By: Bryce Hantla
Greetings and peace from Houston, Texas, the most diverse city in the United States (Kinder Houston Area Survey, p. 19)! Houstonians often say that instead of “Go”-ing to all the world, God has brought the world to us. In fact, Southwest Houston has only a 4.8 percent “white population” (Statistical Atlas, #21), and it is not uncommon for us to hear four or five languages while walking through our neighborhood grocery store. In fact, the cul-de-sac in which we live is just as diverse as the city itself, and our cookouts are a beautiful celebration of God’s color palette and sense of celebration.
I serve as the director of institutional effectiveness at the College of Biblical Studies-Houston (CBS), which is officially set in the Ghandi District of Southwest Houston. Here, we have a true sense of kingdom diversity as we educate a primarily African American and Hispanic student population, offering full English- and Spanish- language programs. We have more than 41 ethnic groups represented among our alumni. I have been proud to serve here over the course of the last three years and recently helped CBS get through its SACSCOC reaffirmation with a great report.
God has blessed the Bible study groups in which my wife Katie and I minister, but we have been led to minister to a number of married couples who have struggled with infidelity in the past and even in their current situations. In addition, because of the great diversity of this area, there are a number of challenges stemming from anti-biblical worldviews that these individuals come from, in their families and from their home cultures. These cultures chauvinistically objectify women, idolize American materialism (often out of a negative reaction toward their own impoverished condition) and can be violently abusive in their domestic settings. We have seen first-hand God deliver people out of these harmful worldviews through bathing them in the Word and supernaturally allowing people to discern their own deceived perspectives through the work of the Holy Spirit. Please pray for more deliverance of families in this way.
On a larger scale, because of the high volume of immigrants traveling through Houston and surrounding areas, Houston is one of largest human trafficking hubs in the nation, and my college is set about five miles north of one of these hotbeds for the city. Our church Sugar Creek Baptist Church has held powerful prayers vigils in this area, but more prayer and workers are needed to deliver this city from the darkness of human trafficking.
If you’re looking for a vibrant city that is full of people who may not look like you but love Jesus like you, I would encourage you to consider joining us in Houston. As a large urban context, Houston is an ideal location for applying your Southeastern education by launching into a foreign context right in the U.S. People frequently sign up with apartment complexes as “chaplains” to minister to the immigrant populations living in their complexes, so continue to pursue God’s call to “Go” by starting here.