Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 22, 1962

I Sat Where They Sat

Afton Stephens, Fullerton, California

"I SAT WHERE THEY SAT," but was warned not to eat where they ate.

You may think this is a strange title and opening, but it partially conveys the observations, actions, and experiences that my wife and I underwent while viewing and encouraging the work that sound brethren are supporting and encouraging Brother and Sister Charles House in, among our Spanish speaking neighbors and brethren.

I was impressed and distressed by the conditions there. I was impressed by the great amount of effort that had gone into this work. Brother and Sister House are qualified for, and devoted to this work. This impresses me very favorably. I was distressed by the conditions under which our nearest foreign neighbors live. It seems impossible that in an area separated only by a chain link fence, that living conditions can vary so much. Yet at the same time we are not trying to "United States-ize" these people, but to lead them in love and truth where God would have them be.

The living conditions mentioned are simply these: They have the bare necessities of life shared in a bare room. In being introduced in person to this work, my wife and I accompanied Brother House and Brother Shields to Tecate, Mexico, where the church meets in the home of Brother Gomez. We went into the home and were offered every hospitality it could afford. The home was unheated, the room was unfurnished except for a table where Brother Gomez types out lessons to be used in the local work. Folding chairs composed the only other furniture in the room. The very similar, if not identical conditions were found, enjoyed, and tolerated on San Luis, Mexico, where Brother Villegas preaches, and in Sonoyta, Mexico, where Brother Cisneros preaches.

I do not mean to be critical of any one's living conditions, but there are none among us who would even "camp" or "batch" under such living conditions; yet these are the very best conditions under which these our Mexican brethren can live, because this is how the average Mexican family lives. To try to change them to our way of thinking, or to try to change their living standards would immediately place a barrier between them and those with whom they work there in Mexico. So again, let me repeat: We are trying to lead them to Christ, and not our manner of "easy living."

"I SAT WHERE THEY SAT," but I did not have on heavy underclothing, and therefore I was very cold in the unheated room. My good wife, with thin silk hose on, and low heeled walking shoes that she was advised to wear, was also very cold and miserable. The cold from the bare cement floor comes up through your shoes and chills your body to where your knee joints ache. Brethren, I am not complaining on behalf of the feelings of my wife or myself, but simply trying to relate an experience that only those who have been there can understand. Having been advised not to eat, drink, nor use their sanitary facilities, we felt that in some way we were trying to place ourselves above them, which was not our intent, but only the safeguarding of our health.

Brethren, this work is being done according to the teaching of God's Word and is worthy of your consideration. Let us take advantage of the nearness of this work and the magnitude of the same. May the Lord bless His work as we do it according to His commands.