Archive for July, 2010

Youth Rally In Ensenada 2010

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2010 by filerofish



Posted in HISTORY on July 16, 2010 by filerofish

Macario Martínez (January 2, 1902 to March of 1978)

Macario Martinez and Family (1940’s)

According to the testimony of his daughter Esther Martínez and of his son-in-law Alejandro Julián, Macario Martínez he was the founder of the Apostolic Church of the Faith In Christ Jesús in the State of Sonora. This testimony is corroborated by a reference to him in the official web page of the above mentioned denomination:

Also the page of the Gentile Church in Christ (a branch of the Apostolic one) mentions the work of the brother Macario Martínez on the following page:

At some point in his spiritual pilgrimage, brother Macario discovered Christianity according to the New Testament. His daughter Esther says that the missionary Gerald D Bowlin (still single at this time) was the one to teach Macario the “more perfect way” sometime during the mid forties, while visiting in the Martínez’s home in Bacobampo, Sonora. Gerald Bowlin had made a missionary trip along with a baptist companion named Albert Nichols (I am not sure of his surname). when they arrived at the village, they searched for a “free” or “independent” church, and they were directed to the group that was meeting with brother Martinez.

By 1946, Macario Martínez had already joined the ranks of the Restoration Movement. By then he had made his first contact with Francisco Medina and Rita Bracamontes (my in-laws), the founders of Christ’s Church in the Colonia El Ranchito section of Hermosillo, Sonora. Evidently, the conversion of brother Macario Martínez to the New Testament faith had taken place much earlier.

His daughter Esther mentions that her Dad felt obligated to try to convince his former Apostolic disciples and colleagues to join the church revealed in the Scriptures, but those efforts apparently had very little success. Nevertheless, this fact did not prevent brother Martínez from working for the Lord, and went on to establish new works wherever he could. In a missionary bulletin from 1949, we find Macario Martínez collaborating with brother Gerald Bowlin as the full-time Evangelist. It was this relation with Bowlin what made possible to send students from Sonora to Colegio Biblico in Eagle Pass, TX, including his two daughters: Esther and Rebeca.

Brother Macario was the one who bought the property for the church at El Ranchito, in Hermosillo Sonora. Before then, the growing congregation had been meeting in the home of the Medina family. It was in the year 1950 that – under the leadership of the brother Alejandro Julián – the brotherhood was organized formally as the Iglesia de Cristo (Church of Christ). Apparently, it was Macario who presented Alejandro Julián to missionary Gerald Bowlin to the brother , and this association led to the formation of the Mexican Bible Seminary. Sister Esther finished her Biblical studies at the Seminary, and she even taught some classes in the institution.

Macario kept on evangelizing the region, and finished his days ministering to the congregation meeting at the Templo La Hermosa, in the town of Navojoa. He died due to complications with arteriosclerosis.

It must be mentioned that brother Gerald Bowlin had originally graduated form the Los Angeles Baptist

Front Row (Left to Right): Gerald Bowlin with students

College in Seminary in 1943. From 1944 to 1945, he made missionary trips into Mexico as an independent missionary. From 1945 to 1947, he studied at Pacific Bible Seminary. In 1945, he married Geneva Staples of Oklahoma, who had specialized in nursing. In 1947, the idea of establishing a Biblical school in northwestern Mexico arose from a visit that Bowlin made to Colegio Biblico in Eagle Pass, Texas. Impressed by the success obtained by the school, he and his wife remained there to work and learn during the next two years. It was in 1949 that they moved to the border with Sonora to start an school project there. In 1955 they were established in Hermosillo, and continued to work with the Seminary.

Alejandro Julián

Esther Martinez and Alejandro Julian

Originally from New Rosita, Coahuila, Alejandro Julián grew up in the historical Church of Christ at Colonia Del Seis that was founded in 1920. He graduated in 1950 from Colegio Biblico in Eagle Pass Texas, and that same year he arrived in Hermosillo to begin ministering to the El Ranchito congregation. He married Esther Matinez on the 13th of July, 1952.

On September 19, 1950, classes formally began at the Mexican Biblical Seminary in Nogales, Arizona, with brother Alejandro Julián as vice-president. Five students had registered, but only two continued on: Rebeca Martínez and Epifanio Gutiérrez, both from Bacobampo. In 1953, the Seminary was moved to the city of Hermosillo.

This school produced several Evangelists who were interspersed among the mission fields of the region. One of them was Epifanio Gutiérrez.

Epifanio Gutierrez

Native to Bacobampo, Sonora, Epifanio was of a noble character and of amicable temperament. Born in a Roman Catholic home among thirteen children, he was the only one to embrace Biblical Christianity. He was half Mayo indian, and was able to speak in the Yaqui and Mayo dialect fluently. He studied one year at Colegio Biblico in Eagle Pass, and then finished his studies at the Seminary in Hermosillo. He received a Certificate in Christian Education (1953), and began ministering with congregations located in the San Benito and the Guadalupana suburbs of that capital city. He also preached occasionally for the El Ranchito church when they were left without a preacher.

It was Epifanio who in 1951 served as a guide for the brother Jerry Watkinson and his companions during a survey missionary trip from Nogales to Bacobampo. Those were the days when the speed was about 30 miles per hour, and it often took days to reach your final destination. Their friendship remained strong from that moment on, and they would go on to open new missionary fields in Baja California.

