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Interview with Ben Gonsalez




Ben Gonsalez was born in Laughton, Oklahoma, in 1921 and came to Minnesota with his mother in 1930 to work in the beet fields and canning industry. He was drafted into the military in 1942 and discharged in 1945. In 1946 he got married in Winnebago, and he worked at Fairmont Canning Company for sixteen years. At the time of the interview he was involved in the Pentecostal movement. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: His move to Minnesota - Minnesota Citizens for Migrant Affairs - and his work as acting minister and missionary for the Temple de la Fe, a Pentecostal church in Guckeen, Faribault County.





World Region




This interview was conducted as part of a series on the Mexican American in Minnesota. Ben Gonzalez was born in Laughton, Oklahoma in 1921.

He carne to Minnesota with his He served in the Army from 1942

monther in to 1945.

The carne to work in the beet fields.

He married in 1946.

At the time of the interview Mr. Gonzalez was very active

in the Pentecostal religion. In this interview Mr. Gonzalez discusses his background, gives advice to future generation, and especially shares with us his own experiences, and the experiences of other Mexican Americans, with the church. This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview edited to aid in clarity and ease of comprehension for the reader. The original tape recording is available in the Audio-

Visual Library of the Minnesota Historical Society.



July 27, 1976 Moosbrugger: This is Grant Moosbrugger, interviewing Mr. Ben Gonzalez, in Delavan, Minnesota, July 27, 1976, for the Minnesota Historical Society's Mexican American History Project. where you were born? Gonzalez: My name is Ben Paul Gonzalez. In Spanish my name is Ba1iriano Gonzalez, I was I

Mr. Gonzalez, could you tell us your name and

but for short my name is Ben, for service purposes and all papers.

vv born on January 15, 1921 in a little town, called Laughton, Oklahoma.

am an Oklahoma man. from Oklahoma.

I have Spanish blood in me.


father was an Indian

My mother was mostly Spanish.

She came from the low parts

of Texas, by Piedras Negras.

Her father was a full-blooded Spaniard. We had the opportunity to know some of

Most of her relatives are Spanish. her brothers before she died. green eyes. side. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez:

They were really white, and had blue and I never knew anybody from my father's

They are beautiful.

Where did your mother's relatives live?

In Piedras Negras? It has been changed

They lived mostly around a town called Monty Springs. now, because the Army Fort is there.

They call it Fort Stockton.

Moosbrugger: Gonzalez:

That's in Texas? Yes. She had some other brothers living in another town, called McCamey.

I think the oldest in the family is dead now, but he used to live in an other town in Texas. of them. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: How many brothers and sisters, did you have? I have four sisters, and one brother. Are they living in Texas? No. The oldest sister lives here, in Winnebago. I have a brother who As far as my father's relatives, I never knew any

lives in Florida. Moosbrugger:

Two sisters live in Texas, and one lives in California.

Your sister ,that lives in Winnebago, is it Mrs. Juarez?


Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez:

Yes. What year did you come to Minnesota? In 1930. We came in the month of ·February. I remember that I was just a

young kid then.

It was really cold, we drove up here in a 1926 Chevrolet We didn't have any windows or anything on the side.

car, with a canvas top.

It had what they called curtains, with the little icy glass windows on the side. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Did you come up to work the beets? Yes. We came to work in the beet fields. Just my mother and I came up Some

with another family.

The folks that we came with are already dead.

of their dauthers live in Albert Lea and some in California. eleven children. There were fifteen people in that carl

They had

Eve1en children,

the parents and my mother and I. did. farm.

My brother came to Minnesota before we He met us and we drove to the Then the other family got a My brother

He was living on a farm by Blue Earth. We stayed on that farm until spring. They moved to Elmore.

big farm.

We stayed with my brother.

was married to an older lady. so we moved out. County.

My mother and she never got along very well,

My mother and I traveled through nearly all of FaribauMt We moved

They were gravel roads, they were hard to travel on.

from one place to another. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Did you spend most of your winters here in those years? Yes, mostly here, one of the first winters we spent in Elmore. my mother re-married an older man. Granada, Minnesota. Later on,

We spent two or three winters in

The rest of the winters we spent in Blue Earth, in a I used to walk to school. I had the

little house a few miles out of town. time. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: It was two miles away.

