The Journey Continues: Three Years Part Four
Editor's Note: The Journey Continues celebrates three years this month. This is the fourth part in a four-part column highlighting notable columns over the years.
#14 Every summer, my journey includes a visit to “Mission: Good Neighbors” which is a 10-week program similar to vacation Bible school for children that combines the noon meal served by San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District, a reading program using American Bible Society curriculum, weekly bible stories from CEF, and music or sports activities. Beginning in 2011, volunteers from local churches, including First Baptist, provided reading coaches who encouraged children to read Bible stories. Literally, thousands of meals have been served over the years, and many children learned about Jesus.
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he shall not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
#15 When doing research on the San Marcos area residents who worked as migrants in the cotton fields of West Texas, I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Rosina Ruiz Valle, president of the Board of Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos. She referred me to Francisco “Frank” Contreras, another board member. When we met, I was enamored by his infectious smile and drawn to his powerful spirit. Because of working in the fields as a youngster, Contreras was 21 years of age when he graduated from high school. He went on to earn two college degrees and became a teacher and administrator. This culminated in his professional achievements as the director of migrant education for the Texas Education Agency and as the director at The Center of Migrant Education at Texas State University. Francisco Contreras is a “world-changer” and the 23rd Psalm is his life verse.
# 16. I have written more columns on veterans than any other topic in the last three years, especially on Memorial and Veterans Day. Of our dead, I quote: “Their blood may dry and fade, but it will always stain the hearts of loving families and old comrades who grieve their deaths as they continue life’s journeys without them.” Freedom is not Free. Three local fallen heroes I have written about are:
- Captain Paul Pena, age 27, United States Army, son of Cecilia Pena, KIA, Afghanistan.
- Staff Sergeant Joe Fankhauser, age 31, USMC, son of Mary Fankhauser, KIA, Afghanistan.
- Private First-Class Ernesto Perez, age 19, USMC, nephew of Herbert and Eva Sanchez, KIA, Vietnam.
#17. Finally, I want to express my respect for some individuals that put others above self:
- Hillary Lockhart and Natalie Pounds Freeman as they furnish leadership to a new church, Heart of Christ Fellowship, in Buda.
- Toby McElroy, the only living Kidney-donor I personally know.
- Chris Carrier, who showed how to live out forgiveness after a great trauma.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
As you can see, we all have one journey but different paths.