This weekend marked the latest event in which the City of Houston and the Houston Police Department, HPD, welcomed the aid of missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in projects benefitting the city’s southeast side.
Over 25 missionaries filled two dumpsters rolling 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 who 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 plus 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.”
The previous Wednesday found the missionaries rolling bowling balls at HPD’s fourth annual “Strike Out Crime” event at the Armadillo Lanes in south Houston. They joined officers from District 13 and 14, leaders of local civic clubs, the Constable’s Office, Pct. 2, 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, 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.”
Missionaries will be helping with the Martin Luther King statue erection and parade at MLK and Griggs road on April 5, Harris County Pct. 2 Easter Egg Event on April 12, and Earth Week, with more service prospects in the works.
Andrea Jackson, Community Involvement Coordinator with the City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods has been working closely with Amy Hogan, Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the area Mormon Church to coordinate service opportunities for missionaries all around the city. Recently missionaries helped rebuild 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. “The plan is to let the good times- and service- roll.
Contributor - Linda Talbot