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The Journal of John Long
About the Early Days
Newspaper Articles
Read about the Early Days
1893 - 1965
1966 to Present
REPRESENTING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF 2X2 HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS ON THE INTERNET

Letterhead used by workers titled Christian Conventions

Perry, Oklahoma Conv, 1942

First Missions
South America
Revised June 4, 2014

Countries included in the South American Work:

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands (UK), French Guiana (France), Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela


Workers are presently in all the South American countries, with Colombia being the last place in South America for workers to go, which was over 20 years ago.  There are native born workers from all the countries.  In Spanish speaking countries, the preachers are referred to by the friends and by each other as "servants," whereas Americans use the word "worker."

ARGENTINA: Click Here

COLUMBIA was the last country in South America to have workers. Munro MacAngus (Scottish, who had worked previously in Chile and Venezuela) and David Lockhart (Irish, who had worked previously in Bolivia), were the first to go, around 1985. Julio Gómez was the first Colombian to start in the work, and he started in 2008. There are presently 7 sets of workers there in the main part of the country. However, the most dramatic work has actually been done by workers from Ecuador in a town right on the Colombia-Ecuador border, where perhaps 200 people have professed and several churches were formed in very recent years.

The three smaller countries along the northern coast—GUYANA, SURINAME, AND FRENCH GUIANA—are usually not considered “South American” in speaking of the work, since they’ve always had workers from the Caribbean.  They really don’t have much to do with the work in South America, since they don’t speak the same languages and they are much more Caribbean/European in their culture than Latin. 

In 2008, there are the following numbers of workers in the various South American countries:

Argentina –  32 total, 17 Argentines
Bolivia – 7 total, 3 Bolivians
Brazil – 78 total, 57 Brazilians
Chile – 24 total, 13 Chileans
Colombia – 15 total, 1 Colombian
Ecuador – 21 total, 4 Ecuadorians
Paraguay – 3 total, 1 Paraguayan
Peru – 37 total, 30 Peruvians
Uruguay – 6 total, 8 Uruguayans
Venezuela – 11 total, 5 Venezuelans 

In 2008, the oldest worker in South America is Adalia Alano, a Uruguayan sister still active in mission work in Brazil at age 94.  Morelia Zapata in Chile isn’t far behind her.

At some point in the 1920s, workers in Argentina met Robustiano Ferreira, a Uruguayan man, and after he professed, he went with a companion to start the work in Uruguay
Jack Jackson and John Robert “Bob” Smith went to Brazil in 1923.
John Pattison and Fred Hogan went to Bolivia in 1959. 
Willie Boles and Norman Campbell went to Peru in May 1969. 
Willie Boles and Norman Nash went to Ecuador in 1974. 
Ted Rozema and Lynn Walker went to Venezuela in the late 1970s. 
Munro MacAngus and David Lockhart went to Colombia in the mid 1980s. 
Tthe date the first workers went to Paraguay is not known.  Steven Stivers was one of the first to go, and he died there in 1971. 

Jack Jackson was the South America Overseer until his death in Argentina in 1966. 

BRAZIL:  In 1923 Jack Jackson pioneered Brazil with John Robert “Bob” Smith. "Then on Mar, 16, 1923, Jack and I arrived in Santiago, Chile...In Aug. 1923... and in a few weeks he [Jack] and B. Smith [John Robert “Bob” Smith from Virginia, who later married Martha Hogg from Ireland]  Bob and Martha worked in many remote areas of Brazil for many years and were definitely the most successful evangelists among the workers in Brazil during those years.] went to Brazil." (Maurice Hawkins AccountRead Testimony of Jack Jackson

In URUGUAY there are more Uruguayans in the work than there are total workers in the country.  In South America, as in the States, workers don’t necessarily stay in their home area forever, so there are Chileans, Argentines, Peruvians, Brazilians, etc. scattered everywhere.  Uruguay is still the only South American country, though, that is a net “exporter” of workers, except for Guyana.  There are Guyanese workers in a number of other countries, and a number of Guyanese friends live in New Jersey, USA.

