Disaster Draws Two Churches into Lasting Friendship

STROMSBURG, NE (March 14, 2011) – Thirty-four members of Iglesia Evangelica Missionera del Pacto Church in La Villa, Texas, which was devastated by Hurricane Dolly in 2009, traveled here to spend a weekend celebrating the bonds formed between that congregation and two Midwest churches that had sent mission teams to help people rebuild their lives.

Stromsburg Covenant Church members and several other area residents rebuilt the residence of La Villa members Angel and Nora Hernandez in 2009. After arriving in Texas, the Nebraska church joined with members of the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, congregation, Westmoore Community Covenant Church. Two members from that church also participated in the February 19-20 celebration.

The 12-member praise band from LaVilla led the opening worship service on a Saturday evening. Angel Hernandez expressed his gratitude for all who had helped restore his home.

The two congregations spent much of Sunday worshipping together and enjoying a meal at the church. During the morning service, Allan Serrano, La Villa’s pastor, spoke of how the church had grown from 40 people at the time of the hurricane to more than 200 members today – see Revival, Not Calm Followed This Texas Storm. They are working to develop the church into a multi-cultural and multi-generational congregation.

Also speaking Sunday morning was Lucas Hernandez, pastor of a church plant in Montemorelos, Mexico, that is receiving support from the La Villa congregation. Forty people attend the church. The Mexico town, located about one and a half hours south of La Villa, is in an area that has been ravaged by drugs and gang warfare.

Jodi Johnson, a secretary at the Stromsburg congregation, said the highlight of the weekend came during a service held on Sunday afternoon. Daniel Ortega, a lifelong member of the La Villa church, shared his testimony of how he had changed from a nominal Christian to one who now has a passionate faith. Serrano then preached from Revelation 2:4, challenging everyone not to forget “their first love and the love we experienced when we first accepted Christ.”

Members of both churches hugged and shed tears before the visitors left in six vehicles to return to Texas and Mexico. The Stromsburg church sent a drum set and choir robes for the La Villa congregation to help start a choir and enhance their praise band ministry. The accompanying photo includes members of the La Villa congregation along with Stromsburg pastor Bob Johnson.

“The weekend was truly a wonderful example of Christian love and breaking the barriers of misunderstanding between Hispanic and Anglo Christians now truly one in Christ,” said Johnson.

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