50-Year Kentucky Missions Partnership

KBC’s Teresa Parrett, with Spartanburg FBC pastor Dr. Don Wilton and Linda Gilden. Linda was on the first Spartanburg FBC Mission Trip to Kentucky 50-years ago.

This past weekend I was once again reminded of the story of a mission team that came to serve in eastern Kentucky.  They had a great week with the children and youth and, when saying their sad goodbyes, a person on the team said, “don’t worry, we will be back,” to which one of the local children replied, “that is what they all say, but they never do.”  That statement gripped the heart of the team member and caused them to change their plans and come back the next year.  It was during that visit that the mother of the child who said “they all say that” accepted Christ as her personal Savior.  This team developed a partnership in eastern Kentucky and came back many times.

Partnerships are important, because it is through partnerships that relationships are built.  In partnerships missions, teams “adopt” a specific location and go multiple times to the same place, perhaps even several times in one year.  They may bring a VBS team on one trip, a construction team on another.  The local residents get to know the team members, develop a bond and look forward to them coming each year.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting and presenting a certificate of appreciation to Spartanburg, SC First Baptist Church who has been partnering with Bell, Knox and surrounding counties for 50 years.

Bell County Associational Mission Strategist Bruce Walzer says he has personally worked with this team for 30 years as they come and do Vacation Bibles Schools, basketball and cheerleading camps, a feeding program and construction.  Bro. Bruce said they do whatever he needs them to do in his association.

Many lives have been touched in those 50 years.  One local lady shared that her children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren came to know Christ through the VBSs of the Spartanburg team and thanked God for their faithfulness to come year after year.  Another man, now in his 50s, shared that he had accepted Christ at one of the VBSs when he was 9-years old.  On a video, child after child confessed, “I gave my heart to Jesus.”

The families of Kentucky are not the only ones impacted by the Spartanburg FBC team.  Leaders of the group say this is where many of their youth shared Jesus for the first time and/or led someone to Christ for the first time.  And, many are in ministry today because they heard the call of God on their lives during Kentucky mission week. 

Linda Gilden, who was on that first mission trip 50 years ago shared about a 5th grade boy that was misbehaving.  She sat down with him and asked what was going on, to which he replied, “nobody cares what I do.”  Linda was able to share with him that she cared, and that God cared. 

This team loves the children and families of eastern Kentucky and come with one purpose, to share the Gospel of Jesus.  Many stories are told of their 50-years of service in Kentucky.  Go to   https://www.facebook.com/firstbaptistspartanburg/videos/1120596114794727/ to view their 2019 video and hear many of these stories. 

Thank you, Spartanburg FBC, for your faithfulness.  We will never know, this side of eternity, the huge impact you have made in eastern Kentucky.    May this partnership continue for many years to come.

For information on how to develop a partnership in Kentucky contact [email protected] or 502-489-3530. 

Kentucky Joy in the Mourning

Linda Otterback’s ministry has taken a lot of different turns.  In early 2001 she was scheduled for a mission trip to El Salvador.  When the trip had to be cancelled, Linda received a phone call asking if she would like to go to Fleming-Neon instead.  “What country is that in?” Linda asked.

Linda soon learned that Fleming-Neon is in Eastern Kentucky.  She said “yes” to that mission trip, which began the Eastern Kentucky SONrise ministry that is still active today.  Linda and her husband Larry poured their hearts into the Eastern Kentucky area, where they have led prayer meetings, women’s and men’s conferences, gathered much needed resources (clothing, diapers, household furniture, Christmas gifts), and led mission teams to the EKY area.  They have also been such encouragers for many residents, as well as missionaries that serve in eastern Kentucky.

Larry and Linda were married 52 years, grew up in church together, and served together as North American Mission Board MSC Missionaries.  Larry served in this position for 12 years until health issues forced him to step down. On September 30, 2016 Larry went to his heavenly home and Linda was left to serve alone.

After Larry went “home” Linda felt her life was over.  “I couldn’t sleep or eat for almost a year,” she said.  “I cried every night and much during the day. I put on a great face to others, but really had hit the bottom. My kids were concerned that they had lost me also.  But, PTL for friends, family and God who didn’t let me stay there.  I started reading the Psalms in detail after Larry passed. I believe God wrote them for me especially!!  They hadn’t meant as much before, but now I see how HE spoke to me through my trials and valleys.  I still miss my man so very much but have found that God has much yet for me to do.”

