From Glasgow to the Andes

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Blanquita Haggerty

Frank Haggerty would have seemed to most of us as very unlikely material for a missionary. Raised in a poor part of Glasgow, and active as a gang member and gang leader, he was more likely to follow one of his companions to execution in Barlinnie jail than to set sail for Bolivia to preach the Gospel! Yet Frank, reflecting on his early life, saw that God was preparing him, even before his conversion, for his subsequent service. This is illustrated well in the book. Dealing with issues on the mission field, he was greatly helped by his early experiences. It is a reminder that God is the Potter, we are the clay: He moulds us after His plan and for His purpose. With no real knowledge of God or of the Gospel, Frank started work in a Glasgow factory. There, another young man took note of him, showed kindness to him, explained the way of salvation to him, and continued to influence Frank’s growth as a Christian after he was saved. That person was Harry Burness, who later became a well-known and highly-respected evangelist. Frank’s testimony shows that Harry took the opportunity given to him to be God’s instrument in reaching out to him. Little did Harry realise just how important his interest in Frank would be for the work of God in Bolivia. These memoirs follow Frank from his conversion, through to his call, and the long trip out to Bolivia. They recount the trials and joys that he and Blanquita had as they saw souls saved through the work of the Gospel. There are many lessons to be learned from this book, and you will find yourself challenged as you read through its pages.

Reviews 1

Recent missionary biographies have given interesting accounts of the Lord’s work through His servants in Africa. This equally interesting and informative one takes the reader to another continent, and to what is, perhaps, the less familiar country of Bolivia, during the latter half of the 20th century. It is a fascinating account of “The life and work of Frank and Blanquita Haggerty” as stated on the cover, and written by Mrs Haggerty herself. She died in February 2021, having outlived her husband by 18 years, after putting together this valuable record of Frank’s background before and after his journey to Bolivia, her own Bolivian background, and their labours together after their marriage in 1953. It begins with vivid descriptions of Frank’s early years in the rough west end of Glasgow, the middle son of three whose mother had died. The account of Frank’s initiation as gang leader is graphic to say the least! But this lonely and disillusioned lad found a caring and kind workmate called Harry Burness, in the war-time factory where he had got his first real job. How that man of God and his wife Gena helped and discipled him is a worthy tribute to them. He soon found a spiritual home in the assembly which met in Summerfield Hall, where his spiritual gift developed and an interest in foreign mission was kindled. In 1947, a report by Peter Horne from Bolivia challenged him and, after four years of preparation, he sailed from Liverpool. Thirty-two days later, Frank landed in Chile, thence to Santa Cruz to learn Spanish and adapt to a new culture. For the next 50 years and more, Frank and Blanquita laboured for the Lord in several parts of Bolivia. Frank’s robust attitude to life, carried over from his early days, helped him to face many real dangers and unusual difficulties – robbers, traffic accidents, really hostile Roman Catholic priests, an attempted poisoning, extreme cold up on the Alti Plano in the Andes, and more (you need to read all this for yourself )! Through it all, many lost souls were blessed with salvation, believers patiently taught the things of God, not a few assemblies planted, and some bitter divisions among brethren healed. From Santa Cruz the Haggertys moved to several locations, including Uyuni where Willie and Ray Hill would labour for many years. Latterly, short spells were also spent in North America, during which Frank’s health began to deteriorate. Frank and Blanquita were blessed with a family of three sons and a daughter. Their tribute to their parents is a beautiful and fitting conclusion to this book, which is a pleasure to read, as well as a pleasure to review and heartily to commend to a wide readership.

Posted by Customerservices - January 11, 2022

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