“Gotcha Day” Celebration

When parents adopt a child, they many times will celebrate “Gotcha Day” to recognize and remember the day the child joined their family.  Recently CoffeeTalk Ministries and Events, a women’s ministry of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lexington, had a “Gotcha Day” Celebration, or actually a “Gotcha Weekend” Celebration, for their adoptive KY-MSC Missionary Jill Boddy. 

Jill serves with HR Ministries in Princeton, a ministry of reconciliation that focuses on redemption, reconnection, and reentry.  HR mentors and ministers at several Kentucky Job Corps campuses, corrections facilities throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, and through a community-based thrift store, Joseph’s Storage Bin.  Jill is involved in all aspects of the ministry and is very active in showing and sharing the love of Jesus Christ to those she serves. 

Serving in ministry is so fulfilling for those God has called, however there are times the missionary gets tired, may be involved in difficult situations, or just needs the support of others.  That is where Jill’s adoptive CoffeeTalk Family comes in.  They are there to pray for her, to encourage her, to assist with needs she or HR Ministry may have, and even to get her away for some rest and relaxation time.    

Recently the CoffeeTalk ladies invited Jill to Lexington for the weekend to officially welcome her into their “family.”  They provided a hotel room complete with a welcome basket filled with candy, snacks, and even included an Ale-8. 

Saturday was filled with lots of activities which began with lunch at one of the ladies’ houses and a special covenant ceremony where they pledged to pray for Jill daily, to meet needs as they can, to join her in ministry and send their encouragement and support.  They had a time of prayer for Jill and presented her with a “Gotcha Day” certificate.  The day ended with dinner, shopping, and a tour of the Lexington.  Marilyn Creighton, director of CoffeeTalk, shared that they had an opportunity to pray with their waitress, who was having a bad day and broke down in tears when they asked how they could pray for her.  The waitress was so encouraged and told us we “were the kindest people I have served all day and you have meant so much to me.”     

On Sunday Jill attended worship at Cornerstone Baptist Church where she spoke in the women’s Sunday School Class.  During the worship service Jill was introduced to the congregation, prayed for by the pastor, and told she was a missionary to Cornerstone Baptist Church as well as CoffeeTalk.  Lunch with the pastor, his family, and some of the church family concluded this special weekend.

Jill was overjoyed by the hospitality of her adoptive CoffeeTalk Family and the church.  “It means so much to know that I have ladies that have my back and are constantly lifting me and the ministry up in pray,” Jill said.  “The weekend was such a blessing.  The ladies surprised me with gifts of lotions, candles, soaps, and cards.  One lady gave me a month’s worth of sealed encouragement cards and told me whenever I felt down to open one and read it.  These have become a part of my morning devotions.” 

Thank you, Marilyn Crieghton, CoffeeTalk Ministries & Events, and Cornerstone Baptist Church for your support of a KY-MSC Missionary.

You too can be an encouragement to a KY-MSC Missionary and will be blessed as well.  For information on adopting your KY-MSC Missionary go to www.kybaptst.org/adoptmissionary

The Simplicity of Cross-Cultural Ministry: Ordinary Conversations Serving an Extraordinary God

Each month I look forward to receiving Alex Tenenbaum’s ministry newsletter.  These newsletters are full of stories about how he ministers to people just as he goes about his everyday life.  Alex is a quiet kind of guy but wow, is he ever impacting those in his church and community circles. 

Alex is a KY-Mission Service Corps Missionary, serving through Forest Baptist Church in Louisville as Director of Community Engagement.  His main role is to equip church members and mobilize them to make disciples in the community by finding where God is moving and create ministries to meet the practical needs of the community.  Not only is Alex equipping church members but is leading by example.

Alex has a passion for unreached people groups of the world and desires to see them come to know Christ, as well as a passion to disciple believers to go deeper in their faith.  As a result, Alex has gotten involved in a cross-culture community in Louisville and even moved into this community to intentionally minister to and reach them with the Gospel. 

You may find Alex helping a young man with his driving test, connecting residents to ESL classes, helping to sponsor a cookout in order to meet his neighbors, partnering with a nearby hospital to offer materials, classes, and training for those he serves, helping residents to get into college, and organizing Bible study and prayer groups.  He shares stories of how all these activities have opened doors to share Christ and to help others grow in their relationship with Christ. 

