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Remembering the Legacy of Art Mikesell

10.07.20
by Alan; Missionary in Mexico
in Americas, Church Planting, Missionaries
"There will be thousands upon thousands of souls in the presence of the Lord from their decades of faithful ministry."

     “Uncle Art" was a long-time missionary who was also perhaps the best friend of wife’s dad. He was an evangelist of evangelists. I do not think I have ever met anyone who shared the gospel as consistently and constantly as he did. We got news that he died in August. He lived a life that was marked by his love for the gospel and sharing it with others.
     I don't know the volumes of stories about his life that others would, but I will share one memorable story that left an impression on me. Back when we were finishing up our language studies in Cuernavaca in 2005, a new Christian camp property was dedicated near where my wife’s mother was residing. It was an important event and we decided we should drive up to be there for it.
     That Sunday, there were hundreds of believers from churches throughout that region that attended this dedication ceremony, including many missionaries. Art and his wife Marita showed up having taken a couple of buses from several hours away to get there just in time for the event. After the service, we discovered they were planning to take buses to get to a conference in Cuernavaca. Since we had room for them in our car and were heading to Cuernavaca ourselves, we offered to drive them to wherever they were going. They accepted and we enjoyed lots of conversation during our 6-hour car ride together.
     A couple hours down the road, we decided to stop for lunch at a chicken. It was not too busy though cars were rapidly filling up the parking lot just after we arrived. We were quickly seated, and our order was taken. I decided to take the boys to the restroom to wash our hands.
     A few minutes later, we came out of the restroom and the large restaurant was packed and there did not seem to be an empty table anywhere. However, what caught my attention was how quiet it was. With well over 100 customers seated at tables, it had been a cacophony of voices when the boys and I had entered the restroom and now we could hear a pin drop. My immediate thought was we were being robbed. I thought about pushing the boys back into the restroom, but I noticed a waiter walking past me who did not seem alarmed. He had a small piece of paper in his hand. I scanned the restaurant. Everyone had a small piece of paper in their hand and everyone was looking down at it.
     Not sure what to make of it, we quickly went back to our table and sat down. I leaned over to ask my wife what was going on. She smiled and said, as soon as we had gone to the restroom, Uncle Art got up and stood in the middle of the large room and began preaching! He said something like this: "Thank-you all for coming today. I am happy to tell you that God has brought you here for a good reason!" And he quickly shared the gospel message while Marita went from table to table handing each person an evangelistic tract. Everyone got one! I do not remember more of the details, but at the time, I recall thinking that they had just shared the gospel with about 200 people.
     That was not unusual. That little story is just a tiny fraction of experiences that would describe Uncle Art (and Aunt Marita) and their love for Jesus, the gospel message, and for telling it. Had they not ridden with us that day, that event would not have happened. However, had they taken a bus to Cuernavaca, they would have shared the gospel with those riding the bus and would have asked the bus driver to play the Jesus movie on their trip instead of whatever Hollywood movie would have normally been played over the DVD system, and Uncle Art would have gotten up at the end of the movie and made sure everyone had understood the gospel message presented in that movie. They had done this on their bus trip to the camp dedication, and they would have done this on the bus trip to the conference as well.
     We have been immensely blessed to know Uncle Art and Aunt Marita. There will be thousands upon thousands of souls in the presence of the Lord from their decades of faithful ministry. May we all follow their example in both their love for our Lord and for sharing the gospel message with the countless lost people around us.

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