Buckets Touch Real People

Sometimes we participate in projects to collect things for people in need but have little connection to the people who receive the items. This is one reason it is vital for churches to take items in person to ministry sites and spend time participating in the ministry. Items collected have greater meaning as we connect them to real people.

“Turning a Ministry Project Into a Missions Project” is a recent blog on the National WMU web site. The article includes the reminder that we move from ministry to missions when we share the gospel. This should always be an important part of every ministry.

Going in person, however, is not always possible for every project, but we should never lose sight of the real people who benefit from our effort. The Bucket Project, a ministry of Baptist Global Response (BGR) is such an effort. Fortunately here in Kentucky, there are enough people who have gone overseas and delivered buckets, that we can hear stories from Kentucky volunteers about the impact of every bucket. A new video, Buckets of Hope 2016, includes the story of Mavis who received a bucket from a Kentucky volunteer.

597750899_260x146The  Buckets of Hope video tells about the Bucket Project from the perspective of the Cooperative Program (CP).  The video reminds us that the Cooperative Program makes it possible to do this type of project because CP has put the structure and missionaries on the field where the buckets will be delivered to people with AIDS.

596292053_260x146Dr. Paul Chitwood has issued a video challenge to bring 2000 buckets to the 2016 Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, November 15, at the Florence Baptist Church. Have you packed a bucket?

BGR logoFor information about the Bucket Project and links to a detailed shopping list and other information, go to: kywmu.org/bucketproject.

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Stuck In Traffick


When WMU had Project Help: Human Exploitation as a focus, the purpose was to put a host of exploitation issues on the radar of our churches, including human trafficking. At the time there were too many of us who thought “it does not happen in my town.” Unfortunately we have learned that human trafficking does happen – in our small towns and big cities.

Human trafficking ensnares about 27 million people worldwide, including Kentucky. Advocacy groups say children as young as 2 months old have been victims of sexual exploitation. Children are twice as likely than adults to be trafficked, with the average girl groomed for prostitution being between 12 and 14 years old.

Stuck in Traffic is a one-day workshop designed to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking in the state of Kentucky, and to help the church to learn practical ways to be a changing force in our culture.  Join Kentucky Baptists as we seek to end this modern-day slavery and to learn how we can help victims be freed from the chains of trafficking.

COST: $10 (includes lunch & materials)

Register at  http://www.kybaptist.org/stuck-in-traffick,1631  by October 19 or contact (866) 489-3527 or dr@kybaptist.org for information of assistance in registration.

Free child care is available for infants through 5th grade. Registration is required.
(Parents must pick up their children during lunch, but may order lunches for their children for an $5 per child.)

Bethlehem Baptist Church
5708 Preston Hwy.
Louisville, KY 40219

Kristen Drake
(502) 489-3404

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Matches made in heaven?

denise1By Denise Gardner

I had a really wonderful experience recently in Bowling Green. I was invited to attend a Sunday evening gathering of Acteens at Calvary Baptist Church. They meet at least monthly and are an active and dedicated group.

The evening was their first of the new church year, which included welcoming new girls to the group. Naturally, several of the girls were “graduating,” so to speak, from Girls in Action. Leaders decided to give the event a Big Sisters/Little Sisters feel by pairing up younger girls with those who have been involved in Acteens for a while. The hope is that the older girls might become spiritual mentors to the younger. (If “spiritual mentors” sounds a bit stuffy, the title “trusted friend” also works.)

I wonder if some of the girls who were paired up with an older Acteen come from families where they are the only child. If so, this will be a very new experience for them. There was so much excitement in the room as the leader, Emily, read the matches from a file on her smart phone.

We know that some of these pairs won’t become BFFs or besties, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if, standing right there in that room, we hadn’t witnessed the start of some friendships that will last for decades, and into eternity.

Now that we are well into the routine of the new school year, I hope you’ve had some time to review the materials I mentioned in the fall edition of Kentucky Notes. As a reminder:

In addition to a Little/Big Sisters match similar to what the Calvary group did, here are some other ideas you might want to try in the coming year:

  • Missions Lock-In Invite a mission speaker and plan several hands-on missions projects.
  • Begin at Home  Load Acteens in the church bus/van and drive the community to learn about local mission sites.
  • School Prayerwalk  Organize your Acteens to prayerwalk local schools.

