STRUGGLES IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE CHURCH
In September of 1921, the group left the Hollywood area to relocate in the southwestern part of Los Angeles, (1564 West 36th Street) where the Japanese community was concentrated. Their first church met in a little frame house near the corner of 36th and Denker.

[Tent meeting at 36th & Denker in 1921]

Kuzuhara and his family, who came from Japan to join him, lived in Yahiro’s house on 35th Place until 1924 when the church built a new sanctuary nearby (1771 West 35th Place). Significantly, because of discriminatory laws which denied Issei citizenship and thus land ownership, George Yahiro, as a Nisei American citizen, was the only one eligible to purchase the property for the new facilities.

The group had to use the little frame house for their worship as well as their living quarters. Worship service was held in the living room, and Sunday school in the bedrooms. Every Sunday, sheets separated the worship area from the storage space. They lived a simple and frugal life, often using newspapers instead of blankets to keep warm.

[Tent meeting place: 36th & Denker]

September 1924 marked an epochal event, as a new chapel and parsonage, costing 3,500 dollars, were dedicated at 1771 and 1773 West 35th Place. Since the Kuzuhara family was large, the living quarters from the Yahiro property was physically moved to the new site for their use.

In the same back yard, guest speakers periodically led tent evangelism. Since no American denomination nor the Japan Holiness Church was backing them, they struggled to support themselves. Consequently, Sakuma and Okamoto were forced to quit Bible school, temporarily, and work as gardeners to support the church. Under the leadership of Kuzuhara, they lived together, worked together, and evangelized together. It was truly a communal lifestyle. A highlight of this period was a revival which occurred at the end of a prayer meeting in 1922: it sparked solid growth for the church.

[New church & parsonage at 35th Place

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