One interesting story Alex shared is about an evening they ordered Chinese food and it was mistakenly delivered to the wrong address.  Alex went to the other home to share about the mix-up, which led him to a thirty-minute conversation with a high school student.  Not only was this young man in school, but he was also having to work to provide for himself, his mother and niece.  He had moved to Louisville from Rwanda in 2020 and is still growing in the English language.  Alex encouraged him, shared that he could support him with his classwork, and be another friend to connect with.  “He has an interest to connect with the church, but as of yet has not,” Alex said. “There were silent moments when we hung out but, as I was about to leave, this young student said that he doesn’t know how he will thank me for visiting him that night, that it is so good to have a friend.  This reminded me,” Alex went on to say, “that we just don’t know how our simple steps of faith can really bless and impact someone else’s life.”

You can be sure this is only one of many conversations Alex has with men and women each week, and that he looks for every opportunity to show and share the love of Christ. 

Please pray for Alex and for Forest Baptist Church as they reach out into their community to “know” their neighbors and share the Gospel.

To learn more about Alex’s work, or to subscribe to his monthly newsletter, go to https://fbcnewburg.org/ministries/community-engagement.   

Consider “adopting” Alex through the KBC Adopt-a-Missionary program.  Click on www.kybaptist.org/adoptmissionary for information.

Remembering Bro. Jerrell

Last week our KY-MSC Family lost one of our longest-serving members.  Bro. Jerrell White, who had served as a KY-MSC Missionary with the Earle C. Clements Job Corps in Morganfield since September 1999, went home to be with the Lord. 

Bro. Jerrell was one of the most encouraging men I have ever met and was the “life of the party” whenever we met for our annual missionary retreats.  During the last retreat he and Mrs. Connie attended, I walked out in the hall and heard singing.  He had found a piano, recruited a pianist, gathered a group of the missionaries together, and they were singing the old hymns to the top of their lungs.  Of course, I joined in. It was so much fun. 

Nearly every time I talked with him, whether on the phone or in person, he thanked me for the leadership I gave to the missionaries and then asked to pray for me.  I recall the evening I was working in western Kentucky, and they asked me to spend the night.  Before bedtime he, Mrs. Connie, and I gathered in their living room for a time of singing, devotion, and prayer.  It was such a special time and a memory I will never forget.    

Arlene Miller, the KBC west region mobilization consultant shared, “Bro. Jerrell was an inspiration.   He could do more than everybody else put together.  When I called to get his report each year, he had been involved in more activities than all of us put together.  This inspired me to want to try harder.” 

Not only was Bro. Jerrell involved in “activities”, but you can be sure he was befriending and sharing the love of Christ with those he encountered.  Every year he reported 8-15 men and women at Job Corps that he had led to faith in Christ. For his faithful service, Bro. Jerrell was chosen as the 2005 Kentucky MSC Missionary of the Year.

Bro. Jerrell, thank you committing your life to the Lord and for sharing Him with all of us.  May we follow the example you set for us to love Him, serve Him, and share Him with others.  We loved you and gonna miss you.

Please pray for Mrs. Connie and family during the difficult days ahead.  

Kentucky Baptists, Let’s Go Christmas Shopping!!

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Recently I spent a few days in the Smokies.  While there, my sister and I visited a couple of Christmas shops.  There was Christmas music playing and we saw all types of decorations and gifts.  My favorite decoration is the nativity, and they had some neat ones.  I sang along with the Christmas carols and, for a few minutes, found myself in the Christmas spirit, even in June.

With bright, sunny skies, and a current temperature of 90⁰, it’s hard to think about Christmas, but someone reminded me on Facebook a few weeks ago that Christmas was only six months away.  My reply was, “Is your Christmas shopping half done?”

Actually I (and my church) have begun Christmas shopping. We are shopping now to fill 50 Christmas backpacks for children in Kentucky and it is so much fun. There is an excitement in the air as the whole congregation comes together to provide Christmas gifts for children who are less fortunate.