Don’t forget … National Acteens Panelist applications due to the national WMU office Nov. 1. Download them at www.wmu.com or refer to the latest edition of Acteens Leader.

Denise Gardner is Acteens specialist for Kentucky WMU. denise.gardner@kybaptist.org. Kentucky Acteens is on Facebook.

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An empty belly can drown out the cry of an empty heart


Global Hunger Relief provides an avenue for believers to fulfill the biblical mandate to care for others, and it also makes it easier for those receiving the relief to be open to the voice of God. Just as hunger is an obstacle to children making the most of their time at school, an empty belly often shouts down the cry of an empty heart.

As October begins, let’s get an updated picture of this global crisis, and encourage those around us to respond individually and corporately. WMU has curricula for preschoolers, adults, and in Spanish, related to the issue of hunger relief.

As part of our new Plug-In Missions Ed initiative, Kentucky WMU encourages churches to get boys and girls involved in hunger relief. WMU’s e4 (engage explore, expand, and experience) series (pictured above) provides up to four weeks of focused learning and application for children at just a few dollars for the digital download. If you’ve never tried an e4 study before, this will be a great opportunity for you and your students to give it a test drive.

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BREAK bus painted!

It is always a time of rejoicing when we hear about how EBO funds have made a difference in ministries across Kentucky. We received this letter from Kentucky missionary Beth Arnold.

painted-bus-1September 19, 2016
Dear Joy,
I just wanted to let you know our newly painted BREAK bus has been going to schools the last two weeks. The students have been excited and so pleased to see “their” bus looking so shiny and pretty. After receiving the EBO grant money we were still $3,700 short for the quoted $10,000 for paint and labor. After saving for three years and getting much closer to our goal, an individual (the man actually painting the bus) personally donated $1,200, then the painting company wrote off $2,500 still needed. I really think the EBO grant money pushing us up in reach of the needed amount is what motivated the generous giving. Thank you!

The BREAK decals are not put on yet but have been promised to be provided free, including the labor for applying. We hope to do that soon when we have a few days that the bus is not being used.

painted-bus-2I have attached two pictures of the BREAK bus at Whitley North Elementary taken last week the first day after getting it from the painters. This school has a very high attendance for students (participating in BREAK Bus). Two of the classes have 100 percent of the students enrolled in school.  Many children are hearing the Gospel each month. 

The EBO video is really impacting our getting the word out about the ministry. I have been to three churches this month in our county to set up a BREAK display and answer questions after the video was shown. I am also getting calls from outside the Tri-Counties with questions how to start a Bible Release Time in their community. I’m sure I will continue to use the video in sharing about the ministry.  I appreciate so much the opportunities EBO has provided for BREAK and especially the encouragement from you and Teresa Parrett. 

Please drop by for class if you are ever in the area. 
With Praise and Thanksgiving to our Lord!  Beth

break-busIf you want to see a BREAK bus in action, join us for the Kentucky WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting, March 31-April 1, 2017 in Corbin.

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Reaching International Students


An important ministry which receives funding from the Eliza Broadus Offering is our work with international students on Kentucky college and university campuses. The next International Student Conference will be Nov. 4-6 in Cave City and we have been asked to start praying for this outreach event now.

This conference is sponsored by the Kentucky Baptist Convention for the purpose of helping international students make new friends, celebrate culture, and learn about the Christian faith. Many nations will be represented in the demographics of those who attend. Many of these young people have never heard the gospel before, have never been invited into an American home, and have never been sought out by an American for friendship.

Here are the things that you can pray for:
1) pray that Jesus may be lifted up so that all may be drawn to Him.

2) pray that members from local churches across the state, who will be leading during the conference, may be filled in the Holy Spirit.

3) pray that specifically 10 international students may come to know Christ and may begin being discipled by a local church in their area.

4) pray that this may be a conference that is exciting and fun, gospel centered, and God glorifying.

Thank you for your gifts to the Eliza Broadus Offering which helps to make this and other ministries with international students possible. Give to EBO through your church or online.

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Be Ready – Live Ready!