Two miles into Blue Earth? Yes. I was drafted in 1942. We were living by Granada. It was in Martin



County, but when I went in the anny, I claimed that I was from Faribauldt County. They changed all my papers to Faribauldt County. I had all my I was

training at Camp Walters, Texas.

Then I joined the paratroopers.

itransfered to Fort Benning, Georgia.

I was around there for a while.

Finally I was disqualified as a paratrooper, for some reason or other. Then I got lost and was called for the Casual Companies. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Casual Companies? Yes, they don't know exactly what they are going to do with them, (the troopers). Maryland. I was put in the group to go to Maryland. So I went to

There we were assigned to the seventy-sixth division, ready to The week of New Years, or the day after New Year's,

go to North Africa.

they demolished the seventy-sixth division and I was sent clear across the United States to California and from there I was put on a ship to Australia. I spent a few months there with the thirty-second division from Wisconsin. I had two combat duties in New Guinea, under the thirty-secbnd division. Then I was transferred to the forty-third division. They are called the "Mountain Fighters." I was in the invasion of Luzon. That's from Vermont.

Then we invaded the Phillipines.

I traveled Luzon by foot from one end to Then

the other: from the north to the south; from the east to the west. I had a forty-five day furlough and came home. for thirty some months.

I had already been overseas,

When I was on the way home, we received word that We landed in Hawaii, there they gave me I

they had butchered our points.

notice that I was going to be discharged instead of getting a furlough. was sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin and from there I received my discharge and came home. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: What year was that? In 1945. Were you married at that time? No. I was discharged in October of 1945. I started to work in a little

-4Gonzalez: poultry house in Winnebago, and that is where I met my wife. family, my sisterts family and I went to Texas for the winter. back in April. Moosbrugger: We were married in 1946. Then her We came

You have stayed in this section of the state since you came out of the service?



I had purchased two houses in Winnebago.

When I got married, we We had quite

took the small house and I gave my mother the other house.

a few children, before we moved out of this little house and bought a bigger one. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: All this time, I was working for the Fairmont Canning Company.

How long did you work for them? I worked in that plant for sixteen years •. i Was that in Faribault or Winnebago? In Winnebago. When I came out of the army, there was a man that came out His name was Bill Hicks. He was working for the When we came back from the

the same time I did.

Canning Company, before he went into the army. service, he got me a job there. He was a camp foreman. three years.

We had Mexican Nationals working there too.

I was an interpreter for thw Nationals for two or I was the

Then we had Mohammeds from the Mohammed Islands.

captain of the camp for two more years.

Then I went to work in the plant.

I stayed in the plant the rest of the time. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: What nationality were they? Mohammeds from the Mohammed Islands. What language did they speak? They speak a real English language. British English. I was their camp boss for two years. man to a line-foreman. I worked myself up from a clean-up They are dark colored people.

Fairmont Canning Company sold out to Stokley I worked for them. I was line-foreman,

Van Camp, who are the operators now. when I quit.

I went out in the fields, where I have been ever since I quit

-5Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: the

Did you ever live in St. Paul?

Where did you go to school? That's the only winter that

In 1952 I went to school under the GI Bill. I stayed in the Cities. mained here.

Then we came back to this area and we have re-

Moosbrugger: Gonzalez:

What line of work did you study? Refrigeration. I went to night school for nineteen months. At the time

the union got pushed into all the shops: ration, shops of all kinds. city, because of the union. again to work in the fields. Illinois. Mrs. Gonzalez:

electrical, mechanical, refrig-

It was hard for me to get into a shop in the They had a long waiting list. So, I came back

In the latter part of the fifties, we went to

We stayed there four years.

It was in 1967. In the latter part of the sixty's. came back. We stayed there until 1972. Then we

In Illinois I worked for the Big Rock Nursery. I worked for a man called Wiley.

Then, I finally He had a re-

got into refrigeration. frigeration store. nineteen months.

He re-bui1t and sold appliances.

