Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Famous Missionary to Texas: Antonio Margil

by Carol Grace |

Famous Missionaries, Mexico, Native America, North America

margil paintingThere is nothing I like better than finding a new famous missionary that I have never heard of. In this case, it’s even more amazing, because Antonio Margil was a famous missionary to Texas – my home state.

Antonio Margil was the real deal and seriously devoted to his work. Originally from Spain, Margil volunteered to travel to the “new world” to become a missionary to the native indians and settlers in 1683. Antonio was actually a friar since the age of 15 and had devoted his life to God ever since. Once in the new world, Antonio quickly became a legend. He faced death, torture, persecution, hardship, starvation, illness and much more, yet he founded 3 colleges, hundreds of missions, and saw thousands and thousands of converts. In Gautemala alone, it is said he saw 80,000 come to faith.

Fray Antonio Margil de Jesus was extrememly devoted. He gave himself the nickname “Nothingness Itself” and even signed his letters that way. This barefoot friar refused to wear shoes and insisted on walking everywhere. He walked to all the scattered regions that he served, from Costa Rica to Texas, and it has been estimated that he walked eighty thousand miles in the New World.

“To enjoy God there is an eternity given to us; but to perform some service for God and to do some good to our brethren, the time for that is very short.”

Along his journeys with his fellow friars, he would preach to whomever he met, teaching and establishing missions. He faced resistance, attacks, sickness, and persecution, yet his perseverance boldness and kindness became legend.

It is said that one Terrabi chief said he would kill him if he came. Margil immediately went to his village where they were preparing a war party and went right into the chief’s abode. The chief upon seeing this rather small bold man, laid down his weapons and welcomed him.

His reputation for discovering false idols was such that in many Indian villages, when word would arrive that Fr. Antonio Margil was coming, they would gather ahead of time their false gods for him to burn.

On one famous mission, they went along the border of Mexico among the Lacandons. When the missionaries arrived there even their guides abandoned them, fearful of these indians refuted to be cannibals. Entering their territory, the missionaries were captured, stripped, bound to trees and commanded with the threat of death to worship the village idols. They refused and preached the Gospel instead. For the three days the men were kept tied up and tortured. When the Indians saw that Antonio and his fellow friars seemed to stay cheerful and fearless, they thought they posessed some sort of power. They eventually released them and commanded never to return. Of course, they eventually did return and saw many converts.

Another thing Antonio was famous for was his kindness. He often ploughed and sowed the native indian’s gardens, helping them with their work and collecting fruits, nuts and other products for them.

He also gained much fame for his reported miracles. There are several accounts of the friar drawing water from a rock in Nacogdoches, reading people’s hearts, predicting the future, healing, walking on water, and even showing up in 2 places at once. These stories of miracles only increased his legend and fame among the Indian people and his fellow Spaniards.

Although he told a friend that he wanted to die in Texas in a place he loved with the Indian people he loved, he actually died in Mexico City after 43 years of missionary service at the age of 69. To this day, Antonio is being considered for sainthood. If he receives it, he will be Texas’ first saint.

To read more, visit this site or this site.

Letter from a Navajo Missionary

by Melissa Chang |

Native America, North America

navajo

I hardly know where to start. We have been here for almost 9 years now. My husband is a full blood Seminole/Creek indian, born traditional and raised to become a medicine man. But was blessed enough to meet the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 19 and it changed his life. We were raised in Christ in OKC at Maranatha Baptist Church of Western Oaks. Later, during a Teen Mission trip my husband took out here…he saw a great need and prayed for God to call one of the teenagers back out here one day. The Lord, of course, told him…”no, its you who will go”  So after Bible college we went on 3 years of deputation and headed to the Mission field.

He has two churches started here. One is in a primitive part of the Reservation (Red Valley, Az) where there are still folks living in hogans and using outhouses ect. The children out there are very neglected (for the most part) and the percentage of sexual abuse is outrageous, mostly due to alcoholism and witchcraft. We also had a church in Beclabito, New Mexico but the land was taken from us and we recently moved the church building (double wide trailer) to Shiprock, New Mexico. Its the largest town on the Navajo Nation with over 10,000 Natives here. 300,000 all together on our reservation, touching 4 states..New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.  Its the size of West Virginia..its just amazing.

There are so many ministries started here and too much to really talk about in just a note…so I will just touch on a few things. We have 7 kids active in the ministry with us.

We started the adoption process about 2 months ago and were approved to adopt a Navajo child. We are just going through the next phase in the process, and hope to be through all the paperwork and ready by November.

Bobby preaches in the Senior Citizens center once a week, the jail twice a week, preaches in the Red Valley church, and is getting the Shiprock church hooked up on the new land right now. He gets a lot of calls to preach in supporting churches across the country, some colleges ect. Its a very busy life. He also had 1 year of Bible Club in the public school in Red Valley and so many other little things that I can’t keep track. We have to just go one day at a time. We have a couple of men that he is training right now that help him in a lot of these ministries.

If you want to know more, maybe you can ask pointed questions. My life is an open book. Our web pages need updated but they are at http://www.geocities.com/bobbyharjo but our blog, which is updated more frequently is at http://kjvindian.blogspot.com/ there are some pictures and things on there.

I try to make things as public as possible, because we have a lot of summer groups come out. You know, like they do down in Mexico. They like to take Mission trips that seem like a foreign mission field but don’t cost as much as traveling over seas. I didn’t bargain for that part of the ministry…cooking for so many people for a week at a time. But its been quite a blessing and a great tool to help church members fall in love with missions.

