Category Archives: Recent Events

DRI friends going for $100,000

SAN ANTONIO — Inspiration comes from words and inspiration spurs action. This chain of events was on display at the annual San Antonio Disability Resources Dinner last month. Thirty was the theme as the evening marked the agency’s anniversary with San Antonio and more specifically, the connection between DRI and Presley and Mae Orsburn.

“I did this for 30 years for children who need it,” Mae Orsburn, whose daughter is a resident, said. “There are people at DRI who really need that place and have a safe place there. It was a good evening and we had a good crowd. By the end of the year we will have reached our goal of 100,000. We are getting closer, but we are not there yet.”

President and CEO Kelly Young spoke and mentioned Mae’s goal of $100,000 to help the Christian home for intellectually challenged adults. The facilities are mainly on the 170-acre campus and the planners are currently raising money to bring all the folks from housing inside the city to the new homes they plan to build. After that, they have set their sights on building a self-sustaining endowment.

This year is the first time that the dinner has been held at Alzafar Shrine Ballroom. The ever-popular DRI Bell Peppers and Ring of Fire Handbell Choirs performed. There was also a silent auction as well as a drawing for two quilts.

In an interesting twist, Presley and Mae’s daughter won the quilt created by Mrs. Hayes. The speakers included Young, the sibling of a resident, and Marketing VP Tim Yandell.

To find out more about DRI or to donate, contact Holly Holmes by email at or call 325-677-6815.


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Youth Praise: To Eat or Not To Eat Ice Cream By Madison Campbell

SAN ANTONIO— “I would give up ice cream easily to come to another area-wide youth praise night,” said Leila Ebrahimnejad, 13, from MacArthur Park Church of Christ. “Plus I don’t like ice cream that much anyway,” added Ebrahimnejad.

Ebrahimnejad’s first area-wide youth praise night was on Oct. 22 at the Arms of Hope’s Medina campus. Despite the fact that she didn’t win any of her matches of Connect 4, she said that she still had a lot of fun. More than 80 students from three different congregations and Arms of Hope attended the area-wide youth praise night.

West Bexar County’s Gregory Campbell, Sr., led the singing and Mark Drew conducted the devotional. During part of the lesson, the students considered the question, “What is so important that you would give up ice cream for it?”

After the singing and devotional, the students had ice cream and played games. “My favorite parts were the posing game and worshiping with the other kids,” said Kitty Ramirez, 14, from West Bexar Country Church of Christ.

Everyone cheered as Gregory AJ Campbell Jr., 7, hit the ball over the pipe in a game of 9 square. AJ was one of the youngest children at the area-wide youth praise night, which is aimed for teenagers. “I was happy to play and be with the big kids who made me not feel little,” said AJ.

“My favorite part was when I got to mingle and play with people I didn’t know,” said Brynlie Murphy , 12, from MacArthur Park Church of Christ. “I would give up ice cream to come to the next one,” added Murphy.

“I also would gladly give up ice cream to come again,” Hallie Whittington, 16, also from MacArthur Park.

After savoring about three different flavors of ice cream, cookies and brownies, many students agreed that their favorite part was not the treats, but, rather, being around others, playing and fellowshipping.

The churches take turns leading the area-wide youth praise night. The next rally will be on Feb. 11, 2018. “I can’t wait until the next one to make some more memories,” said Ramirez.

The students issue this challenge: “We had board games, barnyard, enormous Jenga, 9 square, and ballgames. And with an awesome devo it was perfectly wrapped into a memory. But, hey don’t take my word for it. The next one is February 11th, so save the date, come and make your own memories!”

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Kidney still needed for Kim by Paul Mcquien

SAN ANTONIO — In the January and June issues of “Christian News of South Texas,” we printed an appeal on behalf of Kimberly Shields. She is presently on dialysis several times a week and is desperately in need of a kidney transplant. Her father, Allen Shields, was able to donate a kidney to Kimberly 17 years ago, but it had to be removed a few months ago.

