More than 1,900 embrace hope of Christ

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With their eyes closed and their hearts open, more than 1,900 people across the Houston area embraced a relationship with Christ through City Reach evangelism efforts in the weeks leading up the Annual Meeting of Texas Baptists.

Sitting in prison cells, stopping on street corners, watching extreme sports athletes and celebrating in international festivals, area residents discovered the hope of Christ as Texas Baptists led more than 20 evangelism events and initiatives before they gathered for the Annual Meeting. The effort is part of Texas Hope 2010, an initiative of Texas Baptists to share the gospel with every Texan by Easter 2010.

“City Reach is a great opportunity to invest in the community where the convention hosts its annual meeting each year,” said Jon Randles, director of the Evangelism Team of Texas Baptists. “By partnering with local churches at a grassroots level, we are able to see individuals come to Christ and local churches strengthened in their love for evangelism and discipleship. This year’s series of events is a great example of how cooperation works to reach people for Christ.”

More than 1,400 offenders made professions as a result of the largest Bill Glass Champions for Life Prison Ministry effort ever that came as a result of a partnership between the organization and Texas Baptists. In all, more than 2,400 decisions for Christ were made as a result of the evangelistic partnership.

“They brought former prisoners, athletes and others to share the hope of Christ with folks who are often marginalized from the rest of society,” said Randel Everett. “We were thrilled that they would partner with us in Texas Hope 2010, especially in Houston for City Reach. We expected hundreds of decisions for Christ to be made in these meetings, and that’s exactly what happened.”

In a mid-October prison evangelism effort in Huntsville led by Gilbert Herrera, 250 offenders participated in a worship service, listening to Herrera’s testimony of turning from a life of crime and into the arms of Christ. After hearing his story, 24 men did likewise.

“I came here because I didn’t want to forget those I left behind,” Herrera said. “I don’t want to get so wrapped up in my freedom that I forget those here.”

“There is no reason why God can’t change these men into a good men, good fathers and good sons.”

Using a combination of bicycle and skateboarding stunts as a vehicle to connect with students, the Real Encounter extreme sports team shared the gospel with more than 2,000 young people Nov. 4. As the team invited people into a relationship with Christ, teenagers swarmed around them, coming to counselors who helped them understand what it means to give one’s life to Christ. In all, 215 individuals came to Christ that night.

The team worked in partnership with local churches, helping them connect with new believers so people can be discipled, an exciting aspect of City Reach, according to Leighton Flower, director of youth evangelism for Texas Baptists.

“This church is reaping the benefit of the harvest of this City Reach event and of Hope 2010 as we strive to reach every person in Texas with the gospel of Christ,” Flowers said. “The biggest part of the work will take place in the next weeks and months as the churches contact, baptize and disciple all of these who have made decisions. And that is the exciting part.”

Twenty-five people came to faith through a international festival hosted by 19 Asian Baptist churches representing the Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Laotian, Malaysian and Vietnamese population in the area.

“We are excited that we can come together and work for one cause and that is to share the gospel, to make known the claims of Christ here in Houston,” said Ernest Dagohoy, pastor of First Filipino Baptist Church in Houston. “It’s just amazing that when we work together that we can do more things together. And the seeds that we plant will come out of this to reach the city of Houston.”

Each of the roughly 500 people who attended the event was asked to complete a registration card requesting contact information and ethnicity. The cards were then sorted and the prospective groups were given to the appropriate international church for follow-up efforts.

“We came together because the Bible included all the diversity of different races,” said Ricky Leung, pastor of Chinese Baptist Church in Houston and an organizer for the event. “I think it is a blessing to come together and serve and show the power of the gospel. It is one body and one people of God. It’s a blessing to be one body.”

To help lay the foundation for the evangelism outreaches, a city-wide prayer rally was held at Discovery Green Park in downtown Nov. 4, which brought together more than 300 people from more than 120 congregations.

Rickie Bradshaw, a church consultant for the Union Baptist Association and an organizer of the event, said that the rally was about coming together to ask forgiveness for disunity among Christians and to seek the Lord’s blessing on the city.

“We want Houston not only to be known as the space city or the city of energy or the city with the finest medical center in the world, but we want it to be known as a place where the Lord is,” Bradshaw said. “That is what we really and ultimately want. We want healing and deliverance to take place in our city.”

To do this, Bradshaw said the church must come together as one, seek the Lord in prayer and then turn from its wicked ways so that the presence of God will be attracted to the city.

