September 8, 1999

focus_van SAN ANGELO students from the college group at Paulann Baptist Church prepare to do Scripture distribution at Irving Baptist Fellowship. They are Kirt Dauphin, youth minister at Paulann; Matt Bramlett, a student at Angelo State University; Summer Clemens, a student at Howard College; and Mary Kay Watson, a student at Angelo State. (Photos by Dan Martin)

Students brave heat to put Focus on ministry
___By Dan Martin
___Texas Baptist Communications
___DALLAS--Nearly 900 students from 30 Texas campuses recently fanned out across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in 100-degree plus temperatures to spread thestudentlogo Good News of Jesus Christ.
___Their efforts were part of Focus '99, a gathering of college-age students sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
___About one-third of the students attending the conference opted to brave the heat and glaring sunlight to participate in missions activities which ranged from painting playgroundequipment to door-to-door witnessing, staging block parties and handing out loaves of bread.
___"They really helped us," said Scott Coleman, minister
GARY GOTHARD, a member of the college department at Sagemont Baptist Church in Houston, makes repairs to a playground at Calvary Baptist Church of Oak Cliff.
of missions at Calvary Baptist Church of Oak Cliff, a racially-mixed suburb of Dallas.
___"We had 44 students--primarily from the college department of Sagemont Baptist Church of Houston and the Baptist Student Ministry at Navarro College in Navasota. Of those, we kept five at the church to paint and refurbish the playground equipment, but the other 39 went door-to-door to tell people about Jesus and about our church."
___"We got to talk to one lady about her relationship with the Lord," said Lance Crowell, college minister at Sagemont. "She said she didn't have a Bible but would like to have one and was really interested in the tutoring and after-school ministries of the church."
___"That is a very good contact for us to follow up on," said Coleman, who noted that many of the members of the church are older and would have been unable to brave the heat to do what the students did.
___"It really helped us a lot, and we are grateful," he said.
___At Iglesia Bautista Tierra Promentida, students from the University of Texas-El Paso and Truett Seminary in Waco conducted a block party for residents of the neighborhood, complete with music, fishing pool, moonwalk and conversation.
___BSM Director Josue Valerio made it a family affair, bringing several members of his own family--high school- and junior high-age daughters--to help in the mission outreach effort.
___At Westmoreland Heights Baptist Church nearby, a group of students from Texas Southern University near Houston went door-to-door to invite residents to attend the multi-cultural congregation where Ted Kiser is pastor.
___The church proclaims itself as "a place where everybody is
DURING A BLOCK PARTY at Iglesia Bautista Tierra Promentida, a fishing pool for young children is staffed by Ralene Pesquera, daughter of Pastor Adolfo Pesquera, and Laura Cadena of Dallas, a student at Truett Seminary in Waco.
someone important."
___The neighborhood--and the congregation--is a mixture of Anglo, Hispanic, African-American and American Indian.
___"Some of the folks looked around the doors trying to figure out who we were, but everybody was friendly and we got to talk to some people about Jesus," said James McGuin, a senior pharmacy student from Fort Worth.
___The heat put a damper on things at Irving Baptist Fellowship, where David Fortenbury is the new pastor.
___"We were going to have a block party, but it was just too hot to have people out on the parking lot. So we sent the students out to distribute Scripture portions and invite people to a block party later in the afternoon," Fortenbury said.
___Across town in Pleasant Grove, students from several Rio Grande Valley schools helped a cluster of churches kick off an outreach effort.
___"We put them in about seven apartment complexes, and they distributed more than 1,200 loaves of bread," said Al Taylor, pastor of Riverway Baptist Church.


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