DOING MISSIONS AND EVANGELISM FROM AN OUTPOST IN SOUTH TEXAS

There is not another city like Kingsville anywhere in Texas.  With a population that ranges from 25000 to 30000, you might expect just another small city.  What you find instead is the most amazing mix of people imaginable in a city small enough to allow for personal friendships with thousands of the residents.  During our years there, we befriended people from Africa, Asia, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and a wide array of nations.  We also befriended people from virtually every state in the union.  One might ask how this is possible?  There are several powerful reasons.   Texas A & M Kingsville draws students and professors from all over the world.  This, coupled with the fact that in our years the enrollment hovered around 6000, explains why we personally knew many of them.  Our home was two blocks from the campus.  Shannon actually finished her degree at A & M Kingsville.  The border with Mexico is less than two hours away from Kingsville providing the city with not only a rich Hispanic heritage, but an inflow from all of Latin America.  Since I spoke Spanish well enough to connect with them and had a natural love for Hispanic culture, I made many friends from this part of the community.  Finally, there is Naval Air Station Kingsville which primarily trains Navy and Marine pilots to land on aircraft carriers.  This base brings in personnel from the entire United States as well as additional international citizens.  All this would be true of many large cities, but you must remember that Kingsville has less than 30000, people allowing one to meet and personally be acquainted with scores of these people.  Another factor which contributes to this mix and actually gave birth to the city is the world famous King Ranch.  During our years there, I was amazed to see turbaned sheiks from Saudi Arabia at a horse sale on the King Ranch buying their unequaled stock of quarter horses.  Visitors from the ranching industry throughout the world made the trek to Kingsville to visit the ranch.  With nearly one million acres and well over 180 years of history, it is no exaggeration to say the King Ranch made Kingsville a living legend.  One would be remiss to mention the sizable industry of oil and gas in the area that also brings people from around the nation and world.

Now that you have this mental picture imagine the rich variety of opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in such an amazing mix of people.  I realized early on that my job was not merely to grow a church, but to scatter seed.  I determined that we would seek to touch as many of these people as we could, while we could, with the message of new life in Jesus.  The community was a moving stream with people often staying only three or four years.  I am confident that well over 100,000 people passed through during our ten years there.  Only in eternity will we know what God may have done with the seed that was scattered.  Missions and evangelism in Kingsville were one and the same.

Dan Wooldridge

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