that Aunt Fanny was able to overcome her tobacco addiction shortly after converting to Christ. The article reported: “Aunt Fanny . . . believes devoutly in healing, and attributes the fact that she is now able to stand straighter than in former years to Divine healing.”
J. D. Wells, an early Assemblies of God missionary to Native Americans, shared Aunt Fanny’s story with readers of the Feb. 8, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. At the time, she was 109 years old and continued to present a strong Christian witness. He wrote, “Everyone on the reservation welcomes Fanny for a stay at their home, as they feel that God will bless their household while she is present, and this seems to be a truth.”
Read the article, “A Veteran Enters the Lord’s Army,” by J. D. Wells, on pages 10-11 of the Feb. 8, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “The Need of the Hour,” by Flem Van Meter
• “Divine Healing,” by J. N. Hoover
And many more!
See also: “Aunt Fanny Lack: The Remarkable Conversion, Healing, and Ministry of a 100-Year-Old Hoopa Indian Woman,” by Matt Hufman and Darrin Rodgers, published in the 2015/2016 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage.
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200