By Abby Hopkins
So often, the Lord uses the testimonies of His people to impact others with similar life struggles. For Elisa Valadez, whose story includes abuse, homelessness, and heartache, she knew she wanted to serve her community in this way to offer others the same hope she found in Christ.
Valadez began Pantry of Hope through First Baptist Church Laredo in 2016. Starting with a closet, the ministry opened the second Saturday of each month with food and clothing for families in the community to receive.
Texas Baptist Hunger Offering funds are used to purchase groceries for the pantry.
“It’s a blessing to have money come in that serves the community,” Valadez said.
It’s with excitement and sadness that I inform you of some news. After four years of having the true privilege of serving as the hunger and care ministries specialist at the CLC, I will be transitioning to a new position as a crisis counselor in Marble Falls.
Words do not feel adequate for how grateful I am for every person whom I’ve had the honor to know and work alongside in this ministry. Thank you doesn’t seem to suffice.
I will serve as an adult outreach counselor at Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center, close in proximity to our church, First Baptist Church of Marble Falls. I will be working with individuals dealing with trauma while pursuing my credentials as a licensed clinical social worker. I hope to gain a better understanding of trauma-informed care and learn to walk with people on their healing journeys. I covet your prayers in this new chapter of my life.
The change is very bittersweet. These past four years have changed my life. I love and believe in the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, the CLC, and the Texas Baptist family. I hold dear so many beautiful memories across Texas and around the world. I have learned a great deal from numerous churches and ministries impacting their communities with beauty, justice, and restoration.
I can’t help but think of Paul’s words to the church of Philippi: “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5, CSB).
Thank you, Dr. Reyes, Dr. Foster, and Dr. Hardage for giving this Tennessean a chance. Shout out to Marilyn, Kathryn, Rebecca, and everyone else who are more than coworkers, they are family.
Thank you, colleagues and friends, for your encouragement to me personally, and more importantly, your desire to pursue the call to justice, mercy, and equality.
Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson delivered the keynote address at the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission’s Advocacy Day March 26 at Woodlawn Baptist Church in Austin.
Texas Baptists recently welcomed four new staff members to the organization including Victor Rodriguez, Hispanic Evangelism director; Ben Hanna, director of San Antonio-Area Baptist Health Initiative; Bruce McCoy, director of the Ambassador Program; and David Adams, a current staff member in a new position, as Adult Discipleship specialist.
Through broken tears, they each gave their lives to God and committed to developing relationships with Him.
Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) participants from the University of North Texas (UNT), Texas Woman’s University (TWU) and Tyler Junior College (TJC) spent their Spring Break evangelizing and teaching evangelism on six different Nashville, Tennessee college campuses. They shared the Gospel with 184 people and saw 10 new believers accept Christ.
It’s been a year and a half since Hurricane Harvey pummeled through South Texas. Damage lingers and volunteers are still needed to continue restoration. That is why this year’s Spring Break BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery volunteers focused recovery efforts in the affected area.
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