Rojas Ayala, Luis Antonio (1884–1963)

By Doris Nila Samojluk Rojas

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Doris Nila Samojluk Rojas

First Published: January 29, 2020

Luis Antonio Rojas Ayala was a pioneering pastor, public evangelist, and administrator in Argentina, Paraguay and Chile.

Early Years, Training, and Marriage

Luis Antonio Rojas Ayala was born in Valparaíso, Chile, on January 11, 1884, the son of Froilán Rojas and Antonia Ayala.1

Converted to Christianity in his early youth, Luis was forced to leave his home due to opposition from his family. At the age of 18, he moved to Argentina, where he worked in several provinces as a Bible salesman for the Biblical Society. He heard about the Adventist beliefs through Daniel Peverini (1876–1967), accepted them, and was baptized.2

Encouraged by Robert H. Habenicht (1866–1925), founder of the River Plate Sanitarium, Rojas enrolled at the recently opened Camarero College (now River Plate Adventist University), in Entre Ríos, Argentina, to prepare for ministry.3 He was one of the first students of the institution along with Luis F. Ernst (1874–1952), Gottfried Block (1889–1978), and Julio Ernst (1877–1967).4 During his student years, Rojas was very active in evangelistic work and canvassing (selling Christian books to pay for his tuition).5

At Camarero College, Rojas met Elena Vicenta Ernst, and they got married in 1906.6 They had seven children:7 Esther Rojas, Roberto N. Rojas, Noberto E. Rojas, Aurora E. Rojas, Carlos Rojas, Rubén C. Rojas, and Elena Ana Rojas.8

Ministry in Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile

Rojas started evangelistic work in 1906,9 visiting and preaching in different places of the province of Entre Ríos.10 He also helped to establish an Adventist presence in Alberdi, near Rosario, Santa Fe, and in San Nicolás, Buenos Aires.11

His ordination to the ministry took place on March 12, 1910, as part of the second biennial session of the South American Union Conference, held at River Plate Academy (formerly Camarero College) in Entre Ríos.12

Pastor Rojas was one of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Paraguay and northeast Argentina, known at the time as Alto Paraná Mission, from 1910 to 1926, being appointed to the first mission committee in 1912.13 He served particularly in Villa Rica and Luque, Paraguay.14 He and his family experienced considerable hardship and persecution because the country was going through a revolutionary period.15 He also served in the city of Posadas, Misiones, Argentina.16

He worked in Argentina from 1917 to 1934,17 where he served as a church pastor, an evangelist, the vice president of the Buenos Aires Conference, and the superintendent of the Cuyo Mission.18 He was instrumental in the conversion of several families and individuals who later served the church in key roles, including Braulio Perez Marcio (1904–1974), the originator of La Voz de la Esperanza, the Spanish language version of The Voice of Prophecy.19 Pastor Rojas was a successful public evangelist; it was reported that during 1924 he baptized 46 people, an unusual number at the time.20

After the death of his wife, Elena, in 1932,21 Rojas married Lilia Ana Marsollier, a nurse trained at the River Plate Sanitarium. They had three children born in Chile:22 René Luis Rojas, Rosa Nélida Rojas, and Eduardo Aquiles Rojas.23

From 1935 until his retirement in 1954, he worked in Chile as a church pastor, a public evangelist, and the president of the Chile Conference as well as in other administrative positions.24 His ministry lasted for 48 years.

Luis Antonio Rojas Ayala died in Entre Ríos, Argentina, on January 6, 1963.25

Sources

Baer, Roscoe T. “General Meeting in the Buenos Aires Conference.” ARH, March 12, 1925, 16–17.

Brown, John L. “Courage in Chile.” South American Bulletin, June 1935, 3, 8.

Brown, Walton J. “A Historical Study of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Austral South America.” Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1953.

Minner, L. D. “Missionary Activities in the Chile Conference.” South American Bulletin, April 1936, 4–5.

———. “Public Efforts in Chile.” South American Bulletin, October 1936, 7.

Murray, W. E. “Evangelism in the Austral Union, South America.” ARH, December 12, 1935, 10–12.

Olson, H. O. “Biennial Conference Session in Chile.” ARH, June 25, 1942, 19, 21.

