Meet Miss Helen, Miss Patti and the McPeeks

Lester & Bessie McPeek
MSC Missionaries

In 2001 Lester & Bessie McPeek from Jenkins, KY began “God’s Love from a Diaper Bag,” a ministry to young mothers struggling to provide diapers for their babies.  Now, nineteen years later, this ministry is still going strong and has grown beyond anything they could have thought or imagined. 

Along with diapers, this ministry provides now baby clothes, baby food, wipes, car seats and pretty much anything a parent might need for their baby.  They host baby showers for expectant mothers and teach lessons on how to care for the babies.  They partner with local health departments, hospitals, sheriff departments and even jails, to minister to families.

Early in their ministry Mrs. Bessie began to address the “Shaken Baby Syndrome” issue, using eggs and baby food jars to demonstrate.  She would put an egg in each of three baby food jars.  The white of the egg represented the membrane, the yoke represented the brain and the baby food jar the skull.  As she shook the first jar the yoke of the egg would separate into the membrane.  The egg in the second jar, when shaken a little harder, would separate a little more.  The egg in the third jar, when shaken violently, would look like scrambled eggs.  This allowed the parents to actually “see” the seriousness of shaking their babies.

Miss Helen
“Shaken Baby” Doll

Now, with the addition of two fairly new members to the “God’s Love from a Diaper Bag” team, Mrs. Bessie can demonstrate this problem even more realistically.  Miss Helen Arabella Grace, a “Shaken Baby” doll, is the size and weight of an actual baby, but with a clear head that allows the parents to look inside the brain.  When the doll is shaken, the head lights up in the part of the brain that is affected, allowing the parents see what happens when they shake their baby.  She shares with them how, when they get to the point of frustration, to deal with it in other, non-violent, ways even to the point of calling someone to help when they got to that point.  One lady with three young children said to her, “but Mrs. Bessie, I don’t have anyone to call” to which Mrs. Bessie replied, “then call me.” 

One night at 8:00 the lady called.  The children were crying, there was no milk or diapers, the boyfriend had been put in jail due to drugs and the lady was so distraught.  Mrs. Bessie went to the house, took milk and diapers, rocked the children, put them to bed and just sat with the lady until she calmed down.  The love of Jesus demonstrated. 

Miss Patti
“Drug” Doll

The other new “member” is Miss Patti, a “Drug” doll, representing a baby that is addicted to drugs.  The doll’s face grimaces as if in pain, her hands and feet are clutched, and her stomach is sunken in.  The doll tremors like she is going into DTs and she cries constantly.  This doll helps the families to see how using drugs will affect their babies.    

These two dolls are great tools is teaching families to care for their children, which is so important, but the McPeeks do not stop there.  Mrs. Bessie shares that “the plan of salvation is given to every person who attend any of our mission events or that we deal with on a daily basis.”  Over the past four years they have witnessed 81 persons praying to receive Christ as a result of their ministry and/or personal witnessing. 

Please pray for the McPeeks as they minister in their hometown of Jenkins and surrounding areas.  Pray for the babies and families they serve.  Pray for mission teams to work alongside them and pray for many more to come to Christ as a result of this ministry.

Contact the KBC Missions Mobilization office ([email protected]) to learn of ways to serve with this ministry.

Churches and the Missionary Task

The Great Commission was not given to a denomination or mission agency.  It was given to the local church.  Thus, churches send their own missionaries (Acts 13).  I am not saying that denominations and mission agencies have no role to play in the Great Commission. They play a vital role if our understanding is that of partnering for greater gospel impact.  After all, as Southern Baptists, we believe we can do more together.  Therefore, we champion cooperative missions. 

So, while we work with sending agencies such as the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB), our churches send missionaries in partnership with these organizations.  If churches are the senders, what exactly are we sending missionaries to do?  In recent years the IMB has helped us better crystallize the task of the missionary.

Many needs often compete for our attention when it comes to missions.  IMB mobilizer D. Ray Davis recognizes, “Let’s be honest, there are a lot of overwhelming needs around the world, and it’s easy to allow needs to dictate and define the work we do” (“Churches: Essential Partners in the Missionary Task”).  

