In the Saturday morning session of April General Conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Seventy invited all members to follow Christ by reaching out to others in service. Missionaries in Houston, Texas, USA have been engaged in doing just that.
A recent event found over 25 Houston-area missionaries filling two dumpsters with over 500 hazard-causing tires from ditches in an ongoing effort to keep southeast Houston safe, healthy and appealing. Sister Emily Jackson, one of the full- time missionaries from Utah that participated said,” It is very important for us to serve the community. We not only teach people about the gospel of Jesus Christ, we do service. The first Wednesday of every month we help feed the seniors, and we get to build relationships. I personally love serving other people. It gets my mind off things I am stressed about and helps me to love people even more. “
Mark McMillen, 20 + year President of the Minnetex Civic Club which includes the area of Almeda-Genoa where the clean-up occurred, summed up the experience. “We have a lot of older folk, they are too elderly to get down in the ditches. These young people did an excellent job for us. It was a God send. The (Mormon) church is teaching them a great service and respect for people and communities.”
Missionaries were invited to bowl at HPD’s fourth annual “Strike Out Crime” event. They joined officers, leaders of local civic clubs, Constable’s Office, and community members in a relationship -building, fun event planned to raise awareness of HPD’s efforts in the community.
HPD Senior Officer Johnson, an 18 ½ year veteran with the force, said this fun gathering is the culmination of March on Crime month and praised the missionaries for their service. “They were out two weeks ago passing out pamphlets in the neighborhood for our Walk against Crime. They have been truly a blessing to us and we hope to keep carrying on the relationship as well.”
HPD Sergeant Debbie Harris, bowling event coordinator said, “The missionaries came to our storefront and offered their services. They have participated in various events and we wanted to thank them for helping out throughout the year… Halloween, our toy drive, Black History Month. They have been awesome.”
Elder Caleb Cooper, a missionary serving in Houston from Nevada said, “We want to help more. We want to build good relationships. They invited us to come back because they liked our service. We represented ourselves well and did what we said we would do.”
President Brian Ashton, president of the Houston Texas South Mission added ,”Jesus Christ spent His life serving others. To be His true disciples, we as missionaries must provide Christ-like service to others with no other expectation than to serve.”
In a concerted effort to link members, missionaries and the Houston community through service, Jan Chappell, Houston DPA, and Amy Hogan, ADPA were introduced to Andrea Jackson, Community Involvement Coordinator with the City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods by church member and city employee Neal Rackleff. Since that meeting, Hogan and Jackson have teamed up to coordinate service opportunities around the city. Missionaries have helped with the projects listed above as well as rebuilding the homes of 10 seniors in conjunction with Rebuilding Together – Houston, and refurbishing of the 39th St. Missionary Baptist Church in the Heights. “They are awesome volunteers,” Jackson said. “Every time I work with them they are very dependable. I love working with them. “
“Our hope is that we can continue to find service opportunities not only for missionaries, but for members too. It is wonderful to work together with other good people who desire to make our city a better place and who desire to help those that are less fortunate,” Hogan concluded.
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