February 16th, 2009 13:32 EST
"If we have not enough in our religion to drive us to share it with all the world, it is doomed here at home." David Livingstone (1813-1873)
Norman and Patricia Brockway of Sebastian, Fla. have been serving as missionaries since 1981 in Irapuato, Guanajauto, Mexico.
The couple met in 1963 while both working at the Bank of Melbourne. Soon after, they married at the First Baptist Church of Wabasso and began calling Sebastian home. In 1972, they accepted Christ as their savior, and afterwards Mr. Brockway then decided to attend the Graduate Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. After graduation, he accepted a position as pastor of a small church near Mobile, Ala. In 1979, the Brockway`s began serving as missionaries, leaving for Mexico for language study in 1981.
When we return home to Sebastian Fl, once a year, we attend the Community Baptist Church, " said Mr. Brockway.
Pastor Ron Barber explains, Norman and Patricia are wonderful people. We love having them visit with us when they are in Sebastian. "
Mr. Brockway says that his most fulfilling and unforgettable moment while in Mexico was the performing of a baptismal ceremony on two teenage boys and their grandfather. To see them fully commit themselves to the Lord was for me a very exciting and special moment. "
This was such an exciting moment for me because the family that I baptized lives in a village where they are the only evangelical Christians. This made life very difficult for the two teenagers because of a lot of pressure and teasing from the other teens in the community, " according to Brockway. Baptism is generally looked on as a strong rejection of the Rational Religion of the area, and so it was a giant step of faith and testimony for the two of them to become baptized. "
Mr. Brockway said that since the baptism, the teenagers and their grandfather have become more confident in their relationship with the Lord. One teenager now leads singing in the mission services and the other is contemplating attending seminary. Their grandfather, Salvador, now tells everyone in the community how good God has been to him. Before being saved, Salvador suffered from severe alcoholism for many years.
Salvador made money for drinking by gathering firewood in the mountains and bringing it to town on his burro. The Brockway`s talked with him on several occasions, but he was uninterested in learning about God and just could not comprehend the idea of Jesus becoming his savior.
One day he was lying on the side of the street, Mr. Brockway thought he had been drinking again but instead found him suffering from an abscessed tooth and experiencing a great deal of pain. I starting praying for him immediately and he suddenly felt relief from his toothache, " said Mr. Brockway.
About a month later, he began coming to the mission services, and soon asked Christ into his heart. He no longer drinks, and now is the first to arrive for the services in the mission. "
The Brockway`s spend most of their time in Mexico establishing and building new churches. Mr. Brockway serves as the pastor to a small group meeting in their homes, and as the members of the church grow, they rent a small place.
We discipline, train, and reach out to more new converts and eventually the group is sufficiently strong enough to organize a church and a national pastor is called to lead the church, " he explains. The pastor usually comes from within the church and sometimes from one of the bible schools in Mexico.
To date they have five fully established churches, which have in turn fostered another eight mission churches throughout Mexico.
Mr. Brockway relates, We also operate a youth camping ministry, Tejaban Youth Camp, and each year over 1,000 youth come to camp to learn about Christ. " Their plans include further development of the camp and to continue evangelism through the Bible Baptist Church of Irapuato.
About five years ago, the missions purchased five acres of land and are developing the campground. We can accommodate up to 200 campers, but most camps are about 100. Last year the camp served around 1,200 during the year 2003, " according to Mr. Brockway.
Patricia is an important part of the mission work and any counseling that we do. She teaches the women and children classes and she is in charge of the kitchen department in our various camps. She is also the head bookkeeper in the ministry. "
People ask me all the time what is the best part of my job, I say there is no lay offs, and the retirement benefits are eternal, " said Mr. Brockway.
Anyone concerned to give a hand physically, financially, or prayerfully could reach the Brockway`s at www.tellmex.com
Irapuato, GTO. Mexico
Maranatha Baptist Mission
P O Drawer 1425
Natchez, MS. 39121