The Orange Leader
Two weeks each month the Texas Baptist Men Retiree Church Builders build a church in Texas.
The group is part of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and just one part of the Builders program.
When the group arrived last Monday there was a concrete slab showing the location of the new church for Korean Baptist Church located at 12887 Interstate 10 East in Orange. Now just a week later, there is the shape of the new building with sides going up.
This church is not being built by just anyone. It is being built by the Texas Baptist Men Retiree Church Builders. The age average of the group is 74, with at least four men over 85 years old.
Retiree Church Builders Coordinator Ron Beard said he works with the churches prior to the groups arrival to help with the steps in the process so the church is prepared for the builders arrival.
“Sometimes is it 2 months to 2 years,” Beard said. “We worked with this church for two years.”
Beard, who retired from Texas A&M in 2005, said he has always had construction in his blood.
“I love to hammer stuff. My wife helped build a barn with me,” Beard said. “I have always had missionary in my heart.”
Beard said the group is like family. The group spends two weeks building and two weeks at home.
“We have professors, railroad men, oil men and farmers,” Beard said. “We come from all walks of life.”
The wives have their part as well. They will work on craft items to give as gifts for missionary efforts as well as new items for the church kitchens.
“I love it. We are one big happy family,” Anne Beard said. “I enjoy meeting people at the new churches.”
Ann also said that many times they do not get to come back to see the completed building or the dedication.
The Beards have worked on 40-50 projects since retiring.
The group has constructed more than 400 churches in 20 years according to the Texas Baptist Men website.
“We get to see the state in ways we never would wee otherwise,” Marge Oney said. “We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.”