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Mayor-Prayer-Lunch---118MISSION — Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas said Mission is a Christian community and the event is to honor all the churches and to pray together.

Salinas, at the annual Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon on May 5, said the council does so much for the fast growing community and the police department has been able to work with other agencies to provide a safer community.

“Thank God we have been able to do everything we said we were going to,” Salinas said. “All we need is to stay together and keep praying together and keep working together so we can all build together.”

Salinas praised the hard work of city employees, including the police department, fire department, public works, and the county sheriff’s office.

Steve McCraw, director of Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), was the keynote speaker.

Daniel Sanchez, recording vocalist and member of Intocable, and the Sharyland Treble Choir opened the luncheon with music.

Pastor Cathy Garcia, from World Center Church, told Salinas, “We hope that you know, that it’s not just on the National Day of Prayer, or the day that we host the Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon, but throughout the year, every day of the year, there are people in this great community that pray for you. It’s not just today.”

Garcia introduced McCraw, explaining he started with DPS in 1977 as a trooper. In 1983, he started working for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), serving in Dallas, Pittsburg, Washington, D.C. and many other areas of the United States. McCraw retired from the FBI in 2004 and became the Texas Homeland Security Officer for five years. He has been in his current position since August 2009.

20110505-Mayors-Prayer-Lunch-021McCraw commended the hard work of Mission Police Chief Leo Longoria and Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño and their willingness to work together with DPS.

“There’s something unusually inspiring and humbling of being in charge of an organization of 8,618 men and women that gladly sacrifice daily their lives to protect someone else,” McCraw said of his department. “To be with them, it is inspiring. They sacrifice not just in terms with their lives at times, but also being away from their families and friends. It’s always blessed to be in this position. I am very thankful that the Lord has blessed me with this job.”

McCraw said he didn’t always have the Lord in his life, explaining his mother was a drug addict, his father passed away while he was in high school and he was adopted by a family and moved to El Paso.

“That family taught me a lot about religion, and not just talking about it, but with seven kids, inviting one more kid that, oh by the way, used to go through a box of corn flakes at breakfast, and not a wealthy family, in fact a poor family,” he said. But because of Christian values and through prayer he said he was able to graduate from high school and move on. “That’s why I am here today.”

McCraw said he’s thankful that he has a second in command that also has Jesus in his life and he prays for families unabashedly.

He said the department has dramatically changed since 1935, and even in the past couple of years, because of national security and the economy.

“Right now the enemy of Mexico is our enemy,” he said.

Because of the thirst for money, he said, Mexico has lost almost a whole generation of people in deaths due to drug violence.

“This is the environment that our friends to the south are living [in] right now. Security is compromised,” he said. “We are mindful that they need to succeed. Their success is our success.”

He said the U.S. Border Patrol, even though they do a great job, are under-resourced, and until the borders are secure, the border will continue to be an area for drug and human trafficking. This is organized crime now, he said.

“We are a law and order state. We’re not giving up a square foot of Texas to thugs and criminals and cartel villains. We’re not. ‘Cause you won’t stand for it,” he said. “We’ll risk whatever it takes to get the job done.”

McCraw ended saying all law enforcement are team players and care about the citizens.

“There’s no question we can do it,” he said.

Eliud Garcia, pastor at World Center Church, presented McCraw with a painting of La Lomita Chapel, giving a brief history of the name Mission, being a place of refuge and safety.

“We continue to pray that the City of Mission would be a beacon of light and hope to our region, to the lost, the broken and the needy,” Garcia said. “We serve a big God. All things are possible here in the Valley.”

Adrian Varlack, pastor of First Baptist Church, who moved with his family to Mission four years ago, said God called him to be a leader and when you are a leader, you have to make tough decisions.

He told Salinas that he prays for him daily and invites the city to pray for God’s wisdom, grace, strength and power to be in the mayor’s life.

Pastor Obed Jimenez, of El Divino Redentor, reminded attendees that last year the city was asked to pray for 40 days. This year, the pastors of the community are asking that the community pray daily for the City of Mission, its leaders, administration and all those in the city.

“Prayer changes things,” Jimenez said. “God answers prayers and we would like for every believer in Mission to join us.”

The community is invited to visit the website and join the group on Facebook.

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