WAXAHACHIE

Soma Waxahachie has regularly met for the past two years and the congregation is now prepared to serve the community. The small group of 35 already have a project in the works to start the city-wide movement: #morelikeheaven.

Josh Elsom is the pastor of the new congregation and is currently organizing a project to transform a local family’s home recently damaged by a house fire. He envisions the members and those who benefit from the projects to eventually start a citywide movement of assisting neighbors.

The idea behind the congregation sparked from the Soma Church Elsom was involved with in Tacoma, Washington. There, the church would host quarterly service projects and community events. He has taken that idea and expanded it to his community in eastern Waxahachie.

“My family lives just off of the square on the east side, so we personally have a calling,” Elsom said. “We did choose to move downtown for a couple of reasons, and one of them is that we wanted proximity to the diversity that surrounds the square.”

He compared the service projects to Habitat for Humanity, saying those who are helped with eventually pay it forward too.

“When we help them, we’re also going to be enlisting them for future help. We are going to take the same idea — we are going to help you, but that’s not where it’s going to end. We want you to participate with us. By us helping you, we are not just showing you, love, we also want you to show love to other people,” Elsom elaborated.

Soma Waxahachie needs more monetary and physical donations, as well as volunteers to help with the projects. Elsom is currently working on partnering up with other churches and individuals to jump on their #morelikeheaven social media campaign.

THE FIRST PROJECT

After flames engulfed their house three years ago, one Waxahachie family is still finding ways to fill a home with enough clothes and furniture to support their nine children.

Elsom began to mentor one of the children not too long after the fire. The two were introduced by Elsom's wife, Dana, who serves on the board of Common Ground Ministry. He had no idea of the family's struggles or of the devastation.

“As I got to know [him], I got to know his family and their story. Their house burnt down and they lost everything,” Josh recalled. He knew their story had to be told, so he created a social media campaign to spread their story on a website and with the hashtag #morelikeheaven.

In a video created by Elsom, he talks with one of the children and references the burns on the right side of her face. She is now eight years old.

In the video, the mother, explains that the daughter has become more accustom to the scars and “isn’t ashamed of it.”

Doctors suggested for the child to undergo a skin graph procedure, but the family does not have the money for treatment.

Right now, the members of Soma Waxahachie are making sure the family’s material needs are met.

“It’s more than just trying to find them beds and dressers. It’s more about them experiencing the love of the city,” Elsom explained.

On April 7, members of Soma Waxahachie will semi-renovate the family's residence with fresh paint, upgraded appliances, and hope to fill the closets of the nine children. Elsom said he hopes to make it like an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and send the family on an excursion — if Soma has the additional funds.

Elsom has received a queen size bed, two dressers and a refrigerator for the home, as of Wednesday.

The congregation is still in need of an electric stove, ceiling fans and two toy boxes of toys. Elsom said the most substantial necessities are clothes and shoes for boys and girls, ranging from toddlers to teenagers.

For a complete list of sizes, visit www.somawaxahachie.com/blog/dermiyah.

Members of Soma Waxahachie will spread the word during their second annual Easter on the Eastside neighborhood party from 6 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24. The event will be located at 110 Kaufman St. in Waxahachie.

Members of Soma Waxahachie meet at Straight from Philly every Sunday for coffee at 10 a.m. and worship at 10:30 a.m.

Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450