I worked for him for

Then I went to work for another man that had another shop Finally, I quit there and came back to the fields.

in Aurora, Illinois. Moosbrugger:

Have you done any other work, since you came back to Minnesota, besides working in the fields?


Yes, I became involved in the Minnesota Migrant Council. Elmore who worked for me as a case-worker. David Ramirez was the director at that time. board.

I had a girl from

My office was in St. Paul. Later on, I was on the state

When the program started growing, we hired a new director, He is the one who brought the program up

Jose Valdez, from Laredo, Texas. to where it's at now. million dollars. year.

We went from $95,000 in federal funds, to over a

I have been in contact with the program for just about a how it operates and how to

I learned all the ropes of the program:

-6Gonzalez: go about getting things done. Southern Minnesota. Then we created another organization in I was the

I was on the Board of Minnesota Migrants.

Chairman of this other organization. for Migrant Affairs". around St. James.

I changed it to "Minnesota Citizens The origianl office is

That's still going on.

When I went to work for Minnesota Migrants, I had to

quit as chairman of the Minnesota Citizens of Migrant Affairs, which is still in operation in Southern Minnesota. ganized. Our organization is more or-

We put a taco stand in the Martin County Fair, in Fairmont to We all pitch in and help for five days. We

raise funds for the organization.

We have had a few funds from different churches, and different clubs. put on a couple of picnics during the summer for the migrants. we have what we call the "Christmas Fiesta" in the migrant workers and Mexican people. Moosbrugger:

In the fall,



It is for all

We have a big dinner for that day. Do you

Could you tell us about your sons and daughters, and your family? have a family?


I have a family of thirteen. in the fields.

The oldest boy is at home now.

He is working

He had been living in Dallas, then he moved to Houston. I have three

He will" be going back to Dallas, at the end of the month. sons in Channel-view. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Channel-view? Channel-view is a suburb of Houston. McDonald i s Company, hamburger stand. helps out.

One of my sons works for a ship company as a welder.

Another son is a manager for the When they put up a new stand, he

Last summer, he was in Illinois, where they built one, to hire

the people and show them how to operate it. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: So, he is in various states, working with McDonald's? Yes. Another son works in an all night filling station, at a truck-stop.

In whAt state? He is in Channel-view, Texas. a hospital, as an aide. I have a daughter in Houston. She works in

I have another daughter.

She is married and she

-7Gonzalez: works in St. Paul, for a big commercial company. operator. She is a key-punch

Her husband is going to school, he never finished school, then The other seven children are at I go along with

he will be going to vocational school. home.

The oldest daughters go along with the taco wagon.

them to help them set it up, take it down, and drive the pick-up. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: They go to different state fairs? To different county fairs. -a Faribault County Fair. Fair. We just finished Blue Earth's Fair, which is This week we will be going to the Wabasha County Then we come back

After that, we go to the Zumbrota County Fair.

to the Blue Earth County Fair, Garden City. Fair, which is up in Hutchinson.

Then we go to the Clay County

Then we take in the softball state

tournaments, which are held in Young America.

are there for three days.

The first or second week of September, we take in the Jesse James Celebration Days, in Northfield, for five days. summer. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: You sell tacos? Tacos, burritos, and the last two or three weeks, we sold a little chile, we also sell coffee and lOP. Moosbrugger: Senora: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Have you taught your sons and daughters, how to make typical Mexican foods? Some of it. It seems like every generation loses a little bit of the skill. Our oldest girl at home is Marcella. the tacos now. I am letting her do the cooking for That is the end of our route for the

She is learning how to cook the meat; how to season it; I turned the wagon over to

how to prepare the shells and the vegetables. them. Ly1a.

Our wagon is M & L Tacos, which stands for their names, Marcella and They are the ones doing the work. I just go along with them.

The other boys that are at home now are planning to have their own concession. Perhaps you saw that red stand outside? the Wabasha County Fair this week. We are going to try to get it in

My boys, who are twelve and thirteen



are going to operate it.

It is a round table with some holes on the side, On the sides, we are going to have a rat. The holes will be of

and a big side glass on it.

This little rat goes around and crawls into holes. different colors.

On the table there will be circles of different colors.

