Churches cross racial divide as they serve
HOUSTON — For months, nearly a dozen billboards along busy…
HOUSTON — A sea of blue washed over America’s largest food bank this past weekend.
That was the color of matching T-shirts worn by 1,200 Christians and their friends who showed up Saturday for “Mission Day 2019” — an effort by Houston-area Churches of Christ to display unity in Jesus and feed the hungry.
“I didn’t realize how many people were going to come out,” said Jessica Guillory, a member of the Garden Oaks Church of Christ in Houston.
“It’s just like a wave of blue. It’s beautiful,” added Guillory, who worked alongside her parents Obdulio and Dora Mendoza, her elementary-age nieces Lila, Zoe and Olivia and her teen nephew Raymond.
Other colors — black, white and brown — were evident in the racial diversity of the volunteers who labored side by side at the Houston Food Bank.
“This is what the Lord intended — all of us working together as one body,” said Janice Johnson, a member of the Hufsmith Church of Christ in Tomball, Texas, north of Houston.
Cruz Hernández, minister for the Hidden Valley Church of Christ in Houston, agreed: “This is what happens when we work together in unity and come together to glorify God.”
Applause and loud whoops greeted the long lines of volunteers — representing more than 20 congregations — as they entered the food bank. Inside the 300,000-square-foot facility, giant signs touted inspirational messages such as “Because of you, a child will eat today.”
“Without a disaster, I don’t know that we’ve ever had 1,200 people in the building,” said Matthew Toomes, the food bank’s chief operating officer. “This is kind of awe-inspiring to see this many Christians in a group come together. I mean, it’s a great thing.”
Mission Day organizers hoped to assemble 100,000 pounds of meals between 7:30 a.m. and noon and break a single-day record, said Gary Smith, minister for the Fifth Ward Church of Christ in Houston.
Related: Busy doing the Lord’s work
Related: Busy doing the Lord’s work
Final numbers were not available at press time, but David Duncan, minister for the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston, said, “They ran out of stuff for us to do an hour before we were supposed to finish.”
Besides the unity emphasis, Mission Day had an evangelistic thrust, said Benton Baugh, a Memorial member and one of the organizers. Church members were encouraged to invite friends and neighbors to join them in serving at the food bank.
“We have a number of visitors here,” Baugh said.
After working at the food bank, hundreds of volunteers enjoyed a fellowship meal and devotional at the nearby Fifth Ward church.
“It seems like there are a lot of issues that divide us as a brotherhood today,” Duncan said. “But working together to distribute food to hungry people is something we can all agree on. It can be a starting place for unity.”
“Working together to distribute food to hungry people … can be a starting place for unity.”
Said Smith: “The Churches of Christ from all over Houston are coming together to do a good work. We didn’t know if we’d get the numbers, but they’re here from literally all over Houston. So we’re hoping to display unity in Christ, unity among all races — all shapes, all colors, all sizes — and, of course, to show the love of Christ.”
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