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Review

Who is My Neighbor?

An ongoing church outreach to Galveston Island not only ends up meeting needs of suffering people, but transforms their lives!

The women of Christ's Church of the Assemblies of God, Clear Lake City, Texas, know how to answer the question: "Who is my neighbor?"

The answer: "Whoever is in need."

After a summer retreat to Galveston Island, the church's youth and adults began praying about needs they had seen on the island: hungry children, families huddled close in collapsing housing projects, drug addicts, gangs, and people unable to break free of poverty.

Within months, the people of Christ's Church were back on the island, serving meals, providing "dignity bags" with hygiene essentials, and offering prayer to any islander who received it.

The first month, 50 people ventured out for a sandwich and a dignity bag. The next month, Christ's Church's women worked with a local compassion kitchen to serve smoked brisket, potato salad, corn on the cob, beans, and cookies for 150 people -- and 300 showed up. The food stretched and no one left hungry.

Now the established ministry of Christ's Church is named Go! Galveston Outreach. Every fourth weekend of the month, volunteers spend around 14 hours preparing the meal, including over 350 homemade cupcakes. Then they pack cars and vans with food, dignity bags, clothing, and more, to take to the island for Sunday's meal.

The outreach team also provides spiritual counseling, teaching, coaching, prayer, and encouragement to the island people in all areas of life. They talk about financial needs, getting jobs, getting off welfare, developing parenting skills, help with relationships, taking pride in the community, receiving salvation, and knowing God more.

Between meal days, volunteers shop for clothes at resale shops, sort donated clothes, assemble dignity bags, prepare Bible stories for the children of the island, and pray. That effort is rewarded as each month, on the day of the outreach, homes in the neighborhood are emptied when the Christ's Church team appears. The outreach draws entire families.

Diane Ott Jones, Christ's Church associate pastor, explains, "Crime rates have dropped dramatically in this area, and lives have truly been transformed. We have seen alcoholics, the homeless, and drug addicts be healed, get a roof over their heads, and begin attending church. God is moving noticeably in this community."

Jones continues, "The children are the most affected; they have learned to pray on their own. One boy says he is called to be a pastor. The people are learning what love is."

Darla Knoth

Darla Knoth is is senior editor of Adult and Youth Resources, Editorial Services, at the Assemblies of God National Office.