On May 4th I was privileged to attend the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new CedaRidge Ministries facility in Williamsburg, KY. CedaRidge, formed in February 1992, began in the basement of the South Union-Mount Zion Association office and moved to several locations before settling into the 15,000 square foot Bailey Building in 1996, across from what was then Cumberland College. They remained in that location until March 2013 when they moved to the new 50,000 square foot facility.
CedaRidge serves nine counties, 400+ churches and organizations, and approximately 1500 families representing 5000 individuals by providing food, clothing, school supplies, household items, furniture, Christmas toys, and spiritual guidance to the poor and homeless in Southeastern Kentucky. They also provide emergency relief to those in need as a result of flood, fire or other calamity.
Keith Decker, MSC-funded missionary with the North American Mission Board, and his wife Joyce, direct CedaRidge Ministries along with lots of volunteers. The ministry receives SBC hunger funds, thousands of dollars in donated resources, and lots of volunteer mission teams that assist in this awesome task of reaching their community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Keith also serves as pastor of Corn Creek Baptist Church in Woodbine, KY.
Assisting at the grand opening was Victory Baptist Church from Corbin and Concord First Baptist Church from Knoxville, TN, two of the 75 teams scheduled to serve at CedaRidge in 2013. Approximately 100 youth and adults with the Concord group served snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, soda, hot dogs and hamburgers for those in attendance. They also had face painting and eight inflatables for the children, had a gospel concert by their 70-member youth choir, and led worship services on Friday and Saturday.
It was a great experience to see the name of Christ being lifted up in all of the activities throughout the day. Keith said the main thing they want is for people to know that Jesus cares about them both physically and spiritually and that He really wants to meet their needs. He said that last year, in February 2012, as they celebrated the 20th year of CedaRidge and, as he reflected on all that had happened through the years, God spoke to him and said, “What I have done in the past will not even be a shadow of what I am doing and what I am getting ready to do.”
During the past 21 years over 100 homes have been built, an average of 5 -6 homes have been remodeled each year, between 250 – 300 minor home repairs have been done each year, and approximately 17 – 18 million pounds of food has been given out. Most importantly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been shared with thousands. It would be impossible to calculate, this side of eternity, the number of persons who have come to know the Lord through the outreach of CedaRidge. Last year there were seven professions of faith in Christ reported as a result of this ministry. In 2010, during three weeks of back-to-back Vacation Bible Schools they saw 21 come to know the Lord.
It has been nice to take a “look back” but will be more exciting as we “look ahead” to what God has in store as CedaRidge moves into the next twenty years of ministry.
Learn more about this ministry at www.cedaridgeminisgtries.org or on their facebook page. You may even want to take a trip to Williamsburg and spend a day or two helping CedaRidge show their community how Jesus cares.