The Martyrs Of Matanzas

by Sara C. Ballenger

5 October, 2005


There are two parts to this message, so keep scrolling down to see all of it.


Part 1

CAPITOL HILL PRAYER PARTNERS

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Romans 13 : 7-  ... give respect and honor to all to whom is due. (NLT)

Dear friends,

440 years ago this month, three dramatic incidents took place on the sands of northern Florida, which has remained hidden from view until now. A colony of over 300 Huguenots***, who had fled France to seek religious freedom in the new land (America), were slain on the sands of northern Florida by conquistadors who had been sent by order of King Philip II of Spain.

The first incident took place at Fort Caroline -- a settlement the Huguenots had built one year earlier alongside the St. John's River in present-day Jacksonville, Florida. On September 20, 1565, a band of Spanish soldiers, led by Pedro Menendez de Aviles, staged an early morning attack on the Fort, killing 143 men, women and children of the Huguenot faith. A few of the French escaped and returned to Europe, where this tragic tale was told.

Meanwhile, back in America, there were two more episodes of slaughters, on September 29 and again on October 12, when Menendez led his men to a sandy inlet just south of St. Augustine. There the Spanish encountered French soldiers, who had left the fort in search of Menendez. The French had become separated from each other; but each group met its demise in the same manner: at the time of the massacres, the Spanish soldiers drew a line in the sand in front of each Huguenot captive. Each Frenchman was then offered a deal: he could recant his faith (called "Lutheranism"), cross the line, and be placed on ships for safe passage back to France; or if he refused, he would be speared to death at the line in the sand.

To a man, as an act of conscience, every single one of those Huguenot believers clung to the Cross, refused the offer, and died on the sandy shores of this inlet, just south of St. Augustine, Florida. When the deed was done, the Spanish gave a name to the inlet: "Matanzas", meaning "slaughters" -- a name this land retains to this day.

These are the martyrs of Matanzas.


Sara Ballenger, Founder and President of Capitol Hill Prayer Partners, and Arthur Burk, Founder and President of Plumbline Ministries, have joined forces to co-author a book that documents this amazing chapter of our national history: America's Buried Treasure . . . The Martyrs of Matanzas. This book will be published NEXT WEEK, and ready for distribution at that time. WATCH FOR THE LAUNCHING OF OUR WEBSITE NEXT MONDAY, announcing more of the content of the book, as well as ordering information.

For now, the amazing TRUTH that needs to be told is that there is a HISTORY in our land that is unknown to most of us. Indeed, although the French perished, the Spanish lived on, founding St. Augustine, Florida on Sept. 8, 1565. St. Augustine remains the oldest European city in America to this day. One half century later, the English arrived in 1607, founding Jamestown in the Virginia Colony and later Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. When the English colonists began writing history books for their children, news of the earlier Spanish expeditions was not included, so that even today, most history books in the nation omit the detailed story of the colonization of Florida in the sixteenth century. The book, "America's Buried Treasure," corrects the historical record and invites its readers to pursue further research of that era for themselves.

But more important than the HISTORY is the GIFT that these Huguenot believers left us as a legacy to this nation:THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYR. THE GOOD NEWS FOR AMERICA TODAY IS THAT OUR NATION IS FOUNDED UPON THE SACRIFICE OF OVER 400 LIVES, WHO DIED UNFLINCHINGLY ON OUR SOIL CENTURIES AGO FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST. In the 440 years since their act of martyrdom, the enemy of our souls has tried to destroy us through civil war, economic depression, two World Wars, and natural disasters. But the United States has not only survived every onslaught of the enemy, we have even been strengthened as a result. For they overcame him through the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death. (Rev. 12:11)

The story of the conflict between the French and the Spanish in the sixteenth century in America in no way detracts from the foundation the English gave us later on, but rather strengthens it, for the Blood of the Martyr cleared a path in the heavenlies for the Gospel to then be released into the New World. Praise God!

We want to invite all of our friends across the nation to participate in a memorial called "The Days of Grace," to be held on Yom Kippur (Oct. 12-13) next week in every state capital in the nation. Programs are being planned not only to honor the Blood of the Martyr on the anniversary of their deaths, but also to call our nation to acts of repentance leading to reformation. Please go to www.thedaysofgrace.org to learn more about how YOU can participate in the Days of Grace in your own state.

God is GOOD and He IS watching over all of us, that His mighty works might be performed!!

In His Amazing Grace,


Sara C. Ballenger
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners


*** (The Huguenots were early Calvinists, who departed from the teachings of Rome to worship the Lord directly and read the scriptures for themselves. They believed that salvation is by grace alone, and not by works.)


Part 2

MATANZAS WEBPAGE LAUNCHED

Monday, October 10, 2005

. . . give respect and honor to all to whom is due. (Rom. 13:7 NLT)



Dear Friends,

I want to thank you for the tremendous interest you have shown in the alert we posted last week, titled "The Martyrs of Matanzas."

This week, in honor of the anniversary of the last deaths of French Huguenot martyrs on American soil (October 12, 1565), we are launching a webpage to publicize the Fourth Edition of the book that tells this story.   America's Buried Treasure: the Martyrs of Matanzas  was first published in 1999, the year that I discovered a map in the halls of the Capitol Building that caused me to research the history of Florida in the 1500's.  Because the interest in this story -- and in the book -- has steadily grown over the years, it is now time to bring America's Buried Treasure to the public.

As I began to write this book, I was blessed to welcome Arthur Burk, President of Plumbline Ministries, to join me in not only documenting the historical data of this period, but also in capturing the prophetic meaning of the investment of the lives of over 400 Huguenot martyrs for our people today.

Starting today, America's Buried Treasure: the Martyrs of Matanzas is available by going to: www.christfellowship-lc.org/matanzas.htm

PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR BOOK IS NOT BEING PUBLISHED BY CAPITOL HILL
PRAYER PARTNERS, but by Ammonet Publishing -- a firm I have founded in honor of my own Huguenot ancestor, Jacob Ammonet.

May we all be strengthened for the days ahead by the sacrifice of those who have gone before on our land. And may the many other martyrs be honored, too, who followed those first ones in Florida, ESPECIALLY the first nations people of the Native American tribes.

In His Amazing Grace,

Sara Ballenger
 

Herndon, VA
October 10, 2005

P.S. Please direct any future communication regarding my book or the Huguenot history to me at :   ammonet@patriot.net  .


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