Hornsby

Brandi Bakker, left, daughter of Jim Hornsby, receives an American flag during a memorial service Saturday for Hornsby in Temple.

Love was the theme of a Saturday morning memorial service for James Hornsby at Feed My Sheep, 112 W. Avenue G.

Hornsby, who served for many years as director of Churches Touching Lives for Christ and Feed My Sheep, died June 30.

“He was just a very loving man,” said his granddaughter, Sydney Sanders of Holland. “You can see the magnitude of the love he gave just by all the people that are here.”

The Rev. Elwyn Johnston, pastor of Bethel Church, opened the service with a prayer, and paraphrasing the first chapter of the Gospel of John, said Hornsby was a man sent from God.

“We pray that this community will know Jesus Christ,” he said. “Today we point people to Christ and say he must increase but we must decrease.”

Staci Masson, interim director of Feed My Sheep, called Hornsby her mentor and friend.

“He was like a father to me,” she said.

She recounted some of Hornsby’s past, and said that in his younger days in Florida he “was meaner than a snake.” But in 1984, after a pastor witnessed to Hornsby’s mother on her deathbed, he accepted Christ as his savior, Masson said.

From the first, he decided to be a doer, she said. He enrolled in Florida Bible College in Kissimmee, and graduated salutatorian. After moving to Texas, he felt the call of God to plant churches in Romania, and started working with gypsies.

“He was asked, ‘Do you know who these people are?’” Masson said he answered: “Yes, and Jesus does too.”

Stephen Ponder, a pediatrician at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center, said he and Hornsby got together in the summer of 2015. Out of that talk grew a children’s free medical clinic at Feed My Sheep, which has since spread over Bell County.

“This was just one of Jim’s accomplishments,” he said. “In every sense of the word, Jim was a good shepherd. His concern was always the well-being of others. He had the servant’s heart.”

Hornsby once opened up about some of his own personal struggles, Ponder said. “I used to be a hater, but God turned that hate into love,” he told him.

“Jim made a difference, and he wants us to make a difference,” Ponder said. “The problems our community faces are still here, but thanks to Jim they have been ground down.”

Dorree Collins, director of the Un-Included Club said she received vital encouragement from Hornsby to continue being obedient to God in her area of service.

Gil Hollie, afterschool education coordinator for Temple schools, described Hornsby as “a hardworking, caring and very thoughtful person.”

“He was not soft-spoken,” he said. “He let you know what was on his mind. Sometimes he let you know what was on your mind. He wore so many hats and so many titles. But most of all he was my friend.”

Jeff Stegall, club director of Ralph Wilson Youth Club, said everyone knew how tirelessly Hornsby worked.

“We all know how hard he fought for those people in the world that nobody cared about,” he said.

But something else about him was his vision, Stegall said, his ability to see others who were hurting and hungry and ways to help them.

“How can we truly honor the life that was Jim Hornsby?” he said. “Let’s check our own vision.”