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Texas Church Plant Connects with Community

Adventist group partners with local non-profits on a special project.

Project Shoebox

On Dec. 1, 2018, the Canyon Creek Project, a new church plant in Texas, presents shoe boxes filled with toiletries, toothbrushes, socks, etc., as a present for those escaping violent situations. Photo provided by Mike Tucker

At the invitation of the Texas Conference, church planter Peter Casillas and Mike Tucker, speaker/director of Faith for Today Television, have recently planted a new church in Richardson, Texas. The church plant has embraced as part of their mission, connecting with the Richardson community, by partnering with local non-profits. Even though the new company has only been meeting a few weeks, they have already begun to fulfill their mission.

Hope’s Door is a non-profit operating in Richardson that provides services to the victims of domestic violence. Spouses and children find refuge, counseling, and assistance as they attempt to escape violence and create a new life. Canyon Creek Project has begun an affiliation with Hope’s Door to work together to help stem the tide of domestic violence.

In October, members of Canyon Creek Project were invited to take empty shoe boxes donated by local merchants, and fill them with essentials someone might need if they escaped with little more than the clothes they were wearing. Toiletries, toothbrushes, socks, and more were placed in shoe boxes and wrapped as a present for boys, girls, and spouses who were escaping a violent situation.

"The students at North Dallas Adventist Academy helped with [what has been dubbed] Project Shoebox. Their response was overwhelming as they filled and wrapped 40 boxes themselves,” said Casillas. “The students were excited about the project and wanted to know what more they could do. Their contributions were a valuable addition to those of the members of our new company.”

The shoe boxes also included notes of encouragement, and prayers from the students and members of Canyon Creek Project. Several of the boxes were even hand painted by the art teacher at North Dallas Adventist Academy (NDAA). But the ones that touched the church members hearts the most were the boxes wrapped in craft paper with hand-written notes from the students. Notes of encouragement such as, "Remember, even if today is a bad day, it won't always be that way," or " I'm praying for you," written in youthful penmanship with markers and crayons, were heartwarming. A little more than a month after the project started, more than 110 shoe boxes were brought back to the church.

On Dec. 1, Beth Leos, program manager from Hope's Door, received the boxes when she joined Canyon Creek Project for worship. She shared with the congregation that in just a few weeks Hope's Door would be giving toys to the kids for Christmas, and now the children could pick a shoebox for their parent. “What an amazing donation! Thank you for your congregation’s support of this project. I’m in awe of the results!" said Leos.

Mike Tucker and Leos

Faith for Today's Mike Tucker presents Beth Leos, program manager of Hope's Door, with presents for those in need. Photo provided by Mike Tucker.

The church will continue to work with Hope's Door in the new year, and plan on a clothing drive to support the Re-sale store that Hope's Door runs for their clients and community. Project Shoebox will be an annual event. The church is excited to see how God blesses the people who will receive them.

Tucker added, “This is a major component of our plans for outreach. We long to do ministry the same way Jesus did.”

The inspiration for this project came, in part, from the counsel of Ellen G. White. “Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).

Canyon Creek Project's mission is " that no one will miss out on the grace of God and that we will experience joy together as we journey with Jesus." The church meets on Custer Parkway in Richardson; the facility is a part of the plant purchased by the Texas Conference and NDAA. It is the desire of both church and school that Richardson will experience the love of Christ through their efforts.

For more information about Canyon Creek Project, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or visit their website at:

— Pam Tucker is a full-time writer and musician.