Many churches across Kentucky are getting on board as well. The KBC Missions Mobilization Team has been preparing for the Christmas Backpack Initiative for a few months now and applications requesting backpacks are coming in from ministries across the state.

Kentucky Baptist churches are partnering together to reach a goal of 10,000 backpacks to fill these requests. While we will receive requests for far more than that, we are thankful for partnering states that also bring backpacks to help meet the needs.

Statistics show that one in four of Kentucky’s children live in poverty. So, for each of these children, a backpack from Kentucky Baptists may be all they will get for Christmas!  Would you join with churches across the state and commit to fill one, five, fifty, or perhaps a hundred or more, backpacks?  It is not too early to get started.  Remember, Christmas is only five months away now.

Instructions for filling the backpacks can be found at www.kybaptist.org/backpacks.  Once there, you can download a promotional bulletin insert and poster.   Also, check out our new “Christmas Story” leaflet.  And, don’t forget to register your backpacks.    

This year the North American Mission Board is offering churches up to 72 free backpacks which can be ordered and used for ministry.  Additional ones can be purchased for only $3.00 each.  To take advantage of this offer, go to www.sendrelief/backpacks and order yours today.

Let’s join together and exceed the goal of 10,000 backpacks from Kentucky Baptist churches! Many of them will be distributed directly to children living in poverty in Kentucky, while others will go to needy children in our partner SEND City, Cincinnati.

Thank you for helping a child this Christmas.  To learn more, contact the Missions Mobilization Team at 502-489-3403 or email [email protected] 

“Let’s not neglect to do good and share what we have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

Kentucky Baptists, Let’s Go Christmas Shopping!!

Recently I spent a few days in the Smokies.  While there, my sister and I visited a couple of Christmas shops.  There was Christmas music playing and we saw all types of decorations and gifts.  My favorite decoration is the nativity, and they had some neat ones.  I sang along with the Christmas carols and, for a few minutes, found myself in the Christmas spirit, even in June.

With bright, sunny skies, and a current temperature of 90⁰, it’s hard to think about Christmas, but someone reminded me on Facebook a few weeks ago that Christmas was only six months away.  My reply was, “Is your Christmas shopping half done?”

Actually I (and my church) have begun Christmas shopping. We are shopping now to fill 50 Christmas backpacks for children in Kentucky and it is so much fun. There is an excitement in the air as the whole congregation comes together to provide Christmas gifts for children who are less fortunate.

Many churches across Kentucky are getting on board as well. The KBC Missions Mobilization Team has been preparing for the Christmas Backpack Initiative for a few months now and applications requesting backpacks are coming in from ministries across the state.

Kentucky Baptist churches are partnering together to reach a goal of 10,000 backpacks to fill these requests. While we will receive requests for far more than that, we are thankful for partnering states that also bring backpacks to help meet the needs.

Statistics show that one in four of Kentucky’s children live in poverty. So, for each of these children, a backpack from Kentucky Baptists may be all they will get for Christmas!  Would you join with churches across the state and commit to fill one, five, fifty, or perhaps a hundred or more, backpacks?  It is not too early to get started.  Remember, Christmas is only five months away now.

Instructions for filling the backpacks can be found at www.kybaptist.org/backpacks.  Once there, you can download a promotional bulletin insert and poster.   Also, check out our new “Christmas Story” leaflet.  And, don’t forget to register to your backpacks.    

This year the North American Mission Board is offering churches up to 72 free backpacks which can be ordered and used for ministry.  Additional ones can be purchased for only $3.00 each.  To take advantage of this offer, go to www.sendrelief/backpacks and order yours today.

Let’s join together and exceed the goal of 10,000 backpacks from Kentucky Baptist churches! Many of them will be distributed directly to children living in poverty in Kentucky, while others will go to needy children in our partner SEND City, Cincinnati.

Thank you for helping a child this Christmas.  To learn more, contact the Missions Mobilization Team at 502-489-3403 or email [email protected] 

“Let’s not neglect to do good and share what we have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

Crossroads Baptist Church Helping to Restart Nada Mission

Just off the Mountain Parkway, on the Wolfe-Morgan County line, sits Crossroads Baptist Church, a little white church in the quaint community of Helechawa, KY.  The building that once housed the community school was given to the church as a place of worship.  In 2007 Crossroads was started as a mission of Faith Baptist Church Cannel City with 6 members.  It soon grew to 17 or 18 members.

