The Home Missionary was the annual publication of the Congregational Church Missionary Society, which supplied the minister for the Congregational Church in early Los Alamitos.   The minister’s report to the society provides much information about the early religious happenings in Los Alamitos. In this report he details his ministering to the growing community of Mexican laborers.

 

IN THE BEET SUGAR FIELD

[Beet sugar has been so prominent a subject in Congress lately as to give special interest to the following letter from the Rev. Alden B. Case, portions of whose address at our last Annual Meeting on “Our Spanish Speaking People in the Southwest” were published in the July number of the Home Missionary.]

Almost my entire time during May was occupied in work among the Mexicans of Los Alamitos (15 miles southeast of Los Angeles). Here is located a beet sugar factory which has a capacity of 700 tons of beets daily. The “run,” commencing in July, is from four to six months, according to the quantity of beets obtainable. In the region tributary to Los Alamitos there are now 7,000 acres in beets. The labor required in these fields is enormous—seeding, thinning, cultivating, pulling, topping and delivering at the factory. The majority of the laborers are Mexicans. Only a few of these are residents of the village. They come from near and from far. One company ot twenty men came all the way from Michoacan, which is one of the most distant states of Mexico. They tell me that they expect to return home in December.

Some of these people find cheap houses to rent in the village, but the most of them live in tents or booths. Groups of these, called “campos,” are found here and there, each containing twenty, thirty, or more laborers, some accompanied by their families. These “camps” are located wherever convenient for work, usually near water and under spreading trees. It is in such places that I have met my Mexican people and often partaken of their cordial hospitality.

After the day of labor and the evening meal we would have our brief service. My stereopticon is a valuable help in this kind of work. The Mexicans gathered here are of the roughest class. One out-ofdoor meeting was interrupted by a scuffle, in which pistols were drawn. An ordinary religious meeting would attract few of them, but the lantern views of Mexico draw everybody, and prepare the way for scenes in the life of Christ and serious words on salvation.

In addition to this work in the camps, Spanish services were held every Sunday at the Congregational church in Los Alamitos. Here I found converts from our American Board Mission in Mexico. Their joy in being sought out by a missionary of their own denomination and having religious services established in their own language was enthusiastic. The Alamitos church had experienced discouragements since its formation three years ago, and has been pressing bravely on with nine American members.

During May twelve Mexicans were received, ten by letter and two on confession. I think heaven was glad to see these Americans and Mexicans shaking hands together around the Lord’s table. Neither understood the language of the other, but there was warm Christian fellowship and mutual rejoicing.

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