The people put their money on the circle, and whatever color the rat goes in, is the one that wins. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: If they get the right color? If they have the money on the right color. A game of chance! They all do. Spanish. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Do any of your children speak Spanish?

Our youngest one, who is six, speaks more English than They are all bilingual.

But he understands and Speaks Spanish.

Do you ever have Mexican music in the home? Yes, we do. That's good. That is one good way for them to learn it. Do you ever

celebrate any of the national feasts, like the 16th of September, and the 5th of May? Gonzalez: No. them. We never have. Years ago, when I was young, we used to celebrate We have gone to a

They still do in Albert Lea.

of the

celebrations, but not very often.

A long time ago, we used to celebrate They had a

them here in Elmore, on a little lake called Wood Lake. pavillion there. I was just a young boy then.

They celebrated one 5th

of May and one 16th of September.

At that time, there weren't many cars.

They came by horses, buggies, and little cars; like Mode1-T's, and the old Chevys. I remember the family I came up with from Texas. It was called an Overland. He bought

a big car, in Blue Earth. wooden wheels.

It had great big

He used to drive around a lot, between here and Albert Lea, We used to go to Hollandale for the summer harvests. I was fourteen

and up to Hollandale.

Then we'd come back for the beet harvest around Blue Earth. years old when I bought my first car.

I remember, I told my mother, who

-9Gonzalez: had married an older man, we stayed with him until he died. me when I was fourteen, "I am going to buy you a car." Pontiac. start. We drove that car all summer. We traded it in for a 1926 Chevy. He said to

He bought a 1926

Then in the winter, it wouldn't The Chevy, was one of those I drove that for a couple We

little short cars, that had a solid disc wheel. of years. Then we went into a Ford.

They were called "Mode1-A's".

had that car for two years, in Texas. a 1939 Mode1-A truck. pregnant.

In fact, after I got married, I had She was

My wife and I went down to Texas in it.

On our way back, our second son was born, just as we entered So we had one son born in Iowa. Our youngest was born I think we had

the state of Iowa. in Illinois.

The rest were all born in Winnebago Hospital.

one born in the Blue Earth Hospital, too. Moosbrugger: Do you have hopes to travel? Mexico? Gonzalez: Well, it's been about fourteen years since my wife and I became involved in the Pentecostal religion. There are three other families with us. We Do you do any traveling back to Texas or

bought a church in Guckeen, about six miles west of Blue Earth. have that church in operation.

We still

There was a White man, from Granada's He was our minister at that time. He

Assembly of God Church, who helped us. He stayed with us for four years. was at our church last Friday. he is working.

Now he is a missionary in Mexico.

He showed us pictures of the mission where

He works in Aguasca1ientes, about 300 miles from New Mexico. But I have a big family and If May-

I would like to go to Mexico, for ministry.

it would be pretty hard for me to get all the necessities to go there. I had some kind of support behind me, or had an income I could do it.

be in the near future, when we won't have a big family, maybe we can go to Mexico, or some other country. My ambition is to go into the mission field.

I am acting as a minister in our church, because we don't have a regular minister now. This was one of our jobs in Illinois too. I became

-10Gonzalez: acquainted with a Puerto Rican minister. church in Aurora. He had just started a little We bought Then we

We worked very hard together for two years.

a place for a church, and we established a regular membership.

started to travel around Aurora; West Chigago; Elgin; Plano and all of those little places around Aurora. We established what they called missions.

We went once a week, and had services either in a home, or in another place in those towns. Elgin. Then we worked in Elgin. We

a church in

That is still going on.

We actually established two churches in

Illinois, and three missions. Moosbrugger: There is a large number of Mexican Americans living in the United States. It seems like maybe the Catholic Church isn't getting the job done, because the people of Mexican descent are turning away from the Catholic church. Do you have any thought on that? Gonzalez: My thoughts are like we were discussing before. I the central states, like:

Kansas; Oklahoma; Texas; and the others, the Catholic church has had a policy which caused discrimination. services for the Mexican people. or a Spanish speaking priest. attend the regular mass. descent. Now, in Texas, they set a date for

They probably send you a Mexican priest They can't

But they set the date aside.