The summer before Larry passed, God spoke to Linda in a dream saying she would be doing a widow’s ministry. So, in the midst of her grief, God led Linda to use her experience and her role as a “widow” to begin a ministry to others who had lost their husbands.  Thus, “Kentucky Joy in the Mourning” was born. 

Widows all across Kentucky have challenges and are in need of God, our churches, and each other to help them through this journey.  “Kentucky Joy in the Mourning” reaches out to them to share stories, encourage, minister, and give insight on how to navigate this season of life.

Linda, along with the “Kentucky Joy in the Mourning” team, is available for church workshops, retreats, speaking engagements, luncheons and conferences.  If you know a widow who is struggling, or if you feel led to begin a widow’s ministry in your church, please contact Linda at [email protected].  Visit their website (www.kybaptist.org/widows) to download resources, or connect with “Kentucky Joy in the Mourning” on Facebook.

Praise be to the God… who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

201 Students Pray to Receive Christ

When Mission Service Corps Missionary James McDonald hears people say, “I can’t believe they have taken the Bible out of school” his response is “the Bible has not been taken out of my school.”  Through BREAK (Bible Release-time Education Association of Kentucky) James and John Lowder, along with several volunteers, teach the Bible once a month in the Corbin, Williamsburg and Whitley County school systems. 

Released Time Bible Education gives public school children the opportunity to receive Bible based moral instruction as part of their education during the regular school day.  Rolling up to the edge of the school property in their big blue and white BREAK bus/classroom, they welcome children for a time of Bible lessons, fun songs and activities, challenging Bible memory and a Christ-centered environment.  BREAK is legal because children attend ONLY at the request of their parent(s) or guardian(s), classes are held off-campus (not on school property) and public schools do not provide any support for BREAK.    

The Gospel is presented with every Bible Release-time lesson. However, children are not usually invited to accept Christ as Savior and Lord until near the end of the school year – after a foundation for their faith has been established. Leaders want to insure that children truly understand and believe the Gospel and are being convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit before they invite Jesus to come into their life and forgive their sins and become their personal Savior and Lord. Even so, BREAK teachers always endeavor to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in case the LORD may be calling children to Himself before the end of the school year.  

In April, with the end of 2018-2019 school year approaching, the leaders had a burden for the salvation of the children.  They began praying together, asking the LORD to use BREAK to bring children to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. They asked the ten-plus churches that support them to pray likewise.  They made decision cards with one side sharing the ABC’s of salvation and the other side being a response card – 1) I am already saved 2) I want to give my life to Jesus & be saved today 3) I am not yet ready to give my life to Jesus.  They had their time of worship, shared the ABC’s of salvation and asked each child to mark his/her card.  Almost 300 of the students expressed an interest in being saved.

While the other students had their game time, counselors talked individually with those that expressed an interest in being saved.  Of the students they talked with, 201 seemed to genuinely understand the Gospel and their need of salvation and prayed asking Jesus to save them from their sins and become their personal Lord and Savior. Thirty-one others received assurance of their salvation.  Follow-up has already begun, and four students have been baptized. 

We praise God for these new believers in Christ and for leaders that are so faithful to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with students.

They ask that you join them in praying for the children that they would abide in the faith and bear much fruit for God’s glory. Also pray for the leaders as they face a daunting task of follow-up – trying to make sure the students get connected to a local church, get baptized, and grow in their new found faith and in the joy of the LORD.

For more information on BREAK go to http://www.kyreleasedtime.org/ or contact BREAK President John Lowder ([email protected]) or Vice-President James McDonald ([email protected]). 

Introducing the 2019 Kentucky Missionary of the Year

As a child, Shirley Barlow attended World Missions Conferences with her parents.  Her mother would invite the missionaries to their house for dinner and, as Shirley sat and listened to their stories, she recalls praying, “Please, God, let me have this opportunity.”  However, Shirley says she never did hear the total call to be a missionary.

In 1955, after marrying and moving to Pennsylvania, Shirley was broken over the fact that there was little Southern Baptist work there.  She got connected with a local Pennsylvania Baptist Association and did pioneer work in that area for ten years. 