In 1957, Epifanio and his family moved to the Mexicali Valley in order to work with the Ejido Puebla congregation. As I understand it, this assembly was founded a few years earlier by the Paredes and a Mexican-American evangelist by the name of José Graciano, under the auspices of the church in El Centro, CA. Problems arose that made it impossible for the El Centro congregation to continue overseeing this work, so they requested that Jerry Watkinson supervise it.

Epifanio as assited in the evangelistic work by Alejandro Julián, who was there temporarily. In 1960, Epifanio Gutiérrez relocated to Ensenada to begin a new work of Christ’s churches in this locality. As far as we know, there had been no other Christian Church/ Church of Christ congregation established before the arrival of Epifanio Gutierrez.

In the summer of 1960, Epifanio Gutiérrez began to hold meetings in his home. As the group grew, it became necessary to rent other facilities to accommodate the crowd. In 1962, property was purchased for the Colonia Empleados church building. The cost was 420 $ dollars, and Lorene Martin was the one to furnish the funds for this effort.

By 1970, Epifanió had said goodbye of the congregation at Colonia Empleados and began a new work in Colonia Piedras Negras. He tragically died of cancer of the brain in November, 1976.

Deloris Mellin and Jerry Watkinson with their oldest daughter Cynthia

Jerry Watkinson (May 5 1925- July 13 of 2oo5)

Of humble origins, Jerry Watkinson was born and raised in the State of Washington, with very few possibilities to attend church regularly. Nevertheless, the Christian influence of his maternal grandfather left a deep impression on him at a very early age.

When Jerry came out of the Force Area at the end of the Second World war, he devoted himself to the work of a professional photographer. He met Deloris in California, where she was residing with her brother Walter. It was she who shared the gospel with Jerry, and he gave his life to Jesus Christ. They were later married in the church in Minnesota where Deloris had grown up.

Motivated by the joy of his salvation, Jerry studied at Pacific Bible Seminary in Long Beach, California, in order to prepare for a career in Christian ministry. After his school years, he took on a youth ministry with the Santa Ana church in California. It was during this time that he met brother Bowlin an became interested in the mission work in Sonora.

In December of 1951, he made a survey trip with Epifanio Gutiérrez as his guide. Between 1954 and 1955, the whole Watkinson family had moved to Hermosillo to serve with the Seminary and in the evangelistic work. His service in Hermosillo was fruitful, and he had the privilege of working together with some of the pioneers of the work in the region.

In 1960, he felt called to Baja California to start a new work with brother Epifanio Gutiérrez. In 1961, the whole family move to the coastal city.

During his ministry, Jerry Watkinson played a key role in the expansion of the work in Baja California, Sonora, and Sinaloa. Many workers were supported or aided in some fashion by brother Watkinson’s mission. One of the most fecund associations was his close friendship with Dionicio Atondo, who has founded works in Hermosillo, Culiacán, Mexicali, and Tecate. But this story deserves another separate chapter.

The construction of the Colonia Empleados church building was largely supervised for the most part by the brother Jerry. The original design of the main nave was his. Unfortunately, there wer many hands involved in the building process, and the final result was less than satisfactory.

Jerry Watkinson was instrumental in the formation of the ministers’ meeting, the regional convention, the youth meetings, the summer camp, and the Vacation Bible Schools. In 1967, land was secured for the construction of a children’s home originally named “H.O.M.E.” and later Rancho de los Niños. Brother Carlos Ciangura was the first director of the institution. Also a printing ministry was established that produced thousands of books for VBS that were distributed all over Mexico and Central America. Both ministries became independent at the beginning of the eighties.

In 1989, the brother Jerry turned the Empleados church over to the men there and joined the new work that was being started in his home across town. This was the genesis of the Colonia Jalisco church.

Jerry died of cancer on July 13, 2005 in his daughter’s home in Chula Vista, California.

Lorene Martin

Lorene Martin (August 4, 1910 – May 6, 2002)

Born in Bancroft, Nebraska, Lorene grew up on the farm back when trips to town were by a wagon pulled by horses. When the family farm was sold, she moved to Booker, Texas, where she was employed at print shop. She also administered her own laundry business and later invested in farming property in Texas and Colorado.

A lifetime member of the church, Lorene was anxious to take the Gospel to other nations. During a camp in 1953, she decided to become missionary to Mexico. That same year she began serving as secretary for brother Bowlin in Noglaes, Arizona. Then she moved to Hermosillo where she worked with the mission for seven years. During this time, she devoted her time to helping many people in need.

In 1961, sister Martin relocated to Baja California where began working with the Watkinson family. Soon she got involved in producing printed materials for use in church work, beginning with a simple lesson for Sunday school that was printed on a ditto machine, and late moving up to a fully equipped printing ministry that at the hight of its career was producing thousands of VBS books, bulletins, tracts, etc.

Lorene, worked in translation, typesetting, correcting, and arranging of the materials. After loosing much of her eyesight years later, she continued translating. The last work that she translated was a 960 page book entitled, “ Salvation: What The Bible Says About It. ” After losing her sight at the age of eighty, she could no longer drive. This was a huge blow for her, since she had been so independent during all of her life. She could no longer help others as to she liked doing. Finally, she had to move back to an assisted care facility in Colorado, where she was cared for by her nephew. She died in her sleep at the age of 91. A fitting end to a long life of sacrificial service for the Lord.