TEXAS CITY — Many decades ago, on a bus journeying from Brownwood to Bryan, the self-described “leader of the gang,” then known as Goober, had a Damascus Road-style experience. The impact of a heavenly voice on the young D.N. Benford Sr. has continued through his 69 years of subsequent ministry. Sixty-four of those years have been as the leader of Texas City’s 100-year-old Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, 302 N. Oak St.
“I was 12 years old on that big old Continental bus, and it was noisy and kids were hanging out the windows, and I got this eerie, eerie feeling in my head,” he said. “At first it troubled me; I didn’t know what it was. All the fun I was having just couldn’t override it, so I finally went to the very back of the bus and wrestled with it — I was about to go berserk. Then I heard a voice saying, ‘I want you to preach.’