Olney celebrates Jesus with parade, revival
Hundreds of citizens from Olney and beyond gathered this weekend to celebrate the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Saturday kicked off a weekend of events celebrating Jesus Christ beginning with Saturday morning’s March for Jesus, which Event Organizer Verma Fobbs said brought in from throughout the region to participate.
“When God called me in 1998, I gave up and start the running and surrendered to Jesus in 1999. That is when it started,” Fobbs said. “It has grown every year. When it first stopped, I had a few starters. Now, it has grown. People are coming from as far as Midland, Dallas, various places. It speaks volumes to see God’s people are coming together. Instead of being a standoff, we’re standing together.”
Saturday’s event drew hundreds of participants with floats from various local organizations. Despite coming from multiple denominations, Fobbs said the message of Saturday’s parade was the same: celebrating Jesus Christ.
“That’s what it’s all about. It’s awesome,” Fobbs said. “It’s all about the cross and understanding what Jesus did at the cross. He paid the price for all of us. It’s not just a church or organization. It’s a church of Christ or else it’s no church at all.”
A day later, citizens continued the weekend of celebration with a community-wide revival on a stretch of land just off Main Street in Olney. First Baptist Church Pastor Chad Edgington said he was pleased with the turnout.
“I didn’t know if we would have 10 or 100 people. It looks like we have over 200 people, so amen,” Edgington said.
One of those in attendance was Evangelist Rick Vasquez, whose first stop after being released from prison was in Olney. He worked in Olney with Tower Extrusions as an assistant in human resources. Vasquez considered the time he spent in Olney as a pivotal moment in his life.
“When I remember Olney, I remember people loving me when I was unlovable,” Vasquez said. “... I applied at Tower for a job. I had been working for my dad for two months and he didn’t want to pay me.”
Vasquez said he felt he never lived up to his father’s expectations and it showed when his father refused to pay Vasquez for his labor. Before his father died, Vasquez said he received confirmation from his father on how far he had come when he said the Vasquez three words: I love you.
“They found him face-down in the driveway and took him to the hospital,” Vasquez said. “They thought it was a heart attack, but it was a massive stroke. Do you know what his last words to me were?”
After accepting the position with Tower, Vasquez soon devoted his life to God full-time, and soon left for Southwestern Baptist Seminary. He has since preached across the country and internationally.