During the first eight months of 1943 our principal concern was to acquire for the mission a certain amount of useful evangelistic equipment, so that our workers in the field could have it for their public efforts. This process of obtaining the necessary equipment was found to be rather slow, inasmuch as we were short of funds and unable to purchase everything needed. Even at the present moment we feel that we are not yet fully equipped. Nevertheless we commissioned our mission secretary-treasurer to buy that which was absolutely necessary. Along with some things that he bought and the new filmstrips I was able to obtain in the States, we were finally able to give the marching orders to our workers for an offensive in evangelism in the Pacific Mexican Mission.
Ciudad Obregon, in the state of Sonora, was chosen as our first objective. It was the plan of our mission to make that effort a kind of training school in which several of our workers could gain a practical experience that would prepare them for similar efforts to be held in other places. With the co-operation of six young men we initiated our series of public lectures, which had been duly advertised.
On the day appointed for the first lecture so many people came that our church was inadequate and could not accommodate all who desired to attend. However, with our electrical transmission equipment, we were able to magnify the message to such an extent that all were able to hear. Thus, we were able to maintain the interest. Naturally our path was not all strewn with roses. It happened that as soon as the local priest learned of our effort, he sent his sacristan to the meetings so that he could report back to him concerning our activities. We heard that the sacristan had been well impressed, but even so the priest began to warn his believers, admonishing them to refrain from attending our lectures, with the threat of excommunication.
Not only did the Catholics try to boycott our lectures, but some other denominations as well, who, as a result of our meetings, had been left without attendants at their services. We learned later that certain ones tried to secure the support of the city authorities in an attempt to have our lectures prohibited, but God worked in our behalf. We know not how, but the result was that the city authorities did not molest us in the least. In fact, the only interruption that we had during the whole series occurred on a night when the city lights were extinguished. We had no way of telling whether this was premeditated or simply the result of an accident in the electric light plant.
God has been good to us, and we recognize that what has been accomplished is due to His support. In addition to the invaluable experience that our workers procured by assisting in the effort, we recorded the names of fifty-two people especially interested in studying our message in their homes, fifteen of whom became members of the baptismal class, and some of them were baptized, in December, 1943. As a result of these first fruits, we feel inspired to rest in the assurance that "the work in the Lord is not in vain," and that public efforts supply real gains in souls.
Before the end of the year two of these younger workers conducted a similar effort in Mochis, state of Sinaloa. At the same time another team conducted an effort in the border town of Nogales, Sonora. In this mission we are laying definite plans so that other workers who have not yet had the opportunity will be able to know what it means to conduct a public evangelistic effort.