Doris Chambers – Colonel Tarsis Rosakes – Mexico – 1999

Two scriptures came to my mind as I think of telling you a little bit about our brother Colonel Tarsis Rosakes. Please bear with me. The scriptures are: I Peter 2:22-23, “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He is brought to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.”

In January of 1995, Tarsis was imprisoned. He had been in charge of, as an engineer, the renovation of a huge Military hospital. There was lots of corruption regarding supplies of materials and money. Tarsis had nothing to do with handling of finances and when papers were made out for supplies that were not ordered; he refused to sign them. Finally, he was accused of being the one responsible for making a huge sum of money disappear. His superiors and the responsible ones for the corruption, begged him to sign the papers admitting responsibility and then they would get him freed, etc… He continued to be pressured and continued to refuse.

Finally one morning, he told his wife, Carmen, who was also his secretary, that he needed to go home and have a few hours alone to pray, which he did. He went back to his office and told the general the answer was definitely NO. He was told he would be imprisoned and lose his job. He had been 30 years in the army and knew it was not a small thing for all those years of service to go to the drain but he was decided and his wife and sons stood behind him.

Several lawyers were appointed to fight his case but all of them worked against him… finally another who was appointed told him he couldn’t do it without losing his job (if he were to do it honestly) and that he should get a civilian lawyer… not a military one… Tarsis himself began studying law and defended his own case and appointed his wife as his defending counsel. His first 10 weeks in prison he was in a cell with the worst criminals that were there… murderers, etc… He never allowed their rilings or tormenting to affect him.

There were a number of rooms set aside for prisoners receiving their visitors. He would find out which room number was allotted to him for that day and then go and clean it up in readiness for his visitors. When he would have it cleaned, they would often tell him that there was a mistake and it was another room that was assigned to him… it would often be changed several times and after he would have cleaned a number of rooms, they would eventually tell him that his room was the first one he had cleaned. He never objected or complained, which had them all puzzled.

On Sunday a.m., he wouldn’t have visitors but cleaned his assigned room nevertheless and then at exactly 10 a.m. he would sit there with the letters he had received that week set out on the table, and then he would sing a hymn, pray, sing another hymn… then one by one read his letters. After that, he would write a letter expressing the thoughts he had enjoyed during that week. When his wife would come to visit him the next day, he would give her the letter to take out and read at the end of the mid-week study. Because she has the position of defending counsels she had a right to NOT be searched going out. The workers would visit him but he said he felt bad about it and felt unworthy of them giving time to him when it meant other friends were denied a visit.

He said he often thought of the verse about the days being shortened for the elect’s sake and he felt his days there were not long enough for all he wanted to do… pray and read… write and study and work on his papers. Both he and Carmen gained favour with the judge who was religious. For some time, he told them both that Tarsis was a fool to not give some bribes and be freed but they explained they couldn’t do that. The judge was impressed and began calling for Tarsis to come early in the day so he would have time to visit with him several hours before actually working on his trial. The judge also forbade much of the corruption that is common and usually allowed. He told Tarsis he had never performed a trial in that way before.

Finally the day came, 10 months after being imprisoned when he was called to get the results of his trial. He went with the thought in mind, “If I haven’t won my case, am I willing to accept it and be here for another year trying again? ” He decided he could do it again. The verdict was read to him in the judge’s office by the secretary with bailiffs and other officials present. “Your defense has been denied (or however that is said in English)… and you will be tried again for another accusation, as well.” He answered, “I have heard and I have understood.” The judge asked him, “Are you willing to be here another year and go through all this again?” He replied, “I am..” then all present laughed and the judge said, “It is a joke… you are being set free today and declared innocent.”

He was later told that he is the only man in Mexican military history that has been able to defend himself, been declared innocent and set free. He said he never prayed that he would be freed from wrong or from suffering but that he would be freed from wrong IN himself, from having any wrong spirit or attitude. He feels his time in prison brought blessings and was a time of pruning and helping him set his priorities straighter than ever. He feels no grudge or hate against his accusers. He doesn’t know what actually happened to the one who was guilty but thinks he may have renounced his job to avoid a trial. He invited the judge to a Special meeting and he went.

Now for Chapter 2… and I will try to make it brief. Can you imagine how I felt when the phone rang on Tuesday night (here in Tuxtla) and the voice on the other end was Tarsis? He explained to me that he had arrived here in Tuxtla the night before. He has continued in his job but the corruption continues in many ways and he felt the time has come for him to declare plainly that he cannot continue watching such going on (even though he is not participating in it) and so he submitted his application for his retirement even though he is only 52. He recently developed diabetes which justifies his retirement, plus he has served enough years to legally retire. While his papers are being processed, he has been transferred to Tuxtla… perhaps to get him further away where he won’t see what goes on and squeal on them.

It all happened suddenly but he and Carmen felt satisfied that it must be what is to be and he said he had promised he was willing to serve God wherever and however. He came on Thursday night for meeting (Carmen had surgery recently and will come later) and his eyes filled with tears when I told him his coming was an answer to our prayers. For several years, we have prayed and wondered WHO would come to be an elder for this little church. With several listening and our new interest Francisco and his wife, I felt more desperate to have someone here that I felt would take care of it in our absence. Then tonight a young man, Lesly, who has been listening, expressed his decision to walk in the WAY. I feel so humbled to see how the Lord has worked to supply the need and feel unworthy to have such a noble, humble, upright, courageous man as Tarsis come to fill the gap. I am anxious to meet Carmen. Already he has decided that they will stay permanently even after his retirement papers are processed etc… It is a wonderful comfort to us and a joy to the little church here. I hope I haven’t wearied you but just had to share this.

Thanks for your help, too, through your prayers.


Doris Chambers