King's Business - 1965-06

Missionary Product

by Dorothy C. Haskins

“ I always say I am a missionary ■ product,” declares the Rev. Vir- gilio Zapata, when asked about his conversion. When one hears his life story, one can only agree. Virgilio Zapata is a product of whom missionaries and those who pray for missions can be proud. He is the founder and director of TESCA (The Evangelical Schools of Central America) located in Guate­ mala City. In nine years this work has grown from a junior high school to a school with all grades from kin­ dergarten to senior high, evening school, the o n l y correspondence school in Central America, a teacher training c o l le g e and publishing house. The missionary influence began in the life of Virgilio’s father, a fiery

pata, and ambled down the street, upset. He most certainly didn’t want to go to the evangelieo church. On the other hand, if he didn’t stop drinking, his life was worth nothing more than the chaser he drank after his whiskey. He went to the evangelieo church. He listened. He decided to believe in this living Christ. He stopped drink­ ing. But he didn’t stop being on the wrong side politically, so in 1930 he became a refugee in Mexico. There a g a in th e missionaries helped him. His lawyer’s degree was of little value in Mexico, so he lived on a missionary’s farm. Through their influence he was able to live physically, and also to progress spir­ itually. He established a Christian home, becoming an active layman.

Guatemalan lawyer, with a flair for being politically on the wrong side. His life was divided into three parts, campaigning, being exiled, becoming a refugee. It isn’t easy to pick the right side in Guatemala. There have been sixty revolutions in the last twelve years. Somewhere in the midst of the tensions, Senor Zapata found that he was drinking too much. Nominally a Catholic, and not liking the Protestants, still he wanted to be helped with his drink­ ing so he went to a missionary doc­ tor. The evangelieo doctor smiled at the burly Guatemalan and said, “ I know of no medicine that will help you but if you will come to the church where I preach, there you will find help.” “ Thank you,” mumbled Senor Za­



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