Tag Archives: Hispanic Americans

Alice E. Luce: Spanish-Speaking Pentecostals Have Three Special Claims

LABI

Faculty and students at Latin American Bible Institute, Los Angeles, California; circa 1941. Alice Luce (back row, far left); Josue Cruz (back row, 3rd from left), Demetrio Bazan (back row, 5th from left). Others unidentified.

This Week in AG History — June 25, 1927

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, 27 June 2019

“A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time” (Isaiah 60:22). Alice Luce, an educator and missionary to Spanish speakers along the U.S.-Mexican border, referred to this verse in 1927 when describing the burgeoning Hispanic work in the Assemblies of God.

Luce noted that, only 12 years earlier, Henry C. Ball started a small Pentecostal mission among refugees from the Mexican Civil War who settled in Ricardo, Texas. What began as a small work quickly blossomed into an important and growing part of the Assemblies of God.

Luce tallied the existence of over 100 Spanish speaking congregations that served between 2,000 and 3,000 converts. Two Spanish language Bible schools were begun the prior year, one by Ball in Texas and another by Luce in California. These two schools, now known as Christ Mission College (San Antonio, Texas) and LABI College (La Puente, California), continue to serve an important role by training Spanish speaking ministers.

But the Spanish work in the Assemblies of God made an impact that stretched into the broader Christian tradition. In 1916 Ball published a Spanish language hymnal, Himnos de Gloria, that enjoyed wide distribution among Christians of all denominational stripes in the Western hemisphere. No fewer than 115,000 copies had been sold as of 1927. Ball’s monthly periodical, La Luz Apostolica, had a circulation of 2,000. In 1924, Casa Evangélicas de Publicaciones (Gospel Publishing House), was formed in San Antonio, Texas, and churned out countless pieces of Spanish language literature that circled the globe.

Luce wrote that the Spanish speaking churches could make a “special claim.” She identified three things that, taken together, set apart the missions work among the Hispanics. First, she believed that the Bible commanded Americans to be a witness to Mexicans. She wrote that Jesus commanded Christians to testify “first in Jerusalem (which for us means the town where we live), next in all Judea (which would represent our home country), and then in Samaria, which must represent Mexico, our nearest neighbor. These were all to be evangelized before the disciples should proceed to the uttermost parts of the earth.”

The second special claim of Hispanic ministry, according to Luce, was its “great fruitfulness.” She wrote, “from a purely business point of view this work has a special claim upon us, because its converts are numbered by the thousand, most of them receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost soon after they believe.” Importantly, she noted that the Hispanic work quickly became indigenous: “new missions are continually springing up, the message of full salvation being carried from place to place by the converts themselves.”

Thirdly, Luce wrote, “This Latin American work appeals to us in a special way because it can be done so easily and with so little expense.” This ministry did not require a passport or fundraising, just “the trouble to get a few Spanish tracts and go from door to door in the Mexican quarter of your own town.”

When Luce quoted Isaiah 60:22, she implied that the growing Spanish speaking constituency in the Assemblies of God would become “a strong nation.” Her prediction came true. In 2017, 23.2% of Assemblies of God adherents (744,297 people) in the United States were Hispanic.

Read the entire article by Alice E. Luce, “The Latin-American Pentecostal Work,” on pages 6 and 7 of the June 25, 1927, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Living in the Lord’s Banqueting House,” by A. G. Ward

• “Pentecostal Seekers,” by Ernest S. Williams

• “The Next War”

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel
archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Latino and Latina Pioneers in the Assemblies of God

Temple Beth-El

Templo Beth-el Latin American Assembly of God (Weslaco, Texas), circa 1960

This Week in AG History —October 19, 1929

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 18 October 2018

Hispanic ministers and churches have played an important role in the Assemblies of God (AG) for over 100 years. The Pentecostal message spread rapidly among Spanish-speakers, first along the borderlands in Texas among refugees from the Mexican Revolution and among Puerto Ricans. The AG ordained its first Hispanic minister in 1914 and created a conference for U.S. Hispanic churches (later known as the Latin American District) in 1918.

