Mattie Crawford.

On mule back thru Central America with the gospel ; a thrilling missionary story, giving personal experiences on the mission field online

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Produced by Bryan Ness and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

Transcriber’s Note: Illustrations have been moved so as not to fall in
the middle of paragraphs (leaving them as close to the original position
in the book as possible). A few minor printing errors were corrected.
=Bold text= is thus marked.

On Mule Back
Thru Central America



Giving personal experiences on the mission field; of an
unshaken confidence in the God who took the
family to the field; supported them while
there; gave them many precious souls
for their hire, and brought
them back victorious.


Copies of this book may be obtained from

_Missionary and Evangelist_
3573 Shurtleff Court, Los Angeles, California

Copyright, 1922, by
(_Published in the United States of America_)
All Rights Reserved


Preface 7

A Message Given to Me in Tongues with Interpretation 15

Preparing to Start 17

Home Leaving 18

The Church in Unity. (The Wonderful Vision) 32

Opening the Way 36

Bread Upon the Waters. (From Los Angeles to
Nicaragua, C. A.) 48

The Stars and Stripes and Beautiful Manzanilla 59

Salina Cruz, Mexico. (My Vision Interpreted) 64

The Virgin of the Angels 71

Arriving in Our Port at Nicaragua 82

Our Stay in Matagalpa 97

Leaving Matagalpa for Leon 110

Our Arrival in Leon 138

Leaving Nicaragua for Panama 183

Sailing from Panama 190

The Needs of Central America 200

The Indians of Nicaragua. (Extract from Article by
Brother Schoenich) 212

“Where is the white man’s Book of Heaven?” 216


Frontispiece. Mattie Crawford 9

The Crawford Family 13

Father N. J. Norris, who paid our way to the
Mission Field 45

S. S. Curacao on which we sailed to the Mission
Field 49

On Board Ship 53

Carl on bridge of ship at sea 57

Some natives of a tribe in Guatemala, C. A. 61

“Come over and help us” 65

Taking their morning bath 69

A native village 75

Picturesque street scene of the Port of Corinto,
where we landed 83

Resting during the heat of the day 85

Where they heard the Gospel for the first time 89

An Indian hut where we preached the Gospel 93

Indian girls grinding corn for tortillas 95

Alma and her music class in Matagalpa 99

Washday at the river for native women. Their only
way to clean clothes is to rub them on a flat
rock 101

Where we stopped for the night. Note the glare of
the sun on the white sand 105

Alma and Carl among the banana trees 107

Leaving Matagalpa 111

Leaving in the early morning for a day’s journey 113

Alma and Carl feeding the pet deer 117

On our way through the mountains 119

Carl with his faithful pony 123

Bringing coffee down from the mountain plantations 125

The only Jesus they know 129

One of the first to accept the Gospel 131

Carl and his father, as they distributed tracts to
the Indians by the roadside 135

Street scene in Leon 139

Mother with child that was raised up from death 143

Waiting for the Gospel 147

Carl with his boys 151

Where I preached until midnight; and the entire
family was brought to the Lord 159

Where the entire family was brought to Jesus, and
the mother’s hand was healed of blood poisoning 163

Where Carl attended native school to study Spanish 167

Women coming from the market place 171

Alma with her music class in Leon 175

Alma with her English class of native girls 181

Alma reading a Bible story to her girls 187

An Indian woman who came to the meeting and was
saved 191

I am just a brown-faced Indian girl, but I want
to learn to read God’s Word. Will you send
missionaries to teach us? There are thousands
just as I am 203

One Indian who found Jesus and loves his Bible 209

An Indian woman whose attention was attracted
and picture taken without her knowledge.
Indians are very superstitious and are
afraid to have their pictures taken 217


The days of miraculous achievements are not past, as the accounts
chronicled in this book will testify. Four people make a missionary trip
from Los Angeles, Cal., down the coast of Mexico, preaching in many
of her towns while the ship discharges or loads cargo. They arrive in
Nicaragua and preach to the natives, seeing numbers of them baptized in
the Holy Spirit. Returning to the States by way of the Panama Canal, and
New Orleans, they reach St. Louis and Granite City, having been gone less
than two years.

Without missionary board, or other promised support whatever, the
Lord provided some $3,000.00 for the trip. It is a testimony to His
faithfulness, a sample of what He can and will do for those who will
put their trust in Him. Some might question the wisdom and value of the
shortness of their stay, but they moved under Divine direction. If any
possible critic had accompanied them in their journeyings, and seen the
fire in the hearts of those native people there would have been no doubt
in their minds as to the exceeding profitableness of the journey in the
advancement of the kingdom of God. Many remote and scattered people were
reached. Praise God! They will be seen in Heaven because of the Gospel
message which they heard.