Olson, L. H. “Conference Sessions in Chile.” South American Bulletin, January–February 1952, 2–3.

Peverini García, Milton. Vida de Braulio Pérez Marcio, fundador de La Voz de la Esperanza: de incrédulo a campeón del Evangelio [Life of Braulio Pérez Marcio, founder of La Voz de la Esperanza: From incredulous to champion of the gospel]. Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2007.

Ramos, Daniel. “Necrología: Rojas” [Obituary: Rojas]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], April 1963, 19.

Rojas, Luis A. “A Brief Resume of the Colporteur Work in Chile.” South American Bulletin, November 1941, 7.

———. “Alto Paraná.” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], August 1912, 11–12.

———. “Cuyo Mission.” South American Bulletin, April 1933, 4–5.

———. “De Alberdi, Rosario” [From Alberdi, Rosario]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], September 1907, 7.

———. “Ecos del Colegio de Camarero” [Echoes from Camarero College]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], October 1905, 5–6.

———. “El Señor Obra” [The Lord works]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], October 1906, 5–6.

———. “La obra en Alberdi” [The work in Alberdi]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], March 1907, 4.

———. “La obra en San Nicolás” [The work in San Nicolás]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], October 1908, 101.

———. “Luque, Paraguay.” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], February 1912, 12.

———. “Necrología: Rojas” [Obituary: Rojas]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], April 1932, 16.

———. “Nuevas de Alberdi, Rosario” [News from Alberdi, Rosario]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], November 1907, 6.

———. “Paraguay.” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], January 1912, 12–13.

———. “Paraguay—Villa Rica.” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], November 1910, 13.

———. “San Nicolás” [Saint Nicolas]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], February 1909, 13–14.

———. “The Distant Mission of Cuyo, Argentina.” ARH, March 9, 1933, 13.

———. “Viaje por las Islas” [Travel through the islands]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], April 1910, 15.

Town, Nelson Z. “In the Magallanes, Cuyo and Nordeste Mission.” South American Bulletin, August 1933, 3–4.

———. “The Alto Paraná Meeting.” ARH, June 1, 1916, 15–16.

———. “The Austral Union.” ARH, March 19, 1931, 27.

———. “The South American Union Conference.” ARH, June 23, 1910, 8–9.

Utz Goltz, Mario H., and Nilda T. Potes Maschmann. La Iglesia Adventista en el Paraguay: origen y desarrollo, 1892–2010 [The Adventist Church in Paraguay: Origin and development, 1892–2010]. Buenos Aires: South American Spanish Publishing House, 2013.

Westphal, Joseph W. “The Argentine Conference.” ARH, January 24, 1907, 18–19.

Notes

  1. Daniel Ramos, “Necrología: Rojas” [Obituary: Rojas], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], April 1963, 19; Worker Family Records, June 18, 1933; Austral Union Services Registry File, Missionary Employee Service Records, May 26, 1939.

  2. Neftalí Roberto Rojas, interview by Mario Utz, Colegio Adventista del Plata [River Plate College], Entre Ríos, Argentina, 1983. Cited in Mario H. Utz Goltz and Nilda T. Potes Maschmann, La Iglesia Adventista en el Paraguay: origen y Desarrollo, 1892–2010 [The Adventist Church in Paraguay: Origin and development, 1892–2010], (Buenos Aires: South American Spanish Publishing House, 2013), 33.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ramos, “Necrología: Rojas,” 19.

  5. Luis A. Rojas, “Ecos del Colegio de Camarero” [Echoes from Camarero College], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], October 1905, 5–6.

  6. Utz Goltz and Potes Maschmann, La Iglesia Adventista en el Paraguay, 33.

  7. Ramos, “Necrología: Rojas,” 19.

  8. Worker Family Records, June 18, 1933. In February 1952 Rojas states that seven children were left from his first marriage, six of them were in Argentina. Four of these six children were working for the Adventist Church. Elena Vicenta Ernst, Luis Rojas’s first wife, died in Mendoza, Argentina.

  9. L. H. Olson, “Conference Sessions in Chile,” South American Bulletin, January–February 1952): 2–3.

  10. Luis A. Rojas, “El Señor Obra” [The Lord works], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], October 1906, 5–6.

