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Celebrating the Zook family legacy with El Mesias
Bishop Dorff (second from right) joins the Rev. Zook’s grandchildren, (l-r) Margaret Zook Wauson, Sam Zook, Don Zook, Bob Zook, and Lois Zook Wauson. (Inset) Rev. Samuel Zook
It was a beautiful sunny day in Floresville. On June 7, El Mesias Methodist Church celebrated their 100-year anniversary in the Floresville Event Center. My family and I were excited to be there. My grandfather, Rev. Samuel Zook, was the founder of the church. He and my grandmother were missionaries who came from the Rio Grande Valley, originally from Topeka, Kansas.
There were 16 of our Zook family there. The congregation had planned for a year for this important day. We walked into the room an hour before the service and there was already a crowd of people gathered around the exhibits, which included hundreds of pictures on posters, which were from decades ago, showing the historical events and the people of El Mesias. Elizabeth Lopez, the historian of the church and longtime member, and Lillie Ortiz, also a longtime member, were the ones who worked mostly on this project throughout this last year. They are two dedicated and hard-working women.
The first collections of pictures were from the original time, and there were portraits of my grandpa and grandma. And also a picture was of the house on the land that my grandpa bought, which was on the corner of Trail and Second streets. It made me connected to this church and the people. When El Mesias Methodist Church was born, when the church was at the corner of B and Second Street, they moved later to the property on Trail and Second, which I think my grandfather sold to them, and they moved out to the farm in the Camp Ranch community.
I was so proud to be sitting there with all my family and to think my grandfather started it all. I felt so much love from the people in El Mesias Church.
Around 200 people were in the service, which was led by Rev. Briones and lay leader Daniel Tejada. Elizabeth Lopez read the history of the church, which was more than 100 years, including the years before 1914, when my grandfather came to Floresville in 1905, and in 1908 started going among the people in the Lodi community and across the river to the Picosa community and preaching to the people under a big oak tree. Bishop Dorff was the speaker, and he encouraged us to go out like Grandpa Zook did, and tell the people about Jesus.
After the service, about 150 people gathered for dinner and my family of 16 Zooks had to sit at two big round tables, because they only seated 10. So like we do at home, the “old” folks sat at one table and the “young” folks sat at a table in the corner away from us, just like we do at home.
After dinner, Rev. Briones brought Bishop Dorff over to meet the grandchildren of Rev. Samuel Zook. That anniversary was the highlight of my year. Every time I drive by El Mesias Methodist Church, I can imagine I see the old brick two-story home that my grandparents lived in with my daddy and his brothers and sisters. I am glad that Christians are still on that land, carrying the legacy on for another 100 years.
Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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