Shirley and her husband Tom moved back to Paducah, KY and in 1988 she became involved with River City Mission, a homeless shelter in Paducah that helps individuals overcome addictions, secure work, and get back on their feet so they can go back into society and resurrect their family situation.  Most importantly they hear the Gospel and are encouraged to commit or recommit their lives to Christ. 

Although working at the Mission for several years, it was not until 2013 that Ms. Shirley heard about Mission Service Corps and how her work fit the qualifications of a Kentucky MSC missionary. Shirley applied to serve as a Kentucky missionary and was approved in February 2013.  Her dream of becoming a missionary had become reality.  

Although River City Mission provides housing and food for the homeless, to Shirley it is more than just a shelter.  She helps the residents in all areas of their lives, showing respect for them as individuals, while also being firm.  She recently shared about going to the hospital to sit with one of the men through his surgery so that he would not be alone. 

On Friday evening, April 5th, during the KY-WMU Annual Meeting at First Baptist Church, Bowling Green, Ms. Shirley was recognized as the 2019 Kentucky Missionary of the Year.  This award is given annually to the 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 and the North American Mission Board.
  • True reflection of being an “On Mission Christian”.

Ms. Shirley certainly meets these qualifications.  Her whole life has been On Mission with Christ.  And, in her 80s, Ms. Shirley continues to serve God faithfully.  She has been a member of First Baptist Church Paducah for 22 years, where she sings in the church choir, serves as WMU director and on the Missions Committee.   

CONGRATULATIONS, Ms. Shirley.  You are most deserving.  And, God has certainly allowed you to have “this opportunity.”

Meet Our New 2019 Kentucky Missionaries

Spring has officially arrived, the dogwoods and redbuds are blooming, and everything is pointing to new life.  What an exciting time of year.  It’s time once again for our annual missionary orientation and commissioning of the new missionaries serving in Kentucky.  The orientation is a time for the missionaries to learn about the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Cooperative Program, Eliza Broadus State Missions and many resources and support available to them.  This time of networking is most valuable.

Sixteen men and women that have sensed God’s call to serve in ministries across our state will be commissioned at the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration on Friday, April 5th, at First Baptist Church, Bowling Green.

These new missionaries are:

  • Chris & Becky Baird, Director and Secretary/Treasurer for the Ohio County Food Pantry in Hartford.
  • Jill Boddy, Office Administrator with HR Ministries in Princeton.
  • Gail Boling, Serving at the Daviess-McLean Association’s Baptist Center in Owensboro.
  • Dean & Melissa Branscum, Directors of Living Water Clothes Closet in Eubank.
  • Tim & Joyce Burdon, Chaplain with Retriever Hunt Test Ministry and Women’s Ministry Leader in Marion.
  • Sheila Cobb, Serving at Daviess-McLean Association’s Baptist Center in Bowling Green .
  • Hilton & Barbara Duncan, Directors of Integrated Community Ministries in Stearns.
  • Annette Robinson, Food Coordinator for Blood River Association’s Bags of Hope Food Pantry and Clothes Closet in Hardin.
  • Lee Rust, Women’s Evangelist & Prison Ministry for Female Inmates with Freedom Forever Ministries in Paducah.
  • David Thomas, Serving with Mission Hope for Kids in Elizabethtown.
  • Daniel & Alice Tarnagda, Directors of Refuge Bowling Green.

We want to extend a special invitation for you to join us for this special commissioning service where you can meet the missionaries and pledge your support for them. 

The 2019 Kentucky Missionary of the Year will also be recognized at the service.

For more information, and to register for the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration go to http://www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting

We hope to see you there.

Sewing Seeds of Kindness Ministry Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

This week I had the privilege of participating in the 10-Year Anniversary of “Sewing Seeds of Kindness” ministry.  One morning in 2009 I received a call from then Appalachian Regional Ministry Director Bill Barker that he was leaving the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, GA and headed through Kentucky.  He had a van load of clothes and 2 boxes of homemade witnessing dolls for a ministry in Appalachia and was looking for a place that could use them.  I met Bill in Corbin, KY and we unloaded the clothes and dolls to Mission Service Corps Missionary Robin Reeves, with Christians by Choice Ministry.  Little did Robin, Bill or I know what God was about to do through something as simple as a homemade doll.