BeReadyLiveReadyThe 2016 state missions emphasis, drawn from 1 Peter 3:15, is more than a slogan – it is a lifestyle!

At a time when the church was facing persecution, when times were difficult, when there was unrest and turmoil, Peter wrote to encourage believers.

1peter3-15versePeter wrote to tell the church that no matter what happened, they were to “honor the Messiah as Lord” and “always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”

This Peter writing to them was the same Peter who blurted out the confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It was the same Peter who momentarily walked on water then sank when he took his eyes off of Jesus. It was the same Peter who when asked about his relationship to Jesus, denied Him. But it was also the same Peter who was restored and became the mighty preacher of Pentecost. It was the Peter who had a vision that opened his eyes to God’s intent to include all people in His plan of salvation. Now Peter writes from the perspective of faith in Christ that has not only stood the test of time, but has grown stronger. He now writes, “always be ready.”

Are we ready? Are we ready to share Jesus with a coworker? Are we ready to share Jesus with the international who has moved into the neighborhood? Are we ready to share Jesus with the frazzled parent who comes to soccer practice?  Are we ready befriend the teenager with tattoos? Are we ready to help children who need help with their homework? The list goes on.

I spend Sunday evenings with ladies who attend Celebrate Recovery in Shelbyville. The group is for anyone with any hurt, habit, or hangup. While the majority of issues for most participants revolve around the life problems caused by alcohol and drug abuse, there are others who just need a safe place to tell their story.

Many of the participants in the Shelbyville Celebrate Recovery group walk over from Open Door of Hope, a homeless shelter, that has received EBO grants for several years. This is but one of a variety of ministries across Kentucky that reach out to people in need. Through the Eliza Broadus Offering, we are able to help Open Door of Hope and other ministries with grants to buy supplies and help with other expenses.

Through EBO, we (you and me!) assist our state Baptist convention with church planting and evangelism. EBO provides funds for work with college students and language ministries. It is an important part of church and community ministries.

2016statemissionsemphassiseboI hope your church will show a state missions video each Sunday in September. But you can also watch the videos on your own, even download them to your computer. You can also read about state missions in the special State Missions Insert to the Western Recorder which was published on September 6, 2016.

kentuckygoalGifts to the Eliza Broadus Offering may be made through your church or sent directly to Kentucky WMU, 13420 Eastpoint Centre Drive, Louisville, KY  40223.  Please include the notation that your gift is for EBO.

Are you ready?

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WMU Matters

Joy w Wanda LeeThis morning I started reading the September Missions Mosaic in the way I always do at the start of a new month, with Wanda Lee’s column. Even though I chaired the search committee to find her successor, there was still a lump in my throat as I read the first sentence: “Preparing this month’s From Missionary Ridge has been challenging since I realized it would be my last as your executive director.”

It was an emotional moment for me. Today is my 17th anniversary as executive director for Kentucky WMU. Wanda and I have tracked together across these years. She has been a friend and mentor. I have stayed in her home and she and Larry have stayed in ours. Wanda has been in our state on several occasions for our state WMU meeting. She is a great speaker.

We’ve had a few fun experiences with pulling off surprises. One was help with arrangements for Wanda and family to take Larry to a concert in Lexington, KY. He had no idea!  The other was when Campbellsville University surprised Wanda by awarding her an honorary doctorate. I was in on getting her family in town and keeping them from finding each other until the right moment when we were all in the press box!

Wanda’s last column was appropriately titled “WMU Matters.” She has written this column from the heart and from her “personal belief that what we do through WMU matters.”  But it was the conclusion to the column that made me cry.  During the months that the search committee has been at work, we claimed and asked others to pray with us, Ephesians 3:20-21.  Wanda concluded her column with these verses:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  (NIV)

When I read the verses she had chosen for her final words, knowing that we have been praying these verses over the past six months, knowing how God has answered in the calling out of Sandy Wisdom-Martin, I wept at God’s faithfulness.

In our office we were recently challenged to describe what we do simply, succinctly. The statement that grabbed me was “WMU facilitates missions involvement.”  When I think about ministries that we plan such as Kentucky Changers and Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids, I resonate with what Wanda says – WMU matters!  Because we have planned these missions opportunities, we help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. In local churches and in associations, because WMU takes the lead to plan ways for people to be involved in missions, there are people who get involved for the first time and/or in ways they never dreamed possible. WMU matters!