The Mexican people, mostly come from Catholic For this reason, they have They have found There is no

Their parents were mostly Catholic.

been trying to find religious help in other churches.

that the Pentecostal Church has taken in all nationalities. discrimination in our religion. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: They make religion more personal? Oh, yes. There is more personal attention toward them. Now, I am a minister.

I was raised in the

Pentecostal Church.

As a Pentecostal minister, I

see no other reason why some of these Mexican people, or Spanish people from the s.outh, have turned out to be Pentecostal. discrimination in the Catholic church. It has to be because of

Now, when they come to the state of



Minnesota, these churches take them in. it was discrimination.

The people had the feeling that When

They were afraid to go into the churches.

these four families got together, we started going to the farms, here in Minnesota. once a week. When the migrants were here, we used to go and have services Every day, we went to a differnt farm. We started getting

people together like that.

Now, when some of these people went bact to They al-

the south, they started looking for the Pentecostal churches. ways have been there, but they weren't really known. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: You said this service that you offered, was in Spanish? Yes.

This man who helped establish the church we have in Guckeen. Then, when

Minnesota, took the trouble of learning the Spanish language.

he got together with us, we tried to talk to him in Spanish all the time, so that he could learn it quicker. and sing in Spanish. Within! a year, he could read, write

He plays the guitar, the piano and other instruments. He has a wonderful family. This man

Now he is a missionary in Mexico. went with us to different farms. guitar.

We sang in Spanish and he would play the Some of

We would bring the service to a lot of migrant families.

the migrant families only received us onCE. because they were strict Catholics. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez:

Then they didn't want any more,

Yet, they wouldn't go to their church.

They wouldn't go the Catholic church, either? No. bit. Because they were afraid. That barrier has been broken down quite a They

We do have a lot of Catholic Mexicans in the state of Minnesota. They meet some of the local people.

attend the Catholic churches. vite them into the church.

They in-

They go in more freely than they do in the

southern parts of the states. Moosbrugger: It really helps if someone reaches out to you, and lets you know that you are welcome. If you go into a new town, or a new part of the country, and

just walk in on your own, maybe your get bad looks or bad reactions from the people.



Yes, you don't know what the rules or the customs are.

Some of the In fact,

Mexican families, even the local ones, are Catholics in Winnebago. we were raised with some of them. together in Winnebago.

Like the Hernandez family, we were raised I went

I brought that family from Texas, in 1940.

to Texas in 1940 to meet my brother down there.

My brother wanted to come

back to Minnesota with me, and he said that his father-in-law wanted to come back with us. school bus. There were about ten in the family. I bought an old They They

I drove back to Minnesota bringing the family with me.

all have families now, some of them are even grandfathers already.

all live in Winnebago and they are Catholics and really our good friends. Sometimes we take the service to their homes, but that's as far as we go. They go to a Catholic church in Winnebago. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Are there Hernandez' living in Winnebago? Yes. There are two Hernandez' in Winnebago. All of their families attend

the Catholic church.

In fact, all of their children were married in the Years ago, the Winnebago Catholic Church He was really strict. He wouldn't

Catholic Church, in Winnebago.

used to have a priest from Germany.

accept the Mexican people in the church.

He and I h ".d a couple of rounds He went to visit

about that and after awhile, they got a different priest. the Spanish people, house to house. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez:

He got them to go to church.

So the priest makes a lot of difference? The Catholic church now has younger priests and they are more liberal, and more interested in the people, than the older priests were. The older

priests stay in the church, they don't go any place, or do any visiting at all. Now the Catholic church has a program, which is called, "Visitation", I haven't attended mass for quite a few years, but I have

like we have.

heard some of the churches are going into music, like the Pentecostals are. I went to the Catholic church in St. Paul, on the West Side. know where that is. You probably

-13Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Is it "Our Lady of Guadalupe Church"? Yes. Now I understand they have a little extra. They are playing for the

services, and masses, and introducing hymns, like the Pentecostal church. Years ago, the Catholics didn't go for that. Catholic religion. I don't criticize the We can serve or It's

We are living in a free country.

participate in any religion we want.