Eighty-nine years ago this week, the Pentecostal Evangel briefly noted that the Hispanic AG churches in the United States (with the exception of Puerto Rico) had formed the Latin American District. Over the decades, Hispanics forged their own identity, leaders, and churches within the AG. In 2017, over 23 percent of AG adherents in the United States were Hispanic.

The following vignettes offer a glimpse into the lives and ministries of several Hispanic AG pioneers. While Anglo missionaries to Hispanics, such as Henry C. Ball, Alice E. Luce, and Florence Murcutt, also were an important part of the story, the below stories feature Latino(a)s who helped to lay the foundation for the AG. Their testimonies offer a glimpse into the vibrant spiritual lives of our Pentecostal pioneers.

Antonio Rios Morin

Antonio Rios Morin (born ca. 1867), a former Mexican Revolution army officer, in 1914 became the first Hispanic to be ordained as an AG minister. He was converted in 1912 under the ministry of Mexican healing evangelist Enemecio Alaniz in a racially integrated Pentecostal home meeting in Houston. Morin joined with Alaniz and other Hispanic and Anglo Pentecostal ministers, evangelizing among the Mexican refugees in the borderlands of Texas. At the time, many refugees followed Spiritism or other occult practices. Many people were saved, healed, and delivered from demons under Morin’s ministry.

Juan Lugo

LugoJuan Lugo (1890-1984) was born in Puerto Rico and raised on the sugar plantations of Hawaii. In 1913, Lugo’s mother came into contact with Pentecostal missionaries from the interracial Azusa Street Revival who were en route to Japan and China. She accepted Christ and told her son, but he initially rejected her witness. When one of Juan’s co-workers who could not read also became a Christian, he asked Juan to read the Bible to him on breaks. Juan reluctantly agreed, and what he found in the Bible changed his life. He soon accepted Christ, was baptized in the Holy Spirit, and felt called into the ministry. In 1916, he returned to Puerto Rico, where he pioneered the first Pentecostal churches on the island. He established La Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal (Pentecostal Church of God), which was affiliated with the AG. He later moved to New York, where he helped establish Puerto Rican churches on the East Coast, which became the foundation for the Spanish Eastern District.

Dionicia Feliciano

FelicianoDionicia Feliciano (born ca. 1890) was the first Latina ordained by the AG. She and her husband, Salomon, were Puerto Ricans who, like Juan Lugo, were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1913 while working on sugar plantations in Hawaii. They became ordained Assemblies of God ministers in San Jose, California, in 1916. They returned to Puerto Rico, where they helped Lugo pioneer the young Pentecostal movement. In late 1916, they ventured to the Dominican Republic, where they served as the first Pentecostal missionaries to that nation. Dionicia was very active in church planting and evangelistic work.

Isabel Flores

Isabel Flores (a male Mexican-American pastor) and H. C. Ball co-founded the January 1918 organizational convention of AG churches and ministers, which was held in Kingsville, Texas. Flores was one of the earliest Hispanic AG ministers. Like many Mexican refugees, he faced significant cultural and legal challenges in America. In one such circumstance, Flores was arrested in May 1918 and incarcerated in the Jackson County jail in Edna, Texas. The reason for the arrest is unknown. An account published in 1966 in La Luz Apostolica simply stated, “It was wartime, and the officer did not speak Spanish and Isabel did not speak English.” Ball came to the aid of Flores and traveled to Edna, where he spoke with authorities and secured the prisoner’s release. Flores’ experience demonstrates that it was advantageous for Hispanic Pentecostals to form an alliance with Anglos of like faith.

