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Tell Your Story Dot Today

TellYourStory logoWhen we give web addresses, there is always a little confusion because there are no spaces.  Tell Your Story dot today is written: tellyourstory.today.

The .today was a new one for me.  I was familiar with .com, .edu, .net, but not .today.  But in faith I followed the link and sure enough, it leads to a wonderful web site with instructions for how to call in and tell your story.  After your story is posted, you will receive instructions on how to share your story with others.

I wanted to share this with our Kentucky WMU Executive Board, so I recorded my story last Thursday.  It was posted by Thursday evening and I was able to share it as part of my report to the Board.  Over the weekend, I received a text message with instructions for registering so that each time someone listened to my story, I would get a text letting me know.

I was able to take that step on Saturday evening, and throughout the weekend, my phone has chimed, letting me know of new text messages.  As of this writing, 44 people have already listened to my story.

Once you record your story and it is posted, you can post a link to your story in Facebook or send it by email or text.  You can also point others to a page full of stories that they can listen to.  Each posting includes additional information about how to accept Christ as Savior and learn more.

The web site even has a template for printing out cards with the web address of your story.  You can share these cards with others as you go along. This is especially good when there is not time for an extended conversation or you want someone to hear your story as a follow-up to your witness with them.

You are encouraged to listen to my story as well as the many other stories found on this web site.  My story is: http://www.tellyourstory.today/stories/joy-b-from-shelbyville-kentucky

I encourage you to Tell Your Story – TODAY!  Join us is sharing the gospel by telling the story of encountering Jesus as Savior.

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Life Changing Opportunity

Adult ChangersLast week about 30 adults joined in what we call Adult Changers and got a taste of what Kentucky Changers is all about.  While some of the participants were regulars with Changers, others were new, experiencing the fun and hard work for the first time.

The Adult Changers stayed at Richmond First Baptist Church who provided sleeping space and meals. They worked at the Gilmin Home, a ministry for boys and others led by Travis and Christie Lynch. Gilmin stands for God Is Love Ministry. The Lynch family opened their home several years ago to begin this ministry when they felt God’s prompting to help boys and others who needed a place to live and learn. The ministry has touched many lives and grown to the point that another building is needed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKentucky Changers worked at the Gilmin Home this past summer, building a deck on the back of the house. This was a needed addition which made the home more enjoyable for the family and guests. Adults Changers came to complete some finish work on the steps, put siding on the new building, add electrical wiring, and do some painting in the Gilmin Home and for a neighbor  is caring for an ill family member.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPeggy Murphy, Kentucky Changers Coordinator, has even bigger dreams for this project than the work done for the Gilmin Home. Her dream is to see many of these volunteers come back next summer to help us with Kentucky Changers. Changers will work in four locations next summer and do about 25 projects per site. That means we need 100 crew chiefs and 100 assistant crew chiefs for each project. That’s 200 volunteers PLUS people to cook, serve as runners, and a host of other tasks. And then of course, every church needs adult chaperones to come along and work along side the students.

10649899_10152679438212834_5523562800521635176_nKentucky Changers is a life changing experience for students. But it is also life changing for adult volunteers. Not only do volunteers see the impact on a family, but the week is an investment in students. Today we have students who are faithful servants in their churches, in leadership, in ministry, serving as missionaries, and making a difference in many ways because of what they learned and experienced through Kentucky Changers. God has used Kentucky Changers for 20+ years and the ministry is still growing.

Kentucky Changers is a life changing opportunity. Learn how to be involved as a volunteer or by bringing students at kywmu.org/changers. Sign up now and get ready for a ministry that you will want to be part of over and over again!

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Helping a dying man find peace

Bob Perkins served as a crew leader with Kentucky Changers in Frankfort/Lawrenceburg this past summer.  His crew worked on a house owned by Gillford and Martha, an older couple in Frankfort.  Bob recently shared the impact of Kentucky Changers on this couple and himself.

Bob said, “We cleaned up their yard, rebuilt their deck/porch which was falling in, installed lattice panels and did some gutter work. We had information that the city of Frankfort had issued an order that could condemn the home without these repairs.”

Frankfort porch teamBob was especially concerned for Gillford who had serious health issues and stayed in his pajamas all week. From their conversations, the deck/porch was the primary issue between the couple and the city. The deck served as a main point in their lives, bringing them happiness through all the days they would entertain family and friends.  Bob’s primary concern was that this gentleman was “mad at his church.” The couple had been very active in their local church in years past and for some reason the relationship had soured.  “Our crew prayed several times while at their home that week,” said Bob, “that God would restore their faith and attitude towards their church and God.”

