The Ministry at Torreon, Mexico

The Ministry at Torreon, Mexico

November 24th, 1957 @ 7:30 PM

Acts 14:21-18

May all of us turn together to the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Acts; the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Acts. Let us all of us read together from the twenty-first verse to the end; Acts 14, Acts 14:21 to the end. There you have the names of Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch, Perga, Attalia; that is all. Now, the fourteenth chapter of Acts, the twenty-first verse to the end.
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THE MINISTRY AT TORREON, MEXICO

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Acts 14:21-28

11-24-57    7:30 p.m.

 

May all of us turn together to the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Acts; the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Acts.  Let us all of us read together from the twenty-first verse to the end; Acts 14, Acts 14:21 to the end.  There you have the names of Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch, Perga, Attalia; that is all.  Now, the fourteenth chapter of Acts, the twenty-first verse to the end; do we all have it?  Acts 14:21, now together:

And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.

And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down unto Attalia:

And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.

And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

And there they abode long time with the disciples.

[Acts 14:21-28]

“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles” [Acts 14:27].  So, as I said this morning, as Paul had done here, from one of his journeys preaching the gospel—he gathered the church together and recounted the things that had happened, and how God had opened the door of faith to the people to whom the Lord had sent him [Acts 14:27]—so I said I wanted to do that tonight.  This last week I have been in Torreon, old Mexico, where is located our Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and in the daytime have spoken to the seminary and to the pastors of Mexico, and then in the evening, in a revival appeal to the people of the city.

Now to introduce us to the place; Torreon is in the middle of the desert of northern Mexico.  Mexico is a country made up of two enormous mountain ranges.  On the eastern side is the Sierra Madre Oriental.  On the western side is the Sierra Madre Occidental, west.  Oriental, Occidental; and those two ranges go through the entire country and meet below Mexico City, and there continue down as the spine of our continent.  An Englishman was asked, “What is Mexico like?”  He picked up a leaf of paper and crumpled it in his hand, put it on the desk, and said, “That is Mexico.”  He could not have used a more apt or apropos illustration.  Mexico is a land of vast and extensive mountain ranges.  Many of you have been in Mexico City.  In this world, nowhere have I ever seen mountains as impressive as Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl, the great more than seventeen thousand foot mountains to the left of Mexico City, in that Sierra Madre Oriental.  But there are bigger mountains on down the country.  They have one peak down there south of Mexico City that is more than eighteen thousand seven hundred feet high.  Pike’s Peak is just a little above fourteen thousand feet.  So you have a country made up of those tremendous mountains.

Now, Torreon is located here.  When you go down to Monterrey, that’s on the eastern side.  About two hundred forty miles west, at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental, west, there you find the city of Torreon.  I found it to be three cities; say, they sometimes call it a tri-city.  There’s Matamoros in Coahuila, and Torreon, then you have the river, and on the other side is the state of Durango, and right on the other side of the river is a city called Gómez Palacio that has more than seventy thousand people in it.  All together they have about a quarter of a million people in Torreón.  If you were to be in the western part of the state, you’d go from El Paso to Chihuahua, then on down and you’d finally come to Torreon, in the center of a vast, vast, mountainous, treeless, barren desert.

Now, the journey there is somewhat difficult.  You go down to Monterrey, and when finally you get to Monterrey, you stay all night in Monterrey.  Then you get up the next day and you fly across the mountains to Torreon and hope that you make it on the Mexican airlines.  When I landed in Monterrey there was a great crowd of people at the airport, had flowers in their hands, singing songs—I thought, “What a happy occasion.”  When I got off the plane, went through health, and went through immigration, went through customs, why, I found out what it was: there was a bride and groom there, and they were being sent off on one of the planes to a happy hunting… not hunting trip!  On a happy honeymoon!