Mission Service Corps Missionary Robin Reeves

When Robin’s friend saw the dolls she wanted to take them on an upcoming mission trip to Nicaragua.  Since these dolls were particularly donated for children in Appalachia that was not possible.  Robin, a professional seamstress since the 1980s, had an idea.  She shared the need with her church and a group of about 30 ladies volunteered to help.  Together they made 470 dolls and 55 baby blankets to send to Nicaragua.  This was the beginning of the new “Sewing Seeds of Kindness” Ministry.  From that time the ladies met once, twice, or even more times, each week to sew witnessing dolls and other items for ministry.  The ladies in Nicaragua also began making the witnessing dolls from the same pattern.

In an article written by Shirley Cox for the February 2010 issue of Missions Mosaic Robin and the ladies had sent over 1000 witnessing dolls to 15 states and 5 countries.  Robin’s 2018 report noted that over 22,000 witnessing dolls have now been made, have gone all across Kentucky, to children in all 50 states and 30 countries. 

Thousands of children around the world have heard the Gospel message through a homemade doll, made from colorful fabrics and yard, with a necklace of salvation beads and a card that explains what each color represents.  On one side the eyes of the doll are closed, representing one’s lost condition before coming to know Christ.  On the flip side the eyes of the doll are open, representing how our eyes are opened when we come to know the Lord.  A red heart, with a cross painted inside, is a reminder that once we accept Christ into our heart He is always with us.       

Dolls around the globe.

In addition to the dolls, “Sewing Seeds of Kindness” Ministry now makes prayer squares, baby quilts for a Crisis Pregnancy Center, lap quilts for the cancer wing at Baptist Health in Corbin, and dog/cat beds to Knox Whitley Animal Shelter. 

Recently Mrs. Robin has partnered with Anchored Ministries, a rehab facility in Williamsburg, where she is teaching ladies in the rehab how to sew, even helping one lady to begin a sewing business that will support herself financially.

There are many amazing stories of how God has used this ministry to touch the lives of people of all ages and in many places.  If interested in learning more about the ministry, or to get the doll pattern, please email [email protected]

Thank you, ladies, for giving to the Lord.  Many lives have been changed as a result.  Keep on sewing!! 

Missions at Home, part 2

At the beginning of the month my blog was on Missions at Home and ways to participate in missions short-term, mid-term and long-term in Kentucky.  A couple of other ways to be involved in “missions at home” is through the interSEED prayer calendar and the Adopt-a-Missionary program.  Let’s look at how these work and where to find information about them.

interSEED    

How could God work through our missionaries and church planters if we better supported them through strategic intercession?

The interSEED monthly prayer calendar is a resource for Kentucky Baptists to support missionaries and church planters serving in Kentucky. These monthly prayer calendars encourage believers to pray for them on their birthdays.

Each month you can go to www.kybaptist.org/interseed and download the prayer calendar.  The calendar will show the birthdays in that month and where the missionaries and church planters are serving. 

Most of them will tell you that prayer is their number one need and you can be a part of their ministry through prayer.  To better personalize your prayer for the missionaries go to www.kybpatist.org/missionaries and see a picture of the missionary and a description of their ministry.  I know they will be so meaningful for the missionaries and for yourself.

Adopt-a-Missionary

Do you want an exciting and meaningful boost for your church?

Do you want your church or small group to be more involved in missions?

Do you want to “get to know” a missionary?

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).

An adopting church or group will experience:

  • A personal relationship with an active missionary.
  • A strengthened commitment to missions.
  • A heightened awareness of mission 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.

The adopted missionary will benefit greatly from the prayer support, encouraging phone calls, emails, cards, visits and care packages they receive from their adoptive church.  Sending mission teams to help with projects and resource needs are also a huge help and, opportunities to visit and speak at the adopting church will be greatly welcomed by the missionary.

Check out the Adopt-a-Missionary program at http://www.kybaptist.org/adopt-a-missionary,1477 and consider adopting a Kentucky missionary.

For more information on interSEED and the Adopt-a-Missionary program contact the Kentucky Baptist Convention Missions Mobilization Team at [email protected].

May you have a blessed 2019 as you connect with missions in Kentucky!!

Missions at Home, part 1

The holiday season is over, 2018 is now past and we are into the year 2019.  Many churches are beginning to plan for spring and summer and looking ahead to opportunities to serve.  Have you planned your 2019 mission experience?  Kentucky is full of opportunities.

Why do missions in Kentucky?

