In just 11 days all eyes will be on Kentucky for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, commonly known as the greatest two minutes in sports.
Over 160,000 will make their way to the Bluegrass for this event. Parties, celebrities, hats, mint juleps, betting, the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home,” the race itself, the garland of roses, and the trophy presentation in the winner’s circle are all a part of this first leg of the Triple Crown. Much excitement is in the air.
Kentucky is horse country for sure. And, while people come from all around the world and spends thousands and thousands of dollars on this one weekend, out across our state there are many lesser known horses and lesser known owners that are making a difference in lives far beyond what the Derby brings. In equestrian ministries throughout Kentucky boys, girls, men, and women hear the Gospel message and their lives are changed forever.
Missionary Chris Clarke, from Nortonville (Hopkins County), directs Happy Trails Ministry where he leads worship services at horse shows. Chris shares (many times on horseback) about Five Building Blocks of Faith (Believe, Faith, Trust, Obedience, Surrender) and uses the horse to demonstrate each building block. Chris also plays guitar and leads music, each service ending with the singing of “Happy Trails to You.” In addition to the horse shows, Chris pastors Kentucky Lake Cowboy Church in Marshall County, KY. Chris has shared about people who have come to know the Lord through these services.
In Letcher County, The Stables at Creekside Glen, directed by Drew & Leah Baldwin, is a ministry that uses horses as the platform to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This ministry hosts week-long camps, individual riding lessons, trail rides, carriage rides, and have teamed up with a local elementary school to help students with autism how to care for and ride horses. For more information on The Stables at Creekside Glen, go to http://meridzo.com/stables-at-creekside-2/.
Russell Creek & Lynn Baptist Association Director of Missions Wilburn Bonta and Missionaries Charlie & Roma Simmons have lead worship services at trail rides and local horse shows, and at Land Between the Lakes’ Wrangler Camps for years.
And, in Annville, KY (Jackson County) Missionaries Mitch & Christie Schumacher direct High Mountain Horsemanship Outreach, a ministry that exists to inspire hope and growth by connecting horses, people, and God through the therapeutic equine programs, lessons, and events. Everything they do is about pointing people a life changing faith in Jesus. For more information about this ministry go to http://thehighmountain.com/.
Both High Mountain Horsemanship and The Stables at Creekside Glen have opportunities for volunteers to serve with them. If you love horses why not consider a mission trip to one of these ministries. To check out ways you can serve, go to their websites or check out the following links:
- High Mountain Horsemanship Outreach
- The Stables at Creekside Glen
A few days serving in one of these ministries will be much more rewarding than a two-minute horse race.