By Berry Kercheville
Early in the morning on January 6, 1996, Mack Kercheville breathed his last after fighting various illnesses for over four years. Mack had preached the gospel for over 56 years. He preached his first gospel meeting when he was fourteen years old. Yes, you read that right, fourteen years old. He had gone with his father Berry (my grandfather), who was scheduled to preach a two week gospel meeting. The meeting had gone so well that at the end of the two weeks the brethren were unwilling to close the meeting. Berry, however, needed to go to a nearby town to start an-other meeting. So he suggested that his fourteen-year-old son, Mack, continue the meeting. Mack gladly took the meeting up where his father had left off. When his father returned, the brethren told him that he could go on because they had a preacher in Mack that was doing just fine.
At sixteen, Mack began regular preaching and did not stop until illness restrained him. He preached his last sermon in December of 1991. How many men today have not only determined at such a young age that they will preach the gospel, but have also prepared themselves for the task? How many parents have raised their children to give such dedication to God?
In 1943, Mack moved to El Paso, Texas to begin work in Spanish at the Rivera Street church. When he first arrived, he could barely introduce himself in Spanish. He would write out his sermons so that he would be able to deliver them in an understandable way. However, within a few months he had learned the language well enough to deliver his sermons from notes alone. From that time on he would give his life to bring the gospel to the Mexican people. He traveled to Chile, to Argentina, and repeatedly to the interior of Mexico. Since Mexico would not allow American preachers to live in the country, Mack chose to live in El Paso where he would have easy access to the country.
Because of Mack’s work, numerous Mexican preachers were trained, and many churches established. The Rivera Street church, as well as the churches in Juarez that Mack so often worked with, are all self-supporting. In fact, it is the English work in El Paso that has the greatest need, not the Spanish work.
Mack did not seek to attain a name for himself. Mack quietly went about his work of teaching the Mexican people. He slept in one room homes with dirt floors. He was out night after night teaching. He traveled with hardship and sickness (from contaminated water), but never complained or turned back from the task before him. At the funeral, all of us in the family cried as we heard the Spanish speaking people sing. Many related to me how grateful they were to Mack for bringing the gospel to them.
Mack Kercheville was a champion of the faith, a man willing to fight spiritual battles that others were unwilling to fight. He was a true servant of God. He gave his life to save lost people in a foreign land. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Nell, three daughters, and six grandchildren. You may write Nell at 1803 Jerry Abbott, El Paso, Texas 79936.
(The following article is a summation of the work of Mack Kercheville in Mexico as told by his wife of 51 years. Mack died January 6, 1996. He preached for 56 years, predominately in Spanish.)
Guardian of Truth XL: 7 p. 8
April 4, 1996