A teenage girl on the crew also spent time talking with the couple during the week. This girl also made a profession of faith that week and was sharing her new faith with Martha and Gillford.  On the last day that the crew worked at this home, the couple invited the crew in. Gillford picked up his guitar and the couple sang several songs for the team. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd,” said Bob. The couple “also became emotional upon giving us the pleasure of hearing their testimony of how they were ‘lifted’ by our faith, work and friendship.”

After the Kentucky Changers week working on this home, Bob continued to talk with Gillford and Martha. On September 5, after returning from a mission trip in Alaska, Bob had a phone call from Martha. “I started not to take the call because it was late and I was tired. But I took the call and and on the other end was Martha.” She told Bob that her husband was near death and would not make it through the night. She complimented the Changers team and especially the young teenage girl and Bob. She told him that their contact with Kentucky Changers had “softened” her husband’s heart toward God and His church. In the last few months all he talked about was the young kids who had come and rebuilt his deck. He spent many of his remaining days on the porch and enjoying his time outside. Bob prayed with Martha on the phone, asking God for His love and peace for the family. Gillford died that night.

On Friday after Gillford died, Bob talked again with Martha. She repeated her praises for the Kentucky Changers team and spoke of the joy the team brought to the couple. She was so happy that her husband had made peace within himself and with God in the weeks since the Changers team was at their home.

In reflecting on the summer experience with this couple, Bob said, “What price can any of us place on helping a dying man find peace in the final weeks of his life? Who would have thought that the conversations of a fifteen year old teenager and a handshake from me would change the heart of this man. God is so great.”

Cost of a week at Kentucky Changers for a student – $200.  Helping a dying man find peace – priceless!

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Collections that Count

Churches enjoy collecting items that meet a ministry need. There are many opportunities to collect items for ministries in your own community and when you do, please deliver them in person and spend time with the people at the ministry site.  Be sure to take pictures and share the experience with your church. Before sharing, have the next ministry project or a return visit to the featured ministry planned so that you can immediately offer an opportunity for involvement when people show interest. The involvement of your church in the local ministry will make the collection of needed items more meaningful both to your church and to the local ministry.

Backpack Video picAnother opportunity for collecting and making an impact in Kentucky is through the LoveLOUD Christmas Backpacks. The North American Mission Board is seeking to collect 40,000 backbacks for children to be distributed through Appalachian Regional Ministry and Mississippi River Ministry. Both of these ministries touch Kentucky. If your church would like to participate in the backback collection, visit the web site (www.NAMB.net/backpacks) to learn more. There are specific instructions on the web site about what each backpack should include. To partner with a ministry for distribution of backpacks you collect, please fill out and submit the Partnership Agreement on the web site. The collecting and delivering date will need to be coordinated with the ministry site you partner with for Christmas. All backpacks need to be collected by and delivered to the site no later than December 10, 2014. Please preview and download promotional materials and participation forms from the web page. If you have questions, email Bill Barker: bbarker@namb.net or call 606-316-4298.  Be sure to see the video about the Christmas Backpacks that features Keith Decker, Kentucky Missionary of the Year for 2014.

10636756_754039074642682_325525768514784248_oThe Bucket Project with Baptist Global Response is a collection project that will touch many lives in Sub Sahara Africa.  While you may not have the opportunity to personally take a bucket to a person suffering with AIDS, you can know that every bucket is being delivered by a Christian believer who will share a gospel witness.  A great opportunity to participate in the Bucket Project will take place on November 11 at the Kentucky Baptist Convention.  We will have a truck at the convention and we have a goal of 800 buckets, enough to fill another shipping container for Africa.  Lori Funderburk, Bucket Project Prayer Coordinator, will be with us at the state convention.  There are promotional videos about the bucket collection available which you can download and show in your church.

Bucket Project video by Dr. Paul Chitwood
Bucket Project video by Joy Bolton

If you would like someone to come to your church to share information about the Bucket Project, we have people available. Kentucky WMU sent a team to South Africa last December to lead Bible Clubs and deliver buckets. Experience 1:8 college students went to South Africa in July and delivered buckets that had been collected at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting in April.

