LINC Gala 2011 - Highlights From The Event

Gala a Success, Helps LINC Raise Support for Expansion in 2012

Attendees enjoy the company and the decor at LINC Houston's 2011 Gala.Each year LINC Houston and its partners in ministry gather together for a high-class gala. Once again the Sheraton Brookhollow played host and provided the upscale backdrop for a wonderful evening for celebrating and supporting the ministry of LINC Houston.

"We have this gala for two reasons" said LINC's Executive Director, Mark Junkans, "to honor individuals dedicated to mission and to celebrate and support LINC's ministry in the city."

With crepe myrtles gracing the tables, fine food for dinner and attendees dressed 'to the nines.' the gala was a top-notch event.

"It's great to get together for an event like this to celebrate the ministry of LINC and do it in fine fashion" said Jon Zoch, an attendee from St. John Lutheran Church.

The evening featured a live auction, a raffle event featuring an iPad2 and night at the Sheraton, a silent auction, live musical performances, local Houston ministry honorees and stories from LINC's mission in the city.

Ling Wang, a graduate of New York University, sang "In Christ Alone" to the delight of all gathered for the event. Ms. Wang is worship leader at LINC's newest mission church, Unveil. The pastor at Unveil, Rev. Ben Gonzales, led the live auction.

"I can pray, I can preach, but a live auction is a whole different game" said Pastor Gonzales.

Still, with the help of the generous crowd Gonzales was able to garner $2,000 worth of donations for a Korean dinner with Mission Director Rev. David Kim and his wife, 30 new tables for LINC's mission center and a new copier for our community services department through the live auction.

Addressing the two hundred plus attendees, Mark Junkans thanked everyone for their gifts and said, "It is absolutely wonderful to have partners in ministry like you."

Looking toward the future Junkans said, "There's a lot more to be done in this city. Thousands of people without hope, living in scarcity, without opportunities and without Jesus."

"So what do we expect to do about this in 2012? Ten new churches, one new community service center and thousands more reached with the message of hope in Christ."

"LINC cannot do this without the help of individuals like you" said Junkans "so thank you for your prayer, your attendance and your continued support."


Faith in Action, a Church with a Mission and a Pastor With a Legacy: LINC's 2011 Gala Honorees

Rev. Harold Heckmann speaks to the crowd after receiving an award for exemplary service to the church and its mission. Those who serve others in ministry rarely enjoy the limelight. Though they be the most deserving of adulation for their kindness and beneficence they often serve in the background, happy to continue their work without recognition.

This year at our 2011 Gala, LINC continued its tradition of honoring dedicated servants active here in our city. This year we honored a church, a ministry group and a pastor who's long ministry gives LINC an example of longevity in the service of Christ.

"Our first honoree for the evening is a church with a long history of mission in Houston" said Rev. Mark Junkans. "St. John Lutheran Church in Cypress has donated generously to LINC Houston and connected with our apartment complex, Christmas toy and Vacation Bible School ministries in the city - for all of this they are honored" he said.

Representing St. John, Diane Bahn accepted the award and said, "We have to thank LINC, it's because of them that we are able to fulfill the call of Acts 1:8 and reach the ends of the earth, even here in Houston."

Another local ministry group, Faith in Action, was honored for their self-starting support of LINC's food pantry ministry. From their own initiative this group, made up of members from St. Timothy Lutheran Church and other Christian fellowships, gathered truckloads of food and non-perishable items to be distributed to those in need through LINC's food pantries.

Gathering on the stage, a representative of the group said, "It is an honor to serve LINC in Christ's name. One day of action can change the lives of people in our city, and it's a real joy to serve in such a way."

The final honoree for the evening was Rev. Harold Heckmann. With over 60 years of ministry and marriage behind him, Rev. Heckmann stands as an example to us all.

"The church stands on the shoulders of individuals like Rev. Heckmann" said Junkans. "They inspire us to serve Christ at all costs."

With experience serving in Idaho and Texas, in German and English and over several decades Rev. Heckmann thanked God for the honor to be at the event and brought smiles and laughter when he recalled a young kid named Mark who talked him a decade ago about starting a new urban ministry in Houston called LINC.

"Now, I am overwhelmed by the ministry being done in Houston" said Rev. Heckmann.

As an example of the faith and service that everyone at LINC admires, Heckmann told the attentive attendees, "Sharing the love of Jesus is as simple as breathing."

"People ask me how to get heaven from Houston" said Heckmann, "I just tell them about Jesus."

LINC wishes to thank all of our honorees for their continued dedication to Christ's church and looks forward to honoring other partners in ministry at our next gala in 2012!