Anyway, I have a lot to do. So feel free to write when you are able.

Love in Christ,

Sis Micki Harjo

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Photo by Wolfgang Staudt

Mexico: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by admin |

Cultural Sensitivity, Facts and Stats, Mexico, Travel Health & Safety

MEXICO: FACTS & STATS

Mexico Flag
Photo by
Esparta

Location: North America; bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico on the East, Belize and Guatemala on the South, the North Pacific Ocean on the West and the U.S. on the North. 

Capital: Mexico City

Climate: Cold and dry in the North and hot and humid with rainfall in the South.

Mexican RancherPopulation: 108,700,891 according to July 2007 estimate.

Economy: The Mexican economy benefited from trade with the U.S. and Canada since the implementation of NAFTA. The economy is both agriculture and industry based, but modernization is yet to take off. Disparity in income distribution finds about 14% of the population below poverty line. The unemployment rate hovers around 4%. 

Ethnic Make-up: Mestizo 60%, Amerindian 30%, White 9%, Others 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 76%, Protestant 6%, Unspecified 18%. There is freedom of religion and evangelism is widespread. 

Mexican little girlLanguage: Spanish, Mayan, Nahuatl and others

Government: Multi-party democracy

Travel Issues: Visitors to Mexico require a visa for entry. You need to submit a completed application form along with a valid passport, visa fees, and passport sized photos to the Mexican embassy in your country. 

Health & Safety: Immunization against Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Polio, Tetanus, and Diphtheria are recommended. Yellow fever shots are mandatory for those travelling from or transiting through African countries and other South American countries.  

SOCIETY & CULTURE

Mexican Guitar Players
Photo by  shutter.chick

The People: The people are of mixed European and Native American descent. Family bonds are strong and extended families of several generations live together. Mexicans are generally warm, friendly people and quite laid back in their way of life. 

Folklorico DancerThe Religion: Roman Catholicism is the major religion of Mexico. A large number of colourful religious festivals are celebrated with a great deal of pomp and show, with long processions and parades. 

Role of Family: Family values are handed down through generations. Traditionally women looked after the home and children, while men were engaged in farming. It is a way of life for extended families to gather around a large table for lunch and catch up with the latest gossip late into the afternoon. Now many young families migrate in search of a better life, usually to the U.S. 

Ancestors: Mexicans celebrate November 1st as the day of the dead in honour of their ancestors. There is no sorrowful mourning, but rather a celebration where streets and buildings are decorated with flowers. They pray for the souls of the dead and pay respects to their memory by decorating graves and lighting candles. 

Puebla at nightRecreational Activities: Bullfighting is a passion in Mexico. Rodeo events such as charreadas draw huge crowds who participate with exuberance. Soccer (Football) is also a national pastime and is popular with all ages. 

Anything else important for this culture: Mexicans tend to stand close when they talk. If it makes you uncomfortable, take care that you step away discreetly and not precipitately, as this may seem insulting.  

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

Mexican Folklorico
Photo by  dave_apple

Meetings & Greetings: A firm handshake is an acknowledged form of greeting for both men and women. Casual conversation sets the tone for further serious discussions. Do not use first names unless invited to do so. Women are greeted with a kiss on the cheek, but do so only if the lady leans her cheek forward for you to do so. Some form of physical contact is inevitable in greeting, as a mere Hello would be interpreted as cold and impersonal. 

Courtesy: Common courtesy includes Please and Thank you at appropriate times. Social meetings are never inflexibly rigid, but tend to be rather casual. The use of titles is very important. Those with a professional title are addressed as such. You can take your cue from the introduction. 

Mexican Candy StandGift Giving: Gifts are tokens of appreciation and should be given when visiting for the first time. A box of chocolate will take care of most situations. Women can be presented flowers or perfumes. It is usual to present a gift to people who have done you a favor. If giving a gift to the opposite gender, indicate your spouse or partner’s role in it. 

Dress Code: Business suits are worn by men for most formal meetings. Extreme hot weather may find them in shirt sleeves and loosened ties. Women wear suits with either skirts or pants. 

Dining Etiquette: There isn’t any particular etiquette to be followed, but good table manners are always appreciated. If you invite someone out, you are expected to pay the bill. Splitting the bill is unheard of. It is the responsibility of the host to order the food after ascertaining the likes and dislikes of the guest. It is customary to linger at the table after the meal, and not leave immediately. 

Colorfule Adobe Mission
Photo by RussBowling

Visiting a home: When visiting a home you could carry a token gift with you. Flowers and chocolate or a bottle of good wine are perfect for any occasion. Exchanging pleasantries will take care of the initial breaking of ice, which may then slip into comfortable camaraderie. 

Children in MexicoCommunication Style: There really is no hard and fast style that can be termed uniquely Mexican. But be prepared for a flamboyant expansiveness and some amount of gesticulations that are considered normal. Resting your hands on your hips when talking is considered aggressive, while having them in your pockets is regarded as rude.

Dos and Don’ts: Petty crime and gang fights are quite common on the streets in certain areas, and it would do you well to be aware of such situations. Do not carry large sums of money on you. Credit card fraud is widespread and so it may be a good idea to pay cash at small outlets and shops. When drawing money from ATMs take care that you’re in a well-lit crowded place.

Rancher photo by wonderlane
Little girl photo by kretyen
Folklorico dancer photo by kretyen
Puebla photo by RussBowling
Candy stand photo by 
sean_mcgee
Kids photo by Jesse Michael Nix

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