Collections that count include prayer and a gospel witness. Pray over the items you collect, asking that they be used by the Lord to meet needs and share Jesus with the lost or bring a word of encouragement to a believer in need. Pray for those who will use the items in ministry and for their witness. Pray for opportunities to share the good news of our Savior and for the boldness of those who witness. Pray for your own opportunities to be part of these ministries and for your personal witness every day.

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Power to Serve

Power to Serve textIt does not take being in ministry very long to realize that we do not have the wisdom or energy to do all the needs to be done. There are demands that are far greater than our knowledge or skill can handle. There are situations that require greater expertise than we can offer. There are needs to meet that require longer hours than we have stamina. Yet, over and over, ministry leaders go above and beyond to serve and share Jesus. The power to serve comes from the Holy Spirit who grants ability and strength far beyond what we could ask or imagine.

Our 2014 state missions emphasis focuses on ministries and people who testify to the Holy Spirit’s work in providing the power to serve. We invite you to pray daily for state missions using the following verses from Acts 1 and prayer requests.  As you read the verses and requests, look to see the connections between them.

Sunday (Acts 1:1-2): In the gospels we read of all that Jesus “began to do and teach.” In Acts we are reminded that the power to serve comes from the Holy Spirit. Pray for Kentucky missionaries  and for their reliance upon God for the power to serve. Pray for ministries that intentionally take the gospel into Kentucky communities.

Monday (Acts 1:3):  Pray for Affinity Evangelism efforts to bring “the kingdom of God” to people who have no spiritual connections and for believers who are sharing Jesus through  personal interest outreach efforts.  Pray for the KBC Evangelism and Church Planting Team and RISK evangelism ministries. (RISK – Reaching Into the State of Kentucky.) Pray for RISK Bowling Green as Kentucky Baptists share the gospel in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in November.

Tuesday (Acts 1:4): Give thanks for the vision of Eileen Mullins to “wait for the Father’s promise” to redeem a tragedy and create a ministry to the families of inmates at the Big Sandy Federal Prison. Pray for Harold and Joyce Scroggs and Robin and Becky Botkin as they lead Haven of Rest Family Ministry in Inez following Eileen’s retirement.  Pray for other ministries across Kentucky that share Jesus with inmates and their families.

Wednesday (Acts 1:5):  Give thanks for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and church planters who have responded to God’s prompting to start new churches to share the gospel. Pray for Crossroads Community Baptist Church in Stearns as they share the gospel and meet human needs through The Lord’s Café and other ministries. Pray for new churches in your community and for more new churches to be started.

Thursday (Act 1:6-7):  Pray for  those who have no understanding of the gospel message. Pray that their minds and hearts would be opened. Pray for Kentucky Baptists to trust God’s timing as He opens doors for ministry. Pray for Teresa Parrett as she links those who want to serve with ministry needs and locations. Pray that more people will volunteer for both short-term and long-term missions ministries.

Friday (Acts 1:8): Pray for churches working together though local, associational, regional, and state missions. Pray for ministries in your community and other parts of Kentucky to share Jesus. Pray specifically for the KBC Missions Mobilization Team as they train leaders and work with ministries across Kentucky and around the world.

 Saturday (Acts 1:9-10): Pray for IICE (Innovative Intentional Community Evangelism) led by Van and Marjorie Yandell, whose outreach efforts include block parties, motorcycle rides, prison ministry, and evangelistic services at a rescue mission and other locations. Pray for those who will receive EBO ministry grants this year, including each of our 70 Baptist associations. Pray that they will share the gospel creatively.

Sunday (Acts 1:11): Pray for the LoveLoud Backpack outreach to children this year through Appalachian Regional Ministry and Mississippi River Ministry who will distribute the backpacks to children and share the gospel with their families. Pray that Kentucky Baptists will take the initiative to meet this need, and that all efforts will be used of God to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.

Join us in reading about the featured ministries and watching the videos.  We will be posting reminders each day on Facebook.  To get started, visit:  http://ow.ly/B2Pds

Remember that you can give to the Eliza Broadus Offering through your local church as well as online at kywmu.org/ebo.

Thank you for praying and giving. Your faithfulness in prayer and your financial support provide resources that are multiplied by the Lord as He provides the power to serve across Kentucky!

 

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Bridge View

Big 4 Bridge.jpgThe Kentucky WMU staff took a couple of days last week for our annual Staff Planning Retreat. During this time we try to have a mix of some fun activities as well as prayer, Bible study, reflection on the past year and plans for the coming year.

