In the Footprints of Salvador Marchisio
Mexico's First Colporteur

The journey of 50 km began in the city of San Luis Potosi. We traveled in buses the distance that many times Salvador Marchisio traveled either on foot or by horse. The terrain is semi-desert and dotted with bushes and cactus, one of which is the Tapona plant with its prickly pear tree and savory, nutritious tunas. La Tapona has a temperate climate and its inhabitants are gentle, friendly people who farm the land. Many of them travel to the U.S. every year where they are missionaries, teaching and preaching the gospel.

We continued the journey on foot for two kilometers to arrive at the site of the commemoration. It was an extraordinary experience. Marchisio had walked on that same ground more than a century ago. The brothers recount their experiences for our meeting. We celebrated the ceremony out in the free air, under a cloudy sky. We sang accompanied with the strings of violins, guitars and trumpets. We heard to a brief historical account of Salvador Marchisio’s life and ministry. We listened intently to interviews and a dedication message. Then we recorded a song that Marchisio had taught, sung by a third-generation Adventist member. In closing we gave an offering for the construction of a sports ground before enjoying more fellowship over a delicious meal.

“Vision to conquer, love, and serve is my theme and goal”

Salvador Marchisio was born 2 June 1855 in a village in the south of Italy. A tailor by profession, he traveled to New York City in search of American gold. When he did not find it in New York City he journeyed onto Oakland, California where he worked until he fell ill. While recovering in Santa Elena Hospital he learned of the eternal truths; truths which prepared him to be God’s missionary and changed the direction of his life.

Salvador Marchisio arrived at the Valley of Anahuac, Antigua Tenochtitlán in 1891, unable to speak Spanish. A colporteur with the American Community at Battle Creek College, Marchisio brought Steps to Christ and the Messenger of Truth (which later would become Signs of the Times) in Spanish which initiated the conquest of the Mexican inhabitants.

From the Valley of Anáhuac Marchisio journeyed to Biznaga, the present day site of the ruins of the first our college and a baptismal pool. From Biznaga, he journeyed to La Tapona, where he was recognized as a kind, good-natured, and obliging man. For more than 30 years Marchisio served in Mexico. He left the country for the final time in 1923 – 1924. His mission was to Mexico was complete. He rested in the Lord on 27 February 1925. His mortal remains can be found at Forest Lawn Memorial Park near Los Angeles, California where he awaits the coming of our Lord in glory and majesty.

Today, as a testament to Salvador Marchisio’s conquest there are more than 3,000 regular students and part-time colporteurs, and an Adventist membership of more than 600,850. Don Ruperto Ortiz Torres, who lived in La Tapona and to whom Salvador Marchisio evangelized, continued Marchisio’s conquest of love and service. Together their work represents 117 years of blessings, 1891-2008.

Testimony of Dona Bibiana Rodriquez Ortiz, 95 years old, niece of Don Ruperto
“I take pleasure that my land, San Luis Potosi, is one of the birthplaces of Adventistism. I believe that Ruperto Ortiz Torres was my father in evangelism, and Marchisio my grandfather.”  - Alejandro Medina

The honor, the glory and the praise be to our God! How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth!” Isaiah 52: 7

Noe Alpirez
Publishing Director
North Mexican Union