Wide Door Opened in Mexico

Originally published in 1887

Mr. Bustamante, who is reported to be a millionaire, has received me with open arms. For years he has circulated the Bible and tracts, and every Sunday morning calls the children together, and has the scriptures read to them by the school teacher. He called the people together last night, and I preached to at least two hundred anxious listeners. The majority remained for an hour afterwards, asking questions and receiving instruction from myself and Deacon Chavis. …

[The next day] the services in Salado were well attended. Many professed a hope in Jesus, and asked to be baptized. … I never saw people hungering and thirsting so for the bread of life and the water of life. … Truly a great and effectual door has been opened to us. …

Before I left [Mr. Bustamante] gave me the following letter in Spanish:

“The evangelical minister, Wm. Powell, will visit all the ranches of Salado, preaching the Bible, in order to convert the young and old of both sexes.

“Overseers of ranches and all other employees will render every assistance and attend to every want of the evangelical preacher, and any expense that he may make will be charged to my account.”

… These ranches and haciendas cover a territory nearly equal in size to the State of Tennessee, and give us an opening never equaled in this country. There is no priest in all this broad area of country, and while there is ignorance, superstition and vice, with untrammeled privileges of presenting the gospel, grand results must follow.

The railroad from Saltillo to the city of Mexico passes through the centre of Mr. Bustamante’s lands, putting every part of it in immediate connection with our headquarters. … No other denomination has ever undertaken work here. …

During the twenty days I have been from home I have travelled hundreds of miles, have preached the glorious gospel of God’s dear Son to hundreds, and have buried eighteen with Christ in baptism. I have travelled across twenty plains, and climbed rugged mountains, where one false step would have ended my missionary labors. I have met three noted highway robbers in uninhabited parts of the mountains, and though unarmed, no one has [harmed] me. The Lord has made me rejoice every day in his love and mercy.

If we cultivate this field with that promptness which we should, I shall expect to see many churches organized in the near future, and then through the influence and example of Mr. Bustamante other fields equally promising will be opened to us.

Excerpted from “Work in San Luis Potosi” and “Wide Door Opened in Mexico” by W.D. Powell, Foreign Mission Journal, November 1887, p. 2.