“It’s not that the Methodist or Baptists or Catholics haven’t been doing it,” said Bradshaw. “It’s the fact that we haven’t been doing it together. So today, we are saying to the Father above that all of His children are here together representing the Body of Christ of Houston. That is why we are here.”

Compiled from reports by Kaitlin Chapman.

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2 Responses to “More than 1,900 embrace hope of Christ”

  1. Garden Seeds Texas Says:

    […] More than 1900 embrace hope of Christ « We Are Texas Baptists […]

  2. hamza & Aley Says:

    In the Name of God Jesus we start our story ,

    * four days we should on celebrating our birthday but it’s more Like celebrating the disaster we stuck in with no helping hands

    This message could look very big but according to the life we are in from the suffering and persecution it’s very small story almost tells Nothing .

    We are sending this Message to every Human especialy for our brothers and sisters In the Usa+Canada+Uk +Australia according to that English is our second language that we send our message through ,we don’t know another .

    we are sending you this message with a lot of sadness , we Are trying to reach our story-voices as much far as we can ….

    We got no tears left in our eyes Only In our Hearts , our Eyes Got dried Up .
    our Broken heart are wet from the liquid of sadness .

    The Story Is :

    that we are Identical Twin Living in an arabic country ” Jordan” we are from strict muslim family and we were Muslim , but we turned away to be christians therefore our life turned to a hell , the persecution from our family and the neighbors apart from the
    way almost everyone look at us like a piece of shit for long time . sorry for that expression but it’s the truth . (Over-Persecution).

    we have been trying to avoid wisely increasing the tension with them as much as possible with the family or others for really long time (trying to reduce the crises ) we have been to the human rights organaization and to the red cross and to united nation etc.. and we have a friend working in the human rights , we asked him about our situation how it is treated there , he said don’t ask any of these organizations because we could get involved with the police and then put ourselves in even more terrible situation it could be really risky especialy because these organizations still have arab muslim employees “he said “,
    we have been to many different embassies was no sense ( since relegion was Isolated from the politics ) . We tried Everything Everything Everything . we got no solutions left .

    we are 23 years old our father passed away when we had almost four years
    we are 9 brothers and 6 sisters (huge family) we are the youngest ones in this family we appeal you to stand with us even with your prayer

    all we want :
    we want to leave our country to live wherever except the arabic and islamic countries ,to live in peace with no worries no fears and to Practice Our chosen religion ”christianity” .
    if someone would help us to get work anywhere to leave our current country we would appreciate that until the last breath in our lives even we can work for free we don’t want money (salary) we are really serious .

    you could imagine the situation wisely that we are stuck in for long time ago , if we stayed here we have no present and no future for our life and the past already passed.

    We can’t be accepted as long as we are christians by People here Or family, we can’t be accepted to work ,to marry,to build anything for our life’s building , with our situation here we are less respected than animals .

    we got threaten to get killed by Our family once they Knew that we been to the church ,we do believe that If we didn’t Leave Our country we are gonna be Hurt somehow if it wasn’t by them it would be by heart attack .

    One day We were Watching on ‘Life Tv Christian channel’ then A brother Of ours came shouting at me badly saying stop watching that shit channel at that Time I told Him that I’m going to change it But he didn’t wait On me to change it he beat me down Even I thought that I was going to Die from the Pain I got that time ,and while I was being beat some of family members were watching me being beat saying that I deserve to be beat to be beat , once I got beat I left home thinking about how to get myself Protected Even I thought to tell the Police to Get a Protection from them But I know well that if the police gets known that why I was being Beat they are gonna understand that I became Unbeliever In Islam and in what Islam message and they would Put Me In jail or to get involved with them as lots of People got … etc .

    Our family are killing our self-confidence , dignity , everything .our dignity is dying and everything .

    we think our massage won’t be highly-expressive about our situation because our english is not perfect (shortage in knowing words )

    We Beg you to pray for us ,To Help Us , to support us ,To Feel With us ,we got no one to Love us here , please after we were the best comedian twin ever in our school and the happiest twin in our school and the most successful twin , they turned our Light Off or Our candle Off .

    We almost can’t believe the situation we are In , we had bad dreams when sleeping time but this is the worst ever and not in the sleep-time.

    we would never ever forget this help from you as people as country as human as souls
    as hearts that you have got In .

    God Bless you , God Bless you , God Bless you

    Your Twin Borthers :
    Hamza & Ali

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