Well, when I got on Aero Novas airlines, flew over the mountains and finally came to Torreon, and landed there, why, to my happy surprise there was a fine group of people at the airport, and they had a, one fellow had a big bunch of flowers in his hands, and they had a band there.  Well, I thought, “What a wonderful reception.  How unusual.  First time in my life I was ever greeted by a man with a great bouquet of flowers in his hands, and a band, and the people singing.  “Oh,” I just thought, “this is wonderful!”  So I got off the plane and walked up there to where they were.  Not a soul looked at me.  Not a soul paid any attention to me.  Everybody had their eyes riveted on somebody back of me.  So I turned around to see what was back of me, and sure enough, there were all those folks in that plane that had come over there with me.  And this crowd was beaming, and smiling, and offering flowers, and singing songs.  So I said to the missionary that met me, “Who in the world are all these people?”  And he said, “Why, don’t you know?  That’s the governor of the state of Coahuila, and those are his lieutenants in the governor’s mansion and their wives, and they’ve come over here to Torreon for a great day.”  Lo and behold, there I was flying over there with the governor, flying over there with all the high officials of state, and didn’t know it—and so disappointed that that reception wasn’t for me.

It is always interesting, and you can take the night talking about the people you meet on a trip like that.  Oh, the charlatans, and the necromancers, and the enchanters, and the magicians, and the confidence man, and the shell game man, and all the folks you meet in a trip like that.  Well, when I got to Monterrey, I had a little trouble finding a way into the city.  And there was a fellow that befriended me, and I sat by his side in a taxi, and he could talk to me in a language I could understand, so he said, “You’re going to the hotel?”

“Yes.”

“And I’m going to the hotel.”

“Yes.”

“Well,” he said, “I’ll meet you after we register in those two different hotels.  We’ll eat supper together.  Then maybe for a few minutes we walk around over the city.”  Well, he’d been so nice to me I couldn’t tell him no—to walk around with a stranger like that in Monterrey at night.  I went to my room and registered in, and I took what money I had and half of it I put in my suitcase, and the other half I left in my pocket, so when I walked around with that guy at night in Monterrey, and somebody knocked me in the head, why, I can still get home, I’d have enough money in there in the hotel room, I thought, after they had robbed me, to make it back.  Well, registered in the hotel, divided my money, half of it in the suitcase, half of it here in my pocket; met the fellow, ate dinner with him, and then we started walking around over Monterrey.

Well, as we walked down the street, came in front of a big Catholic church, and we remarked on that Catholic church.  And it gave me the opportunity to ask him the question: I said, “Sir, I suppose you are a Catholic.”

“No,” he said, “I’m no Catholic.”

 Well, I said, “What are you?”

He said, “I’m a Baptist.”

My soul!  Well, I thought of my pocketbook.  He’s a Baptist.  Well, I said, “Where do you live?”

He says, “I am the head of the Foreign Department of the First National Bank in Kansas City, Missouri.  I’m being sent by my bank on a business trip through these Latin American countries.”

Why, I got to talking with that fellow, his name was Martinas.  Why, he’s a better Baptist than I am.  I never saw the like; one of the most faithful and devout young men I ever talked to.  Why, I had the best time in my life walking around at night over Monterrey with that wonderfully consecrated young man.  His daddy and mother were Baptists before him, immigrated to Kansas City, and that boy has that fine place in the First National Bank.

Well, lot of other folks, but we don’t take time for that.

So we come to the seminary in Torreon.  Now the seminary and all of the compound—I’d call it a compound; they don’t use that word.  Everywhere else in this mission world they use the word “compound,” the group of buildings—that seminary and the church, the Calvary Baptist Church, all of it has been built with our Lottie Moon Christmas offering money.  Everything in it is a product of our love gift to Christ for foreign missions at Christmastime, dedicated in memory of Lottie Moon.  They have a beautiful church there, a fine church; then they have the dormitories for the men and the women; then they have the homes for the missionaries, all of it new, all of it built since 1947, and all of it very adequate.  It is a fine institution, one in which you would delight and of which you would be proud.

Now there’s a strange thing about the place.  The part of it that is used for religion belongs to the federal government of Mexico.  The part of it where they live in the missionary homes belongs to our Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board.  Well, I said, “Isn’t that strange?  All of this that is used for religion belongs to the government.”  I was then enlightened on this fact:  all of religious property in Mexico belongs to the Mexican government, all of it.  Well, I said, “How in the world did that come to pass?”  Then the thing of history that I should have known, possibly once did, but have forgotten:  Benito Juarez, for whom the city across the Rio Grande from El Paso is named, Benito Juarez was a full-blooded Indian, and the greatest citizen Mexico has ever produced.  He was a man of tremendous character, of great vision, and of dedication to his people.

