Billy Graham Center

Interview with Milton Alfonso Acosta - Collection 429

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Milton Alfonso Acosta

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)


Excerpt from Transcript T5.

Click to listen to an excerpt from this interview. Click to visit the exhibit Web page featuring this and other excerpts with transcripts, visuals and audio links.

Brief Description.

Oral history interviews with Acosta in which he describes his family, youth, conversion, Colombian Catholicism, charismatic movement in the Catholic Church,involvement in the student movement in Colombia, ministry as a staff worker with Unidad Christiana Universitaria (UCU), and UCU's relationship with local congregations. In a second interview, Acosta continues his description of work among students, financial support of UCU, its relationship to the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Jack Voelkel, development of Christian leadership, evangelism among students, cults active in Colombia, Wheaton College Graduate School, the Catholic Church in Colombia, Colombian families and superstitions, and feelings about American perceptions of Colombia. Additional interview recorded 10/5/90 includes discussion of Acosta's ministry among Mexican migrant workers in Alabama, describing working and living conditions, evangelistic outreach, and his own pastoral and advocacy role among them.

Collection 429 [April 27, 2000]
Acosta, Milton Alfonso; 1962-
Interview, 1990

5 Reels of Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Full name: Milton Alfonso Acosta
Birth date: January 28, 1962
Birth place: Barranquilla, Colombia
Parents: Father and mother were Christians
Siblings: Milton was third of four children
Conversion: 1980, through parents, church attendance, radio, Bible study, missionary
Marital Status: Single
Denominational Affiliation: Southern Baptist

1979 Colegio La Salle, Monteria, Colombia
1988 Corporacion Unicosta Barranquilla, Spanish/English major
1991 M.A., Wheaton College Graduate School

1986-1989 Staff member, Unidad Christiana Universitaria (member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students)

Scope and Content

Milton Acosta was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on February 7, February 21, and October 5, 1990, in the offices of the Billy Graham Center Archives. The time period covered in the interview is roughly 1962-1990. The topics are listed in the order in which they are discussed. The "side 1" and "side 2" of this description refers to a cassette copy and not the reel-to-reel originals.

Tape T1 - side 1
Introduction to interview
Childhood and family background
Attending Catholic school
Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church in Colombia
Parent's work and activities
View of Protestant church
Conversion of parents and changes in behavior
Strange behavior of mother and drinking of father before conversion
Improved financial situation after conversion
Bible study group results in change from Catholic to Evangelical church
Initial negative reaction to change by family and friends
Attendance at public university, training as accountant
Discipled by a missionary, Donald Sendek
Study of languages
End of side 1

Tape T1 - side 2
Overlap from side 1
Work in hospital as head of purchasing department
Attendance at school in the evenings
Joins staff of Unidad Christiana Universitaria (UCU); member of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students
Leadership training for new staff members
End of tape

Tape T2 - side 1
Strength of UCU is emphasis on discipleship and evangelism
Materials used by the group developed by UCU, Bible study materials
Emphasis on involvement in local church
Difficulties in being a Christian in universities
Weakness is the financial problem; starting small businesses to support movement
Group is not supported by most of the churches
Need for more staff workers and financial aid
Jealousy of churches for their people, not wanting them to participate in any other Christian group
Pressure by home church to work in church rather than with campus group.
Working to develop structure that will support group; vision for future
End of interview

Tape T3 - side 1
Introduction to interview
Fund raising for UCU; support from graduates
Start of small business to provide support for UCU staff workers
Struggles of each local group to raise funds
Relationship between UCU and IFES
Missionary work of Mary Ann and Jack Voekel in Colombia
Typical week working with students: Bible studies, discipleship meetings, study, contact with students' families
Training of student workers
Family life in Colombia
Catholic Church in Colombia
Major obstacles for students
End of side 1

Tape T3 - side 2
Overlap from side 1
Students' views of God: those satisfied with Catholicism; those disappointed with the Catholic Church; those few who say they are unbelievers
Students who do not care about anything, do not think about God
Influence of Jehovah's Witnesses in Colombia
Views of Evangelicals, Pentecostals
Cults and superstition in Colombia
Liberation theology and other theological thought in Colombia
End of interview

Tape T4 - side 1
Misconceptions of North Americans about Colombia
Social conditions in Colombia
Educational work in the Wheaton College Graduate School
Influence of Philosophy of Ministry taught by Dr. Pluddemann
Cultural differences between Colombia and the U.S.
Frustration over coldness of American churches
Struggles over gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy and speaking in tongues
Strengths are teaching, evangelistic meetings, discipleship
Expectations and plans for return to Colombia
End of tape

Tape T5 - side 1 (Click to listen to an excerpt from this interview. You can also visit the Archives exhibit with the audio excerpt and accompanying transcript.)
Introduction to interview
Work with Hispanic migrant workers in Alabama in summer of 1990
Most migrants were Mexican farmers, whose work consisted of picking vegetables, mostly tomatoes
Differences between Acosta and migrant workers
Living and working conditions for migrant workers
Activities begun by Acosta for migrants
Relationship between migrants and employers and other residents
Openness to gospel; Christian community among migrants
Conversions among migrants
Work of Jehovah's Witnesses among migrants
Typical service, eating together, sharing the gospel
End of side 1

Tape T5 - side 2
Overlap from side 1
Feelings about experience with migrants, developing relationships with them
New understanding of being a servant and of sharing the gospel
Activities of an average week
End of interview



The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Milton Acosta in February and October 1990.

Accessions: 90-19, 90-23, 90-111
April 29, 1996
Janyce H. Nasgowitz

Accession 90-19, 90-23, 90-111
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel to reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 60 minutes, one side. Interview of Milton A. Acosta by Paul Ericksen on February 7, 1990. Discussion includes his childhood, the Catholic and Evangelical Churches in Colombia, his family and conversion, and involvement in Colombia's student movement, UCU and IFES.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 30 minutes, one side. Continuation of T1, interview of Milton Acosta by Paul Ericksen on February 7, 1990. Includes discussion of the UCU, relationship with local churches and work as a staff member of UCU.

T3 - Reel to reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 65 minutes, one side. Interview of Milton Acosta by Paul Ericksen on February 21, 1990. Discussion includes fund raising, typical week as UCU staff worker, Catholic Church in Colombia, students' various views of God, cults and superstition, liberation theology.

T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 40 minutes, one side. Continuation of interview of Milton Acosta by Paul Ericksen on February 21, 1990. Topics discussed include misconceptions by Americans about Colombia, studies at Wheaton College Graduate School, personal struggles, and plans and hopes for continuation of his work in Colombia.

T5 - Reel to reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 60 minutes, one side. Interview of Milton Acosta by Paul Ericksen on October 5, 1990. Includes discussion of his experiences working among migrant workers in Alabama.

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Last Revised: 9/10/02
Expiration: indefinite