We are all serving one God.

just that they have this custom.I told one priest, in Guckeen, "There are only two churches in Guckeen, on the northside of the highway, we have our Pentecostal church; on the southside of the highway, is the Catholic church. He came up to visit the family that lives right next to our church. started talking about it. church. I tried to ask him what he preaches in his He tried to deny to beWe

I asked him a lot of questions about the Bible. I told him,

he knew about it.

a minute!

This much I know:

come a priest, you have to study the Bible for eight years. everything about the Bible." the church."

So you know

He said, "We limit it to what we preach in The people

I said, "Well, that's one thing that's wrong.

should know everything that is in the Bible." Moosbrugger: It

like that"priest is not willing to talk about everything that is

in the Bible. Gonzalez: Right. He tried to get around me. I wasn't too liberal in the Bible,

that was quite a few years ago.

He came to point where he was in tears. That was the last

He said, "Well, brot"her, I ask you to pray for me." time that I talked to him. movements. masters.

There are different kinds of Pentecostal

The Bible talks about false prophecy, false leaders; and false That has become real in the Pentecostal movement right now. I

say this, because in Elgin, Illinois, we contacted a minister. brand new church and a 500 membership in the church. people in there.

He had a

He had some Spanish

We tried to get a place in his church to have services.

We started talking about what he teaches, what he preaches and what we

-14Gonzalez: preach. We didn't agree on the same doctrine. So, his church was the

first Pentecostal Church of God.

He had his school bus, in which he would We were on the fairgrounds. We

go around picking up people from the town. had a party there with the people.

I went as far as telling him that he It said, "First Pentecostal There is a lot of

was lying with the advertising on his bus. Church of God,"

and he wasn't teaching Pentecostal. He wasn't Pentecostal.

teaching in the Bible.

Later on, the church divided.

He lost the congregation. YMCA. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez:

In betweent times, we used to have a church at the

As far as I know, last summer it was still going on.

So his big new church failed? Yes. This is a false doctrine, and its a great movement in the Pentecostal I warn people about this, because it is writteri in the scriptures. Would you like to stay in the southern Minnesota area?

religion. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez:

What are your hopes?

We don't have any plans of moving off, or anything, unless I become dissatisfied, or I get the feeling and the need to go work in the mission field. Right now, we are planning our little cburch here, in southern Minnesota. It is the only church here taht preaches in Spanish. services. We are trying

We have Spanish

get into St. James and Madelia, for services. We used to go to Albert Lea and It takes funds to do all this. We

There are a lot of Mexican people there. Hollandale, but it takes money to do that. We run out of funds.

Our church isn't big enough to have big funds.

just have enough funds, to supply the needs of our church, like heat in the winter and the lights. We have our own pump. There are still a lot of

expenses to operate the church. can branch out into little towns. little towns of our area. like to do that.

We are hoping that in the near future, we It is a mission, to minister around the I

This has been one of our businesses, too.

Next Sunday, is one of our big days.

Perhaps you have

seen some posters in the Cities, and on the news? Spanish radio program on Sundays?

Do you listen to the

-15Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: The Mexican American program? Yes. Dave Ramirez' program? No, Ruben Longoria's. Oh, Ruben Longoria. while. Gonzalez: Recently, he has been advertising and announcing on the radio. We have I have listen to it. Not recently, but once in a

four stations in the City announcing that we are going to have a crusade, with the Evangelists, who are coming from Texas. our church next Sunday. The crusade will begin in

It will be the first day we move into the cities; We are going to have six days in the Cities, This is the only crusade We are

in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

for the crusade for Mexican and Latin people.

that has ever been in Minnesota for the Mexican and Latin people. hoping to have more, later on. the state.

It is the first one we are going to have for

I was telling the people in the church, Sunday, that I thought

there were 15,000 Mexicans outside the cities. Moosbrugger: The way we figure, there are probably 20,000 Mexican Americans living in the state of Minnesota, outside the Twin Cities. Gonzalez: Yes, and maybe ten or twelve thousand in the Twin Cities. I was advertising

in the service, Last Sunday, that there were 30,000 Mexican families or people living in the state of Minnesota. We are going to start in the Cities. church. Our goal is to reach all of them.