Thank you, Wanda Lee, for your leadership for the past 20 years at the national level. I am grateful for you and pray for wonderful times with your family in retirement. And I join you and the WMU family in praying for our new leader and the future work of WMU.

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EBO stories make me smile

JoyThank you, Kentucky Baptists! You are people who just keep on giving! We share the state missions emphasis month after month, telling the stories and asking you to be generous. You respond with generosity and prayer support.

On August 31 we will close the books on an offering year and start all over on September 1. Some might wonder if we will ever get done. As long as there are people who have not accepted Jesus as Savior, we will keep sharing the Heart of the Story across our state. Here are some stories received this year.

Ben showed up at Hope House straight from prison. He came to know Jesus as Savior while in jail and came to get help with employment. Jobs are a real challenge for those with felony records, but Ben knew that Jesus wanted to do something great with his life and was one of the best students in the Jobs for Life program there. Now he is working at the Hope House warehouse and has a goal of becoming a drug and alcohol counselor. EBO had a part though a $2,000 grant this year.

Tommie was estranged from family, addicted to drugs, and homeless. He went to the Louisville Rescue Mission seeking services and hope. A volunteer built a relationship with Tommie and encouraged him to enter LifeChange. Today he has moved home, reconciled with family, gotten married and has a vision for starting his own business. EBO had a part through a $4,000 grant this year.

After speaking for Lincoln Association WMU a few weeks ago, I was invited to stop by the Unto Me Home in Stanford which opened in August 2015. Perry, the house coordinator, told me the story of how God had worked in his life through the ministry which provides shelter for people who are homeless. He now builds relationships with those who come seeking help and has a special understanding of their needs because he was once homeless, too.  Perry has reconnected with his wife and they have both grown spiritually. Since the Unto Me Home opened, there have been 70 people come through and 13 have professed Christ as Savior. Many have found employment and permanent housing. EBO had a part through a $1,000 grant this year.

Stories like this make me smile as I think of the impact of your faithful giving as God blesses EBO and uses it  for His glory and to proclaim the gospel. A new offering year will begin soon with the theme Be Ready – Live Ready. Are you ready?


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Inspire boys, students with new missions outlook this fall


By Jon Auten

In September, the publications RA World and RA Leader will feature the new theme, Mission: My Life, based on the 2016-18 WMU theme By All Means.

As RAs and their leaders learn the lessons and unpack the meaning of the new emphasis, the prayer is that boys will be challenged to make missions a part of their daily lives by engaging fully in missions learning and action.

Parents and leaders, this material is written to help you teach RAs about how the Great Commission impacted the early disciples, how it informs the lives of current-day missionaries, and how it can transform the lives of believers today. RA Leader, RA World, and all the other resources you need to help your Royal Ambassadors grow into “well informed, responsible followers of Christ” are available at wmustore.com.

As you plan for the coming year, please mark your calendars for RAMCON 2017 on March 18 at Beaver Dam Baptist Church. As the date approaches, more info will be posted on the website.

Follow “Kentucky Royal Ambassadors” on Facebook.

Challengers & Youth on Mission

What if the teenaged boys in your Challengers group, or the boys and girls in your Youth on Mission group, did the following things on a regular basis:

  • Followed Christ’s example?
  • Stepped into the world around them?
  • Cultivated relationships with others, and
  • Created opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ?

You certainly would be proud of a group of young people who lived like that, wouldn’t you? With the help of the new Challengers Leader book and Youth on Mission Plan Book for 2016-17, you can equip the young men and women in your group to live in just this kind of way.

By All Means, that’s the overarching theme in the Bible studies, mission studies, personal growth studies, and missions activities that will enable your students to live for Christ in all they do.

You can also engage teens in practical missions  through Kentucky WMU’s Creative Ministries Festival and Kentucky Changers.

Stay up to date on news, events and resources for students at kywmu.org/students.

Kentucky Challengers” and “Kentucky Changers” are on Facebook.

Jon Auten is the RA/Challengers and Youth on Mission consultant for Ky WMU, jon.auten@kybaptist.org

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