Demetrio and Nellie Bazan

BazanIt would be difficult to overstate the impact of Demetrio (1900-1976) and Nellie Bazan (1895-1995) on the AG. Both Demetrio and Nellie felt called into the ministry and were ordained together in 1920, less than a month before their wedding. H. C. Ball, the Anglo AG missionary to Hispanics, saw potential in Demetrio for pastoral leadership and mentored him. Demetrio proved to be an effective pastor, evangelist, and administrator, and succeeded Ball in 1939 as the first Hispanic to serve as Latin American district superintendent. Bazan’s far-reaching vision and abilities helped the Hispanic constituency of the AG to grow significantly. Nellie was an important AG leader in her own right. She preached from the pulpit at least 30 times per year, engaged in extensive door-to-door evangelism, was a prolific author, and raised 10 children.

Jose Giron

GironJose Giron (1911-2001) succeeded Demetrio Bazan in 1959 as superintendent of the Latin American district, which grew by 1970 to encompass 403 churches, 827 ministers, and 21,000 members. In 1971, Giron led the district to divide into four smaller districts, laying the foundation for structures that allowed continued growth and better oversight and accountability. Giron had demonstrated strong evangelistic and church planting skills early in his ministry, and his careful yet forward-looking leadership skills proved invaluable to the AG.

Francisca Blaisdell

Francisca Blaisdell (ca 1885-1941) was born in Mexico and started preaching the Pentecostal message in 1915. She married an Anglo AG missionary, George E. Blaisdell. Francisca founded the Concilio Misionero Femenil (Women’s Missionary Council) in 1922 in Agua Prieta, Mexico. The purpose of the council was to encourage missionary work along the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. The Blaisdells moved to Arizona, and H. C. Ball and Juan Lugo ordained her as an AG missionary-evangelist in 1923. Francisca became a prominent Latina AG evangelist, but the council, which claimed 44,600 members by 2005, was perhaps her most significant achievement.

Concepcion (Chonita) Morgan Howard

Concepcion (Chonita) Morgan Howard (1898-1983) was a pioneer Latina Pentecostal evangelist and pastor. She accepted Christ and was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1913 in the mining town of San Jose de las Playitas in Sonora, Mexico. Her father was Anglo, and her mother was Mexican. In 1919 she married an Anglo preacher, Lloyd Howard, who was pastoring a small Mexican congregation in Arizona. She was ordained by the AG in 1928 as an evangelist to Mexicans living along the Mexican-American border. In addition to her work as an evangelist and pastor, she served as the second president of the Concilio Misionero Femenil (1941-1962).

Roberto Fierro

FierroRobert Fierro (1916-1985) was a prominent Mexican-American AG evangelist who preached fluently in both English and Spanish. Fierro surrendered his life to Christ at 15 years of age, following his mother’s miraculous healing in a Pentecostal church. He soon felt a call to minister and enrolled in Bible college. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, he preached throughout the United States and in Spanish-speaking countries to crowds that often numbered into the thousands. Countless people were converted and healed under his ministry.

Jesse Miranda

MirandaJesse Miranda (1937-present) is a respected Hispanic AG church leader and educator who in 1995 became the first Latino to be elected as an executive presbyter. Jesse began life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the son of a lumber mill worker and a mother with a third-grade education. He started preaching at 19 and served as an instructor at Latin American Bible Institute from 1959 to 1978 and as superintendent of the Southern Pacific Latin American district from 1984 to 1992. Jesse became known as a bridge builder, serving as the founding president of the multidenominational Alianza de Ministerios Evangelicos Nacionales (AMEN) and as executive director of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization. Christianity Today dubbed him “the granddaddy of U.S. Latino Protestantism.”

Read about the formation of the Latin American District in the article, “The Thirteenth General Council Meeting,” on page 5 of the Oct. 19, 1929, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Sound of Rain,” by W. E. Moody

• “The Church’s Greatest Need,” by Charles E. Robinson

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org

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For 100 Years, Hispanics Have Played an Important Role in the Growth of the Assemblies of God

Temple Beth-El

Templo Beth-el Latin American Assembly of God (Weslaco, Texas), circa 1960.