The first day will be here, in our

Then we are going to the cities, to spend three days at the That will

"Bethel Church" in Minneapolis, which is on Thirteenth Street. be the last three days.

The days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will be which is

in West St. Paul, at the "Gospel Mission Assembly of God Church," on Congress Street. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Is that "Asemblea de Dios?" Yes.

-16Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Is that Reverend Juan Rios' Church? Yes. Another church is putting on the crusade, but we are going to have The other group doesn't have a church. The church that

it in his church.

is sponsoring the crusade, those three days, is the "Faith Temple of God". Then we go to Minneapolis, to the "Bethel Baptist, Church", that is a real nice big church. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Is that right in downtown Minneapolis, by the freeway? Yes. That is quite an undertaking. The way we got this crusade, was our church; the church from St. Paul; and the church from Minneapolis got together and we created what we call, "The United Churches." We had meetings since May. We established our

committee, treasurer and the officers that it takes to operate a crusade. Our Evangelist is Paulino Bernal. I think he is from Corpus Christi, Texas. He was a famous singer and

Paulino Bernal has a great story behind him. player. He had his own orchestra.

He traveled in Mexico; the United States; Now he has his ministry. He

and other countries.

Then he was converted.

has'what it's called a "Conjunto", with him.

They have music and singer. We are trying

There will be a troupe of twelve coming up with his crusade. to sponsor the crusade. the cities.

We have been trying to raise money, especially in It is

Longoria is working on different ways of raising money.

going to cost a lot of money for this crusade. reach all the Mexican r pe6ple. Moosbrugger: Gonzalez: Terrific!

We are hoping that we can

In St. Paul, I wouldn't be afraid to say that half of the Mexican people don't attend church, Pentecostal or Catholic. This is what we are trying

to do; to break this barrier; to get the people, even if they don't go to the Pentecostal church, to go back to a church, any church! Moosbrugger: Gracias. Along those same lines of thinking, when you consider this will

-17Moosbrugger: be permanently in the Minnesota Historical Society for twenty, thirty, or even a hundred years; and some day, your great, great grandchildren will be interested to hear what you had to say back in the 1970's; what advice would you give them? Gonzalez: What philosophy of living?

As I have told my daughters and sons, there is only one way of living in

this world, actually two ways. and which is the right way.

The Bible shows us which is the wrong way

I would say that most of the world, not only I say this because they are

Mexican people, are living the wrong way. doing just what they want.

They don't care if they hurt their neighbors. They don't care whom they They are going to do

They don't care if they hurt their families. hurt.

They are going to live the way they want. 'That is the wrong way.

what they want.

The people in

world, especially

in the cities, or nationalities, should be so close together, that they have contact with one another. another. This is what religion teaches; to love one Never lose the contact of religion,

I would say, stay in religion.

because that is the only help in this world, right now, as far as trying to live the right way. Moosbrugger: So your hopes for your children; your grandchildren, and great grandchildren, are that they keep a spiritual life? Gonzalez: Yes, that they keep a spiritual life, that is about the only way they can try to live a good life. families. The little church in Guckeen, is owned by four We hope that our children will We have a hard time

Each family has a large family.

keep it up after we are gone. keeping it up. children.

This is our purpose.

It is just a small group, and it consists mostly of our not only my You

This is the only advice that I can give anybody:

children; or my grandchildre; or my great grandsons; but anybody I have to keep in contact with the spiritual in religion. the world, comes natural, I think.

The easy way in

Like young people going into drugs; I think

drinking; smoking; sex; and every other thing they can think of.

-18Gonzalez: all that comes natural to the natural man. taught to him. It has to be learned. But the spiritual has to be

That is why the Bible says, the word This is scriptural. I believe

of God is craziness to the natural mind. that it is.

It is easy for a young teenager, or a young girl, to go to

the other things first, than to really get into religion or spiritual things. I have raised some of them. I am not ashamed to say that some of my Now they are growing up. Some

children don't have a religious background. of them are going the other way. do attend church.

They don't attend church.

Some of them I think

Some have gone into different organizations.

the only way to stay the right way, is to keep close to religion. Moosbrugger: Very good. Thank you very much for the interview.