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Jervie, Nilda and the Church that Goes to the People

by Ruth Ann Ruiz
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By Ruth Ann Ruiz

The Post Newspaper Features Editor

“I only went to church when my Grandma made me go,” said Pastor Jervie Windom, who leads his flock as the head pastor at Resonate Church in La Marque, TX. 

Jervie remembers very vividly one Sunday when he was asked to hand the heavy Bible to his grandmother’s minister. 

“The preacher said to my grandma, ‘This young man is going to be preaching God’s word someday,’” Jervie shared as he described his spiritual journey.

At that point, Jervie the kid had no clue what the pastor was talking about, and he had no intention of becoming a minister. What he did know was that loved the time he spent in South Carolina with his grandmother and her country cooking. 

Growing up living in the projects in New York with his mother, Jervie witnessed some violence that he’d like to have never seen. With the twists and turns of his reality and the angst of being a teenager, Jervie began to decline into depression. His life didn’t feel like it was worth living.

One day he tried to take matters into his own hands to bring his misery to an end and jumped off a bridge in South Carolina. 

But teenage Jervie was meant to go on living. He described a tree that had fallen over in a storm that he had not seen before he jumped. The tree in the water broke his fall and a passerby helped him to safety. His excursion into the tree in the water was kept a secret between him and the stranger.

 He joined the Army out of high school. While in the Army, he realized he would need some counseling. 

“I learned with the counselor how much I needed to tell my story and how much other people needed to hear my story,’ Pastor Jervie said. 

He continues to attend counseling sessions with a mental health professional.

Not only did he get mental health care he also turned his life over to God. After he found salvation, he began to share his new found faith with others.

“I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I was out being a street preacher. I wanted everyone to know that Jesus loves them,” Pastor Jervie shared. 

While in the Army, he completed a bachelor’s and master’s degrees and met his wife Nilda, who herself was serving in the Army. 

Nilda and he realized they were kindred spirits, each of them carrying the weight of things that they had experienced in their lives and each sharing a love of God and love of people. 

Nilda is from New Jersey and though she was honorably discharged from the Army, she continued the trail of Army life with Jervie, who was still on active duty. During one of his tours in Texas, they discovered Galveston County and the quaint little towns nestled just off I-45.-

They fell in love with La Marque. The town was close enough to the ocean, close enough to the big city (Houston) and country enough for them to feel like they were going to put down roots once their Army days were over. 

Jervie had started three churches while serving in the Army. He and Nilda determined they would go out on missions rather than start a new church once they were both out of the Army. 

But God called them to live in Galveston County and God called them to plant another church. This time Pastor Jarvie wouldn’t be moving away.

“We love it here. The people are so welcoming, and we don’t plan to move,” the couple shared. 

They bring to the ministry their unique backgrounds. While he copes with ongoing depression, she battles symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Both are unashamed to share their stories of living through circumstances that created a need for mental health support. 

That’s their story but what is the story of the church they founded in 2018? The first part of the story is that the infant church made it through the pandemic. 

Another part of the story is that services were originally held at St George’s Episcopal Church in Texas City. Then Resonate merged with Living Faith Assembly of God in La Marque, and now Sunday services are held at an Interstate 45 address. 

The third part to the story of growing their church was the realization that church wasn’t always in a church building. Jervie and Nilda believe that while the building and Sunday services are important, there is more than one way to reach people with God’s message of love.

“I had to deconstruct my concept of what a church should be when we began Resonate. We needed to take the church to the people who need us,” Pastor Jarvie shared.

He compares himself to the tree in the water that prevented him from ending his life as a 15-year-old.

 “I want to be like that tree that saved me, and if I wait for people to come to the church, then they might take a jump and I won’t be where they need me to be,” he explained. 

Going to the people as ministers can take all kinds of different forms, but the Bible is always part of the ministry outreach. On Monday mornings, Pastor Jervie meets with real estate agents in Seabrook and leads a church service. 

Most Sunday afternoons he and other leaders from the church are providing Bible studies and church services to patients/residents at Phoenix Post Acute Care in Texas City. Once a week, he and his co-workers at the church bring God’s word to former inmates who are living in a half-way house. On Fridays, he leads a Bible study in Galveston. 

“We do a lot of in-home Bible studies, and we meet with people for fellowship for coffee or lunch on a regular basis,” Nilda added.

In total, the couple estimates they have 20 outreach ministries. 

Without a doubt, both Jervie and Nilda agree, their own lives filled with difficulties and trauma have guided them as they reach out to minister to others who may also have had a number of painful experiences in their lives. 

Both share God’s love as living examples of love and compassion, and both are committed to going to the people rather than waiting for the people to come to church. 

One of Resonate’s outreach ministries that is near and dear to Nilda is Night to Shine. This year’s event will be held at College of the Mainland on February 9. This is the second year the church is sponsoring the international event. Night to Shine is a prom-like experience for people with special needs. If you know of someone who might want to attend the event, or you would like to support the event, you are invited to reach out to Nilda at info@resonatetexas.org

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