“His Loving-Kindness Has Proved Mighty”
AS TOLD BY JOSÉ VERGARA OROZCO
Do you think that your life could be filled with new impetus at 70 years of age? Mine was. And that was over 35 years ago.
By Jehovah’s loving-kindness, since 1962, I have served as a regular pioneer, and since 1972, I have been an overseer in the El Carrizal Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Let me tell you a little of my background.
I WAS born in the state of Michoacán, in Mexico, on August 18, 1886. My father was a Mason, so our family did not go to the Catholic Church, nor did we participate in any Catholic religious celebrations or have any religious images in our home.
When I was 16 years old, my father left to work in the United States, but he arranged for a man to teach me a trade. Two years later, however, the man took me to Mexico City for training at a military academy. Afterward I embarked upon a career in the Mexican army.
In the Army and Afterward
I fought in the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910. All of us young men at the academy supported Francisco I. Madero, who was a revolutionary opposed to the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. We backed Madero until his death in 1913, and after that, we supported Venustiano Carranza, who served as president of the Republic from 1915 to 1920. We were called Carranzistas.
On four different occasions, I tried, without success, to be released from the army. Finally I deserted and became a fugitive. As a result, my father, who had returned to Mexico, was imprisoned. One day, pretending to be his nephew, I visited him in prison. We communicated by writing on little pieces of paper so that the guards could not hear us. To prevent anyone from discovering who I was, I ate the paper.
After my father was released from prison, he visited me and requested that I surrender to the authorities. I did, and to my surprise the general in charge did not arrest me. Rather, he suggested that I move to the United States. I followed his suggestion and lived there from 1916 to 1926.
In 1923, I married a Mexican woman who was also living in the United States. I learned a trade in construction, and we adopted a little girl. When she was 17 months old, we returned to Mexico and took up residence in Jalpa, Tabasco. Then the ‘Cristero rebellion’ started, and it lasted from 1926 to 1929.
The Cristeros wanted me to join them. My family and I, however, preferred to flee to Aguascalientes State. After living in various places in the Mexican republic, in 1956 we settled down in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, where I began supervising construction jobs.
My Life Changes
This is when my life began to change. My daughter, who by now was married and lived across the border in Brownsville, Texas, U.S.A., would visit us frequently. One day she said: “Dad, a lot of families are meeting in the union hall right now. Let’s go and see what it’s all about.” It was an assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses. My daughter, son-in-law, grandson, wife, and I attended all four days of the assembly.
From that year on, we attended the Christian meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I progressed spiritually in Mexico, while my daughter did so in the United States. Soon I was telling my workmates the Bible truths I was learning. I received ten magazines of each issue of The Watchtower and Awake!, which I distributed among my workmates. Five of those in the office and three of the engineers as well as some of the other workers became Witnesses.
Oh, was it cold that December 19, 1959, when I was baptized in the river! Everyone who got baptized that day got sick because of the extremely cold water. My daughter was baptized before I was, and my wife, although she never got baptized, came to the point of knowing Bible truth, and she was very cooperative.
The Full-Time Ministry
I felt indebted to God for all of his loving-kindness, so in February 1962, when I was 75 years old, I began the full-time ministry as a pioneer. A few years later, in 1968, my wife died. I wanted then to serve in another country, but because of my age, the brothers did not think that was advisable. However, in 1970, I was assigned as a pioneer in Colotlán in the state of Jalisco, where there was a small congregation.
In September 1972, the circuit overseer suggested that I move to the small town of El Carrizal, which is near Colotlán. In November of that year, a congregation was established there, and I was appointed an elder. Even though it is a very isolated town, up to 31 attend the congregation meetings.
Despite my age, I am still active in the ministry, trying hard to help people to reason on their beliefs. For instance, in the Rosary sincere Catholics repeat the Hail Mary: ‘Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with you.’ The prayer adds: ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God.’ I ask them: ‘How can that be? If God is the one that saves Mary, how can He at the same time be her son?’
I am 105 years old now and have served as an elder and as a regular pioneer in El Carrizal, Jalisco, for nearly 20 years. I feel that it has been Jehovah’s will that I have lived these many years, since in this way I can make up for the time I lost when I was not serving Him.
One thing I have learned is that we should always have confidence that our Supreme Judge is watching us from his righteous throne and provides us with our needs. As Psalm 117:2 states: “Toward us his loving-kindness has proved mighty.”