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Harvest Ministries executive director has long family ties to Roswell

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Mark Green

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

An undated photo of the Parquay Food Store in Roswell, which later became Horne’s. The store had a big, round soda fountain in the center, and the top of the building had a revolving disk that displayed advertisements. Rev. Mark Green’s father worked in the store when it was Horne’s and now Green works in the same building as executive director of Harvest Ministries. (Photo courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico)

For Rev. Mark Green, executive director of Harvest Ministries, bagging groceries is in his blood. Seventy years ago, his father, Marshall Loyd Green, was a bagger at Horne’s Grocery Store at 601 N. Main Street when he was a teenager. That very same octagon-shaped building is now home to Harvest Ministries, which assists around 400 people a month by providing food, showers and laundry facilities.

That number only represents the people who come in through the front door. The ministry serves about the same number through other agencies it’s connected with. A large cross section of its clients are homeless and/or veterans. Altogether, the ministry served over 11,000 individuals and distributed more than 600,000 pounds of food in 2017.

“Now I’m the one in the family who’s bagging groceries,” said Green, who will be celebrating his fifth anniversary with Harvest Ministries in July.

Knowing how to speak both Spanish and English fluently is a big plus for someone who has as much contact with the public as Green. But his linguistic skills don’t stop there. He can speak conversational French, Hebrew and Western African Pidgin.

Green studied Spanish at the Instituto de Lengua Española (the Spanish Language Institute) in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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His travels as a minister have taken him all over the world. “Whenever I travel around I always try to learn some of the language.”

Green is a graduate of Southwestern Junior College and Southwestern Assemblies of God, in Waxahachie, Texas.

Green was born in Waxahachie and his family moved to Roswell when he was 2. When he was 7, his family moved back to Waxahachie so his father could find work. When the family lived in Roswell, his father worked as a welder on the missile silos. But when the Walker Air Force Base closed, Roswell was hit hard economically and Green’s family felt the pinch.

Both of his father’s grandparents were homesteaders. “We have roots here over 100 years,” he said.

One of Green’s grandfathers, Loyd Green, moved to New Mexico in 1914 in a covered wagon and homesteaded near Bledsoe, Texas, with 100 head of cattle. A story about Loyd was published in the Roswell Daily Record in 1997.

Green and his wife, LaVonne, have four adult children and eight grandchildren.

Green said his job at Harvest Ministries has similarities to his former jobs as a pastor and a chaplain.

“I moved here from New Jersey in 2001 to be the race track chaplain at Rudioso Downs,” he said.

He also worked as a chaplain at the tracks in Sunland Park in El Paso, Texas, and the Zia Park Racetrack in Hobbs.

Green said he worked at the tracks for 13 years. One responsibility to was holding “cowboy church” services in both Spanish and English on Sunday.

But along with that, there was a much higher calling. While the horse owners were often millionaires or even billionaires, many of the people who worked at the tracks were poor and lived in the tack rooms.

“Even when I was a pastor I worked with the poor or the needy culture,” Green said.

That’s where Pastor Phillip “Ruby” Rubinstein comes into the picture.

Rubinstein was the former executive director of Harvest Ministries and Green would pick up food there to deliver to the needy people at the tracks.

“I had known Ruby for a long time,” Green said. “One day he said, ‘Mark I am going to retire and I want you to take my place.’ I prayed for a month and decided to take the job.”

Rubinstein passed away about a year and a half ago.

Green added that in the past he has filled in as pastor at Waymaker Church.

Besides his work at Harvest Ministries, Green is active with the Roswell Homeless Coalition.

Before receiving its status as a 501(c)(3), the Homeless Coalition was an outreach of Harvest Ministries.

After some back and forth with the city, the coalition has been able to set up shelters for both men and and women at the Rivers of Life Outreach on East Bland Street.

“We are focusing on the shelters,” Green said. “The problem is there are some people who can’t make the transition for sleeping outside to sleeping inside next to another person.”

He said a lot of homeless have mental health issues.

“They will always need our help for the rest of our lives,” he said.

Green said his favorite Bible verse is Genesis 1-1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

“God has a plan for all of us,” Green said. “His plan for me is to be at Harvest. I love God and I love people.”

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.