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White Unto Harvest

"Along the Border"
A Brief Tribute to Glenn Rogers
by Warren E. Berkley


The Rio Grande Valley of Texas is that area along the US-Mexico border, from Rio Grande City at the upper end to Brownsville on the coast. The "Valley" includes Mission, McAllen, Edinburg and Harlingen, Texas (and several other small communities). In this region there are two English speaking churches not involved in institutional cooperatives arrangements and associated innovations (Laurel Heights in McAllen & Pendleton Park in Harlingen).

But in this same region there are dozens of Spanish speaking churches and local preachers. I know of at least six congregations on this side of the border. Moving to the other side of the border, there are that many congregations just in Reynosa, Mexico - just south of McAllen. There are many second and third generation Christians here, making it obvious that a great deal of work was done here in the 50's and 60's. Much of this work was done by Glenn Rogers, accompanied by his wife & faithful helper, Loyce.

They moved to Edinburg, Texas in 1953 and then to McAllen in 1955. Glenn preached along both sides of the border, made trips into Mexico and held classes for young preachers. Wayne Partain and Glenn held daily classes for about a year with Joaquin Blengio, Vicente Ramirez and Ricardo Soto. All three of these men continue to preach in the Valley.

Glenn was an avid printer in a time long before computers. He set type by hand and turned out tracts and booklets in Spanish. Later, Glenn and Loyce traveled together into Mexico in their camper. Wayne Partain wrote to me about the work in Reynosa and said, "Emiliano Trevino (deceased) and Rodolfo Calderon have been pillars in the work in that city, but I have always given Glenn a great deal of credit for the growth in Reynosa, because he was with them constantly and was a real stabilizing force."

I have known of Glenn's work all of my life, and my respect for the Roger's influence has grown. When I was a very young man growing up in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, I heard the name Glenn Rogers. The local church my family attended received a little bundle of newsprint papers from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The paper was called "Along the Border," edited by Glenn Rogers. As a little boy, I remember thinking about how suitable these papers were for the childish purpose of making a paper airplane. In my immaturity, I had no idea all the good and serious work that little paper represented. Bro. Rogers reported on various activities of preaching and teaching among the Mexican people along the border separating Texas and Mexico.

A few years later I stopped making paper airplanes out of "church bulletins" and started writing and editing them. As a young preacher in Mulvane, Kansas in the 1970's, we received "Along the Border" and the church there supported men doing the work reported. About this time, I received a meeting announcement that Glenn Rogers would be holding a meeting in Inman, Kansas. Bill Sexton and I made the trip to hear Glenn preach and we had the opportunity to visit with him. He was a friendly man, with obvious humility. His sermon was a clear and powerful exposition of Scripture. (Though English is his native language, he learned Spanish for the purpose of preaching along the Border, in Mexico and in Latin American counties.)

In the 1980's I made my first trip to the Rio Grande Valley (McAllen, Texas) with Ruben Amador. I spent a week with Ruben while he was doing his work of preaching in Spanish, and we visited with Glenn Rogers. Again I found him to be humble, knowledgeable and very modest about his great influence among the Mexican people.

Bill Reeves said of Glenn: "One thing that amazed me was Glenn's physical stamina in his preaching trips into Mexico. Often he stayed well, while others of us, including Latin-Americans, got sick of stomach viruses." Bro. Reeves said, "of all the adjectives that are applicable to this good man, the one that comes to the fore of my mind, as I think of Glenn, is perseverance. Never evidencing discouragement, he has always been seen as active in writing and in preaching, on both sides of the border, as he has lived many years, with his faithful companion and helper, Loyce&ldots;"

Still later, in 1990, we moved to McAllen and I started work with the Laurel Heights church of Christ. Glenn was now retired and a member at Laurel Heights. His health was beginning to fail, but he maintained his kind and humble disposition. It was a privilege to have Glenn in my Bible classes. He would often raise good questions and help keep the class on target.

One of Glenn's sons wrote (in 1999), "For many years my Dad worked at helping others. He's not able to do that the way he used to do. He's still helping me to learn now, even though he probably doesn't realize it. It was probably twelve or fifteen years back, Dad began to show signs of Alzheimer's disease. Even in those early days of his forgetfulness, Mom would say, 'He took care of me for forty years, not it's my turn'."

Glenn Rogers is now suffering with advanced mental dementia (Alzheimer's). He is not able to do the work he loves. Loyce brings him to services at Laurel Heights when they are able, but he is unable to say more than a few words to us. Loyce serves him as she always has, but now under the heaviness and constancy of this debilitating disease. Without complaint she does all that is required and more in her care of Glenn. They have been married 53 years.

Ruben Amador has worked among Spanish speaking people for over thirty years, along side men like Bill Reeves and Wayne Partain. Ruben says that the Rogers are highly respected by both Hispanic and other brethren familiar with their long years of labor in less than comfortable, convenient conditions. "El Viejo" - as he is known to many in the Spanish work - was an effective preacher with a kind and warm sense of humor. When Ruben makes trips today into Chile and Argentina, members of the church still ask about Glenn and Loyce. Glenn was always consistent and faithful to carry news of the Spanish work back to those supporting the preachers. Glenn became a vital link in the work - carrying checks to Mexican preachers, then translating their reports into English and mailing them to the supporting churches.

His son, Tim, serves as an elder in Sinton. He wrote, "Now, as Dad begins to fail physically and mentally, I am astounded at the strength that Mom has demonstrated. She has proven herself to be a great source of strength, lending much more than moral support to Dad over the years. She truly is a personification of the worthy woman of Prov. 31."

May I recommend: if you know the Rogers; if you have heard of them or you are just now learning about them - send them a card or letter of encouragement at this time when they need the assurance and prayers of their brethren. Address them at:

Glenn and Loyce Rogers
408 La Vista
McAllen, Tx.78501

{Update, April 18, 2001 - Sister Rogers has been through a very difficult medical ordeal, suffering with cancer; one half of one lung was removed several weeks ago. She is at home recovering. During this time bro. Rogers has been living in a nursing home. Loyce will soon bring him back home.}

Note: This article originally appeared in The Preceptor - feature editor


Feature editor's current status:

On September 31, Mary, my wife, and I moved back to Germany, arriving October 1. Our plans had been to move to Lithuania but new laws passed by that country prohibited us from doing so. Mary, who is an Air Force librarian, then started looking for an overseas assignment. Upon hearing of our plans to move back to Europe, Kevin Maxey, who has been preaching at the church in Ramstein, Germany, informed us of he and his wife's desire to return to the U.S. and suggested Mary try to find a job in the Ramstein area. Unbelievably, news of just such a job dropped into her lap in early July. We thank God for this blessing. Everything has since been worked out and we find ourselves once more in these familiar environs. Naturally, such a move has caused much disruption in our lives and my work, and current world conditions have caused some inconveniences. However, we are very happy to be here again and look forward to the resumption of various works in which I have been involved for many years. My temporary e-mail address is styvas2000@yahoo.com


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