Mission teams from Pellville Baptist Church in Hawesville, White Hall Baptist Church in Richmond, Mt. Washington Baptist Church, Little Flock Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, Shively Baptist Church in Louisville, and perhaps others, came alongside Crossroads to fix up their building and help with outreach.  For several years Shively Baptist Church also came to lead Vacation Bible School.  I recall the day someone from the church called to ask for help in planning their own VBS.  Although they had made many good friends and appreciated the work of the mission teams, they were eager to conduct a VBS themselves, without depending on outside help.

During the November 2013 Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, Crossroads moved from “mission” to “church” status.  Red River Baptist Association Mission Strategist George Drake shared that West Liberty Baptist Church had been the mother church of Faith Baptist Church in the early 1980s, Faith Baptist Church was the mother church of Grace Baptist Church in the mid-1990s and Crossroads Baptist Church in 2007, and Grace Baptist Church was the mother church of Wrigley Baptist in 2005.  In the Fall of 2013 I visited, and wrote a blog about, Crossroads Baptist Church.  The blog ended with, “Perhaps sometime in the future we will hear that Crossroads has also birthed a church.” 

While that has not actually happened, I recently learned from Red River Baptist Association Mission Strategist George Drake that Crossroads has moved their Sunday evening services to the Nada Baptist Mission, about 30 miles away.  Since hearing that the Nada Mission had closed and the church building given to the Red River Baptist Association, Crossroads Pastor Mark Risner has had such a burden for the church and the Nada community, and desires to see the Mission revived or replanted.

Crossroad’s members have painted and cleaned up around the Nada Mission, have gone door-to-door inviting the community to their services, and are planning a Vacation Bible School for the later part of June 2021.  Other churches in the area, as well as a mission team from Western Kentucky, have also come alongside to help with the Nada Mission.  Volunteers have helped with the physical labor, while others have donated funds to help pay bills. 

Before COVID Crossroads was averaging 45-50 in attendance.  This little church, in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, is excited to be on-mission.  Please pray with them about the future of the Nada Mission, for the families in the community, and that God will send a pastor to this church.  I can’t wait to see how my blog will read in another 8 years.

Churches helping churches, churches planting churches, churches reopening churches with closed doors – this is the cooperative Kentucky Baptist Convention way…and, might I add, God’s way of spreading the Gospel, from person to person, community to community.

Introducing the 2021 Kentucky Missionary of the Year

Cory Bledsoe, Executive Director of Re:Center Ministries in Louisville has been chosen as the 2021 Kentucky Missionary of the Year. 

This award is given annually to a missionary that demonstrates:

  • Commitment to and effectiveness in evangelism, church planting, or ministry.
  • Demonstration of “going the second mile”.
  • Outstanding performance in achieving assigned tasks.
  • Tenure.
  • Unusual commitment to our Lord’s service.
  • Positive representation of Kentucky Baptist Convention.
  • True reflection of being an “On Mission Christian”.

Founded in 1881, Re:Center Ministries (formerly Louisville Rescue Mission) reconciles homeless and hurting people to God, family, and community by the power of Christ in partnership with the local church.  Programs span a continuum of care—from prevention to relief to recovery – and provide holistic, high-impact answers to the problem of homelessness in their communities. 

They offer an emergency day shelter for women and children, LifeChange Stability which provides men an emergency place to stay, a three-month recovery program for men who are homeless, and a twelve-month transition ministry for men who have jobs and are transitioning to leave Re:Center. 

As the Executive Director, Cory provides day to day leadership, and management of the facility.  

He is a proven leader and has escorted Re:Center ministries through major change that has included rebranding, a fresh vision, strategy development, expansion of the ministry into southern Indiana, and a thrift store.  Cory has also strengthened the partnership of Re:Center with local churches who help to reconcile the hurting to Christ. 

