Only a few short months ago we entered a new year, a new decade, into 2020. Little did we know what was just ahead and that we would be entering into a time that like none of us had ever experienced before. Who would have thought about schools, colleges, restaurants, sporting events and especially churches being closed for social gatherings. But we have found ourselves here for a little over a month now and I am amazed at how the Message and ministry have continued. In fact, in many ways, the Gospel is getting out and folks are being ministered to like never before. Doors are open with almost every conversation to share the love of God and the Message is being proclaimed all over social media.
Kentucky missionaries have continued to serve, and I am amazed at the innovative ways they are doing ministry. KY-MSC Missionary Dianna Anderson, a pregnancy care center director, shared how they receive calls, do intake by phone, share the love of Christ and pray with the young mothers, collect their baby items, then sets on the ministry porch for the family to pick up. Missionaries Bessie & Lester McPeek have done something similar in working with the local health department to provide diapers for young mothers. With each bag of diapers distributed, a Gospel message is included. Missionary Amanda Westerfield, who also directs a pregnancy care center, shared that even though they were closed, they will do individual meetings as needed with abortion-minded clients. She was rejoicing that one young lady had chosen life and asked that we join her in praying for two other ladies she would be meeting with soon.
Missionaries Grant & Gina Hasty, Stacey Burton, Norma Rush and others are providing hot meals, with families driving by to pick up their to-go boxes. Many ministries are filling food boxes and putting them in the trunks of cars as families drive through. John Morris and his staff at God’s Appalachian Partnership (GAP) in McDowell have a new computer system that allows the families to choose the food items they want. The order is then sent inside the ministry building to be filled and brought out to the cars as they drive by. Missionaries Philip Ritchey is working alongside the local schools to help get food to children, while Keith Decker and staff at Cedaridge Ministries are resourcing local churches with food for distribution.
Each year GAP does a huge community Easter egg hunt which, of course, had to be cancelled. This year’s theme was “Hunting for the Truth” and was to be a unique way to hunt eggs and a carnival-type atmosphere. Each activity would lead the children to the “truth pavilion” where they heard about Christ and the true meaning of Easter. In its place GAP provided Easter bags for the children that were distributed when they came to pick up their food box. Each bag included candy, egg dye and specially designed packets with activity cards, the Gospel story and Easter message, and an invitation to join the online Easter services at a local church. Missionaries Daniel & Alice Tarnagda, Amy Wilhelmus and Stacey Burton also did similar Easter outreach events by providing packets with a craft item, sidewalk chalk, food, and the Gospel message to children in their regions. Immanuel Baptist Church in Somerset provided Mrs. Amy with 71 Easter baskets to distribute to the children.
As you can see, ministry had continued in a great way. As I have talked with the missionaries, they all had interesting stories to share. But many of them seemed tired. In the midst of COVID-19 some had also experienced powerful windstorms and power outages in their areas. Many are in need of food, water and could just use some encouragement. May I ask you to pray for our Kentucky missionaries as they continue to serve thousands of people with material resources and with the love of Christ. Go to www.kybaptist.org/missionaries to learn about each ministry and know how to better pray. Contact me at [email protected] for information on how you can get involved with ministries in Kentucky during this most challenging time.
Stay safe and healthy everyone and keep sharing the hope of Christ. Thank you for your support of the work of these and other ministries through the Cooperative Program and the Eliza Broadus offering for state missions.