THE K I N G ’ S B U S I N E S S
K B M l
across the street a little farther from the light. This time he collected a number of intermediate-age girls. Most of them he had already won to the Lord, so they were quick to respond to his invitation to come and hear a story. A low cement wall provided accommoda tions for several listeners. One found a grandstand seat on the fire hydrant, another squatted at her feet, while the rest stood. A small boy now and again ran into the meeting with a scooter, but no one paid much attention to him. Anxious elders watched with interest or suspicion from open hallways. Michael himself was on his hands and knees on the sidewalk, his sketch and Bible spread out before him, and a flashlight in his hand. The girls missed nothing as they, too, drank in the message of the Good Shepherd, teking questions from time to time. Half an hour or so they chatted over the Word of God, and then, setting a time to meet again on Sunday morning, Michael went off to gather the big fellows for his last “quiz.” He and his student friend (who was being initiated into the work on Clarksend Street) would tramp back to Biola after ten o’clock—hearts aglow with the glory of fellowship with their Lord in service. How the W o rk Began That is just one chapter out of a long story that might be told of the stu dents of the Bible Institute of Los An geles in their practical work assign ments. But there was a time when the Mexican street work was not found on the list of student assignments. The project had its inception on a Saturday back in the spring of 1938 when two Biola young men passed the outskirts of the Mexican district on their way to a park to play tennis. Quiet Norman Taylor had not yet won his first soul to the Lord, but in the depths of his being was a growing desire to have some trophies to lay at his Saviour’s feet. That Saturday, as he swung along the street with his tennis racket, he noticed a group of Mexican youngsters gathered around a theater entrance. Timidly he pulled some Gos pels of John from his pocket and gave them each one. Norman played tennis that day, but the incident was not forgotten. For a year, his thoughts kept going, back to the Mexican children—little ones for whom Christ died—and then there came to him a plan for reaching them. His Sunday-school assignment had been with junior-age boys in a good residen tial district, but thereafter he added to this duty a regular Sunday-aftemoon stroll about the Mexican streets, intent
bn winning souls among the children. With a “gospel nut” and Scripture portions in his pockets, he soon found that curious youngsters would leave their play to crowd around him for an explanation of the lengths of colored ribbon which rolled out of the empty walnut shell. There was black ribbon to tell of their own sinful hearts, red to tell of the Saviour’s blood, white for clean new hearts, and so on through the colors to the yellow at the end, which showed the splendor of heavenly glory. It was not long before Norman had won the first trophy for his Lord. The joy and the wonder of it all kindled in his soul a passion for the lost as he went after other children of the streets. Boys and girls, big and little, drank in the gospel story—and always some would take it to their own hearts. So marked was the blessing of the Lord upon this service that by the fall of 1939, Norman made bold to enter the Practical Work Department of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and entreat the Director to allow him and his room mate to have this work for a regular assignment. The permission being given, the two young men devoted their Sunday mornings to Mexican town. By Christmas time, there were reg ular groups to be met at their ap pointed comers, and Michael Simpson, who understood Spanish, had been en listed as a^ assistant. January, 1940, found two women students also helping on Sunday mornings with the girls. Always there were children in evi dence on the streets of Mexican town. A new group could be contacted almost anywhere by use-of the “gospel nut” or the “wordless book.” Almost invariably there were definite decisions for Christ. “You kids meet me here next Sun day this time,” the student would say when he had dealt with the seeking ones. Then he would throw out some hint such as, “I’ll tell you a story about a dead man who came to life again.” Follow-up work was carefully done, new converts were provided with Gos pels or Testaments—bought by the stu dents with their tithe money—and soon the Mexican work became an estab lished part of the student evangelistic program. At the present time, more than ten Bible Institute students are out in the Mexican district every Sun day morning, and since spring, the Friday night “Bible quiz” has been the means of establishing the babes in Christ. O pposition and Encouragem en t The progress of the work was not left unchallenged by the enemy of souls. The students were careful to make plain that they were not the represent
atives of any sect or denomination, and were not antagonistic toward any, but were merely witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet rocks were thrown into one meeting that was held on a vacant lot. Once, one of the young men was “openirig up a new street.” He was at tacked by five Mexican rowdies and brought home with a black eye and broken ribs, but he refused to take action when the police told him he was entitled to bring a charge against his persecutors—he preferred to go back and try to win them for his Lord! But far outweighing the difficulties are the fruits of this happy service. Thirteen-year-old Nanita Martinez came to the vacant lot one Sunday in May. She was fascinated by the Scrip- turegraph.* “I’ve never seen anything Eke that before!” she exclaimed. As the lesson drew to a close, the student teacher was about to give the invitation to accept Christ, when Nanita interrupted her. "I'm not saved,” she confessed. “But —I’d like to be.” Together they read John 1:12, and Nanita let the Saviour into her heart. “May I memorize that verse?” she asked. Joyfully she accepted the Gospel of John with her new birthday written in it. By the next week, she had read the Gospel through, learning the verses that appealed to her most. Her whole family had become interested, and now she wanted something more to read. A Bible was found for her. And then the summer vacation period occurred. Nanita’s first word to her teacher when she came back after vacation was: “Oh, I’ve missed you so much. But I’ve read my Bible every day!” Nanita is but one of more than two hundred Mexican young folk who have found the living Saviour since this unique form of personal evangelism began—all because one young man “was not disobedient unto the heavenly vis ion.” New streets are constantly being reached with this gospel ministry. The student workers are repeatedly asking for more helpers. “Why, they’d have every student in the whole school out there if we could arrange to let them go!” the Practical Work Director protested indulgently as he described the way God had set His seal upon this seed-sowing by giving— and continuing to give—an abundant harvest. *A felt-covered board of blackboard pro portions to wHich figures and scenery are made to adhere by means of flannel pasted on their backs. This device is much used in the West in presenting Bible stories to children.
Biola Finds a Mission Field, in Ber Own Dooryard
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