The Jesus Hope and Love Mission Church on North Fourth Street in Killeen held its eighth annual New Year’s Day lunch Monday.

Pastor Steve Chae, who also serves as the mission’s director, said they do this every year in order to “serve the community, and to serve the people. ... Whoever is in need is welcome.”

Chae said that to him, the cold weather Monday morning was a blessing, as it enabled him and his volunteers to serve his fellow man on an even greater scale.

This year, for the first time, his Mission Church opened its doors early for breakfast at 9 a.m., and then followed with luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., though the doors weren’t physically closed until 2 p.m., allowing for just a little extra time indoors.

Between meals, the mission ran the movie “Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story.”

“I am a pastor. I am a minister, but we (the Mission Church and volunteers) are here to open relationships, and to let people know they are not alone,” Chae said.

One man, Brandon, whose last name is not given here out of privacy, stays at a local homeless shelter, and said he comes every Sunday for services, then tries to give back in his own way by staying later and helping Chae where he can.

“Pastor Steve tries to feed everyone, at least once a week,” Brandon said, during the holidays, and up to four or more times per week after the holidays.

For instance, Brandon said, dinner is served every Monday and Thursday, lunch every Saturday, and breakfast at least once per week, before services on Sundays.

He added that being a part of Chae’s Mission Church really does foster a sense of fellowship.

“You might not think you have anything in common with anyone, but then you talk to them, and you find out you do,” Brandon said, and gives Chae the credit for this.

Rosanna Brown attends a different church, but is one of many who volunteers at the Jesus Hope and Love Mission Church.

For the last three years, she has donated her time helping to prepare and serve meals for the homeless.

“I love helping, serving. ... This is a blessed place to come,” Brown said. About that feeling of feeling of fellowship and connection that Brandon mentioned, she said, “When people come together, they can see their pastor encouraging them.”

The Jesus Hope and Love Mission Church will be opening a transition house in the coming year where women will be able to train with various businesses within the community, and work toward permanent employment.

“I see the love, the caring, and the heart of the people operating this ministry,” Brown said.

Donations for the Jesus Hope and Love Ministry Church can be sent to P.O. Box 1595, Killeen, TX, 76540.

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