As our fun activity, we hiked the Big 4 Bridge, an old railway bridge that has been turned into a pedestrian bridge over the Ohio River. There are ramps up to the bridge from both the Kentucky side as well as the Indiana side.  The Kentucky ramp is in Waterfront Park in Louisville and is near a “swing park” and a “splash park.”  The Indiana ramp is in Jeffersonville near a street of interesting shops and restaurants.

Big 4 Brige deck.jpgThe Big 4 Bridge is one mile in length.  Each ramp is about one-quarter mile and the bridge itself is one-half mile.  As you cross the bridge there is an outstanding view of the river, downtown Louisville, Jeffersonville, and river activity.  I was especially glad to see that a new downtown bridge really is being built.  (My parents were from Missouri and that characteristic of “I’ll believe it when I see it” was passed down!)

New brige construction.jpgHiking the bridge was fun and a good time for us to be together.  But there was a bigger purpose in going.  I wanted our staff to see the bridge view and reflect on lessons we might apply to our work such as:
See the big picture
Note the tearing down to make way for the new
Small details matter but don’t lose sight of what you are building
Small details matter and affect the quality of the outcome
Note the new alongside the old
Repurpose the old (Big 4 Bridge is an example)
Create space for fun even the midst of work (a park near office buildings)
Bridges connect
We need more bridges
There are new discoveries on the other side

Schimpff's.jpgWe also had a fun lunch at Schimpff’s Confectionary (a new discovery for me!). And the view from the bridge gave us a new perspective for our discussion during day two of our staff planning as we talked about things we do well, what needs improvement, what we should be doing and even what we should not be doing.

If you can go hike the Big 4 Bridge, I encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful facility. There were many walkers of all ages as well as runners and cyclists. The view from the bridge is worth the trip. And while you are there, reflect on what you see!

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A month of Kentucky missions stories

Shirley Cox was called of God to be a writer. She tells the story of her call in the Prayer Patterns section of this month’s Missions Mosaic.  I encourage you to get an August 2014 issue and read not only the story of Shirley’s call to writing, but the month of stories that she shares about Kentucky missionaries. As I have prayed daily for Southern Baptist missionaries around the world, it has been a special month to read the selected scripture passages and then the stories of people I know who illustrate the passages so well.

Among the featured missionaries you will find the story of Eileen Mullins and how God led her through a family tragedy to establish Haven of Rest Family Ministries.  There is the story of Judith Drummond, administrative assistant with Baptist Fellowship Center in Louisville. Shirley’s own story of being compelled to go to jail and teach the Bible to women will grip your heart as will the testimony of Bessie McPeek, a mom who needed welfare at one time, who eventually went to work in the welfare office and developed a diaper ministry that grew into much more.

Shirley reminds us of the importance of caring for the least of these as she tells the story of Rachelle Starr and her ministry through Scarlet Hope. She encourages us to keep caring for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy as she tells about the work of Kay Hammond and Appalachian Pregnancy Care Center. Stories to come this month include Garnett Jones who was moved to study Spanish at age 67 and start a ministry to internationals. Arlene Miller is featured on August 22. I am amazed by her passion for orphans in Haiti as well as the concern she has for people in Christian County who are in need as she ministers through Impact Ministry and Christian Women’s Job Corps.

One of my birthday buddies, Harrell Riley, is featured on August 27 (though his birthday is August 13!). Harrell established Hell is Real ministry to reach out in a variety of ways, including jail ministry both to men and women. Lonnie and Belinda Riley came back from Mississippi to minister in Belinda’s home town of Lynch where the needs were great. In Elizabethtown Nelle Thomas discovered that hunger knows no geographic limits and when her church started feeding hungry children during VBS, a ministry was born.

These stories inspire us to look again at the needs around us and see that God can use anyone who is willing to serve.  What strikes me most about these stories is the influence beyond Kentucky. God has gifted Shirley to write and I believe that the words of Isaiah 49:6 apply to Shirley and to those whose stories she tells.  “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  This passage, first given to Isaiah points us to Jesus.  As Christ followers in whom Jesus lives today, the passage speaks to us as well.  “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Shirley and missionaries, to all who are faithfully serving in your particular place – the Holy One of Israel has chosen you and your faithfulness will have influence far beyond what you could ever ask or imagine.  This year a special lady named Peggy Murphy came to work for Kentucky WMU as our Kentucky Changers Coordinator. I’ve been in meetings with Peggy where mayors and county judge executives were skeptical.  And I’ve been in the celebration services where we saw the before and after pictures of homes, and where the community leaders were there saying “thank you for coming.”  It’s not about us – it’s about proclaiming Jesus as Lord. But when we are faithful, God gives us some incredible experiences along the way!