Many times, when we think of missions, we think of somewhere “across the seas,” but the Great Commission tells us to go to our “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  With an 18.5% poverty rate, and an average of only 12.1% of the Kentucky population in church on a given Sunday, Kentucky is a state with lots of physical and spiritual needs and is certainly a mission field.

The number of single parent homes, grandparents raising grandchildren, few jobs in some areas or loss of jobs, low literacy and education rates, job skills, and the drugs are just some of the issues that cause poverty to be so high in Kentucky. Many children do not have the food, clothing, health care, and essentials they need as a result.  Many of them are not taught the stories of the Bible, have not heard that Christ loves them, and are not encouraged to attend church where they would learn these things.

Mission teams and self-funded missionaries serve in Kentucky to help alleviate these physical and spiritual needs.  Thousands come each year to assist local churches and missionaries in reaching out to the physical needs, opening doors to share about the spiritual.  They may serve on a short-term mission trip, partner with a church or ministry and make multiple trips, or commit to long-term service in an area.  In-state mission opportunities are numerous.

Short-term opportunities

Looking for ways to put your faith into action?  Missions is year-round in Kentucky and there are lots of ways to get involved.  The KBC Missions Mobilization Team can help connect you with dozens of one day to one- or two-week opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus through acts of service.  Mission opportunities are available across the state and include pretty much anything for which an individual or team might be gifted.  Check out the many short-term listings at www.kybaptist.org/go.  You can search by type of project, location and length of assignment.

Mid-term opportunities

Opportunities are also available to serve from a few weeks to 6 or 9 months.  With many of the 2,400 Kentucky churches being small in number, some can use help with a music program, children’s ministry, food & clothing ministry, or all types of outreach.

Ministry centers across the state can use summer interns to serve alongside them.  These mid-term opportunities too, can be found at www.kybaptist.org/go.  Click on the “6 months or more” tab to view.

Long-term opportunities

Perhaps God is calling you to serve long-term as a self-funded Kentucky Mission Service Corps Missionary.  A Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionary (KY-MSC) is an adult (18 years of age or older), called by God and connected to a Kentucky Baptist Convention church, who commits to serve from nine months to two years (renewable). The positions engage in or directly support missions, church planting, collegiate ministry or evangelism, in cooperative partnership with a Kentucky Baptist Convention church, association or organization.

John & Shaughanessy Morris, from Hazard, sensed God’s call on their lives as missionaries.  They felt certain they would serve “over-seas” in another country, but God called them to their own people of eastern Kentucky.  John & Shaughanessy now direct God’s Appalachian Partnership in McDowell (Floyd County), Kentucky, a ministry that meets the spiritual and physical needs of people in Appalachia.

The KBC can assist with the application process and placement in a ministry.  Go to www.kybaptist.org/msc/ for more information.

Chaplain Provides Hope for Inmates & Children

 

On April 17, 2009 Tom Grugel’s life changed forever.  Having lived his entire life in a very dysfunctional lifestyle, and searching for something he couldn’t put into words, Tom found a church and began to attend.  He was encouraged to go on an Emmaus Walk and during that weekend, at 10:00 AM on April 17, Tom surrendered his life to Christ.  “He had been calling for years and I had ignored Him up to that moment,” said Tom.  “He saved me and put a fire in me that has never gone away.  He created in me a desire to share the Gospel with others.”

Tom began giving out Gospel tracts and felt God was calling him to preach.  Once a week he would go to the Taylor County Detention Center and share with the inmates.  This led to a conversation with the Boyle County Detention Center jailer about doing the same at their facility.  But God had other plans.  Tom was asked not to come just once a week, or once a month, but to be the chaplain at the Boyle County Detention Center.

“Tom has many years of experience as an inmate,” said South District Baptist Association Director of Missions Jim Clontz.  “He knows the challenges of knowing what it is like to be alone and wonder what is going to happen!  He knows what it is like to be without Christ!  In his many years as an inmate, no one ever witnessed to him.  He has a love for the inmates, the staff and the administration.  He has the support of the Jailor and Chief Deputy, and works closely with the Detention Center Administration, local churches and with our association.”  Tom is making a difference in the lives of many of the “guests” of the jail, as he likes to refer to them.  They serve 3000 persons a year in the jail and he has seen over 500 professions of faith in Christ during his years as chaplain, with 319 of them being baptized.