The Catholic Church had been in Mexico for two hundred fifty years, and they were charged by the Spanish government with the enlightenment of the people and the education of the people.  After two hundred fifty years, there were not as many as ten schools, ten grammar schools, in all Mexico to teach the people.  The people were in slavery and peonage.  And the Catholic Church owned eighty percent of all the land and all the property, and the people were slaves of the church.  That’s why when you go down there you will see those magnificent cathedrals adorned with gold and silver, and the people in squalor, and ignorance, and poverty, and misery.

So Benito Juarez, who was a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, he called his forces together, beat up, beat down, ragged and poor, and he broke the back of the Catholic Church.  And in 1857 they expropriated all of the properties of the church and dedicated it to the people.  And all of the monasteries and nunneries and all of those things, they turned them into schools, and they began to teach the people and do their best to raise the educational and spiritual and economic level of the slaves in Old Mexico.  Well, that’s why, they said, in 1857 Mexico passed a law that all of the properties of the church belonged to the state.  And, of course, as it included the Catholic Church, it included all other religions too.  And that’s why all properties used for religion belong to the government of Mexico.

The poverty in that country is still indescribable.  The average salary of a worker in that country is seven pesos a day.  That is fifty-six cents.  One of those missionaries figured out for me—it would take eighteen years for a man working every day, Sunday and holidays included, never spend a cent of what he made, to buy a Chevrolet car; eighteen years.  A typical thing of the type of life the people live is one of the girls who stood up in the seminary chapel to make her annual speech in the chapel—they have a rule there in the seminary that once a year, each pupil must make a speech at chapel—so this girl stood up to make her speech.  She was a poor Mexican girl, given her heart to the Lord and her life to Jesus, come to the seminary to be trained.  So this was her text: “Endure hardships, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” [2 Timothy 2:3].  And her speech had three points to it.  First: “Don’t be squeamish when you find flies in the food.”  That was the first one.  Second part: “Don’t be afraid when the room is filled with rats.”  That was the second point.  And the third point was: “And don’t mind if the bed is full of bedbugs.”  That’s the three points of that girl’s talk.  Well, I said to the missionary, “What in the world [is] making her talk like that?”  He said, “Why, pastor, that’s the kind of a life that girl has known all of her days, and when she goes out to work for Jesus, that’s the kind of a life that she will live.”

Now our services in the seminary: in the daytime, the students—girls and boys, the young men and women in the seminary; they do not have very many, oh, thirty.  In the daytime, to the students in the seminary and to the pastors of the state—it was a pastors’ institute along with the services at the school, so the pastors from all over Mexico had been invited to come, and many, many of them from every part of the country were there.  In the daytime I spoke to the seminary and that pastors’ group, and then at the night, in the church, a revival meeting for the city.  Now, you wonder, how do you do with an interpreter?  Well, I’ve preached clear around this world, and always through an interpreter.  And if you have a good interpreter—and the president of that seminary, James Crane, one of the best in the world—if you have a good interpreter, doesn’t hurt at all.  You won’t miss anything.  He’ll just carry through and you’ll encourage each other.  The only thing is, when you are not preaching—I’m accustomed to preaching and my mind working like a house afire and preaching my heart out.  When you’re talking to the students and when you’re talking to the pastors there, why, you know, you say something and then he has to explain what you said.  You’re not talking simply, you’re talking about theology, and you’re talking about pastoral leadership.  And while he’s doing that, why, you know the crowd is small, and you’re looking at somebody, and you kind of have a hard time.  Now I know one day, talking in the daytime there at the seminary, why, there was a fellow right there in front of me.  So after I would say something, why, I’d pause here, you know, for the man to translate it.  Well, that fellow right down there in front of me, he had an ability with his nose that I never saw in my life.  It was a marvelous thing!  And he went through, he went through a little facial contortion every two or three minutes, and he had a set pattern for it.  He would start out with his eyes, and he’d blink his eyes, you know, from top to bottom.  Then his nose: he could take his nose and actually, he could put it on this side of his face, and put it on that side of his face.  He could wiggle his nose from side to side.  Well, while I was trying to deliver that lecture to the seminary, I couldn’t keep my eyes off that fellow down there in front.  You know, Doctor, you have a little muscle here called the tensor fasciae latae, and I was just trying to figure out how he could take that muscle and wiggle his nose like a horse from side to side to side—oh, very unusual!  Well, anyway, things like that bother you when you’re talking slow.  But when I’m preaching, an interpreter does not bother at all.  You can just pour your heart out when you’re pleading for people to come to Christ.