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Annual Meeting Buckets – the “rest of the story”

Paul Harvey’s famous line “And now the rest of the story” has inspired many others to fill in unknown details of a story or tell what happened later in a particular story.  The rest of the bucket story is not yet complete, but let me share some of what has happened since Annual Meeting.

imageFirst, our 778 buckets were shipped to Houston. Folks there packed them into a shipping container headed for South Africa. After the buckets arrived, it took several days for them to clear customs.  They were finally released and shipped to Tabitha Ministries where they were unloaded by Tabitha staff, volunteers, and Kentucky BGR volunteers! These are the buckets that the KY WMU worked so hard to get together, and it was so appropriate that they got welcomed and unloaded by Gina Bush, Ryan Curry and Kendra Miller, all from Kentucky!

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Shortly after the buckets arrived in South Africa, the Experience 1:8 team that had worked with us at Cedar Crest arrived for the international portion of their summer missions experience. In addition to working with the children at Tabitha, E1:8 students delivered some of the Kentucky buckets in Sweetwaters Township and in Durban.

imageOther volunteers have also delivered Kentucky buckets. Just this week, BGR shared a picture and reported on the good news of a new brother in Christ through a bucket delivery. Meanwhile, people in Kentucky have continued filling buckets, including empty buckets that Randy Foster brought to Annual Meeting. Many of these buckets were taken home from the meeting and filled this summer by churches across Kentucky.

imageHerb and Wanda Edminister, our Kentucky Bucket Project Coordinators, helped us at Annual Meeting with packing buckets, loading the truck, and distributing the empty buckets for filling. Wanda sent the following note.

An area where I have often felt some disappointment in ministry is in not having opportunity to know “the rest of the story”.  I would like to share part of the “rest of the story” with the 250 empty donated buckets that were brought to Winchester.

  • Last week we collected 70 buckets from Henderson and Bowling Green.  I did not get an actual count but a significant percentage of those buckets had the double labels that were placed on the donated buckets.
  • A young teacher contacted us last January to share that she wanted her church to participate in a KBC mission project.  They had packed a large number of shoeboxes each year but this teacher was wanting to encourage them to become more involved with KBC mission projects.  After we advised her to contact her pastor for approval, this young teacher began a summer missions hospice bucket emphasis in her church.  In a few weeks she asked if others could participate because some of her friends had learned of the bucket project through her Facebook page.  (We said, “Of course, anyone can be involved!”)  A short time later, a jewlery party and a bake sale were planned where the proceeds would go to the bucket project. At that time their goal was to pack five buckets. This teacher and some of her friends attended the WMU event this April in Winchester.  They came to the gym so they could “adopt a bucket” to take home with them.  They asked us how many buckets her group should take.  I shared that I couldn’t answer that but that they should pray about it and decide together.  A few weeks ago, we learned that at the WMU event this group had adopted not 5 but 30 buckets and had recently packed all of them.  When I wrote to congratulate this young teacher, I also asked her to thank her husband because I knew that as a teacher with two children, he probably had been involved in helping in some way.  This young teacher wrote back excitedly to tell me that the week prior to their final bucket packing party her husband and seven year old daughter had been baptized! Buckets are changing lives on both sides of the ocean!

If things went as planned the 30 buckets were to be in the sanctuary of their church [this past Sunday] morning for  the people of their church to collectively pray over them.  They will then be delivered sometime this week to Lincoln Association and hopefully brought to Murray along with 137 others from the middle part of KY later this week.  We hope to have them on their way to Houston by Labor Day.

imageThe “rest of the story” is still being written. Buckets are being delivered in many places. People are hearing the gospel. People here are joining the effort and finding that their lives are being touched, too.  Children and adults are participating. Today I will be delivering a dozen buckets that made their way to the WMU office to the Long Run Association office for pick up this week.  While our office is not a drop off point, we have gladly received some buckets to help out folks who want to participate.  The next “big push” for buckets is in November at the Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in November. We hope to fill another truck!  Have you packed a bucket yet?

