Opportunities in Mexico
Charles F. House
San Luis, Arizona, USA
Webster's New Collegiate dictionary defines the word "opportunity" as follows: "Fit time; a favorite juncture of circumstances; a good chance " Matthew 26: 16 and Luke 22: 6 tells of the opportunity" of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 6: 10 that "As we have 'opportunity' let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of faith. ' Paul further teaches in Philippians 4:10: "But I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length ye have revived your thought for me wherein ye did indeed take thought but ye lacked opportunity". Someone has said, in speaking of "opportunity", "that if sorrow could enter heaven, if a sigh could be heard there, or a tear roll down the cheek of a saint in light, it would be for lost opportunities, for the time spent in neglect of God which might have been spent for his glory".
Today, perhaps the greatest opportunity for faithful churches of Christ that has been presented to us in our generation is with us, as we look toward the U. S. -MEXICO border with the Gospel of Christ. Conservative Christianity is fighting for its very life. It is doing battle with a rich powerful adversary, liberalism by name. Liberalism means to take over the U.S.-MEXICO border with its vast and powerful resources. A little handful of faithful disciples are holding on for dear life. One Mexican brother "sold out for 30 pieces of silver", later repented, but was snatched away in death by the Lord. The big, powerful U. S. churches have helped Tijuana and Ensenada to become strong "liberal" thinking churches within the state of Baja California Mexico. Due to much money pouring in, San Felipe and now Mexicali are "on the march". There are no faithful churches in Tijuana, Ensenada, or San Felipe. The liberals have a free hand in these places, with no opposition whatsoever.
Time needed by faithful preachers to preach the Gospel and to combat error is spent in secular work, or trying to find support for preachers along the U. S. -MEXICO border, so that they can sustain their families, while the liberal cause in Mexico grows larger and stronger. The liberals are still trying to take over the three faithful churches in the state of Sonora. Recently a faithful native Gospel preacher in the state of Sonora had to leave the field because he was not receiving sufficient support and because no secular work was available, whereby he could sustain his wife and five children. Immediately the liberals moved in. In this particular case, the liberal cause there does not have a single member. But already, plans have been announced publicly that a fine new building to be built there. I have received a report from faithful Mexican brethren right on the field that the preacher recently hired by the liberals is not even a member of the Lord's Church, but a "nondenominationalist." Like the souls of them that were slain for the Word, we too, here along the U.S.-MEXICO border want to cry out as they did in Revelation 6: 10 which says: "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, cost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth".
Brethren, qualified, experienced conservative and willing Gospel preachers are already on the field, sacrificing for the cause of Christ aloha this far western U.S.-MEXICO border. Faithful Gospel preachers, who do not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, are presently preaching at Fallbrook and National City California USA, in English as well as Spanish. Gabriel Ortiz at Fallbrook, preaches in both Spanish as well as in English. Walter Bunnell at National City presently preaches in English. He is diligently preparing himself to preach in the Spanish language. His heart and mind are already prepared.
Santos Gomez, native of Mexico, preaches at Tecate, Baja California Mexico, solely in the Spanish language. Twenty miles south of Tecate, Bro. Alejandro Hernandez preaches in Spanish at Valle De Las Palmas, Baja California. Plans are going forward to begin the work at Guadalupe, Baja Calif. within the near future. Guadalupe is about 50 miles to the south of Tecate. About eighty-five miles to the east of Tecate, Andres Gutierrez is trying to establish a. faithful congregation at Mexicali, Baja California. Andres preaches only in the Spanish language. Still along this far western U.S.-Mexico border at San Luis Arizona USA, which is just 24 miles south of Yuma Arizona, Charles House and his wife Marvel live. Charles is presently doing all of the preaching at San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico in Spanish and Marvel is teaching the children's class in Spanish. They are both bilingual native-born North Americans living in the United States.
Camilo Villegas, the former native Mexican preacher of San Luis, Mexico, just recently left the field in search of secular work within the interior of Mexico. At Sonoyta Sonora Mexico, 12 5 miles to the east of San Luis and 160 miles to the south of Phoenix Arizona, is the faithful little c h u r c h where Brother Fidel Cisneros preaches. He spends Friday and Saturday of each week there in personal work and preaches Friday nights and Sunday mornings. After the morning service, he takes a bus 86 miles to Caborca, Sonora, where he preaches the Sunday evening service, does personal work there Monday thru Thursday, plus preaching for the Wednesday service there, then starts the cycle all over again. No qualified or willing men are presently available to preach at Caborca since Jose Olivas' death September 14th, thus the reason of Brother Cisneros having to double up on his work. He is also supporting the widow and child of Brother Olivas. He needs more support. One North American preacher's wife is presently taking in ironing to help support the family while they patiently search out secular work and await support from faithful churches of Christ. $450 per month would completely support this North American family of four people. It would seem that just one congregation somewhere in this great brotherhood of ours, standing for the truth, could supply this amount if they would sacrifice to the same degree that this Gospel preacher and his family are doing. Also, $450 per month from just one congregation would support still another North American family full-time in this work along the U.S.-MEXICO border, whereby funds presently coming to them in smaller amounts from several sources could be released and made available for native Mexican evangelists presently in need, or to other fields wherever they might be needed.
In Matthew 26: 46 Jesus told his disciples "ARISE LET US BE GOING". We might notice in the passage just above that his disciples had failed miserably in such a simple task he had assigned to them. (The conservatives had the first opportunity at Tijuana but did not grasp it.) When Christ's disciples in this passage might have watched with Christ, THEY SLEPT, and the hour was gone forever. But then Christ spoke, not of the PAST, but of the PRESENT and the FUTURE. There was still a duty that could be done. There was still an OPPORTUNITY to serve Him; poorly as they had prepared themselves for it; there was yet a chance for them to do something for the Lord. The words of Jesus "SLEEP ON" (Matt. 26: 45), are words of CONDEMNATION. They speak of the irrevocable past! But His words, "ARISE LET US BE GOING" are words of invitation and opportunity.
God in His grace and mercy, although He shuts doors in the past, opens new doors for us in the future. Had He said only "SLEEP ON", hopeless would be our condition. But He said also "ARISE". What if God let us depart from Him and never let us come back to Him again? What if He allowed us to sin and didn't offer us the chance at repentance and prayer (Acts 8: 22)? What if He told US to "SLEEP ON", concerning the duties, the responsibilities of the past, and opened no door of hope with His great "ARISE"? But in His love and mercy, God gives us another chance. He has given us OPBORTUNITIES IN MEXICO. I would be interested in hearing from churches who are planning full-time support of evangelists among those of Spanish speech.
Truth Magazine IX, 4: pp. 16-18