Our First Mexican Friends in Christ

Originally published in 1961

We arrived here in northern Mexico last summer, fresh from language school in Costa Rica, to teach in the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary at Torreón. …

Within our area are twelve Baptist churches and twice that many missions. But there are also hundreds of villages where the gospel of Christ has never been preached.

Last Christmas our family decided to help one of these villages, the little town of Albia twelve miles east of Torreón. It is typical of the farm villages of northern Mexico, with a few dozen small adobe houses, a few wiry trees, and a few hundred people grinding out a bare existence from the soil.

We worked all Christmas Eve preparing bags of fruit, cookies and candy—one bag for each family. On Christmas Day we went to Albia and passed out the bags, each with a gospel tract inside, from door to door. The people were grateful. For most families that little bag of goodies would be their only Christmas present.

The next Sunday afternoon we returned to Albia. Going from door to door we explained that we were interested in finding a home where we could visit and discuss the Bible. The people were friendly but noncommittal. No one invited us in.

Discouraged, we started out of the village. On the highway two men were waiting for the bus and were glad to accept our offer of a ride to Torreón. We explained our desire to find a home where people would be willing to learn about Jesus Christ.

“Why I’m sure Domingo Román would be happy to have you,” said one of the young men. “But he isn’t at home this afternoon. Why don’t you come back next Sunday? I’m sure he’d be interested, because he has a Bible.”

All week we looked forward to the next Sunday. Would Señor Román really be interested? Would we have the opportunity to use our poor Spanish in trying to lead him to Christ?

The next Sunday these questions received a happy answer. As soon as we walked through the gate of his adobe fence, Sr. Román came forward, smiling. “Come in,” he said. “We’ve been expecting you!”

We spent a most enjoyable afternoon becoming acquainted with Sr. and Sra. Román and their six children. Years ago someone had given him a Bible. He had been reading it and was anxious for someone to interpret it for him.

“I want to believe,” he said, “but I need someone to explain to me just what to believe.”

That afternoon was the first of many happy Sundays in Albia. What a pleasure it was to visit the Románs and the neighbors whom they invited to share in our discussions!

Evelyn, my wife, played the portable organ for our meetings. Our children, between play time with their new friends, passed out tracts to the visitors. After a song service Evelyn told Bible stories to the children, and I preached a short sermon to the young people and adults.

Before long, Sr. Román accepted Christ as his Savior. A month later his wife made the same decision.

Before they could be baptized, however, they had a wedding ceremony. Like many other couples in Mexico, they had never been married, although they had been living together for twenty-three years and had six children.

The day of their baptism was unforgettable. When the pastor of our church asked Sra. Román to tell what Christ had done for her she said: “Before Christ came into my home there was war. When my husband came home I never knew if he would be drunk or sober. Many times he beat me cruelly. Once he tried to kill me with a machete. But now there is peace in my home.”

Their baptism was made more joyful by the fact that on the previous Sunday their eldest son Alberto had accepted Christ.

Sr. Román is now an avid student of the Bible and teaches a class of new believers in his home every Thursday afternoon. His wife, a naturally shy woman, has lost all timidity when it comes to giving her testimony. Her face is alight with the most wonderful smile.

Twenty-year-old Alberto is also an enthusiastic Christian. He leads our singing and readily prays in public. Each Sunday afternoon before our services, he visits from door to door urging people to attend.

A thirteen-year-old daughter has indicated her desire to accept Christ, and another son, eighteen years old, is very close to making his profession of faith.

As mayor of Albia, Sr. Román has made a profound impression on his town. Some 40 of his neighbors have made professions of faith. We expect to see a new church organized in Albia within a year.

Excerpted from “Our First Mexican Friends in Christ” by Pat H. Carter, The Commission, October 1961, p. 12-14.