Then, too, this sketch of many happenings will, we trust, kindle a flame
of missionary fire in many hearts, and give them a sense of the great
need of these Central American republics, so that they, too, will have
to go, pray, or give. Brother, Sister, have you not some responsibility
toward sending the Gospel to those benighted people so long neglected?
Let us not share in the great age-long crime of the church in her neglect
of the heathen. Do not pass the time in mere happy dreams of spiritual
blessings while the procession of your lost brethren of other nations
tramps on into eternity with no Christ. Be not like drones, who eat the
honey but do nothing for the advancement of the kingdom.

Seeley D. Kinne.


Affectionately dedicated to my precious Master, the Lord, who made
possible this service, and to my dear husband, son, and daughter, who
were noble sharers in the battles and triumphs described.

Oh agony of wavering thought
When sinners first so near are brought.
It is my Maker—dare I stay?
My Savior—dare I turn away?
In the ripe harvest fields the day is cried,
And reapers with their sickles bright
Troop, singing, down the mountain side.



=It was on this message from the Lord that we went to the mission field
by faith, without any earthly board behind us, knowing that what God had
promised He would perform.=

“The time has come when I will send thee forth. Arise! put away all doubt
and say to the dark clouds, ‘Depart from before my face!’ and to all fear
that may arise to stop you from following in the way that I shall lead
thee, ‘Flee ye, far from me, to return no more! for the Lord my God hath
spoken, and I shall not be dismayed nor put to shame!’

“Begin this day to prepare to go forth, for I will send thee unto the
land to which I have called thee, and every need shall be supplied.

“Only be strong and of good courage, for My left hand is under thy head,
and My right hand doth embrace thee. Thou shalt sit down under My shadow
with great delight, and My fruit shall be sweet to thy taste. I will
plant thee in a fruitful land, and thou shalt bring forth fruit in My
name, some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold. Do not fear to
go forth in My name, for I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.
I Am that I Am hath spoken unto thee this day, and I AM THAT I AM will go
before thee.

“Thou shalt see of the travail of thy soul, and shall be satisfied, for
thou shalt see many that sit in darkness and the shadow of death see the
light of My glory, and come to praise My name. For from the rising of the
sun even unto the going down of the same, My name shall be great among
all nations.”

“Would you like to know the sweetness
Of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow,
This shall be your sure reward.
And when’er you leave the silence
Of that happy meeting place,
You must mind and bear the image
Of the Master in your face.”


After receiving the wonderful message in tongues, with its
interpretation, telling us the time had come for us to make ready to
go to the mission field, we began packing our trunks, putting away the
things which we would not need during the summer. We had been working
in a hard field that winter, the income had been very small, and poor
husband had worked as much as possible, to get the children clothes and
books for school. But work was scarce and the battle had been long and
hard, for we felt we must settle down again that the children might be in
school, which matter the Lord had dealt with us about many times before.

We were preparing to start as soon as the way was opened, when there
came a letter from a brother asking if we would not come and have some
meetings with them. We felt led to go, and on arriving found the revival
spirit was in the air. The first night the place was packed, and the
altar was filled with hungry people seeking the Lord. We were there
three weeks, and they certainly were blessed weeks of victory, for many
precious souls received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and many were
healed, and the Lord sent in money for some clothing, which we were all
needing badly.

After the meeting we returned for our trunks and to prepare for the trip
across the country to California, for from there we were to sail for our
field in Central America.

The livelong night we’ve toiled in vain,
But at Thy gracious word,
I will let down the net again,
To do Thy will, O Lord.


Bidding our loved ones good-bye we left Granite City, Illinois, May 29th,
1919. We took train from St. Louis at 4 P. M., for Stanton, Missouri,
where God had definitely led us to go.

As the train sped out of the city and over the long stretch of country
beyond, I was meditating over the many things that had happened at our
farewell. My dear mother had said she did not understand this thing,
and my brothers and sisters had spoken against our going out in such a
foolish way, without money and without backing of any kind. They just
knew that we would all starve and die in that far-off country. None of
them being Christians, they could not understand how the dear Lord could
supply our every need. But the blessed Holy Spirit had spoken to my heart
and said, “You have left all, brothers, sisters, father, mother, houses
and lands for My sake, and the Gospel’s, so I will give you brothers,
sisters, fathers and mothers, houses and lands, wherever you go.”