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It is necessary to use words

A popular quote attributed to Francis of Assisi is “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”  It is a quote that leads many to believe that if we demonstrate the love of Christ through ministry, we are preaching the gospel.  While there is no doubt that ministry to people in need is vital and commanded in the Bible (both Old Testament and New Testament), ministry without a gospel witness explaining why we do what we do in ministry is incomplete.

It is easy to miss opportunities to share the gospel, even when engaged in ministry. When people are surprised at what we do, this is an open door to explain what compels us.  Peter wrote “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15 NIV).  The Message  puts it this way: “Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.”

A person does not have to be a Christian to be kind to others. There are many “good” people who are lost. This is why we encourage youth groups to bring students to participate in Kentucky Changers, even if they are not yet Christ followers. God has put it in each of us to want to do good for others. Students who are not Christians are invited to come work along side those who are.  During a week of working on houses for people in need, they quickly learn that what compels believing students and adults is the love of Jesus. We are so grateful for the strong witness shared with students and homeowners throughout Kentucky Changers, both during the day at job sites, as well as through the evening worship services.

We are grateful for the compassion ministries that are taking place this week through Familyfest. Many of the ministries serve to provide a positive perception of Baptists in the community at large. Cleaning windows at a school or painting at a transitional house for the homeless may not seem like ministries where much witnessing can take place, but our prayer is that doors will be open for Boone’s Creek Baptist Association churches to share the gospel because of the good will created through Familyfest. But we also pray that there will be many saved this week while Familyfest volunteers are here and sharing the gospel as they work.

“Always be prepared” speaks to each one of us. If you are not prepared to share your testimony, write it down and practice. If you are not prepared to share the gospel, get a New Testament and mark the verses you want to share. Write the page number where you want to begin in the cover, and the page to go to next on the subsequent pages.  Buy some tracts and put them in your car, purse, wallet, or whatever you carry with you often.  Get some tracts in other languages, too.

There is an old adage that says “aim at nothing and you will hit it every time.”  If you don’t prepare to share your faith, then you are preparing not to.  The Bible says “always be prepared.”  Get ready to witness and God will bless your preparation.

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Tyler’s story

Tyler Thomas 1In my last blog on Life Changing Commitments, I shared about the call from Terry Thomas to tell us about his son’s commitment to Christ. Because Tyler’s camp experiences had contributed to his understanding of the gospel, I asked if we might share his story.  His dad sent me this note:

Mrs. Bolton,
Jon relayed the request about including Tyler’s story in your blog. We discussed it with Tyler and he said it would be OK with him to write. We are excited that you made the request.

When I asked Tyler if there was something special about Courage or Mission Adventure Camp, he FirstCourage revsaid “The most important part was talking with me and going to church.”

Now, from my perspective, these two events played a very important role in his coming to understand his need for Salvation. He wanted to go to these places with me. The leadership from the WMU as well as other churches provided Tyler with examples of people willing to spend time and energy with him and other children. Time and attention go a long way with boys and girls.

Our first Courage event, Tyler was able to see Chris Clark. He had studied about Chris in Children In Action.

100_2288Our first camp, Caleb Hetrick was his cabin counselor. Caleb was a fellow Homeschooler which made a connection with Tyler. The next two Courage events, Caleb was there and made a big deal about seeing Tyler.

This year at camp, Lucas Young was Tyler’s cabin counselor and connected with Tyler and his guitar. In fact, they played together one night in the cabin. He wrote out the chords for Tyler to play the camp songs.

Showing the Jesus film this year sparked an intense interest for Tyler. We watched the film at home and then walked through the plan of salvation multiple times over the course of a few weeks before he made his decision.

100_2316I give you all this background to encourage you and your staff to continue investing time and energy into these kids. Emphasize connecting personally. All of us come to understand the meaning of salvation through the personal witness of others. The Lord used the camps to touch Tyler’s life. If you ask him, he is probably going to say swimming was his favorite part. I assure you he got much more.

Thanks, Terry, for this note. To all missions leaders, Sunday School teachers, choir directors, and others in our churches who work with preschoolers, children, and youth – THANK YOU!  Please let Tyler’s story be an encouragement to you to keep on investing in the children and youth in your community and church.  Keep sharing the gospel. When you lay a solid foundation for growing faith, the impact will be felt for 100_2254years to come and touch others as well.

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