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

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