As we rode on, we were praying that God would lead us every step of the
way, and not let us miss His will in any thing we did or said. As I took
some tracts from my hand bag to distribute among the passengers I noticed
a white-haired gentleman take a seat just across from us. The Spirit said
to me, “That is one of your Pentecostal brothers. Ask him what you want
to know about the place to which you are going.”

We were not acquainted with any one at Stanton, and had been wishing that
we could find out something about the place and the people before we
arrived. I began distributing the tracts through the car, and when I came
to this man he looked up and said, “=Praise the Lord!=” We had a blessed
time from there on, talking of the work over the country, and learning of
conditions at Stanton.

Arriving at the station we bade our brother good-bye and got off the
train. It was now quite dark, and raining, and our funds were down to
twenty cents. We stopped under the shed of the depot long enough to
pray for leadings from the Lord, for it was late, the agent had gone,
the depot was closed and the brother had told us that he thought most
of the saints lived out in the country. As we looked to our Heavenly
Father to guide us He directed us to a store on the hill. The owner was
just closing the door as we came up. My husband asked him if any of the
mission people lived in the town and he said he did not know. As we
passed down the street we heard some one say, “=Well, ‘Praise the Lord!’=
Where did you come from?” It was dear brother Armstead. We had met him
and his wife in some meetings in St. Louis, but did not know they lived
in Stanton. Also others were there whom we knew, having met them in other
places. We stayed about ten days and had blessed meetings. The blessing
of the Lord came down upon our souls, the dear little band of faithful
saints were refreshed, and the altar was filled with those seeking the

A remarkable incident occurred here. A woman across the street from where
we were having the meetings became very much incensed at us because she
thought we prayed and sang too loud. She sent her children over to throw
rocks and sticks at us, while she sat in her house and made light of the
shouting. One night the power fell in a wonderful way and the people were
very happy. This woman was sitting barefoot in her bedroom reading the
evening paper, and felt something cold touch her foot, but did not give
it any attention at first. Feeling it again she looked down, and there
was a very large snake coiled ready to strike her foot. She sprang away
and screamed, then ran to the meeting crying for some one to come and
kill the snake, as it had gotten on the bed where the baby was asleep.
Some of the brothers went over, found the serpent on the bed, and killed
it. After that the woman felt different toward us and our shouting and
praising the Lord. We had been praying for her and the Lord had told us
He would take care of it all. We find the Lord uses different means to
bring people to Himself.

From Stanton we went to Rolla, Missouri. We knew no one in Rolla, or
anything about the place, but the Lord had told us to go there, so we
went. We just had money enough to get there. As we stepped off the
train a brother threw his arms around my husband and said, “=Well,
Hallelujah!= My wife told me to come and meet this train, for the Lord
was sending some one on it to help us in the meetings we have just
started, and here you are, just in time.” They had opened a little work
there and had been asking the Lord to send someone to help them, so He
had sent us, bless His dear Name! He also sent the Holy Spirit, for we
had a wonderful time. One of the hard fighters of Pentecost received
the Baptism, and many others were blessed in their souls, and some were
healed in their bodies.

From Rolla we went to Springfield, Missouri, and stayed over Sunday with
the dear saints there, having a refreshing time for our souls, and a rest
for our bodies. From there we went to Everton, Missouri, where we had
been led to hold some meetings.

On arriving in this little town we found that the only building there was
for the meetings had burned down the day before. We spent the day in a
grocery store praying for a door to be opened for the Gospel, for we had
been told it was a very wicked town and that the Pentecostal message had
never been preached there.

In the evening we went out to see about getting some rooms where we
could stay while there. Going to a certain place we met the Presbyterian
minister. When he found that we had come to have revival meetings he
hastened to open his church to us and insisted that we begin the services
that night. He told us that he had been praying for a revival as they
had not had a convert in that town for over thirty years, and that he
hoped we could do something to stir the people up. He had not asked us
what we were preaching, as many others do when we arrive in a new place.
If he had known how we would stir up things in that dead town and that
fine Presbyterian church I don’t know whether he would have been so quick
to invite us in.

He rang the church bell, we went in and began to sing and pray, and soon
the crowd came. Such a hungry-looking lot of people they were, yet they
looked like they were ready to run if something happened that they did
not understand. As we prayed and testified the glory settled down over
us. Each night the people moved up a little closer to the fire, and some
dared to come up in the rostrum and help us sing. Once in a while we
heard a faint Amen from the dear old pastor, and one night, after the
Lord had met us in a very sweet and wonderful way, he came and said,
“There is something so different about you people from what we have ever
seen in others. Why,” said he, “it is no trouble at all for you to pray
and testify, and there is something about these meetings that fills my
heart with joy, and I want you to pray that I will get this blessing that
you have, for we need a great spiritual awakening here.”

