KidsHeart volunteers build homes, share Christ along Rio Grande - Word&Way

KidsHeart volunteers build homes, share Christ along Rio Grande

MISSION—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.


Charlie Brown, pastor of The Crossing Baptist Church in Mesquite, presents a Bible to Juan and Maria Longoria. Members from The Crossing built a new home for the Longoria family, who lost their home in a Jan. 18 fire.

According to preliminary reports from the mission teams, 14 groups served more than 2,400 people. More than 400 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, Kids-Heart 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.

“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.


Christy Thompson, a student from The Crossing Baptist Church in Mesquite, plays with a young boy during a block party in Donna.

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—The Crossing Baptist Church in Mesquite—took 43 members to the Valley.

Pastor Charlie Brown said 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.”

Churches served through KidsHeart also are catching the vision of serving others, Shores added.

“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.