Now I don’t know what would have happened down there could I have stayed.  President Crane said to me, “Oh, if you could just stay, if you could just preach here.”  God helped us.  The crowds grew.  I never had but three nights, because Friday night we had to cancel it on account of that plane; just Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Why, bless you heart, we had a good crowd the first night, we had a marvelous crowd the next night, and we had a glorious crowd the third night.  The first night, there were seven people saved, three of them public school teachers.

By the way, after that Tuesday night came the twentieth of November, which is a great holiday in Mexico.  That’s the day of the revolution, 1910, November 20, when they overthrew the dictatorship for thirty years over to the dictatorship of Diaz; a great holiday.  We have a Baptist bookstore in Torreon, the only one in Old Mexico, located right in front of the city hall.  And there at the city hall, all those officials of the state and the government sat to review the parade.  The two-story building, our business building downtown for the bookstore, so we sat upstairs and saw the parade just as well as all of the retinue of the governmental officials on the other side.  And I never saw so many pupils, youngsters; oh, everywhere in this world you go the world is filled with children.  They were in that parade; by the hours they passed.  And to my delight, the fellow sitting next to me, said, “Pastor, look, look,” and I looked.  I said, “What do I see?”  He said, “That school there.”  Oh, there were hundreds of children in that school, and there was a man leading that school, and he pointed to him and said, “Do you recognize him?  He was one of the three that was converted last night.”  And when he came by, all of us Baptists up there in that bookstore clapped our hands, and he looked up at us and waved in return.  And I was so grateful—one of the young men converted the night before in that appeal.

Well, the second night, the second night, you just ought have been there.  That was the thing that I mentioned this morning.  When I got through preaching the second night and began to appeal, several came, and among them, the son of the president of the seminary.  Well, when that boy of his came and gave his heart to the Lord and was saved, you just ought to have heard that seminary president as he pled with those people to come to Christ, the tears just rolling off of his face, pleading with those men and women to take Jesus as Savior.  And that’s where I heard him use that expression over and over again: “Oh, amigo mio, esta noche, esta noche.  Oh, amigo mio, esta noche, esta noche.”  Said it so many times and so earnestly and prayerfully and heart-feelingly, that I couldn’t help but notice it.  “Oh, my friend, this night, this night, this night.  Esta noche, this night.  Oh, amigo mio, my friend.”

Well, I want you to know, the next night we had a Pentecost!  Out of that group there were more than twenty-five that came down that aisle, taking Jesus as their Savior.  It just was a Pentecost; it was a wonderful thing.  Then we had to stop.  Then we had to stop.  Oh, I wish I could have stayed.  My heart was warmed and my soul was filled, and people were saved.

Well, then to come back home.  While I was there on Friday, I said to the president, I said, “Listen, I don’t believe I can get back into the United States without a vaccination certificate for smallpox.”

He said, “Oh.”

 I said, “Oh nothing!  I just, I’ve been gone and come back too many times, and I have never yet got in without a smallpox vaccination certificate.”

Well, he said, “If you insist.”

Why, well, I said, “I insist because I only have a little bit of time to make that plane when I get back, Monterrey to San Antonio, to make it up to Dallas.  And if I had another day I wouldn’t mind, but I’ve got to be at my church Sunday, and I can’t afford to take the chance.  So please, won’t you get me vaccinated?”

“Well,” he said, “I’ll take you to my doctor, who’s a German doctor.”  And he took me to the German doctor, and sure enough he wasn’t in, couldn’t be found.

Well, I said, “I’ve got to have that vaccination certificate.  I can’t take a chance.  They won’t let me in the United States,” and brother, I was right!

When I landed at that airport, the first thing, there was a uniformed man with a gun on each side of him, and the first thing he said was “Show me your vaccination certificate!”

I said, “What if I don’t have one?”

He said, “Brother, you won’t get in here.”  So I pulled it out.

Well, here’s how I got it.  I said, “Now listen, I’ve got to have that certificate.”  Well, he said, “The only place I know to take you is to the public health service.”  I said, “Take me to the public health service.”

Well, he said, “But you won’t like it.”