“He offers follow-up when inmates are released,” says Bro. Jim, and “there is a very high correlation between follow-up and whether the inmate will return.”

One day Tom’s heart was broken over children he saw that had come to visit mom and dad in jail.  Some were antsy, some were sitting in chairs staring at the walls, and others sitting on the floor.  “I had to step into another room because I had begun to cry,” he said.  Soon after the jail started a Kid’s Corner to minister to these children.  A beautiful mural was painted on the wall and a child’s table and chairs were added where the children can watch television during their visit.  Each child is given a gift bag, which includes toys and, so far, about 500 “Bags of Smiles” has been given out, all of which is funded by local churches.

Click on the following link to view a recent news story that WKYT-TV in Lexington did on the Kids’ Corner – https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Kids-corner-at-Boyle-Co-jail-motivates-incarcerated-parents-499202421.html.

Tom shared that the Bags of Smiles in no longer just a jail ministry.  They now work with those who do advocacy with children, and with child protective services, to provide the Bags of Smiles.

“There is so much that the Lord is doing,” says Tom.  And he is always quick to give the God the credit.

Tom works closely with the churches of the South District Baptist Association and, in February 2018, became a Kentucky Mission Service Corps Missionary with the Kentucky Baptist Convention in his role as chaplain.

There is a need for new or gently used toys for the Bags of Smiles.  If you would like to partner with Tom please email him at [email protected], or contact Dr. Jim Clontz, Director of Missions at the South District Baptist Association at 859-238-7624.

Owsley County Food Place Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary

On the beautiful Fall Friday afternoon of October 12th, the Owsley County Food Place celebrated 20 years of ministry to families in and around Booneville.  The celebration took place outside at the Owsley County Senior Citizens shelter.  There was bluegrass gospel music, Bible reading, sharing about the ministry, prayer of thanksgiving for the ministry and of course, food.  Those that attended enjoyed grilled hotdogs and the trimmings.  Jerry and Susie Lacefield, founders of the ministry, cut the cake and everyone enjoyed a time of celebration.

Jerry and Susie came to Owsley County in November 1997 when Jerry was called as Pastor of Booneville FBC.  They dedicated their lives to the people of one of the poorest counties in the nation. Along with the food ministry, they also had a clothing ministry, hosted mission teams that did home repairs, conducted backyard Bible clubs, block parties and lots of outreach events in the area.

During the celebration Jerry shared some stats from the 16 years they served at the Food Place:

  • $71,997 was donated to buy food
  • 389 tons of food were given out
  • 572 volunteer mission groups and individuals served in the ministry
  • Volunteer mission groups and individuals came from 16 states and 2 countries (Canada & Africa)
  • Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, youth groups, inmates from the local jail and other local volunteers assisted in the ministry
  • 104 Bible Schools were held at assisted living facilities, apartment complexes, the ministry center and even one an individual’s yard
  • 3,414 children were given Christmas items by Valley View Baptist Church in Louisville
  • 1,350 children were given Easter baskets by Midway Church in Kentucky
  • 11 families were helped in 2003 following a flood in Booneville
  • 2 trucks were used for 8 years, then Harden Baptist Church in Benton, KY donated a trailer for their use

Jerry recalled a time in 2006 when funds were low, and they did not know if they would be able to continue the ministry.  They prayed for God to intervene and soon after received a donation of $14,000.

In 2008 they celebrated their 10-Year Anniversary, but also saw this as the biggest giving year, when $21,000 was given to support the ministry.

The biggest statistic that Jerry shared was that 290 persons professed faith in Christ during the 16 years they served at Owsley County Food Place.

Although the Lacefields have since retired and are now living in North Carolina, they still have a special love for the people of Owsley County.  This day was a Homecoming for them and it was also evident of how much the people loved them and were so happy to see them once again.

The Owsley County Food Place ministry continues, being led by Karen Jennings and retired pastor Bill Walton.  They currently serve around 300 families a month with food, mostly received from God’s Food Pantry in Lexington.  They have 7 freezers to store frozen food and are planning to build a cooler that will hold even more frozen food.

Thank God for ministries such as the Owsley County Food Place that continue year after year, month after month, to provide not only the physical needs of the people but show and share the love of Christ.  May they continue to see people fed and souls saved as a result of their labor.