Ministering Faithfully to Young People in Garland, Texas

Roger Jonker

While many in their seventies are happy just to be able to attend church, Cookie, soon to be 75, pastors one. She leads Street Church in Garland and is director of D-Boy Ministries, a ministry named in memory of her son, who was murdered in 1990. The aim of both ministries is to help teenagers find new life in Christ. Cookie has over 30 years of experience in urban outreach programs, and when she ministers it’s with authority. After all, Jesus transformed her from a drug addict to a preacher.

Cookie knows the name of every young person in her reach, as well as their story. This makes them feel important; it may be the only time they get that much attention. In turn, the kids respect and love Cookie. During worship time, they aren’t ashamed to open their hearts and voices freely. Teenage boys and girls singing with hands lifted is beautiful to behold.   

30-year-old Ana tells of Cookie’s important role in her life. Ana has known her since she was 15. Since then, she says, she jumped back and forth between faith in God and living for the world, but Cookie was always there for her. Never judging Ana, Cookie always welcomed her “back home.” Now Ana has brought her own kids and other family members to Street Church to hear about Jesus. Cookie makes it a safe place for prodigals to return. 

Cookie is living proof that God alone determines who he’ll use and that age is merely a number. He doesn't qualify anyone based on their abilities, gifts, or decades on the earth—only on whether they’re a willing vessel, like Cookie. She’s a picture of the strength that God gives to those who love him: “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Cookie has been on World Challenge’s radar screen since the early days of Teen Challenge in New York City. We are honored that God has allowed us to support her in ministry over the years. Thank you, also, for your help in assisting powerful ministries like Cookie’s as she continues to reach those who need Jesus. 

Cookie and late husband were involved in anti-gang violence programs in Dallas. There son was a gifted rapper. Rapt about gang life and about faith in God. He was a counselor and tutor at the outreach center.