Anyone who has ever wondered who the Latter-day Saints are just got a chance to find out. The Waller congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as Mormons, opened its doors for an event on Saturday, February 22 called “Meet the Mormons Next Door.”
The event was a non-proselytizing opportunity for people in the community to learn more about the Church and its service in the community.
While guests and visitors are always welcome to attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worship services and other meetings, this event was focused on serving the needs of the community.
The event was attended by Waller Mayor Danny Marburger, as well as representatives from Prairie View A & M University, local churches, and eight service organizations from Hempstead, Prairie View, Waller and Hockley.
Guest speaker for the event was Art Rascon, ABC TV Reporter/Anchor, who shared many stories about his world travels reporting the news and some of the lessons he has learned through his faith as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Rascon was followed by a “Meet the Mormons” presentation by Stirling D. Pack, PhD, former Stake President of twelve Cypress area Latter-day Saint congregations. Pack explained the basic beliefs of the Church’s members, such as their faith in Jesus Christ, their belief in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon, and details about members themselves, such as their family values and commitment to community service.
“Latter-day Saints spend an average of 428 hours in community service per year, while the average American spends 42 hours per year in community service,” said Pack during his presentation. He explained that members of the church are so committed to service because they believe that serving others is their way of showing love to their Savior.
Monty Theiss, who serves as Bishop (local pastor) of the Waller Ward, said, “Please let us know if there is something we can help with in this community. We love Waller. We want to be included, and we just want to help.”
Marcia Elrod with Boys and Girls Country attended the event and said, “I didn’t know that the Mormons were so focused on community service. I was really touched by that, that the Mormons see service as the way to do God’s work and that’s what God is about, and I kind of think that’s right.”
A number of local service organizations had booths at the event to share information about service opportunities. Organizations with booths included Boys and Girls Country, Waller County Communities That Care, Family Ties, Focusing Families, House of Help, Morning Glory Ranch, Waller Pregnancy Center, and Waller Assistance and Restoration Ministries. Service needs from each organization were compiled and distributed on a flier to all attendees of the event.
Theiss said, “I am extremely grateful for all the service organizations and their willingness to be a part of our event. I am hopeful that we will continue to support each of the service organizations in our area.”
Guests were invited to tour the building to see where Church members meet for Sunday worship services, week day early morning youth scripture study, Boy Scouts, Wednesday youth activities, family history research, and more.
Janet Lemelle with the Waller Pregnancy Care Center said, “I felt a full spirit of love in the building. I like the way that this Church embraces the community. That’s what I felt. I felt the love, and I felt the desire to want to be a bigger part of the community.”
When asked if she saw opportunities for future collaboration with Church members, Lemelle said, “Definitely. I’ve already got some volunteers here that said that they would be interested in doing some of the things that we need doing.”
The event took place at the Church’s meetinghouse located just south of Hwy 290 between Fields Store Rd Exit and FM 362 next to Holloman Elementary.
“I pass through here every day but never knew that there was something this great hidden here in Waller,” said Cajetan Akujuobi, Vice President of Prairie View A & M University.