Cory understands homelessness and the hopelessness that accompanies it.  He believes that if the spiritual void is not met with the gospel of Christ, any assistance provided is only a temporary band-aid. 

He is actively involved in his local church, is married to Sarah and they have 3 children.

Eric Allen, Missions Mobilization Team Leader with the Kentucky Baptist Convention says, “When I think about the many lives that have been transformed through Re:Center, I recall Brandon who was addicted and homeless.  After trusting in Christ and going through the program, Brandon was called to ministry and went on to attend Bible college.  That’s life change!”

CONGRATULATIONS to Cory Bledsoe, the 2021 Kentucky Missionary of the year.  He is most deserving. 

To learn more about Cory’s ministry at Re:Center go to https://recenterministries.org/.

Consider adopting Cory through the KBC Adopt-a-Missionary program.  For more information go to www.kybaptist.org/adoptmissionary

Meet Our New 2021 Kentucky Missionaries


Sixteen men and women have sensed God’s call to serve in ministries across our state and will be commissioned during a very inspirational service on Friday, April 16th, during the evening session of the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union Annual Meeting & Celebration at Shelbyville First Baptist Church.  With last year’s WMU Meeting being canceled due to COVID, we will be recognizing new missionaries for the past two years. 

 These new missionaries are:

  • Mollie Bentley, Director of Rockhouse Baptist Church Mission Center in Hyden.
  • Shawn & Carla Estes, Directors of Fortify Ministries (serving internationals & displaced people) in Glasgow.
  • Audra Hatfield, Directing a community outreach (serving internationals & others) through Faith Baptist Church in Frankfort. 
  • Sheila Hourigan, Executive Director of House of Hope Pregnancy & Family Resource Center in Springfield.
  • Linda McDonald, serving with Impact Ministries in Hopkinsville.
  • Susan McIntosh, serving with Impact Ministries in Hopkinsville.
  • Christian & Katie McKenzie, Directors of Hillcrest Baptist Camp in Cave-in-Rock, IL.
  • Stephanie Mayes, serving with Crossroads Community Baptist Church in Whitley City.
  • Joyce Morris, Missions & Ministry Associate at God’s Appalachian Partnership in McDowell,
  • Tanya Parker, Missions & Ministry Associate at God’s Appalachian Partnership in McDowell.
  • Denise Richards, serving with Impact Ministries in Hopkinsville.
  • Brenda Sparks, serving with Cedaridge Ministries in Williamsburg.
  • Alex Tenenbaum, Director of Community Engagement with Forest Baptist Church in Louisville.
  • Jonas Yoder, Benevolence Director & Re-entry Coordinator with Hell is Real Ministries in Princeton.

Prior to the commissioning these missionaries will spend the day in orientation where they will learn about the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Cooperative Program, Eliza Broadus State Missions and will be given many resources that will be beneficial to them as they serve.  The time of networking with each other will also be most valuable. 

You can partner with these and/or one of our current 111 Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionaries by:

For more information please contact the KBC Missions Mobilization office at [email protected]

We hope to see you at Shelbyville First Baptist Church on April 16th.  Go to www.kywmu.org and register for either in-person or online.

Could God Be Calling You to Serve Long-Term?

God continues to call men and women to serve in long-term ministry positions in Kentucky.  This past year we have seen five new Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionaries approved, six others awaiting approval and three or four others that are sensing God’s call to serve.

Currently one hundred eight men and women serve in various positions in Kentucky, from food & clothing ministry, women & children’s ministries, prison ministries, and much, much more.

Have you ever considered that He may be calling you?  Many times we think a missionary call means to serve in another country or another state, somewhere far, far away.  And, while that might be the case, He may be calling you to serve right here in Kentucky, perhaps right in your own county or community.

We have seven open requests for long-term, self-funded missionaries.  Seven of those are in Kentucky, one in Georgia, and one in Kenya.  Please pray with us that these positions would be filled.  And, ask God if He might be leading you to fill one of the positions.

Positions include the following.  Please click on each link for more detail.

