East Texas church inches closer to permanent place to worship

East Texas church inches closer to permanent place to worship
Photo: KTRE
Photo: KTRE

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Beatrice Morales, a grandmother, has been going to the Iglesia La Viña for 3 years.

Playing a role as one of the leaders of the church, she said currently they conduct their weekly services by renting a gym. But last year they bought land to build their own church.

Morales dedicates her time to the bilingual church so her grandchildren can have a path to follow in years to come.

"I think about their future, I think about my children's future and not only for my family but also for Lufkin and the surrounding communities and their future," Morales said.

But she says the biggest sacrifice she's seen in her church is during the weekends. Pastor Ricky Hernandez said each Saturday night several members of the church setup up an empty gym to transform it into a setup similar to what people expect in a church on Sunday mornings.

"I don't know the last time I has a weekend off," Hernandez said.

The pastor said there were times manpower was limited.

"It's was a struggle to find help," Hernandez said. "It may have been a handful of people initially, now we are fortunate we have a lot of families that rotate weekends out."

However, soon changes are on the way. More than a year ago, the church invested in a property, and now after months of payments, they one step closer to building their own church.

Hernandez said he and his family held additional jobs to make ends meet after accepting a smaller salary so as not to be a burden on the church to help the greater vision.

"I think that has accelerated the process of us being able to buy land, pay that off and now be in a position where we can build," Hernandez said. 

While Morales said, she values her time volunteering at the church creating bonds with those she cherishes the most.

"I think that everybody that comes helps setup get to enjoy their time more with their families," Morales said.

The pastor said setting up during the weekends has inspired the spirit of volunteerism which may not have created otherwise.

The church paid off $90,000 in order to be debt-free, before making steps to build a permanent church.

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