A call to serve

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VICTORIA – Templo Jerusalem Baptist Church was looking for a place where it could invest itself locally in ministry. That place literally called the church to serve.

The manager of a nearby apartment complex phoned the congregation and asked it to it to consider starting a ministry on the premises. The complex recently experienced a shooting, fighting between tenants and saw routine drug activity, and the manager was looking for a way to improve the environment.

“When she contacted us, we felt like it was a God send,” said Pastor Ricky Garcia, noting how the call came as the congregation was evaluating local ministry opportunities.

Since the call last fall, the congregation has led activities for the children on the last Wednesday of each month. Each effort has had a different theme, but Garcia said the message has been the same – Christ is Lord and Savior.

Garcia said the church is following the model members see in the Bible. Christ and His followers ministered to those placed before them. “By focusing on what was in front of them, they created a wave that reached the multitude.”

On the church’s first visit to the apartment complex, residents were skeptical of what the congregation was attempting to do. They avoided eye contact with the church members and avoided them. As time has passed, tenants have become more comfortable with the church group.

Following the most recent church-sponsored event in the complex, a family asked a few church members to come inside their apartment and pray for them.

“It’s a pretty big stride,” Garcia said. “When we first got there, everyone was very cautious about us. They’re beginning to trust us.”

Church members are encouraged by the ministry opportunities they see, especially younger members of the congregation. Many of them enthusiastically serve each week.

“The kids are really excited about it,” Garcia said. “The youth are really excited about it. They’re really enjoying this, working with the kids.”

Guadalupe Baptist Association Director of Missions Tommy Billings praised Templo Jerusalem Baptist Church’s desire to reach out to its community and willingness to respond to God’s call upon the congregation to serve in the apartment complex.

“God gave them a heart for the Fox Run apartment complex which is very near to their campus,” Billings said.” God just placed it on their heart.”

The hopes excitement and opportunities will lead to further chances to pray with people and share the gospel. The congregation plans on distributing Texas Hope 2010 multimedia compact discs containing gospel presentations to every apartment in the complex.

Texas Hope 2010 is an initiative of Texas Baptists to share the hope of Christ with every Texan by Easter 2010. One of the ways they are seeking to do that is by seeking to place Scripture in every Texas home by Easter 2010. Texas Hope 2010 CDs include gospel presentations as well as ways to access audio versions of Scripture

“In the near future, I’d like to get in more homes and pray with them,” Garcia said. “I think prayer can open up a lot of opportunity. I know once we pray, they’re going to see God move and they’re going to see how mighty God is.”

For more information about Texas Hope 2010, visit www.texashope2010.com.

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