This Week in AG History — June 26, 1960

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 28 June 2018  

This year the Assemblies of God is celebrating the centennial of Hispanic churches in the Fellowship. Hispanic AG churches in the U.S. trace their roots back to a convention in Kingsville, Texas, in January 1918, organized by Isabel Flores (a male Mexican-American pastor) and Henry C. Ball (an Anglo missionary to Mexicans).

From 1918-25, Hispanics were organized as the Latin American Conference, a part of the Texas District. Mexico (mostly border communities) was included with this original conference in 1918. Puerto Rico was organized as a conference under Juan Lugo in 1921 and eventually became a district of its own. Cuba united with the Latin American Conference in 1923. In 1926, El Salvador and Guatemala united with the Latin American Conference. These are each separate fields of ministry today.

The Latin American Conference became the Latin American District in 1929 and was officially chartered on Jan. 4, 1930, by H. C. Ball, Demetrio Bazan, and G. V. Flores. On the same date, Mexico received autonomy to form its own Latin council. Ball was the first superintendent of the Latin American District. After leading Hispanics for more than 20 years, he withdrew his name as superintendent in 1939, and Demetrio Bazan was elected as the second superintendent.

The Spanish Eastern District was divided from the district in November 1956. Bazan’s term ended on Dec. 31, 1958, and Jose Giron took office Jan. 1, 1959, as the third superintendent, with H. C. Ball serving as assistant superintendent. This preceded the Latin American District dividing into many different districts. What remained of the Latin District divided into four separate districts in 1972: Gulf Latin American, Central Latin American, Midwest Latin American, and Pacific Latin American. Another division took place in 2012, when the Gulf Latin American District dissolved and separated into the Texas Louisiana Hispanic District, the Texas Gulf Hispanic District, the West Texas and Plains District, and the South Central Hispanic District.

By 1960 Hispanics led the nation in the opening of new AG churches. That trend has continued through today.

An article in the Pentecostal Evangel from June 1960 highlights the growth of Hispanics in the AG. In 1959, the Latin American District opened 27 churches. Ruth Lyon wrote, “Leading the nation in the number of new churches opened in the last five years, the Latin American Branch of the Assemblies of God has 113 to its credit.” The Southern California District ran second with 99 new churches opened during that same period.

At this time the AG had nine foreign-language branches, operating under the supervision of the Home Missions Department. In 1960, the Latin American Branch had “over 600 ministers, 300 churches, and a membership of over 18,000,” according to Lyon. The Latin District also operated two Bible schools, now known as LABI College in La Puente, California, and Christ Mission College in San Antonio, Texas.

In 1960, four large conferences — Pacific, Central, Texas, and North Central — comprised the Latin District. The Evangel article highlighted several of the new churches the district had opened in the five previous years. The churches featured include Templo Calvario Spanish Assembly, Alamogordo, New Mexico; Spanish Assembly, Tucumcari, New Mexico; Templo El Monte Horeb, Santa Clara, California; Spanish Assembly, Rockdale, Texas; Getsemane Spanish Assembly, Austin, Texas; The Spanish Assembly, Lockney, Texas; Templo Beth-el Assembly, Weslaco, Texas; and Bethel Spanish Assembly, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Currently the 14 Hispanic districts in the U.S. are Central District/Distrito Central, Florida Multicultural District, Midwest Latin American District, Northern Pacific Latin American District, Northwest Hispanic District, Puerto Rico District, South Central Hispanic District, Southern Latin District, Southern Pacific District, Southwest District, Spanish Eastern District, Texas Gulf Hispanic District, Texas Louisiana Hispanic District., and West Texas and Plains District.

As of 2016, there were 378,790 Hispanic adherents among the Hispanic districts in the AG, and the numbers keep climbing. To celebrate this 100-year history, the AG Hispanic Centennial will be held Aug. 1-3 in Houston.

