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Searching for Fertile Ground
By CaSaundra Johnson
In the summer of 1976, Anthony and Candyce Roach packed all their belongings into their Opel and pulled out a map, which charted their course from Cleveland, Ohio to Abilene, Texas. Although they had no jobs lined up, no place to live and very little money, they greatly anticipated their move to Abilene. Why? Well according to Dr. Anthony Roach the answer to this question is a simple one. “Because God was calling us there.” God had led Anthony to Abilene Christian University so that he could pursue his Masters in Ministry and Evangelism. This knowledge however didn’t stop Candyce from crying the entire trip to Abilene. “It was undetermined what we were going to do. We had no place to live, no money, and we were moving so far from home,” Candyce said. “It was a true test of our faith.”So what did they think of Abilene once arriving?They both sum the city up in two words—desert and hot. Abilene may have been a desert, but the Lord provided them with an oasis. He led them to find a place to live, and provided for all their basic needs. Anthony refers to this oasis in one of his sermons titled “A Chicken, Five Dollars, and Faith in God.”Planting the Minda Street Church of Christ SeedDuring 1977-1978, West Texas became the ground for which Anthony had the chance to fulfill the calling of preaching that God revealed to him in Cleveland. He began preaching in outlying towns of Abilene such as Coleman. It was in 1979 when Anthony started consulting with his spiritual advisor and father in the gospel, J.S. Winston, about starting another church work in Abilene. After many deliberations, Anthony felt compelled by the Spirit that planting a church in Abilene was what he supposed to do. Anthony and his wife would drive around daily looking for the location that God would call them to work with permanently. It was during one of these drives that the Roaches happened upon a grey building—an old army barrack—T&P Lane Church of Christ. During further exploration, they found out that the church—which consisted of just two families—was dissolving and in the process of trying to sell their property. The leadership met with Anthony and Candyce in 1979 and agreed to sell them the property at which time a new seed was born: The Minda Street Church of Christ. There were very few who were there in the early days to help fertilize the seed of Minda. Many church services often just consisted of just the Roach family, Anthony and Candyce, and their son Rod who was one and Anthony Jr. who was 3 months at the time. Randy and Lynthia Jackson, Fred and Tanjena Famble, the Leong family were among the first to come and help grow Minda into the church that it is today. There were many men’s work days to fix never ending water leaks, maintain the land, and keep the old building functioning for worship services. When the early members are asked about what times were like back then, many talk about having babies together, baptizing of souls, church potlucks and good community fellowship. But one commonality that surfaces time and again throughout these nostalgic discussions of the good old days was the hard wooden pews. “We use to have to bring pillows to make it through the long church services,” said Lynn Jackson. “Not to mention the splinters.” There were so many that came through back during these times. Many who were around in the beginning may remember Elliott Shelby and Boyd Hayes and his wife. Many who still are members today have witnessed some of Minda’s greatest milestones; the hundreds of souls baptized, the purchase of the land for building, the breaking of new ground, the unfolding of God’s Love Bank, the move into the new building in 1995, the first Singing Extravaganza, and much more. And yes many of us are still here today are here to experience the 30th anniversary of Minda’s existence and many will be around to grow with Minda in the future.
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