I felt like jumping up and down and telling him we had the Baptism of the
Holy Ghost and it was that which made us different from other folks. =O
Hallelujah!= But I knew we must use wisdom with them, so left it to the
Lord to work out in His own way and time.

The next night the power fell on Sister Hagg, and she went up and down
the platform singing in the Spirit and speaking in tongues. We were
wonderfully anointed and had a blessed meeting. The dear people had never
seen anything like that before. They looked so hungry.

The next morning the pastor and his wife came to our rooms and he said,
“I want this blessed experience. Pray for me, and pray for my wife’s
healing.” She was deaf. We had a sweet time praying together, the dear
old pastor calling on God to send the Holy Spirit into his life and into
the church.

The next day we had to move on to Kansas City. But I am sure there was
a work done and seed sown in Everton that will bring forth fruit. The
people came to bid us good-bye, saying they were so glad we had come and
brought them the light of Pentecost.

At the depot we were told the price of our tickets was $20. We found we
were short of that amount by $4.20. We had only $14.80. We went aside and
prayed, telling the Lord He had told us to go to Kansas City, Missouri,
and now the train was arriving and we did not have sufficient money.
The Lord said, “Go to the window and call for the tickets.” We obeyed,
knowing the Lord was able to send money right straight from Heaven.
As husband received the tickets through the window, the agent said,
“$14.80.” We were soon on the train speeding on our way. We do not know
just how it came about, but we know God did it. =Hallelujah!= He makes a
way where there is no way, if we believe.

It was after dark when we arrived in Kansas City. We prayed and asked the
Lord just where He wanted us to go as we did not know anyone there. He
directed us straight up a street. We walked several blocks, not knowing
where there were any missions. We saw a nice little brick church on a
corner, but no sign to tell about meetings, and the doors were closed. As
we stood there praying, the Lord told me to open the door and go in.

As we pushed on the door it opened into a vestibule. From there some
steps led into the auditorium through another door. We heard some one
saying, “=Praise the Lord!=” and knew they must be Pentecostal people. A
brother came with outstretched hands to greet us, asking, “Where did you
come from?” It was dear Brother Huff from Chicago, who was in charge of
the mission. We had a blessed time together praising God and seeing souls
brought in and baptized in the Spirit. We were also blessed with Brother
Scott in the mission in Kansas City, Kansas, and with his saints.

We then went on to Topeka, Kansas, by the direction of the Lord. We
never went anywhere until we had prayed and received instructions from
the Lord. Most of the time He spoke through my lips the name of the next
place, even telling us when to go, and what train to take. Oh, the
blessedness of the sweet Holy Spirit flowing in and upon our souls till
we are lost in Him.

=“He leadeth me, oh, blessed thought.”=

We arrived in Topeka, knowing nothing of the missions there or how to
find them. As we were walking down a street the Lord said, “Ask that boy
where the mission is.” He was the son of one of the saints, and lived
near the mission. We were at that mission two weeks and had a precious

The Lord provided for us to travel to Colorado Springs with Sister Bowers
in her car. Many were the times and ways God showed His mighty arm
out-stretched toward us. We started with very little money to buy food
and gasoline, or to pay for repairs for the car. But He provided for all.

One morning as we were crossing a bridge, some drunken men ran their car
into ours, throwing it over the edge of the bridge which had no rail, the
bridge being a new one and not completed. Our machine hung out over the
water fifty feet below. But as we went over the edge the power came upon
us all, and we began speaking in tongues. The glory of God came down like
a great white cloud, and the machine was picked up and set in the middle
of the bridge without a scratch on us or on it.

Another time when we came into a town we were told that the road ahead
was impassable; that twenty cars had been pulled out of the place where
the water covered the road for about a mile. We asked the Lord if we
should go on or not. He said we should go on, and if we believed we
should see the glory of God. As we approached the water, which came up to
the doors of the machine, and with great ditches on either side, filled
with water, we could not see where the road was, nor where the ditches
were. The power came down over the machine, and we all began to sing in
tongues. Sister Bowers’ hands went up in the air, and never touched the
wheel till we were over the place, about a mile in length. The mud and
water did not even splash the wind shield or machine anywhere.

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Online LibraryMattie CrawfordOn mule back thru Central America with the gospel ; a thrilling missionary story, giving personal experiences on the mission field → online text (page 1 of 8)