Read the article, “Latin American District Leads the Nation,” on pages 4-5 of the June 26, 1960 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “If I Could Do It Again,” by Lillian Trasher

• “A Pastor Recommends Light for the Lost,” by Louis H. Hauff

• “Pioneer Evangelism in Korea,” by Louis P. Richards

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions are courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Cross-Cultural Ministry in 1922: Mexican Refugees in Texas Reach Out to African Americans

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By the 1930s, Hispanic Assemblies of God congregations had been organized across America. This photo is of a girls Sunday school class, Templo Cristiano, San Antonio, Texas, in June 1930 or 1931.

This Week in AG History — July 8, 1922

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 5 July 2017

The small town of Edna, Texas, was home to an early Assemblies of God congregation of Mexican refugees, whose members engaged in evangelistic work to African-Americans, even while their own legal status was uncertain.

This fascinating story of cross-cultural ministry came about because of an emerging social crisis. Over one million refugees from the Mexican Revolution came to the United States between 1910 and 1920. Many of the newcomers lived in makeshift camps, rife with disease and crime, located along the borderlands. Overwhelmed by this humanitarian crisis, local residents often did not know how to react. Social and political tensions flared in Texas and elsewhere.

Assemblies of God churches and ministers, seeing the unfolding tragedy, committed themselves to offer physical and spiritual assistance to the newcomers. Many Mexican refugees accepted Christ and formed small Asambleas de Dios congregations across the borderlands.

American Assemblies of God leaders were able to assist refugees who faced significant challenges. In one instance, Isabel Flores, a prominent Pentecostal leader among the Mexican refugees, was arrested in May 1918 and incarcerated in the Jackson County jail in Edna. The reason for the arrest is unknown. An account published in 1966 in La Luz Apostolica simply stated, “It was wartime, and the officer did not speak Spanish and Isabel did not speak English.” Henry C. Ball, an Assemblies of God missionary to the Mexicans, came to the aid of Flores. Ball traveled to Edna, where he spoke with the authorities and secured the prisoner’s release.

This brush with the law demonstrated that it was advantageous for Mexican immigrants to work with Americans. Earlier that year, Flores and Ball together had organized the Latin American Conference (later renamed the Latin American District), which brought existing Mexican Pentecostal congregations into the Assemblies of God.

Ball’s status as a native-born American, however, did not prevent him from encountering problems. The Assemblies of God, like many other premillennial American evangelicals, took a pacifist position during World War I. Ball’s work with Hispanics and his church’s pacifism caused government officials to view him with suspicion. Ball was arrested in Brownsville, Texas, on suspicion of being a German spy, but he was soon released.

As superintendent of the Latin American Conference, Ball traveled extensively and ministered among the Mexican immigrants.

In 1922, Ball returned to Edna, Texas, where he found an unexpected surprise. In a July 8, 1922, article in the Pentecostal Evangel, Ball reported that the Hispanic congregation maintained an active outreach to African-Americans, despite the language barrier.

The congregation met for worship in a private home located about three miles from Edna. Ball noted that about 30 Mexicans gathered for worship in a large room, and that an additional group of African-Americans joined them. The African-Americans, Ball observed, “have learned to sing the Spanish songs with the Mexicans, even though they know very little Spanish.”

Ball stated that the African-Americans “are anxious to hear Pentecost preached in their own language.” He lamented that “a white man could hardly preach to them in this part of the country,” presumably referring to Jim Crow laws that prevented whites and blacks from mixing.

The Mexican refugees could have used their own plight as an excuse to keep to themselves and to concentrate on building up their own community. But this marginalized group instead reached out to others who were likewise excluded from the benefits of mainstream American culture. Instead of dwelling on what they could not do, they found an area of ministry in which they had an advantage over white Americans. The Mexican immigrants were not subject to Jim Crow laws and could freely minister to African-Americans. When the Mexican immigrants sought to share God’s love with others, their seeming cultural disadvantage became an advantage.

