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2002 PE Report stories

Congregations demonstrate weekly prayer yields results (December 30, 2001)

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge (December 16, 2001)

Rain, gang doesn't halt impact of newly formed congregation (December 9, 2001)

Women urged to minister hope at global gathering (November 25, 2001)

Volunteers meet needs at Pentagon cleanup (November 18, 2001)

Fear, uncertainty open window of opportunity for evangelism (November 11, 2001)

'Jump for Jesus' raises $40,000 for STL (October 21, 2001)

Widows, single mothers gain practical blessings (October 14, 2001)

Five new executive presbyters elected (September 30, 2001)

Credit card 'freedoms' tempt college students (September 16, 2001)

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes (August 26, 2001)

Congregations extend a hand, spread gospel after tropical storm (August 19, 2001)

Single-parent families find hope at camp (August 12, 2001) caught in middle of culture war (July 22, 2001)

Pentecostal World Conference looks toward future cooperation (July 13, 2001)

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture (July 8, 2001)

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry (June 24, 2001)

National Singles team convenes, plans regional conferences (June 17, 2001)

Children's ministries take center stage (June 10, 2001)

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger (May 27, 2001)

A/G ministries combat eating disorders (May 20, 2001)

Mobilizing laity leads to church growth (May 13, 2001)

Fellowship convenes conference for women (April 29, 2001)

14,547 'honored guests' attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas (April 22, 2001)

Hollywood sends wrong signals on teen smoking (April 15, 2001)

Iowa community faces unique challenges (April 8, 2001)

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle (March 25, 2001)

English lessons reach Chinese with gospel (March 18, 2001)

A/G church, police, schools partner for strong community (March 11, 2001)

Church uses 'human hunt' as evangelism tool for teens (February 25, 2001)

Ministering in the fast lane (February 18, 2001)

Abstinence education saves lives, futures (February 11, 2001)

Donated food helps Convoy of Hope extend hand around the world (January 21, 2001)

American Indian College students impact boarding school (January 14, 2001)

2000 News Digest stories

14,547 ‘honored guests’ attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas

(April 22, 2001)

As a result of bridging political and religious boundaries in Dallas, Convoy of Hope conducted its largest domestic outreach in the ministry’s history last month. Relations have been cemented to the point where local churches have agreed to establish long-lasting compassion ministries to reach the community

Karen Cervantes gives bags containing 14 items at the Convoy.

A divergent mixture of churches, social offices, civic groups, and city and state government agencies came together to make the March 10 event in Fair Park a reality. In all, 14,547 "honored guests" attended, with 3,170 deciding to make Jesus Christ their Savior. Previously the largest outreach was to 7,500 guests in Detroit in 1999.

This may be the largest of the 30 COH events this year, with distribution of 200,000 pounds of food. In addition to obtaining 14 nonperishable items, families also could partake of lunch, concerts, debt counseling, medical screening, a job fair and a children’s carnival – all for free. But, most important, before they returned home they heard a message of hope.

"We’re not just about groceries," says Mike Ennis, COH executive vice president. "Groceries aren’t going to change a single life for eternity. But the love of Jesus will."

Scot Cockroft, associate pastor of the A/G church in the suburb of Sachse, coordinated the event in conjunction with the national COH staff from Springfield, Mo.

Cockroft solicited the participation of leaders in the predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhood. Rick DuBose, senior pastor at Sachse A/G, says Cockroft showed perseverance. "At first the religious relationships came a little slow," DuBose says. "Some churches hesitated because they wanted to know why a church in the suburbs cared about their area."

Ultimately, 1,860 volunteers from 106 churches and 46 organizations participated, doing everything from presenting puppet shows to extracting teeth in the dental area.

J. Lee Slater, pastor of New Millennium Bible Fellowship near Fair Park, responded with enthusiasm. "It’s a blessing to minister to souls who have been broken and hurting," says Slater, who preached in a tent throughout the day. "Even though people are here primarily for physical needs, we had an opportunity to bless them spiritually."

Patrick Martin, director of a street ministry for the homeless at the Potter’s House nearby, found the COH to be a natural evangelism setting. "If you follow Jesus, you fish for men," Martin says. "When you offer help and food, it is a way of touching the poor."

The daylong outreach is designed to allow families to have fun and togetherness. It resembles a state fair more than a crusade, with balloons, clowns, face painting and pony rides surrounded by medical and job placement tents. Dozens of health professionals volunteered their services, including physicians, dentists, chiropractors and pharmacists. One business owner closed her hair salon and had her employees at the Convoy cutting hair and giving manicures all day.

Michael Johnson, now homeless, came from an A/G family. He abandoned his upbringing and became enmeshed in satanism before returning to the Lord. Lately he has been living in shelters with his wife. The compassion of COH impressed Johnson. "We’re being treated as humans, not homeless," he says, as volunteer Robin Bryant trims his hair. "A lot of churches and ministries look down their noses at homeless people and try to yank us around by the arm." Today, he says, he was treated with love and dignity.

Bryant served as one of around 325 volunteers from the 700-member Sachse A/G. "A lot of people want to know what the catch is," Bryant says. "There is no catch. We’re just saying Jesus loves you."

Richard Plunk, pastor of Grace Community A/G in Flower Mound, also caught the vision, along with 155 of his 600 congregants. "Convoy of Hope got into our hearts," says Plunk, who served as a security guard for the day.

The goal, Ennis says, is for the recipients to eventually become the givers. Such is the case with volunteer barber Wayne Williams, one of 65 from Dallas Life Challenge. "I’ve never had a chance to show love like this to people before," says Williams, who twice served prison terms. "I used to live for drugs and alcohol before I was saved. Now I’m trying to have a godly attitude."

Convoy erected a separate tent to minister to Spanish-speaking guests, who enjoyed Latin rhythm music. In all, 3,500 Spanish-speaking visitors participated.

Gerald Jimenez of Sachse A/G headed up the Spanish tent. "This really connected because we had seasoned preachers speaking Spanish to people who don’t know English," Jimenez says. "People came up to me with tears in their eyes and asked ‘Where can I go to church tomorrow?’ "

That evening, following the Convoy, persons who signed salvation cards received a call inviting them to a participating church closest to their home.

The COH gathering is not an end in itself. "I’ve met great pastors who have such a heart to serve God," Cockroft says. Out of this cooperative effort, local congregations plan to start neighborhood Centers of Hope, which will distribute food and clothing to the needy, provide after-school programs and job assistance, and preach the gospel. Jimenez will oversee the first one and six more are planned.

Victor Smith, president of the Dallas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, lauded COH at a rally attended by 2,000 people the night before the outreach. "You have proven that you are your brother’s keeper," Smith said.

At the rally, organizers received a formal proclamation from the mayor’s office and state senate declaring March 10 Convoy of Hope Day in Texas. In addition, the city has requested that Convoy of Hope Day be an annual event.

A/G North Texas District Superintendent Derwood DuBose says the COH demonstrated the church in action. "From filling grocery sacks to administering medical care, from cutting hair to serving hot dogs, from clowns touching the lives of young people to uniformed officers providing security it was awesome."

— John W. Kennedy in Dallas

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