PLANTATION, FL (November 20, 2012) – Retired Evangelical Covenant Church missionary Marie Elizabeth (Cottrell) Rojas, 92, will be remembered during the quarterly Memorial Service at Covenant Village of Florida on January 20.
She died Sunday. Rojas had requested no individual memorial service.
Rojas married her husband, Andrew Rojas, on October 14, 1945. He died in 2004.
During the couple’s 53 years of ministry, they distributed more than one million bibles. The American Bible Society highlighted their work in a feature that appeared in the organization’s magazine, The Record.
The Rojases started a mission work in southern Texas, and their evangelistic efforts helped spawn churches throughout Mexico. In the 1940s, the couple partnered with pastor Levi Hagberg in LaVilla, Texas, the oldest Hispanic Covenant church.
The couple also focused much of their Mexico work in Reynosa and Monterey, using children’s ministry as a prime tool. Marie organized a six-year evangelization effort in Reynosa’s red-light district.
According to the Department of World Mission, the Rojases helped establish more than 40 churches along the Texas-Mexican border and in the southern state of Oaxaca.
Oftentimes the couple met with field workers in the evening and sang hymns around the campfire. Andrew played his guitar or coronet. Marie played her accordion.
On Sundays, the couple traveled from farm to farm to conduct worship services. Congregations began to form as people gave their lives to Christ, Marie says.
Andrew traveled 1,000 miles to Oaxaca to follow up with converts. Meanwhile, Marie stayed near the Texas-Mexican border. She taught, distributed vitamins and used clothing. She also delivered babies in the fields when needed.
The Rojases encouraged less drinking in town and many liquor establishments closed for lack of business following their arrival. Their work helped save the lives of many children because of improved medical care. Before the church was founded, about half of the babies in the area died before age one.