  1. AIC Mukeu School for the Mentally Challenged – Lari Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya
    1. Need volunteers to serve in a school for special needs children.  (NOTE: This request is for 2022.)
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/aic-mukeu-school-for-the-mentally-challenged,3533?
  2. Allen Baptist Church – Allen, KY
    1. Looking for a student ministries missionary or missionary couple.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/allen-baptist-church,3649?
  3. Crossings at Cedarmore – Bagdad, KY
    1. Need volunteers to help in various positions at the camp.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/crossings-at-cedarmore,4122?
  4. Crossroads Community Baptist Church – Stearns, KY
    1. Looking for ministry partners.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/crossroads-community-baptist-church-missionary-need,3154?
  5. Divine Grace Church & Ministries – Atlanta, GA
    1. Looking for ministry partners to help with a church plant.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/divine-grace-church-ministries,3659?
  6. Freedom Center Ministries Assistant Directors – Cumberland, KY
    1. Married couple needed to serve alongside directors.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/freedom-center-ministries-assistant-directors,3146?
  7. Laurel Lake Baptist Camp – Corbin, KY
    1. Summer missionaries needed to help with the camp.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/laurel-lake-baptist-camp,3139?
  8. New Bethel Baptist Church – Eddyville, KY
    1. Couple needed to serve as church strengtheners.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/new-bethel-baptist-church,3127?
  9. Emergency Christian Ministries – Williamsburg, KY
    1. Couple needed to serve in homeless shelter. 
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/emergency-christian-ministries,4291?

Please pray with us for individuals and/or couples to fill these positions.  If you sense God calling you to one of these positions, please email [email protected] for more information and how to get connected.

Would you commit to care for and support a KY-MSC Missionary?

Do you want an exciting and meaningful boost for your church in 2021?  Would you like for your church or small group to be more involved in missions in the new year?  Do you want to get to know a “real live” missionary?  Then check out Kentucky’s “Adopt-a-Missionary” program. 

Currently 107 Mission Service Corps missionaries serve in Kentucky and are looking for churches, WMU groups or other small groups to “adopt” them.  Missionaries are not orphans, but adoption is a beautiful word that helps describe the strong relationship between missionaries and the churches and friends who pray and encourage them in their ministries.  The church at Antioch, in a sense, adopted Paul and Barnabas as special messengers of the gospel to Asia and Europe (Acts 13:1-3). 

These adoptions mean so much.  KY-MSC Missionaries Dean & Melissa Branscum have been adopted by Freedom Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon.  Melissa said, “They have brought donations for our clothing ministry, and have sent encouraging cards and gift cards.  It is a blessing to us.  It is wonderful to be adopted.”  Teresa Vanzant and few other ladies from Freedom Baptist Church met Dean & Melissa at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting when the Branscums were commissioned.  “We just knew in our hearts we had a connection with them,” she said.

Jill Boddy, with HR Ministries in Princeton, says just knowing that prayers are going up for her is all she needs.  “People that I don’t even know, and that don’t know me, are praying for me.”  Jill was invited to share about her ministry to the Coffee Talk group from Lexington, led by Marilyn Creighton, the group that has adopted her.   

KY-MSC Missionary Dottie Gebhart, with Mission Hope for Kids in Elizabethtown, said it was nice to get a card every now and then to let you know that someone is thinking of you.  Dottie and her husband Chuck have been adopted by Parkland Baptist Church in Louisville.

Bobbi & Josh Chesser with Unit 2:17 Ministry in Whitley City have been adopted by Ephesus Baptist Church WMU in Winchester.  Bobbi says their adoption has been wonderful.  They were invited to a church service at Ephesus and were taken to lunch.  The church has also given love offerings to their ministry.  “They have been fantastic.  We have formed relationships, more than just acquaintances.”

But the churches and groups that adopt these missionaries are blessed as well.  An adopting church or group will experience:

  • A personal relationship with an active missionary.
  • A strengthened commitment to missions.
  • A heightened awareness of missions opportunities.
  • A fresh, outwardly focused ministry perspective.
  • Group building and bonding through service to others.
  • An opportunity to see God at work and an invitation to join Him in it.

There are still several missionaries that have not yet been adopted.  Can they count on you?  For more information on how connect with a KY-MSC missionary go to www.kybaptist.org/adoptmissionary or email [email protected].  You will be glad you did.