Read the article by H. C. Ball, “The Work Prospering on the Mexican Border,” on page 13 of the July 8, 1922, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Whose Faith Follow: Important Lessons Learned from a Pentecostal Revival [Irvingites] of Nearly a Hundred Years Ago,” by A. E. Saxby

* “Very Fine Needlework,” by Grace E. Thompson

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Read about the arrests of Isabel Flores and H. C. Ball in “Historia de los Primeros 50 Años de las Asambleas de Dios Latinas,” on pages 2 and 12 of the April 1966 issue of La Luz Apostolica.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Mexican Refugees Poured into Texas 100 Years Ago. How Did the Assemblies of God Respond?

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H. C. Ball (front center) with ministers at the 32nd annual Latin American District Council meeting in Los Angeles, California, November 1-3, 1948.

This Week in AG History — May 27, 1916

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 26 May 2016

The Mexican Revolution, a decade-long civil war beginning in 1910, changed the North American social landscape. Thousands of displaced people fled the armed conflict and social disruption in Mexico and sought refuge along the borderlands in the United States. It was among these refugees that Henry C. Ball, a young preacher in Ricardo, Texas, planted one of the first Hispanic Assemblies of God congregations.

H. C. Ball (1896-1989) accepted Christ at age 14 and joined the Methodist Church in Kingsville, Texas. Approximately 10 days after his conversion, Ball attended a service held by a missionary to Venezuela. At that service, he felt a tug in his heart to serve as a missionary to Mexican refugees in his area. Encouraged by his Methodist pastor, the very next Sunday Ball held his first evangelistic service.

Ball went from house to house, inviting Mexicans to the Spanish-language service he had planned in a schoolhouse in Ricardo. Bell was undeterred by the fact that he did not even know Spanish. He memorized a one-sentence Spanish-language invitation, and he brought a Spanish hymn and Bible to the service. Two visitors joined Ball in that first service in late 1910. Ball was only 14 years old, he did not know Spanish, he had only accepted Christ weeks earlier, and yet he followed God’s call and pioneered a church among the Mexican refugees in Texas. The young preacher persevered and, in 1912, the Methodist church gave him a license to preach at age 16.

In 1914, Ball was Spirit-baptized under the ministry of Felix Hale, a Pentecostal evangelist affiliated with the newly formed Assemblies of God. This put Ball at odds with his Methodist superiors, who dismissed him from the denomination. Ball’s ordination was recognized by the Assemblies of God in January 1915, and his congregation of Mexicans became the seed from which much of the Hispanic work in the Assemblies of God grew.

The Pentecostal Evangel published frequent reports from Ball. The May 27, 1916, issue featured a photograph of the Asamblea de Dios in Ricardo, Texas, on the cover, and included an article by Ball about the new Mexican believers. He encouraged readers to pray for the immigrants. He wrote, “Here they are on our land, poor, homeless and without Jesus.”

Ball described the situation faced by the Mexicans: “The war in Mexico has driven many Mexicans from their homes in their native land to our side of the river. In the Rio Grande valley are many thousands of these refugees, besides the resident population. They have now been here some time, not able to return and fearful that their own nation may turn against them.” Ball asked Pentecostal Evangel readers to provide financial support and prayers for his efforts to reach the Mexican refugees with the gospel.

A strong Assemblies of God ministry developed among the Mexican refugees, initially led by H. C. Ball and others. This work not only helped to strengthen the Assemblies of God in Mexico when refugees returned home as Pentecostal believers, it also transformed the Assemblies of God in the United States. In 2014, 22.5 percent of Assemblies of God adherents in the United States were Hispanic.

Read the article by H. C. Ball, “The Mission to the Mexicans,” on page 12 of the May 27, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Pentecostal Work in Fort Worth, Texas,” by B. F. Lawrence

• “Answered Prayer: Healing When Evangel is Applied,” by Elmer Snyder

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Mexican Americans and Pentecostal Growth During the Great Depression

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This Week in AG History–February 12, 1932
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 12 February 2015

While the Great Depression (beginning in 1929) affected everyone in the United States, it was particularly devastating to refugees who had fled the Mexican Revolution. Over one million people left the violence and poverty of Mexico and moved to the United States between 1910 and 1920. By 1932, about 200,000 of those refugees had returned to Mexico because they were unable to find shelter or food in the United States.