I said, “I don’t care, take me there.”  So I went to the public health service.  And when I did, I saw why he thought I wouldn’t like it.  I never saw such a long line of women with babies in their arms in my life as I saw there at that public health service in Torreon, lined up there, and there was a woman doctor up there giving all of those women with their babies, giving them vaccination certificates.

Now, he said, “That’s what I tell you.”  He said, “The Lord only knows what that woman does there with those little instruments.  The same ones on you, on all them; and whether she sterilizes them or not, I don’t know,” he said, “and when they vaccinate you, you may get cholera, and diphtheria, and typhoid, and typhus, and everything else!”

Well, I said, “I don’t care, I got to get that vaccination certificate.”  So I got in line with all of the women and their babies.  I never felt so foolish in my life, standing there with all those Mexican women with their babies.

Well, they look at me, and they’d say something to one another in Mexicana and just laugh and look at me.  Oh my!  But I was determined to get that vaccination.  And when I got to her, why, she took those same instruments, she gave me that vaccination certificate.  And I got to scratching last night—I’d forgotten about it—I got to scratching last night and scratching last night.  And I happened to think, “My soul, I’ve been vaccinated.”  And I took off my clothes, rolled up my sleeve, and I said, “I don’t know what it is, whether its cholera or typhus or diphtheria, but it’s taking, whatever it is.”

There are no discouragements like traveling in a foreign country.  So the time came—7:00 o’clock, 8:00 o’clock Friday night—for me to catch the plane to Monterrey so I could stay all night in Monterrey and catch the plane to come back to Dallas.  Went to the airport and was nonchalantly, indifferently told that the flight had been cancelled, and it wouldn’t leave until eight o’clock Saturday night.  So, why, I said, “Man, I’ve got to get to Monterrey, I’ve got to get to Dallas.”

He said, “The flight has been cancelled until 8:00 o’clock Saturday night.”

I said to the missionary, I said, “Missionary, I’ve got to get back home.  Every Sunday counts and I have to get back home.”  Well, we worked it out.  He was to take me to Saltillo that night, stay all night in Saltillo, and I could get a bus to Monterrey the next morning.  Isn’t that funny how a fellow live down there all this time and not know the climate?  I want you to know, that boy doesn’t have any heater in his car, and he had a summer suit on, got in that car, I had my suit on, a sweater, and an overcoat, and was keeping warm.

He said, “It’s not going to get cold.”

Well, I said, “It’s already cold, I’m freezing to death!”

He said, “It doesn’t get cold in this country.”  Well, is there no heat in any of the houses?

Well, we were driving along in the worst dust storm—that’s why the thing was cancelled: they had a dust storm.  Planes couldn’t fly in the dust storm.  I never saw earth move across the highway like I did driving through the night, trying to get to Saltillo.  The whole earth looked to me like moving across that highway.  Why, he’d get off in the ditch, and I’d say, “Listen, man…”

He’d say, “I can’t tell where the road is and where the ditch is.  It’s just all the same.”  Well, when we kept on driving, I saw something in the lights—you know as you go to the lights—he said, “What is that?”

I said, “Sir, that’s snow!”

He said, “That not snow.  It doesn’t snow in this country!”

I said, “Brother, that’s snow!”

Well, he stopped the car and got out, came back, shook his head, he said, “You’re right.  That’s snow.”  Ooh, just freeze to death, that poor boy.  Well anyway, I got the bus to Monterrey, barely in time to catch the plane up here to San Antonio and from San Antonio to Dallas.

Now I want to say a word—these things too long—I want to say a word about our missionary.  The missionary has a hard time.  The reason for it, first, is very obvious.  You can be the most enlightened and intelligent and educated man in this world, but when you go to a foreign country you are the most ignoramus specimen that walks around.  Why, the little old kids in Greece talk Greek, and I just bone over that for years and years and years and years.  The little babies talk Greek in Greece.  It’s just, oh it’s very humiliating.  One of those missionaries went down there; his name was Moya, Brother Moya, and he’s a great big fellow, great big fellow, and he’s trying to preach in Spanish.  When he got done, one of the dear, saintly women came up to him and said, “Brother Moya, Dios le bendice.  But God bless you, Brother Moya.”  And she said, “We couldn’t understand anything you said, but God could understand.  God could understand.”  You have no idea how humiliating a thing like that is.  They told me that that great big fellow, that missionary, was standing by the side of a market, and he was trying to talk in Spanish, and there was a squaw seated down there on the sidewalk.  She looked up with contempt and a shrug of her shoulder and said, “Que grande y que tonto.”  “How big and how dumb!”  And by the way, that’s the first time I knew that Indian guide in Lone Ranger or something like that, you know, he’s got a mask, Tonto, Tonto?  Well, tonto is the plain ordinary Spanish word for “dumb.”  I didn’t know that.  I think they ought to change that fellow’s name, don’t you?