CHILE:
The work in Chile never saw much response through the 1920s, and some were at the point of abandoning the country when in 1928 or 1929 workers finally encountered a community of recent German immigrants in southern Chile.  One of that pair of workers spoke German, and they found interest among those colonists.  So the first churches established in Chile were actually German-speaking, and there are still a large number of people of German descent among the friends in Chile today, though hardly anyone speaks German anymore. 

ECUADOR:  The work in Ecuador 'started' on the Tica bus in Nicaragua in 1973 when Eduardo and Antonio two young married men were travelling to the U.S.  On the bus that day they had to sit on extra seats in the aisle, each of them sitting next to 2 workers: Pat Daniel and Lilian Bateman; Willie P. and Jack C...and as things go on busses they were soon visiting.  That night in El Salvador I met them at the bus and helped the boys find a room; the same room I'd stayed in my 1st night in El Salvador in 1970 in the P. Corps.  The next day by chance the workers met the boys in the Guatamalan Embassay and invited them to spend the night in the room I was renting and where we had the fel. Mtg. in El Salvador at the time; that night the boys were in their 1st mtg...The boys continued on with the workers in Guatemala & Mexico where after various experiences they professed and returned to Ecuador to share these things with their families.   (November 6, 1988 Letter by Ken Johnson, Natá, Coclé Panama)

An older man recently started in the work in Ecuador, age 62. He’s one of the original 2 Ecuadorian men who heard the gospel (by meeting workers on the Tica bus) in Mexico while on their way to “get rich” in the US. After making their choice, they concluded that they’d found the real gold and returned to their homeland. It opened the way for workers to come to Ecuador. Oand one man’s wife and children professed. The other man’s wife left him to raise their children by himself. Now those children are grown, some are professing and he has recently started in the work. Both men became Elders (from April 6, 2012 Letter by Carol Dutton)


ARGENTINA : The following was written by Lee Irish after he visited South America: 

“Reg Edwards came from England to labor in Argentina and was with Basilio in 1931, when Reg fell sick of typhoid fever and died at the age of 31. He was buried in San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina where he and Basilio were laboring. Reg was the first worker to die and be buried in Argentina. His grave was a simple one with a headstone that had the date of his birth and death and with the words "Un Siervo Fiel del Señor," or "A Faithful Servant of the Lord." Cándida Rodríguez, who was a young lady and a very devout Catholic at the time, saw the grave with the tombstone in its place and was very much impressed with the words on the tombstone...A Faithful Servant of the Lord…She kneeled down at the side of the grave and asked the Lord to help her to have a testimony like that of the person buried there.

“Later, where the workers had their bach in San Rafael, a sister of Cándida lived across the street from the bach and because of this, Cándida knew of the meetings, and this was before she knew of Reg being a worker. Bernard McGovern went to Argentina from the U.S. and was the one that went to be with Basilio after Reg's death, but we can't say who was with Basilio when Candida [Rodriguez] began to listen. Cándida and her mother went to a meeting to listen, but only stood at the door when a young man came on a motorbike to the mtg. and he gave the ladies a little shove to enter the room; and being on the inside they had to take a seat. Cándida didn't know it at the time but that man was already professing. Cándida continued to show interest, but the Catholic mother didn't...With time, Cándida professed, but with great opposition in the home. She was already around 30 years of age but still lived at home. Cándida made the connection between the workers and the grave of Reg Edwards in the cemetery. She offered for the work but had to wait for three years for a place with a companion. In 1938 she was given a place. The Catholic mother was so upset with Cándida that she told Cándida that she never wanted to see her again, but Cándida continued to be friendly with her mother through the years and even helped with her care in her last years.

“After some time with a companion in Argentina, Cándida went to Spain to labor where she spent 22 years of her life in the harvest field. She then returned to her native land to spend her last years; and in 1990 she passed from time into eternity and finished with the testimony, "A Faithful Servant of the Lord" that she had prayed for. Since the custom here in Argentina is to put up to three bodies in the same tomb, it was planned that Cándida be buried in the same tomb as Reg Edwards in San Rafael. Two years ago another faithful servant of the Lord finished his race after the conventions in San Rafael, and now Aldo Burzichelli is buried in the same tomb with Reg and Cándida.