Allen earlier reported that one volunteer had been dismissed on account of high blood pressure. Volunteers at her home congregation were also willing to provide a new kidney; however, a suitable match was not located. The Shields family, who are members of the Southwest Church of Christ here, are still hoping and praying that someone with a matching kidney can step forward and donate it to Kimberly. Please keep her and the family in your prayers.

For more information about donating, or any further questions, feel free to contact the family in these ways: Email:; Cell phone: Allen Shields 210-537-5376; Transplant hotline: 1-800-888-0402.

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A Giving Birthday Party by Reagan Campbell

SAN ANTONIO – I don’t have a job. I’m not looking for one because I’m only 10. I feel rich when I get money for my chores from my parents.

For weeks my sister Madison and I have been planning out our birthday party. Madison turned 11 in early September, just two weeks before me. We were going to have our party after that, but moved it to Sept. 30 because our parents volunteered to help Hurricane Harvey victims.

We are still working on some of the details, but we do know that there’s going to be an obstacle course for us to play. Another thing we know is we are not getting any presents. It’s not because we were bad, but because we have chosen not to.

I used to sometimes say that a birthday party is about cake, presents and games, but I have come to realize that it’s not. It’s for celebrating the fact that you’re getting older and for a chance to give to those you love.

To think that there are children my age not lying in their own beds, searching for food and unable to play with their favorite toys, makes me sad. So instead of presents, we have asked people to bring canned foods, toiletries or cleaning supplies to be donated to hurricane victims.

We did this before when we stayed in Maryland. We collected canned foods instead of presents. The items collected were given to the Laurel Church of Christ food pantry and was a big success. We had over 100 food items donated.

My dad and mom have taught me to think of others. It even says in Acts 20:35 that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I think it’s best to do as the Bible says. When we think about presents and stuff like “I want to get this” and “I want to get that,” we’re being selfish.

My mind is made up and we are donating food and supplies. Our birthday party is going to be a fundraiser to get people to give and think about others. [Reagan worships with Greg and Chyrece Campbell and their other children at West Bexar County Church of Christ.]

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Campers: A golden weekend by Buck Griffith and Chyrece Campbell

SAN ANTONIO – When something is golden, it is of a high degree of excellence or radiantly youthful and vigorous according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. All of these rang true on the weekend of Sept. 14-18 at the 37th Annual Golden Agers Session at Camp Bandina.

“Despite having people cancel due to Hurricane Harvey, we had a great turn out,” said Sandra Biehl, a member of Austin Avenue Church of Christ in Brownwood. As evening fell on the first day, 82 campers settled into air-conditioned cabins for the night. More came in during the next day.

The theme this year was “Grace Inside Out.” The keynote speaker was Jim Hayes of Southern Hills Church of Christ in Buda.

“Everything was great. The food, the cooks, the volunteers, the singing were all outstanding,” added Biehl. Tournaments of 42, horseshoe, Wii bowling, a crazy hat contest, a Mexican Parade and Mexican Fiesta Dinner were just a few of the other events that took place over the weekend.

Echoing this year’s theme, the campers sang, “It Is Well With My Soul” and “Amazing Grace” several times. Campers worshipped with the Bandina Church of Christ on Sunday.

“Bandina Church of Christ was full and overflowing and the singing was like heaven,” said Biehl. Sunday night had its fair share of laughs and fun when people did poetry, songs and skits during the annual talent show.

The campers thanked the Austin Ave. church for sponsoring the week and Director Jerry Biehl for his leadership.

On Monday everyone packed their bags and headed home. “Looking forward to next year!” posted one person on social media.

The Golden Agers Camp is for people 55 and over, but according to a spokesperson close to the director, exceptions may be made for those who are 54½ come next September.

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Lunch is now served to SAC students by Maria Espinoza

SAN ANTONIO — The whiff of grilling smoked sausages sent a pleasing invitation to students beginning the school year at San Antonio College. The Church of Christ Student Center hosted the annual “Welcome Back to School” lunches on Aug. 28-29.