To keep us focused on our God-given responsibility to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19-20), six components detail the missionary task. Whether through the missionary on the field or the partnering church, the mission should focus along these lines (Davis, “Churches”).  So, if you are the missionary on the field or the church partnering with the missionary, the mission is the same.  These six components of the missionary task include: entry, evangelism, discipleship, church formation, leadership development, and exit. I want to look at the first component in this blog.

  1. Entry:  Finding and engaging a particular people group is the first component.  In short, as the IMB has described it, entry involves finding them, getting to them, and developing an ability to communicate with them

First, finding them involves researching the people group in order to learn culture, levels of evangelization among them, whether any translation of the Bible exists, and if other Great Commission Christians are present.

Second, getting to them requires exploring the political, economic, and religious environment.  Further, exploring access options is critical as most places with unreached people are unreached because they are hard to get to.  Most hard to reach places are hard to reach because missionaries are not welcome.  Thus, missionaries must acquire the necessary skills and resources to enter among a people group. 

Third, developing an ability to communicate with them involves skills that no doubt requires language and cultural learning.   Most hard to reach places will mean missionaries must learn another language besides English!

Churches can play a vital role in the entry level.  They assist by praying that missionaries gain legitimate ways to enter.  Churches can also be a means of providing legitimacy for the missionary’s presence among that people group.  To that aim, churches may partner in this phase through specific mercy needs or platforms, such as businesses or services provided.  

In order to reach the unreached, missionaries are sent by churches to enter among peoples and places that are unreached. Being intentional about entry and partnering carefully together, we can ensure that the gospel not only enters among the unreached but that it remains there.   

I’m Not Trained, But I Did Stay at a Holiday Inn Last Night

Believers often ask in Disaster Relief, “Why do I have to go through training to serve as a volunteer?  Why can’t I just go help people?”

Preparation is important in any area of ministry, because it enables us to be more effective in ministry.  The wisdom writer in Ecclesiastes 10:10 declared, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength, but wisdom brings success.” Sharpening the blade will enable the tool to be more efficient, just as training helps believers to serve more effectively in response to the survivors of disasters.  Through your gifts to the Cooperative Program, the Kentucky Baptist Convention is able to provide training in disaster relief that prepares Kentucky Baptists to be ready to serve in positive ways during times of disaster.

Top ten reasons to be trained:

  1. Training prepares us in our understanding of disasters and the needs that arise in times of disaster.
  2. Training enables us to respond in appropriate and effective ways.
  3. Training prepares us to understand our role as part of a team.
  4. Training enables us to sharpen our abilities, in order to be an asset not a hindrance in the response.
  5. Training helps us to understand hazards and safety concerns in disaster areas.
  6. Training prepares us to understand, in a deeper way, some of the trauma that victims face, so that we might be able to offer appropriate compassion.
  7. Training prepares the heart for ministry by increasing awareness of the need and different opportunities to minister.
  8. Training prepares the hands to be ready to serve effectively.
  9. Training prepares the head by gaining knowledge.
  10. The greatest reason to train is that God deserves our very best in all that we do.  In order to achieve this, discipline, effort, and knowledge are required.  Trainings are an opportunity to grow as believers, so that we are ready when God calls.

Several years ago, there was a popular commercial that showed a man preparing to do surgery when everyone began to realize that perhaps he was not up to the task.  The man’s response to their concern was, “I may not be a doctor, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”  I cannot answer for you, but I really do not want that man doing surgery on me. Yet, sometimes we are that way when it comes to ministry.  “Hey, I am not really prepared to minister to you, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

Disasters will come.  Therefore, let me encourage you, be prepared to serve by being trained.  Victims deserve that.  Other disaster relief workers deserve that.  But most of all, our God deserves that!

Check out these opportunities for training in 2020:

  • February 8, 2020 at Edgewood Baptist Church in Nicholasville
  • March 7, 2020 at First Baptist Church of Paducah
  • April 4, 2020 at Hawesville Baptist Church
  • September 12, 2020 at Calvary Baptist Church in Glasgow

For more information or to register go to http://www.kybaptist.org/dr.