In 1990, Mike Fechner enjoyed the material comfort of a millionaire entrepreneur. He shrewdly leveraged several advantages this country prizes so highly. White. Affluent. Healthy. Educated. Married. Privileged. Meanwhile, he attended church regularly, tithed faithfully, loved his family, and led the kind of upright life expected of good Christian men. Most would say Mike had it all--spiritual and tangible blessings in abundance--yet he knew something was missing. When he met Velma Mitchell, he encountered the missing "something" he longed to experience.
Velma was, in many ways, Mike’s opposite. Black. Poor. A single mother struggling physically and financially. Disadvantaged by the same America that gave Mike endless opportunities. Yet, for all her difficulties, Mike saw in Velma a trust in Jesus Christ that defied her circumstances. Velma prayed with a kind of faith and fervency that Mike had only read about. Velma fasted--she voluntarily gave up food for the sake of knowing her Savior intimately. Velma possessed something Mike desperately wanted for himself.
While Mike and Velma shared a common bond in Jesus Christ, a centuries-old cultural divide stood between them. Fortunately, a teenage boy helped bridge the racial and economic chasm. As Mike began mentoring Velma’s son, Romon, a bond of trust began to form. As the months passed, Ramon became like one of Mike’s own children, and Velma like a sister. Soon, the two began to see opportunities to bring blessing to their respective communities--wealthy North Dallas and impoverished South Dallas. If this racial, economic, cultural, and geographic divide could be bridged, both communities would experience the same mutual blessing Mike and Velma had discovered. Meanwhile, the bond between Romon and Mike grew deep and strong.
On September 5th, 1992, Romon was shot and killed in a random drive-by shooting. His neighborhood, known to Dallas locals as Bonton, was notorious for drugs and violent crime. In fact, that same night, others were either killed or wounded by the same gunman.
Romon’s death became a catalyst. The tragedy galvanized the resolve of Mike and Velma to see the poverty and violence of Bonton give way to "hope in salvation." Consequently, they formed the ministry known today as H.I.S. Bridgebuilders with singular compelling desire: to join God in His mission to transform urban communities for His glory. While this organization has grown from two people to more than eighty, and we now minister in eight cities globally, and we have expanded to address a variety of needs, our original calling remains central to everything we do.
H.I.S. BridgeBuilders is a movement of God uniting Christians across cities to restore urban communities through education, health, economic and spiritual development.