Students made their way inside the center to enjoy the donated 1,050 Kiolbassa sausages, 800 Missions tortillas, 18 gallons of green beans, and 22 salad containers. About 815 plates were served in all.

Several student helpers stood on the sidewalk with a three-wheeled ice cream freezer and gave away 800 fruit paletas. Area churches providing these meals were Alamo City, Dellcrest, Laurel Street, MacArthur Park, Northeast, and Northside.

In addition to the food served, 140 Bibles were distributed. Some students picked up lessons for World Bible School. The center’s Christian Association was there to share the activities they sponsor for the campus. Over 300 students signed up for updates at the student center.

 The weekly Thursday luncheons provide nourishment for the college students as well as other guests from the surrounding community. At each month’s luncheon, serving begins at 10:30 a.m. and goes until the food runs out.

While the students enjoy the meal, a member of the host congregation presents a devotional. Congregations participating in these Thursday luncheons are Sunset Ridge, Northeast, Dellcrest, Alamo City, Laurel Street, Pleasanton, and Northside.

The goal of the COCSC is to provide high-quality biblical education and spiritual growth opportunities for SAC students and community members. With the on-site staffing, the center offers a place for students to interact with young men and women whose values are directed toward Christ– the kind of interface that will sustain them for life.

This guidance will enable students to make positive contributions to society and the cause of Christ. The Center offers a variety of Bible Studies, training programs, and skills for life and godliness. For more information on the activities or to volunteer, call Director Mark Forster, at 210-736-6751.

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Events encourage student athletes

KERRVILLE — The church here has been praying for the work of and service of their brother, Tivy High defensive line football coach and English teacher, Ty Taylor. When school began, Taylor started serving as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor.

Earlier this year, the Hill Country Community Journal reported a back-to-school community event in which Kerrville church of Christ Youth and Family Minister, Ricky Pruitt, led the prayer service. Over 200 students and their parents attended the “Blessing Service” on behalf of Tivy and Hal Peterson Middle School athletes.

According to the Journal, Taylor commented during the prayer service on surrender: “I’m a football coach and I take that role very seriously. If I don’t pay attention, I get so involved in coaching that I surrender my identity as a husband, a father, a brother and so on. If I surrender all things to Christ and be the best person I can be, the rest will work itself out.”

Recently, Taylor’s FCA sponsored a Fields of Faith youth/community rally on Oct. 11 at Antler Stadium. Pledged to challenge students to read the Bible and follow Jesus, the outreach encourages them to “Get in the Game and Get in the Book.”

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Torres takes Missouri pulpit

CORPUS CHRISTI — “The road ahead seems scary and exciting. At the same time, we never know what God has in store for us, but we trust that He wants the best for us at all times.” With these words, Christian, Brittany, Liam, Leelah, and Callie Torres took leave of the Weber Road congregation here. After a Farewell Fellowship, the former youth minister and his family departed recently, bound for the church in Hannibal, Mo., and Christian’s new mission , this time, in the pulpit as minister.

Said Minister Mark Hammitt, “I have appreciated many things about Christian as a fellow minister: bouncing ideas off of him, planning events, talking about how to better encourage the church, considering the youth program, visiting hospitals, discussing the evangelistic program, talking about things that happen on a daily basis, and much more. I’m confident that he will do a great job preaching the Word of God every week.”

The elders announced recently that while they seek a new youth program coordinator, member Stephen Charlebois and his wife, Erin, will serve the young people. The church lists 53 families who make homes for the 83 children and teens.

In leaving, Torres said, “We would like you to know that we love you all with a love that is hard to express and pray you will always remember that.”

In his last bulletin article, Torres writes:

So, what are a few things we have learned here at Weber Road in five and a half years?

  • We learned the meaning of working hard in God’s kingdom.
  • We learned that you do not have to be related by blood to call someone family.
  • We learned that kids teach us the best lessons on how to be strong Christians.
  • We learned the lasting impact the church can have on many Christians around the area.
  • We learned to love in a deeper way and the importance of relationships that help each other to get to heaven.

