Bulletin Staff Report

BANGS — What began as a church mission has blossomed into a community project — and more.

First Baptist Church of Bangs is sponsoring the trip to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona this month, but donations for the small Baptist church there have been coming from people of all faiths, and from throughout Texas.

“It’s really coming together,” Teresa Contreras, church member, said Monday. “Donations are coming from others churches as far away as Beaumont and everybody in the community. We are still interested in hearing from anyone who wants to go to Arizona.”

Church members are hoping a group of about 50 volunteers will be traveling to the Arizona reservation July 21-28 to do major repairs and renovation to the church building. Projects planned include replacing the floor, installing a steeple, making minor roof repairs and refurbishing the kitchen and restrooms.

“We’re going to have a kitchen shower for the church, and anything and everything is needed,” Contreras said. The shower will be held at 6 p.m. today at the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church of Bangs.

A garage sale had been planned last weekend, but congregation’s efforts were diverted to assist a church family whose home and its contents were destroyed by fire last week. Even so, contributions of $750 for the mission project were received.

“We really need donations of floor tile,” Contreras said. “It doesn’t matter what color it is, because we’re planning to do a mosaic.”

Gifts of any amount of money will help the project, but major donors have also helped with contributions of kitchen cabinets, an air-conditioning unit, playground equipment and a church steeple. The church will travel with vans and trailers provided by the Heart of Texas Baptist Association.

The Apache reservation with 9,500 people covers 2,910 square miles. Almost 60 percent of its population live below the poverty level.