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An Interview With Hector J. Garcia
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Hector J. Garcia
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded October 30, 1978. 1 sound cassette (ca. 90 minutes): analog, stereo.; 5 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape; 1 sound disc; digital; 4 3/4 in. Has a typed guide to contents.
NotesAt the time of the interview, Rev. Hector Garcia was pastor of the Altavista Christian Church. He was born July 13, 1936 in Mexico. In the interview he discusses his early life.

Number 13 on MP3 disc.
Date1978-10-30
LocationSC69-1, Tape 15, CD 15
Local SubjectHispanic Americans
Ministers
Mexican Americans
Altavista Christian Church
Garcia, Hector J.
Oral History
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of interview:

Garcia is the pastor of the Altavista Christian Church. He was born July 13, 1936 in Aguascalientes, Mexico. His parents were Salvador Garcia and Paula Hernandez, both natives of Aguascalientes. He had 3 brothers. His father died when Garcia was 5 years old. His mother remarried and had 6 more children with her second husband. His stepfather was a grocer. Both he and his mother encouraged the children to stay in school. They lived in Aguascalientes until he was 26 years old.

He married Rebecca Aleman, also of Aguascalientes. He enjoyed swimming and baseball. After graduating from high school, he worked mornings. He began studying English as a hobby, to fill time. He studied accounting. His mother had not been religious, although his grandmother was. He began reading the Bible on his own and changed his vocation to minister. A local church gave him a scholarship to a seminary in Mexico City. He stayed 4 years (1963-1967) and received an equivalent of a master's degree in divinity.

Two daughters were born in Mexico City. He was offered a new church in Reinosa, a Mexican border town. He met many people and used English. He remained 5 years until being asked to serve a church in Brooklyn. He became pastor of a Spanish-speaking congregation from 11 different countries, primarily Puerto Rico. He began a yearly international festival to learn more about the cultures represented in the congregation. The church also participated in a housing rehabilitation project. Twelve protestant and three Catholic clergy incorporated, got loans to buy, renovate and sell 200 different houses. Most houses had 2 to 6 apartments. The project is still going.The size of his congregation fluctuated as Puerto Rican families traveled between the island and New York. He attended a seminary in New York and received his master's degree.

Rev. Garcia returned to Aguascalientes in 1975 or 1976 to minister to his home church. Although he had dreamed of returning, he became disappointed and frustrated at the Mexican way of life--saw time and money wasted. He decided to seek better education for his children in the U.S. He felt more Spanish-speaking ministers were needed here. He was assigned a small church in Texas and gained U.S. citizenship. His third daughter had been born in Brooklyn. He heard about an opening in Kansas City for a bilingual minister and decided it would be a good opportunity. The church here has about 90 members. In the future, Rev. Garcia hopes to start a tutoring program to help bilingual children keep up in school. He also hopes for youth and job counseling programs to aid undocumented workers. The most important thing in his life is spreading Christianity.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210298
CONTENTdm number36332
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