20-Back to San Diego-"Mexican Ministry" Roots

The rooting of the "Mexican Ministry of the Assembly of the Body of Christ" as part of the ABC dates to May 9, 1978. This is the day a tape was sent to all the elders asking for money to be paid for a man named Luis in Mexico.  This matter was introduced as a catalyst that would  "open a new ministry for every one of us".  The tape was recorded in San Diego just before I left to Grants Pass to finish school. At the very end it names me as the contact person but I did not actually remain in San Diego long enough to fulfill that role nor was I aware, at the time the tape was made that my dad was placing me in that role. It actually appeared to be an afterthought of his the next day.  I might have assumed that role if I had remained  in San Diego but with the actual direction the “Mexican Ministry” took I am quite certain I would not have continued for long.

The entire tape is 26 minutes long and has been converted to an .mp3 file. The link is found below should you want to listen to the entire twenty-six minutes. For those not wanting to spend twenty-six minutes listening I provide a quick synopsis in bullet points below. Should you choose to listen, it does take a moment for the recording to begin and it should open automatically in your default audio player (Real, Windows Media Player,etc.) If you desire to save the file, for review later, "right click" and then choose "save link as". 

  • Tape purpose: To open a new ministry for everyone.
  • My dad became close to man in Mexico named Luis, age 29, from Nicaragua, He took a trip with him from Tijuana to Ensenada.
  • On this trip Luis told a story in confidence about leaving Nicaragua after the 6.2 earthquake in 1972. He had, per his report, intended to enter the U.S. while the border was open for disaster evacuees. Luis stated he got a Visa to Mexico then hitchhiked from Mexico City to Tijuana. He then discovered the US border was closed to evacuees and so he alleged he became stranded in Mexico.
  • Luis is portended to be an honest man who speaks English, Japanese and several other languages. He now worked in Mexico, established himself in Tijuana; married, had a child, but then lost his citizenship in Nicaragua because he had been away for five years. He alleged he became a man without a country and stated he had to lie on his marriage certificate about his age, place of birth, fathers name and even falsified his name in order to get married. (Note: Luis never stated what his real name actually was and there were a few, including me, who questioned the validity of his story. A check of Nicaraguan law showed one does not lose citizenship by being away for five years.  The only way citizenship is lost is when a person voluntarily acquires a foreign citizenship other than with a country Nicaragua has a dual nationality agreement with.)
  • Luis wants help now to become a citizen of the US so my dad spoke with a US attorney. That could only happen if Luis had $40,000 or could find job no one else could do. Neither is possible for him.
  • Luis wants instead to become a Mexican citizen; then he can get a passport to enter US and get a job. It is Is a long process, very costly and since there are lies on his marriage certificate it is not possible without a Mexican attorney.
  • My dad found a tourist public defender in Mexico with ties to the Mexican Government that can bribe officials to have the marriage license changed to eliminate the four lies. If not fixed, Luis could supposedly be jailed.  Luis is considered by y dad to be a responsible citizen, not a  smoker, drinker, and happily married so this may be possible.
  • The reason for the tape is to ask for $2000.00, maybe more, to have this attorney pay off the four Mexican government officials and have the marriage license corrected.
  • My dad states he prayed about it and “the Lord showed him” the ABC had learned about tithing, and offerings but now God wants to use this opportunity to teach the ABC about alms.
  • My dad feels this is an opportunity to minister to Luis, have him become part of the ABC, and then through Luis get acquainted with other Mexican men and families that may want to associate with the ABC.
  • To help Luis the money cannot, by scripture, be used from tithes or offerings, it must come only from alms. If people will send the money for this my dad is confident "the Lord will bless the whole congregation."
  • It will take a year or two to complete the process but the attorney first needs at least $200.00 to get started.
  • Luis's wife was “impressed with my dad and the honesty in his face”. My dad states, God is moving in the Mexican area and they are dealing with another family too and plan to spend the night at this families house. Another  man volunteered to become an interpreter if my dad begins to teach in Mexico.  (It is interesting to note that no one in “The Mexican Ministry” ever took the effort to become fluent in Spanish.  Instead more money was always asked of the people to hire interpreters.)
  • Afterthought on tape: My dad said he couldn't sleep after making the tape and paced the floor all all night. He discovered there was an error on the tape. He stated alms are to be given only in secret and should never be made public. We are commanded to tithe he stated and are expected to give offerings he commented and we are blessed in these things through our obedience however it is only in giving alms we are truly blessed. Alms should be given quickly, he stated, before the right hand knows what the left has done.
From my many experiences with my dad calling to ask me to go begging for more money this tape seemed just another shakedown. The ABC, at this time, was becoming quite wealthy and my dad was even talking about the eventual purchase of a jet to fly up and down the coast to teach. The bus became a series of larger and larger and wealthier homes. The Casa Grande being the final one before my dad died.

I know very little of what happened in San Diego the two years I was away at school. By the time we returned in May of 1980 "The Assembly of the Body of Christ" group in San Diego had become much less Navy.  Most of the guys had fulfilled their enlistments, many had married, and most of the the original "San Diego group" had moved on to other cities. In their place, a smaller group of "just plain working folk" existed. While there were a few "new babes", most living in San Diego now had either moved in from other areas or had been around a while. This made the San Diego group mostly self-sustaining and my dad, freed from having to assist with the daily activities of the church in San Diego, and all other areas as well, began focusing his efforts out of the country, in Tijuana Mexico.

The bus was permanently parked at the San Ysidro RV Park in South San Diego; just one mile from the Mexican border; and my dad had also purchased a park model trailer  that sat next to the bus giving them much more room to live. This permanently ended their cramped living style in the school bus. Jon and Lavonne maintained their bedrooms in the dual lofts in the bus and my dad and Yvonne used the trailer as their primary living area.  The downside was that LaVonne had very little oversight and her drug habit was now completely out of control.  David North, his wife and family had also moved into the RV park and were assisting with the newly forming "Mexican Ministry."

Gilbert Larson had begun forming a new group in Denver Colorado; Bruce Leonard had moved to Vancouver Washington  from Seattle and there were  meetings being held in both Vancouver Washington  and Portland Oregon; across the Columbia river. Grants Pass still continued meetings after I left but was in a slow process of separating themselves permanently from the ABC. A few of the ex-navy guys from San Diego had moved to Belfair Washington and had begun civilian work at the naval shipyard and they had a very small meeting with just their families. This group never gained much in attendance beyond just those few families.

We spent the first few nights after our return to San Diego on the fold out bed in the back of the bus while we looked for a place to live. We eventually found a nice apartment near where we had lived before and, about a year later, moved to an apartment in subsidized housing.

This time I would not be attending school so I set out to look for work. I could not find work right away but got by fine with a few temporary positions; such as delivering telephone books. Borrowing on my previous vending experience I eventually found a job with a vending company. It was a great place to work and I had a great boss. My wife was able to find work at the Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado.
In Grants Pass we were able to sustain our family on just my income, and my wife stayed home with the kids. In San Diego it was much more expensive to live and that required both of us to work. Not ideal, but we managed.

My first introduction to how the "Mexican Ministry" operated came about a week after we arrived back in San Diego. My dad invited us to go along with him on his “rounds” in Tijuana. I had been to Tijuana many times as a tourist but my dad now had certain shopkeepers; in a mall area below the main boulevard; he visited several times per week. During these visits he would pray for their businesses. He had, it seemed, become good friends with many of the people in the mall and a few in the shops on the main street above as well.

In the next post, we settle into San Diego again and life begin to take a lot of turns.


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