It was during this economic downturn that great growth occurred in the Assemblies of God among Mexicans in the United States and in Mexico. H. C. Ball, the legendary Assemblies of God missionary to Hispanics, wrote about these struggles and growth in an article published in the February 13, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Ball noted that most Mexican-American Pentecostals were poor laborers who had experienced significant hardship. Even the children of refugees who had been born in America “have been discriminated against most unjustly,” Ball noted. But in the midst of this cultural and economic chaos, he reported that “[t]he poor, hungry, perplexed Mexican people are turning to God.”

Assemblies of God Mexican missions in San Antonio and El Paso had capacity crowds. Students from Latin America Bible Institute were fanning out among the Mexican communities, witnessing of Christ’s saving and healing power. “While material blessings seem to be taken from [Mexican-Americans]”, Ball recounted, “spiritual blessings have surely taken their place.”

New converts spread the Pentecostal message in their homeland when they returned to Mexico. They led family members to Christ and started churches, despite laws that restricted the number of religious workers and buildings. Ball wrote, “The gospel must be preached in Mexico, it may mean martyrdom and prison, but it must be preached.”

The odds were stacked against the Mexican-American Pentecostals. They were a marginalized ethnic minority in the United States and a persecuted religious minority in Mexico. But they displayed uncommon strength, which they drew from their close relationship with God. “We don’t feel like getting discouraged because of the hard times,” Ball wrote, “for we feel that the Lord is near.”

Read the article, “Great Blessing at Latin American Council,” by H. C. Ball, on page 11 of the February 13, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Vital Need: A Forward Movement in Pentecost,” by W. E. Moody

• “What the Pentecostal People Believe and Teach,” by R. E. McAlister

• “Faith for Desperate Days,” by S. Chadwick

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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The Founding of the Latin American Conference in 1918


This Week in AG History–December 8, 1917
By Glenn Gohr

Also published in AG-News, Mon, 08 Dec 2014 – 4:49 PM CST

From the outset, the Assemblies of God has evangelized and ministered to Hispanics, as well as other ethnic groups. H. C. Ball had been ministering to Hispanics along the Texas-Mexico border for a number of years, and he felt the need for organization. After speaking with a number of the Hispanic workers and pastors, the decision was made to have a convention in Kingsville in 1917.

The December 8, 1917, issue of The Weekly Evangel published an important notice regarding this historic first convention. H. C. Ball was then living in Kingsville, Texas, and he announced: “There will be a special gathering of the Mexican preachers and workers, also missionaries, in Kingsville, Kleber County, Texas, January 13-21 inclusive.”

Ball went on to proclaim: “We expect to have a representative body from all parts of the State and are looking to God for a time of spiritual blessings. The work has so grown as to necessitate a season of council together.”

The planned first convention was not held until January of 1918. At this convention, H. C. Ball was authorized to organize the Assemblies of God work among the Spanish-speaking people. This led to a second convention of Hispanic ministers, which was held in the spring of 1918 in San Antonio, Texas. Soon after this convention, H. C. Ball became pastor of Templo Cristiano, the Spanish congregation in San Antonio, founded by M. M. Pinson and R. F. Baker.

These early Hispanic conventions spawned the “Latin American Conference” of the Texas District in 1918, which in turn led to the founding of the Latin American District Council in 1929 with H. C. Ball as its first superintendent. Ball’s move to San Antonio also led to the founding of the Latin American Bible Institute in San Antonio in 1926, as well as the establishment of a publishing house for Spanish language materials called Casa Evangelica de Publicaciones.

Today the Assemblies of God in the U.S. has grown to 14 Hispanic Districts, which all trace back to the historic first convention announced to be held in Kingsville, Texas.

Read the article, “Mexican Meeting” on page 13 of the December 8, 1917, issue of The Weekly Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “The Call to Love,” by F. F. Bosworth

* “An Interesting Letter From the Congo,” by James Salter

* “Galatians Applied,” a sermon by E. N. Bell

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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