The farewell closed with the blessing from Numbers 6:24-26: “Until we meet again, may these words provide comfort and encouragement: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”

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Students work out at Jonah running rally

CORPUS CHRISTI – According to Minister Mark Hammitt, “Weber Road’s Annual Youth Rally turned out to be a blast for those able to attend!” The 45 young people and 20 adults met at Bandina Christian Youth Camp for a spiritual workout with “Jonah, the Running Man!” during the weekend of Oct. 21-22.

Stated Hammitt, “Retreats are a great way to encourage stronger faith in our young people and also build friendships that will hopefully last for a lifetime!”

The lessons focused on different kinds of spiritual sprints and marathons. Matt Gibson of the Riverside congregation here spoke on “Running Away from God-Disobedience.” Patrick Hammack (Odem church of Christ) explained what it took to be “Running to God—Prayer.”

Justin Guess of the Mathis church of Christ gave students the vision of “Running with God—Preaching.” Raoul Ferris from Riverside in Kerrville provided guidance on “Running Ahead of God—Complaining.”

On Sunday morning, student leaders Ryan Stark and Luke Gibson brought the lessons and Payton Hammitt and Koda Honig led the singing.

Hammitt thanked those who helped: “We appreciate Daniel Honig and Van Aguilar for organizing the games such as kickball, versions of tag and relay games. They also coordinated the bonfire. Keisha Joshlin chaperoned and helped with first aid duties.

“Thanks also to Mike and Susan Klotz, David and Stacey Stark, Randi Jackson, Denise Hammitt, Brenda Villarreal and Darleen Baldwin for organizing the registration, food, kitchen and other duties that were needed. We thank Stephen Charlebois for taking the reigns of the event this year and doing an outstanding job!”

“We also thank all of the other congregations that sent young people to the retreat and we hope that next year the rally will be just as successful.”

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Coastal Bend churches unite after Harvey

by Mark Hammitt

CORPUS CHRISTI — Hurricane Harvey left a definite trail of destruction throughout Southeast Texas when it came through at the end of August. It was amazing to witness the power of wind and rain, and it was only a small glimpse into what the people in Noah’s day must have faced when the world was wiped clean by a world-wide flood. Continue reading

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Through blood, sweat and tears

 by Chyrece Campbell

SAN ANTONIO – While swatting at mosquitoes Kitty Ramirez, 14, stood by in the yard as her mother, Kristina, spoke with a couple in Woodsboro. Kristina asked Kitty to go grab the large bowl of watermelon from their car. Continue reading

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Meals made with love

by Chyrece Campbell

FLORESVILLE – With the tap of his fingers on Sept. 6, Galen Jansky posted to social media from his phone about how the Church of Christ here had delivered over 600 meals. Jansky and his wife Jennifer operate and own Texas Star Lodges in Floresville. Continue reading

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Singing for GOD

by Madison Campbell

SAN ANTONIO – Everyone in the room was standing and clapping as the group finished their last song and left the stage. The group was the Johnson Family, which consisted of Nya, 13, Kaden, 11 and Brooklynn, 10, and their parents, Frank and Alisha. Continue reading

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A golden weekend

 by Chyrece Campbell

SAN ANTONIO – When something is golden, it is of a high degree of excellence or radiantly youthful and vigorous according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. All of these rang true on the weekend of Sept. 14-18 when the 37th Annual Golden Agers Session convened at Camp Bandina. Continue reading

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Area-wide leaders meet for encouragement

CORPUS CHRISTI — The Coastal Bend preachers and men of the church held their first gathering for this fall on Tuesday, Sept. 12. They shared a meal at a local restaurant and then met at the Weber Road building for cookies, coffee, and a devotional. Patrick Hammack from Odem presented the lesson.

According to Minister Mark Hammitt, the group has been meeting in this way for several years. A dozen or so congregations from the surrounding communities are usually represented. They meet once a month throughout the school year.

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