Well, along with that, there is so much pathos in that missionary life.  The great beloved missionary of all missionaries in Old Mexico was named Lacy, George Holcombe Lacy.  They have a Spanish—a Mexican National Convention, and they run a seminary themselves in Guadalajara, the Baptist seminary of Mexico.  And it is named for this missionary; it is called the Lacy Baptist Seminary.  This man was an Arkansawyer; and in 1903 he went to head the seminary, then located in Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila.  When he went out, he had four children, and right after he was there, a fifth baby was born.  The baby became sick and in twelve hours died.  The second child, a little boy, became ill and in thirty hours was dead.  He put his wife and the remaining three children on the train to send them back to Arkansas to their home.  As the train crossed the border into Arkansas, another child grew sick with the same symptoms, and the mother got off the train with the children to try to find a doctor.  She sent a wire to her husband in Saltillo that this third child was sick with the same symptoms.  And before Lacy the missionary could get the wire, all three of the other children had died; five!  He came back to Arkansas, and they stood by the side of the grave where the last three of their children were buried.  And as he stood there in bereavement, he said to his wife, “Dear, I suppose we’ll not be able to go back to Mexico.”  And she answered, “Husband, we have such an investment now!  We cannot afford not to go back.”  And that’s the story of the Lacy’s—back to Mexico, spent their life there.

Just because I was interested, I asked about her, five children, all die one after another.  I said, “What became of her?”

And one of the missionaries said, “I’ll tell you something that very few people know: she came back, but her mind broke finally.  She lost her mind.  Her heart was willing, her body yielded, but it was too much, and it broke her mind.”  Oh, the sorrows of any missionary, any missionary, any of our missionaries.

I borrowed the Bible of a missionary there at Torreon.  She’s a young woman.  I feel most sorry for a girl that goes out.  When a man goes out, almost always he has his family, and they live there.  But when a girl goes out, she’s by herself; there’s nobody she can go with, nobody she can be with.  She’s a single girl; the saddest, lonesomest life in this world.  I’ll never forget Elizabeth Truly talking to me in Abeokuta, Nigeria.  I said, “How do you fare?”  And she replied, “Only the Lord knows how many nights all night long I cry on my pillow”; a single girl, out and away.

Well, anyway, this girl, so dedicated, a wonderful girl, I borrowed her Bible.  And in the front of her Bible were written some words, and I asked her, “Before I return your Bible, may I copy this fly leaf?”  She said, “If you want to.”  And I did, on a piece of stationary I picked up there at the hotel.  Now this is what was written in her Bible:

Lord, I give up my own purposes and plans, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions, and accept Thy will for my life.  I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever.  I hand over to Thy keeping all my friendships, all the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart.  Fill me, and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.  Work out Thy whole will in my life, at any cost, now and forever.  To me, to live is Christ.

Then she copied three stanzas of two different songs.

When I see Thee, blessed Savior, hanging on the cursed tree

Oh how gladly I surrender to be crucified with Thee.

Let Thy loving Holy Spirit rule, O Lord, within my heart;

Live in me a life of service, Thy unselfishness impart.

[source and author unknown]

Then this last, that I knew:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace—

I thought we’d sing it, all of us—

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

[from “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” Helen H. Lemmel]

And that’s our appeal to you: turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.  Would you tonight?  Trusting Him as your Savior [Romans 10:9-10], or giving Him in a new way your life, or answering the call to a special service, or coming into the church by letter, as God would lead the way, open the door, would you come?  In the balcony around, somebody you; in this lower floor, down here: “Preacher, I give you my hand; I give my heart to Jesus” [Romans 10:9-10, 13].  While we sing, would you come, while we stand and while we sing?