Just two days after Thanksgiving I found myself walking up the steps and through the doorway of the old Livingston Grade & High School where I attended from 4th through 11th grades and later taught for 9 years. The school closed in 1994; the windows and doors have been boarded up for nearly 20 years.
Recently the City of Livingston, led by Mayor Jason Medley, began renovation of the building which was the site of the Rockcastle Baptist Association Community Mission Team’s first “Love in a Box” event of the 2013 Christmas season. Similar events will be held in two other locations throughout the county in the coming days.
The Associational Community Mission Team was organized a couple of years ago by Katheryn Pope to reach Rockcastle County with the love and Gospel of Christ. Outreach events are held all throughout the year.
As I walked into the school building I saw 3 separate groups of children sitting around the room on blankets listening to the Christmas story. They learned that Christmas is not just about Santa Claus and presents but about Jesus coming to earth to save them from their sins. Following the Christmas story each of the children was given either a wrapped Christmas box or a backpack filled with presents. The Gideons were also on hand to give New Testaments to each child. Forty-two plus volunteers helped with the events of the day and free food was served to over 175 persons.
Individuals and churches in the Rockcastle Association prepared 325+ Christmas boxes and 250 backpacks were donated by the Georgia Baptist Convention through Appalachian Regional Ministry. Georgia Baptist Convention collected over 20,000 backpacks to distribute to boys and girls in Appalachia and a good number of those were delivered to ministries all across Eastern Kentucky. The Rockcastle Baptist Association also is in a partnership with the Tallapoosa Baptist Association in Alabama and they will be bringing 200+ more Christmas boxes, along with coats and jackets for the Mt. Vernon event this coming weekend.
The day ended with the Community Mission Team participating in the Christmas parade with their “Love in a Box” float, Santa & Mrs. Claus, and the lighting of the Christmas tree. What a way to begin the Christmas season!!
Thank you Katheryn Pope, volunteers, Mayor Medley, Rockcastle Baptist Association and churches, Rockcastle Gideons, Pastor & Mrs. Steve McKinney of Livingston Baptist Church, Tallapoosa Baptist Association, Georgia Baptist Convention, and Appalachian Regional Ministry. Also, thank you Kentucky WMU for the EBO grant that allowed the Community Mission Team to purchase a much needed trailer to haul the backpacks and other materials for their events. This was truly a team effort. Pray that the message of Christ found a place is many of these young hearts and that they will receive the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ.