HOUSTON - A Houston pastor has dedicated his life to helping the community.
"I knew there was something about God that needed to be taken seriously," Pastor Walter August said.
August was 33 when he got serious about God calling him to the ministry. In the 18 years since, his church at Bethel's family in southwest Houston has blossomed.
"We've always worked hard, and so I made a promise I'm not going to work harder for man than I do for God anymore," he said. "So I started putting my focus in the right area."
That right area is in the middle of a community he said needs a great deal of help.
"We're in a community, and I tell everybody we are one foot from hell and that's where we need to be as a church, and the Lord is working mightily through this church. We decided to serve the community. Nobody goes to bed hungry because we're here, so we have the largest food pantry in this community."
That pantry, he said, feeds 6,000 to 7,000 people nightly.
With 40,000 20-something's with no diplomas living within a five-mile radius of the church, education is a high priority, so free G.E.D. tutoring is offered through a partnership with Houston Community College. Job training and a computer lab are available to anyone who needs it.
The church resale shop is stocked entirely with clothes from the congregation, and across the hall is the "Amazing Smiles" working dental office, also available for the community to use.
August said the ultimate goal would be to be successful in southwest Houston and then duplicate that success throughout the city. The key, he said, is simple.
"If you obey God's word, do what he says, work hard and be a shepherd. Be a shepherd," he said.
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