Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Tent

…..On to Oaxaca! They moved there fully intending to start a work, but when they arrived, the news came from headquarters that they were to go to School of Missions, then on to deputation in the U.S. While they lived in Oaxaca, they helped a church that was already there, and gave Bible studies to people they met there. For nine months they lived in Oaxaca, then left to deputize in the U.S.
Elder Wakefield giving a Bible study to the landlord and her family

The house Elder and Sis. Wakefield lived in was at the end of this road

For ten months, they traveled all over the continental U.S. and were even able to visit Alaska! When they had raised enough support, back down to Mexico they went!

This time, they chose Puebla. They moved there, found a house, and started giving English classes as a way to evangelize. The curriculum used to teach was the Bible study called Search for Truth. Elder Wakefield set up one chart in English and one chart in Spanish. They had many people wanting to learn English, so these classes were a hit! But instead of learning just grammar, etc, they were learning everything from GOD creating the heavens and the earth to baptism being in the name of JESUS!

Giving English classes in the house

Elder Wakefield in downtown Puebla

My parents had visited Elder and Sis. Wakefield in Mexico a few times and and it was always very emotional. They enjoyed the services and loved the people. Soon my dad began to feel a burden. Finally the decision was made to leave California for Mexico. We sold the family business and had a huuuuuge garage sale in which we sold almost everything we had. Elder and Sis. Wakefield came and picked us up and down, down, down we drove to Puebla like one big, happy family!  I was 7, Nicole was 5. Austin was not even a twinkle in our eyes.

Gramma and Nicole soon after we arrived in Puebla

When we got there, we moved into the big white house the Wakefields were renting. It was big enough for all of us to live in and start the beginnings of a church. We continued with the English classes in the house for a few weeks until a church in Missouri bought us a tent to have church in.
God opened up a door for us to be able to set up the tent in the middle of a very busy, commerical area.
Setting the tent stakes out

El Pastor

Elder Wakefield

All set up and looking good!

We were in the first location for 3 months. We baptized 26 and 13 got the Holy Ghost!! About 30 people got their certificate of completion for the English class.

This is how we filled the baptistry back then. A tank of water on a cart pulled by a donkey.

I will never forget this couple. They were Catholic and had been taught all their lives that baptism was in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but when they visited the tent they learned that salvation is in the name of JESUS. No one in the Bible was ever baptized using the titles. When they asked their priest about Acts 2:38, his reply was, "Peter made a mistake."

The tent was on the corner of a very busy part of town. Unfortunately there were a lot of people that were not happy with us and the message being preached. One night vandals came in the tent and tore up jack! They threw the hay bales we used as altars into the water-filled baptistry. As you can see, they knocked over chairs and tables and threw our tracts all over the place.

....This led to us taking drastic measures! We put a radio in there and set up a bed and stuffed it with pillows to make it look like someone was sleeping in and keeping watch over the tent each night. (It did work!)

A Christmas play we did in the tent
(Nicole on the left, me on the right, in white)

After 3 months of having the tent in its first location we decided it was time to move to another location. One day, however, a young man showed up at the house around dinner time saying that Socorro, the presidenta of the colonia, wanted to speak with us. Grampa and Dad finished up dinner quickly and went down to the tent where trouble was brewing. The president of the colonia actually had nothing to do with this group of Catholics that were upset and wanted to tear down the tent. We tried to reason with them as they made their threats, telling them that we were taking it down in a few days, but they would not listen. They said that we either had to take the tent down right then, or they would burn it down. My dad and Elder Wakefield could not calm them down. It was then that my dad got the bright idea that he should take pictures of them. He says this is the dumbest thing he ever did, but then again, I would not be telling this story if it weren't for him...
We happened to have a disposable camera in the truck which my dad quickly got out of the car. He began taking pictures of everyone at this protest. *Click,, zip* :P
It had grown from a group of about 30 people, to a raging, angry crowd of about 100 people!
The ring leader, a lady by the name of Lawyer McLean, soon noticed my dad taking pictures and came running. She tried to take the camera out of his hands as he snapped two last shots of her angy, twisted face. My dad started back-pedaling...where he was going to run...who knows, but suddenly, a young kid who was playing soccer nearby changed sports and tried an American football move on my dad. In spite of his tremendous strength, the unexpected tackle took him down.
He thought it was the end and that the angry Catholics were going to stone or kick him to death. Somebody ripped the camera out of his hands and as he stood up, he realized that some of the new converts and English class students were surrounding him to protect him. (All women...HAHA!)

The person who had taken the camera from my dad turned out to be a friend and returned the camera to us. The police soon came and Grampa and Dad left. We put the developed pictures on the billboard at church, but they were later stolen by the lady with the twisted face (probably--ha!) In the ensuing investigation, we were ordered to leave tent there for 2 more weeks, in which an earthquake happened and the house of God filled. The whole scenario only increased our popularity there. With the growth of the church, it became necessary to buy a middle extension so that it would hold more people.
However, we could only stay in a tent for so long. We needed a building, and God was already working it out for us......


Emily Keating said...

Interesting blog post! I love hearing about you and your family's mission work in Mexico =)

allanatohonduras said...

Oh I love it...isn't it even better being able to live it and watch it all come together. What calling. There is nothing quite like being a missionary (or MK).

Hanna said...

You have got to write a book about this! Absolutely fascinating and edifying!

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