Members of the Azusa Street Mission Foundation: (from left): Mickey Stevenson, Rev. David Hino, Bob Aisawa, Ted Hayes, Rhonda Flanzbaum, Rev. Barry Deguchi, Les Hamasaki. Not pictured: Bill Watanabe.

Members of the Azusa Street Mission Foundation (ASMF) recently dedicated the planting of the seedlings from the historic 145+-year old grapefruit tree in Little Tokyo’s Noguchi Plaza.

The plaza is the sacred site of the Azusa Street Mission, which was established over 113 years ago by Pastor William Seymour. The seedlings were planted on April 7 and the ceremony was held on April 12.

Azusa Street in Little Tokyo is the birthplace of the Pentecostal Movement, a multicultural congregation of blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians, which started with a revival on April 9, 1906 and inspires over 600 million followers throughout the world today.

SCGF President Hisamori Iwashita.

Pastor Barry Deguchi, President of ASMF, stated, “We wanted to commemorate and honor the land on which Pastor Seymour started this worldwide multicultural congregation movement in Little Tokyo.”

Hisamori Iwashita, president of the Southern California Gardeners Federation, donated his time to plant the seedlings on behalf of the foundation.

Foundation member Les Hamasaki stated, “Over two years ago, I planted two seeds from the fallen grapefruit in the plaza in hopes that it will grow to continue the legacy of the mother tree in the plaza. One idea the new trees will become ‘talking grapefruit trees’ that will present the history of Azusa Street and the Japanese American experience in Little Tokyo.”

Donations for maintenance of the seedlings are welcome. For more information, go to The Azusa Street Mission Foundation is 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation.

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