  11. Joseph W. Westphal, “The Argentine Conference,” ARH, January 24, 1907, 18–19; Luis A. Rojas, “La obra en Alberdi” [Work in Alberdi], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], March 1907, 4; Luis A. Rojas, “De Alberdi, Rosario” [From Alberdi, Rosario], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], September 1907, 7; Luis A. Rojas, “Nuevas de Alberdi, Rosario” [News from Alberdi, Rosario], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], November 1907, 6; Luis A. Rojas, “Viaje por las Islas” [Travel through the islands], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], April 1910, 15; Luis A. Rojas, “La obra en San Nicolás” [Work in San Nicolás], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], October 1908, 101; Luis A. Rojas, “San Nicolás,” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], February 1909, 13–14.

  12. Nelson Z. Town, “The South American Union Conference,” ARH, June 23, 1910, 8–9.

  13. Walton J. Brown, “A Historical Study of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Austral South America” (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1953), 874.

  14. Luis A. Rojas, “Paraguay—Villa Rica,” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], November 1910, 13; Luis A. Rojas, “Paraguay,” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], January 1912, 12–13; Luis A. Rojas, “Luque, Paraguay,” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], February 1912, 12.

  15. Utz Goltz and Potes Maschmann, La Iglesia Adventista en el Paraguay, 33, 40–42; Ramos, “Necrología: Rojas,” 19; Rojas, “Paraguay,” 11.

  16. Luis A. Rojas, “Alto Paraná,” La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], August 1912, 11–12.

  17. Nelson Z. Town, “The Alto Paraná Meeting,” ARH, June 1, 1916, 15–16. See the Seventh-day Adventist yearbooks for the corresponding years.

  18. Nelson Z. Town, “The Austral Union,” ARH, March 19, 1931, 27; Luis A. Rojas, “The Distant Mission of Cuyo, Argentina,” ARH, March 9, 1933, 13; Luis A. Rojas, “Cuyo Mission,” South American Bulletin, April 1933, 4–5; Nelson Z. Town, “In Magallanes, Cuyo and Nordeste Mission,” South American Bulletin, August 1933, 3–4.

  19. Milton Peverini García, Vida de Braulio Pérez Marcio, fundador de La Voz de la Esperanza: de incrédulo a campeón del Evangelio [Life of Braulio Pérez Marcio, founder of La Voz de la Esperanza: From incredulous to champion of the gospel] (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2007), 13–16.

  20. Roscoe T. Baer, “General Meeting in the Buenos Aires Conference,” ARH, March 12, 1925, 16–17.

  21. Luis A. Rojas, “Necrología: Rojas” [Obituary: Rojas], La Revista Adventista [Adventist review], April 1932, 16.

  22. Ramos, “Necrología: Rojas,” 19.

  23. René Luis Rojas married Ruth Aeschlimann, Pastor Víctor Aeschlimann’s daughter. They lived in Florida, in Buenos Aires, and later in the United States. Ruth was a music teacher at Buenos Aires Academy, Buenos Aires, and a choir director.

  24. John L. Brown, “Courage in Chile,” South American Bulletin, June 1935, 3, 8; W. E. Murray, “Evangelism in the Austral Union, South America,” ARH, December 12, 1935, 10–12; L. D. Minner, “Public Efforts in Chile,” South American Bulletin, October 1936, 7; L. D. Minner, “Missionary Activities in the Chile Conference,” South American Bulletin, April 1936, 4–5; Luis A. Rojas, “A Brief Resume of the Colporteur Work in Chile,” South American Bulletin, November 1941, 7; H. O. Olson, “Biennial Conference Session in Chile,” ARH, June 25, 1942, 19, 21. See the Seventh-day Adventist yearbooks for the corresponding years.

  25. Ramos, “Necrología: Rojas,” 19.

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Rojas, Doris Nila Samojluk. "Rojas Ayala, Luis Antonio (1884–1963)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 20, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AGNT.

Rojas, Doris Nila Samojluk. "Rojas Ayala, Luis Antonio (1884–1963)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 20, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AGNT.

Rojas, Doris Nila Samojluk (2020, January 29). Rojas Ayala, Luis Antonio (1884–1963). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 20, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AGNT.