From our Gala program: THE GREAT COMMISSION AWARD
“I want to kick-off the evening’s celebration by honoring a board member with The Great Commission Award. This award is ordinarily given to individuals who trained with The Elijah Challenge and who advanced the Great Commission in his or her ministry. This year, we are honoring Mark Upchurch as a faithful board member of The Elijah Challenge.
Mark Allen Upchurch was an active board member of The Elijah Challenge Board of Directors. He was called home to the Lord on September 16, 2020. He is survived by his daughter, her mother, his brother and his father. He attended Sweetwater Church in Sugar Land, Texas. He was truly an advocate for the work of The Elijah Challenge and spent countless hours volunteering his time and talents to spread the Gospel to everyone he encountered. He will be missed.”
Eulogy from Rev. Samuel Ramos
“Mark loved his family. He loved his friends. Beyond that Mark was soul winner. He loved ministry and helping people. He was very generous and selfless when it came to people, especially the poor and downtrodden. Mark was on the board of The Elijah Challenge Ministry. He loved it. Every year the ministry has a gala fundraiser and Mark and I would reserve two tables and invite 10 guests each. We met for dinner a few days before his demise to discuss the coming gala and who we should invite.
I met Mark at New Life Church in Houston 2006. Our pastor was Dusty Kemp. Mark and I were head ushers and personally assisted Dusty in his services. I learned very quickly that Mark was a very hard worker, but he also knew how to have fun. He was adventurous and loved to travel. He loved outdoor activities. But there was nothing more that he loved than God, family, friends, and people.
There was woman at New Life Church who honestly looked like a homeless person. Mark had so much compassion that he befriended and began picking her up for church. You had to see it to understand. Donna riding to church in a convertible corvette with the biggest smile and Mark with the same smile on his face that could be seen from the back of head. He was so happy to see Donna so happy. He didn’t do this a couple of times. He did it for probably about two years.
There was another woman he found out about a church member who did not have air-conditioning for over two years. She kept mold from developing inside her home and on her furniture by wiping the entire inside of the house with vinegar. His heart was so broken. He said he could not sleep in his house with ac knowing she is sweating herself to sleep. So he bought her a brand new ac unit and had it installed and the duct work and vents replaced. Mark asked others if they would like to contribute and many did. I contributed as well, but Mark paid for 80% of the total cost out of his pocket.
It’s because of Mark that I am in ministry today. There would be times he would say, why are you still working for a company? You should have been in ministry a long time ago. You know I am going to keep hammering you until you step out into ministry. Mark also supported the ministry generously with his finances, time, and prayers.
We were ordained together by Charles and Frances Hunter Ministries.”