The Early Years
Louis Edwin Kahler was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1937. He had two older sisters and one younger brother. The family lost their father and husband, a member of the Chicago Fire Department, in 1941 while he was fighting a fire in downtown Chicago. HIs mother moved the family to the Redondo Beach, California area shortly after where they lived for many years.
The family’s roots were in Catholicism and Brother Kahler’s education was in the Catholic school system. He accepted Christ as his savior when his friends invited him to attend a revival service in the area. He dedicated his life to full-time service shortly thereafter.
Betty Joan Kahler was born in Summers, Arkansas in 1932. Her father and mother were farmers and ranchers in the area. She spent many hours helping out in the farm along with her sister and two brothers. She attended public school in the area. Mrs. Kahler was raised in a small Methodist Church. She accepted Christ as her savior in 1947 during a church service in her local church.
Baptist Bible College
Mrs. Kahler moved to Springfield, Missouri to attend college and soon after dedicated her life to full time service. She enrolled in the Baptist Bible College, a Fundamental Baptist organization, where she received her degree.
She was working as a secretary in the front office of the college when a young Louis Kahler came in to enroll. Brother Kahler completed his studies and he graduated in 1958 with a degree in Theology. He dedicated his life to serve the Lord in the mission field shortly thereafter.
They began their courtship while Mrs. Kahler was working at the front office of the College and while Brother Kahler attended school.
Brother Kahler graduated from BBC in 1958 and they were married soon after. Their wedding was held at the High Street Baptist Church in Springfield Missouri. The local pastor officiated the wedding ceremony.
They traveled to the Ozark Mountains for their honey moon. then went to spend some time with their families prior to beginning their work for the Lord.
Soon after graduating, the Kahlers moved to Ness City, Kansas where Brother Kahler pastored the Bible Baptist Church there. It was a small church but the people were welcoming and they helped the Kahlers get their new life started.
Their first son, Terry, was born during their time in Ness City. Deputation to raise support for their upcoming missionary life started shortly after. They traveled throughout the United States visiting churches and conveying their calling to bring the Gospel to the people of Mexico.
Arrived in Mexico
Upon gathering enough financial and spiritual support from their supporting churches in the United States, the Kahlers packed their belongings and made their way to Mexico City during the summer of 1961 to begin their missionary journey.
The first step in the process was to learn the language so they enrolled in language school to study and learn Spanish. They also spent time meeting with the missionary families that were present in the country at that time. These families helped them learn the culture and how to witness to the Mexican people.
They prayed and trusted the Lord to guide them on how to best serve Him in Mexico. He guided them to start a new work in the northern state of Chihuahua in the capitol city, Chihuahua City. This began their long Missionary life.
The Next Chapter
The Kahlers continued on their missionary journey for the next 60 years. They started new churches, new missions, opened a Christian School and a Bible Institute.
The family moved to Chihuahua City in the spring of 1963 to start a new church. After months of visitation, prayer and hard work, the Kahlers started the Iglesia Butista El Calvario (Calvary Baptist Church) in the northern part of the city. The church grew due to great programs such as visitation, summer vacation bible schools, summer youth camps and a structured Sunday School program. Thousands of people were saved, many followed the Lord in baptism.
The church continued to expand and they were averaging well above 200 people for Sunday service. New missions were started in the surrounding cities like Delicias and General Trias.
Their second son, Randy, was born while the Kahlers were in Chihuahua. Both of their children received most of their basic education in the field.
The church continues to operate today.
In 1980 the Kahlers were called to open a new work in the city of Torreon in the adjacent state of Coahuila. Torreon is located about 350 miles southeast of Chihuahua and has a population of over 1.5 million.
The Bible Institute migrated with the Kahlers to the new location and those involved in the Bible Institute helped start the new work. The church was named Templo Bautista Torreón Jardin. Many souls were saved and some people dedicated their lives to full-time service.
The need for more workers grew and in 1970 the Kahlers started a Bible Institute to train and educate workers to serve the Lord in various capacities.
Hundreds of men and women who made decisions to surrender their life to full-time service have graduated from the Bible Institute and are now serving the Lord throughout Mexico.
Some of those that graduated in the 1970’s are still serving the Lord in the work in Bocoyna.
In 1987 The Kahlers decided to trust the Lord and head out on their own as Independent Fundamental Baptist missionaries. The Lord led them to the mountains of northwest Mexico to work with the Tarahumara Indians and other tribes in the region. They settled in the town of Bocoyna in the state of Chihuahua.
The early days were tough as they had to live out of tents and buses. Having survived the first tough winter living outdoors, they began building the campus that eventually became the Complejo Educacional Bautista (Baptist Educational Complex).
The CEB is home to the Grand Vision Baptist Church, the Christian School and the Bible Institute.
Brother Kahler always had a special place in his heart for the Tarahumara people. Establishing the Christian School program was a way to provide them with a great education but also provide them with the opportunity to hear God’s Word. Over 80% of the children that enrolled in the Christian Schools received Christ as their Lord and Savior. May went on to be baptized an some even graduated from the Bible Institute. Some of them are now serving the Lord in full-time service.
The Kahlers adopted a young Tarahumara boy in 1997 named Patricio. He lived with the Kahler’s, attended the Christian School and graduated from the Bible Institute in 2011.
The Work Continues
Brother Kahler went to be with the Lord in March, 2011. His sudden departure left a void in everyone’s lives. He was such a fixture in the complex, and he was loved by all the church members, the workers and the students. Although he is missed by everyone, the work continues.
Mrs. Kahler reaffirmed her calling to serve Him in her capacity as a missionary wife. She continues to play the organ during Sunday services, teaches Sunday School class, teaches in the Bible Institute and also teaches in the Christian School. She is also an active participant in the Grand Vision Baptist Church, and helps support the missions program.
Her faith and dedication to the Lord is a testament to her dedication and her desire to help bring the Gospel to all of those in need.
Pray for Mrs. Kahler, the Grand Vision Baptist church, the workers in the complex, the students in the Christian School, those enrolled in the Bible Institute and the missionaries serving in our missions around the area.