Raising the dead was only one amazing facet of the international ministry of the British evangelist, Smith Wigglesworth. This great apostle of faith walked in such an astounding measure of God's anointing that the miraculous following his ministry was only secondary to it. In his lifetime, this onetime plumber would give new meaning to the word "adventure." Adventure's one requirement? - "Only believe!"
Born in Yorkshire, England to very poor parents, Wigglesworth was deprived of an education because he had to work to help his family from the time he was six. Raised in a home without faith in God, it was his grandmother who instilled the love of God in young Smith. An old-time Wesleyan who believed in the power of God, she always made sure that Smith attended gospel meetings with her.
When Smith was eight years old, it was in this gospel meeting setting that a clear understanding of the new birth came to him. Speaking of that special day in his life, years later Smith wrote that he saw that God wanted us all so badly that He made the condition as simple as He could - and that was, to only believe. When Smith was sixteen, he joined the ranks of the Salvation Army. Shortly after, he sat in a service and watched a particular woman go the altar and receive Christ as her Savior. That woman, Polly Featherstone, would later become his wife. In their thirty years of marriage, the couple had one daughter and four sons.
Over half of their married life, Polly was the strong, charismatic evangelist who preached most of the services in the Bradford and Bowland Street missions they started together. Smith continued operating a plumbing business and did personal evangelism with one-on-one ministry. Their incredible healing ministry did not start until Smith discovered the truths of healing in the city of Leeds in the late 1800s. After Polly received healing herself, and Smith received the miraculous healing of a ruptured appendix, the couple invaded England with the truths of divine healing, establishing their mission as a headquarters for it.
Despite the incredible revelation and faith Smith had regarding healing, he was virtually unknown outside of his hometown until he was forty-eight. The event that hurled his ministry into international recognition came in 1907 when he received the Pentecostal experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit by speaking in other tongues.