By Scott CollinsBuckner International
MISSION, Texas – Texas churches joined forces from El Paso to the Lower Rio Grande Valley during spring break to build homes and share Christ through KidsHeart, a combined effort of Buckner International and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Texas.
According to preliminary reports from the mission teams, more than 2,400 people were served by 14 groups with a total of 429 volunteers. Those volunteers gave nearly 12,000 hours of service time and saw 107 people make professions of faith in Christ.
“By responding to the most evident material needs of poor families, KidsHeart groups share the gospel with actions of love,” said Dexton Shores, Buckner director for Ministry Development for Mexico and the Border. “The beautiful result is lives transformed for Christ.”
Teams participating this year built 10 houses, repaired two others and painted another nine houses. The groups also worked on two church construction projects and hosted more than 180 children in Vacation Bible Schools.
Other projects included quilting classes, sports camps, Bible distribution, medical/dental clinics, and video showings of the “Jesus” movie. In addition, the groups hosted more than 1,500 people at block parties.
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“KidsHeart week provides the opportunity for anyone – from the smallest church to the largest church – to plug into a viable mission project and make a lasting impact to improve the living conditions and give eternal hope to children and families living in poverty,” Shores added.
Rick McClatchy, coordinator for CBF Texas, called the spring break KidsHeart effort this year “a great week. It was special for the teams that worked and for the people we served.”
One of the churches participating this year was The Crossing Baptist Church in Mesquite, which took 43 members to the Valley.
Charlie Brown, pastor of The Crossing, said the church’s “participation in KidsHeart during spring break this year proved to be the most successful to date and the most significant mission trip in which I have ever participated.”
Brown added his church’s participation will have a lasting impact, “not only on the people we served, but on our church members who participated. This kind of mission work really defines us as a missional church.”
According to Shores, churches served through KidsHeart are also catching the vision of serving others.
“Border churches that have been on the receiving end of missions are now sending teams to minister to the needs of families in their own communities and some are even extending their mission endeavors to the interior of Mexico in partnership with others,” he said.
Brown said he saw that kind of contagious missions spirit this year when the church The Crossing helped build last year volunteered to send its members to an underserved community nearby to start a Bible study.
“Seeing the work we did in 2008 come full circle this year was extremely fulfilling for our church,” he said.