Baptism in Catholic Mexico
Charles F. House
San Luis, Arizona
I wonder how much we appreciate this wonderful United States of America with all of the freedoms that we all, even the so-called minority groups, enjoy? Frankly, like most everyone else, I took these God-given blessings for granted. Contrast these blessings with the lack of freedom and opportunities witnessed in Mexico. Not until the year 1954, when I first became interested in preaching the gospel to our good neighbors south of the border, did I become aware of these differences.
We should never forget that the United States of America is free today because a wonderful God saw fit to bountifully bless us above all nations on the face of the earth. We can lose these wonderful blessings if Roman Catholicism ever gets control here as it has in many other countries, one of which is Mexico. We pray to God that we all can be shocked out of our indifference to do something about it AT THE POLLS, before it is everlastingly too late. We pray to God that never again will we have a Roman Catholic President who seems bent on establishing a Catholic dynasty in United States politics. ROMANISM would very much like to "take over" the United States. Should it ever get control, this wonderful land of ours will regress 50 to 100 years or more.
I fear the time is not too far distant when perhaps baptism in the United States may face similar restrictions and inconveniences that now face the church in Mexico today. When a person in the United States wants to be baptized "the same hour of the night" and "for the remission of sins," usually he can be baptized in a comfortable, spacious, commodious building, with a baptistry filled with warm water. In Mexico, among congregations where I work, those desiring baptism are either baptized in the Pacific Ocean, the local stream or river, or in a baptistry of the closest congregation in the United States. If by reason of age or weather it is necessary to use U. S. A. facilities, quite a number of problems have to be worked out before these Mexican people desiring baptism "the same hour of the night" can be immersed.
At the close of my sermon one Sunday night recently, two people came forward desiring baptism for the remission of sins. Since it was quite inconvenient to get to the Colorado River, as well as dangerous to use it at night, we decided on "trying" to get these people to Yuma, Arizona to use the facilities of the 5th Avenue church there. Even though Yuma is 24 miles away, they still have the closest facilities for baptism, from San Luis R. C., Sonora, Mexico.
Without a "local passport" together with a smallpox vaccination certificate, TB and x-ray certificate, etc., which entitle the bearer to "visit" United States up to 72 hours, he CANNOT get in whatsoever, unless he has a good friend or someone who can prove that an emergency exists and that he MUST PASS into the United States.
The following is normal procedure: I vouch for the people personally, who in turn are PAROLED into my custody. Lengthy questionnaires are filled out for the U. S. immigration department's records. In the event he has been previously convicted of some crime against the United States, he is not allowed to 'visit' the country at all. After the questionnaires have been filled out and signed (usually by an X, since many Mexicans do not read and write), they are fingerprinted and allowed to proceed to the destination with the warning that they must return to Mexico before the time allotted them runs out, or be subject to "capture" by the Border Patrol. While all of this business is being transacted in the immigration office, my wife has walked over to the public telephone to call the wife of the Yuma preacher to ask if the building can be unlocked and use made of the baptistry. Of course permission is always willingly granted.
The local Mexican evangelist and I have the only two cars available for transportation. The seats of these are filled several deep with Mexican brethren and their families who are so happy and thrilled that another soul is being horn into the Kingdom of Christ. On the other hand, have you ever observed the apathy of many of our brethren in United States congregations? They are so impatient for services to be over that they won't wait to witness the baptism, but rush home as quickly as possible.
Upon completion of the baptisms and the 24-mile return trip to San Luis, Mexico, it usually is around 11:00 o'clock in the evening. In Mexico, it is customary to have the evening meal after, instead of before, the evening service. The above-mentioned night was no exception, nor had my wife and I eaten. Needless to say, we were all "starved." Without exception, our Mexican brethren's first thoughts had been for the spiritual need at hand rather than the physical. With this attitude toward things of a spiritual nature, let us all hope and pray that in the near future, the Gospel will have brought about the same blessings in Mexico to be enjoyed as we have here in the United States.
May we as congregations or individuals do our part to further spread the Gospel to Mexico by making it possible to send still more evangelists to this predominantly Catholic country. Who knows . . . and may God forbid . . . Mexico may some day have to send the Gospel to a predominantly Catholic United States. Capable and willing evangelists are ready to go with the Gospel. They need your prayers and your support. Presently, eight men are working full time in the Lord's business along this U. S. - MEXICO border in the far west, preaching the Gospel to the very limits of their abilities. More are ready and others are making plans to go into the field. All of these men are receiving their support DIRECTLY from either the individuals or congregations supporting them. Each of them is teaching the all-sufficiency of the church, without the aid of man-made institutions, and is deserving of your prayers and support. Write for the free little mimeographed monthly paper, "REPORT OF THE WORK OF THE CHURCHES ALONG THE U. S. - MEXICO BORDER." Lets keep ALL OF NORTH AMERICA free from the scourge of Roman Catholicism, including Mexico, with the Gospel. Lets preach it from door to door, from house to house. Lets preach faith, repentance, confession and Baptism to ALL alien sinners in Mexico.
Truth Magazine VIII: 6, pp. 6-7 March 1964