“While in San Rafael after the convention meetings, I walked by the place where the workers had their bach when Cándida listened to the Gospel in the early 1930's. The building made of adobe with wooden doors is still standing and a part of it is used as a store. We counted twelve workers that are buried here in Argentina. We passed by the tomb of John Tuft this morning here in Mendoza. He died in 1982 at the age of 78; and since then a native Argentine sister worker, Matea Rodríguez, has been buried in the same tomb. I remember John Tuft being at our conventions in Texas in the 1960's. The great cloud of witnesses that have finished their race encourage us with their silent voice of testimony and as we read....'.Though being dead yet speaketh..' .”


Account by William Berger

Four workers left from the east coast of the U.S.A. in 1919 to travel by ship to Argentina to carry the Gospel to that land. They were Jack Jackson, Glen Smith, Herbert Vitzthum, and Maurice Hawkins. Teaching English, Jack Jackson had Basilio Alvarez as a student. Basilio professed and was the first native worker in Argentina. He later went to Spain to labor in 1946. Reginaldo Edwards came from England to labor in Argentina and was with Basilio in 1931 when Reginaldo fell sick of typhoid fever and died at the age of 31. He was buried in San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina where he and Basilio were laboring. Reginaldo was the first worker to die and be buried in Argentina. His grave was a simple one with a headstone that had the date of his birth and death and with the words "Un Fiel Siervo Del Senyor", or "A Faithful Servant of The Lord."

Candida Rodriguez, who was a young lady and a very devout Catholic at the time, saw the grave with the tombstone in its place and was very much impressed with the words on the tombstone...A Faithful Servant of The Lord. She kneeled down at the side of the grave and asked the Lord to help her to have a testimony like the one buried there. Later, where the workers had their bach in San Rafael, a sister of Candida lived across the street from the bach and because of this Candida knew of the meetings, and this before she knew of Reginaldo being a worker.

Bernard McGovern went to Argentina from the U.S. and was the one that went to be with Basilio after Reginaldo's death, but we can't say who was with Basilio when Candida began to listen. Candida and her mother went to a meeting to listen but only stood at the door when a young man came on a motorbike to the meeting and he gave the ladies a little shove to enter the room; and being on the inside, they had to take a seat. Candida didn't know it at the time but that man was already professing.

Candida [Rodriguez] continued to show interest but the Catholic mother didn't. With time, Candida professed with great opposition in the home. She was already around 30 years of age but still lived at home. Candida made the connection between the workers and the grave of Reginaldo Edwards in the cemetery. She offered for the work but had to wait for three years for a place with a companion. In 1938 she was given a place. The Catholic mother was so upset with Candida that the mother told Candida that she never wanted to see her again, but Candida continued to be friendly with her mother through the years and even helped with the care of the mother in her last years.

After some time with a companion in Argentina, Candida went to Spain to labor where she spent 22 years of her life in the harvest field. She then returned to her native land to spend her last years and in 1990 she passed from time into eternity and finished with the testimony, "A Faithful Servant of The Lord" that she had prayed for. Since the custom here in Argentina is to put up to three bodies in the same tomb, it was planned that Candida be buried in the same tomb as Reginaldo Edwards in San Rafael. Two years ago another faithful servant of the Lord finished his race after the conventions in San Rafael and now Aldo Burcichelli is buried in the same tomb with Reginaldo and Candida.

While in San Rafael after the convention meetings I walked by the place where the workers had their bach when Candida listened to the Gospel in the early 30's. The building made of adobe with wooden doors is still standing and a part of it is used as a store.

We counted twelve workers that are buried here in Argentina. We passed by the tomb of John Tuft this morning here in Mendoza. He died in 1982 at the age of 78 and since then a native Argentine sister worker, Matea Rodriguez has been buried in the same tomb. I remember John Tuft being at our conventions in Texas in the 60's.

The great cloud of witnesses that have finished their race encourage us with their silent voice of testimony and as we read...Though being dead, yet speaketh...

A brother,

William Berger


TTT Editor's Note: In the absence of a written account, the above information has been compiled by the TTT Editor from various sources. Corrections or additions are most welcome; as well as other historical accounts for this country Email TTT

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