Tote Bag Sunday

ToteBagSunday-page-001Newsletters from association and church WMU groups always bring a smile. I so enjoy seeing the creativity and commitment to missions. A recent newsletter from Christian County Association WMU announced “Toilet Paper in a Tote Bag Sunday” and invites all of the churches to collect donations of toilet paper and tote bags to be distributed at Impact Ministries for families in need.

What is more basic than toilet paper (and milk when it snows!)? Filling a tote bag with toilet paper on February 14 for Focus on WMU is a great way to involved many people in a local ministry. This collection meets a real need and will be distributed by Kentucky missionary Arlene Miller and volunteers as they share Christ with people who come for assistance.  I can’t wait to hear how many rolls and the number of tote bags that are collected.

What local ministry can your WMU help during Focus on WMU.  However, don’t just collect – go visit the ministry! Spend some time there.  Help with the work.  Meet people who benefit from the ministry. Share Jesus with someone!

When you go to the ministry site, take pictures of your visit and share these at your church as soon as possible.  Plan another project and enlist more people to be involved!  Let your church know how their donations are being used. Share testimonies of what it meant to be there.

As you observe Focus on WMU, this is also a great time to receive the Eliza Broadus Offering, especially in your Women on Mission and other WMU groups.  EBO helps Kentucky WMU do our work, especially with children and students, providing funds which allow us to keep fees low for events. Receiving the Eliza Broadus Offering at this time is a great way to show your support for Kentucky WMU as well as missions across Kentucky.  EBO gifts may be sent to Kentucky WMU, 13420 Eastpoint Centre Drive, Louisville, KY  40223.  Notate on check: EBO.

Let me hear from you! What is your church doing this year to Focus on WMU?

 

 

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The heart of the story

EBOHeartOfStory2015TextColorThe Eliza Broadus Offering includes allocations for Associations and Special Ministries. This year $130,000 has been designated to provide grants of $500 each to our seventy Baptist associations ($35,000) and a variety of grants (totaling $95,000) to ministries across Kentucky which apply to Kentucky WMU for funding.

Please pray for the Kentucky WMU Finance Committee which meets next week to discuss the  applications and prayerfully help as many ministries as possible.  100 applications have been received totaling $235,053 in requests.  Pray for wisdom in this process.

Each ministry that receives EBO funding is required to complete an accountability form explaining how the funds were used.  No ministry can apply for a subsequent grant without completing a form for the previous grant.  We are grateful for your generous giving and consider this to be an important part of being accountable to the Lord and to you for how EBO funds are used.

I always enjoy reading the applications as well as the accountability forms.  I am challenged by many of the applications and the vision for ministry that each one represents.  I wish we had more funding available.  The only way this will happen is to see a significant increase in our state missions giving.  The offering goal has stood at $1,250,000 for several years. Will you increase EBO giving this year?

Let me share a few of this year’s stories. A woman was saved on a camping trip through the work of Land between the Lakes Area Ministry. When she went camping again, she made a point to share with the chaplain how she had been baptized, was now attending church, and how happy she was.

A woman who had been raped went to the Life House Pregnancy Center for information on abortion. After a lot of prayer and several visits, she decided to carry the child and place it for adoption.

An inmate wrote to HR Ministries to thank them for the Rubies for Life material and for her mentor, Becky. She said, “I got saved while attending her parenting class and had the opportunity for her to mentor me…If I could be like any one woman after my incarceration, it would definitely be her.”

Please pray for these ministries as they share The Heart of the Story!  Give now to help us keep telling the story!

 

 

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2016 Missions Celebration & Annual Meeting

WMUAnnualMeetingPostCard2016corrected-page-001One of the most exciting times of the year for me is when we are preparing for our annual meeting. This year is no exception.  Here is a little of what is in store, April 8-9 at First Baptist Church, Madisonville.

Our 2016 theme is The Heart of the Story and will focus on how we share the heart of the story, Jesus, through missions around the world. We have a great program line up and we want to encourage you to make plans now, including hotel reservations. Hotels space is tight this year and you will want to make your reservations early. There are additional hotels within an easy commute to nearby towns if rooms fill up.

2016 Schedule. The two-day event begins on Friday morning with an opening session at 9:00  a.m. (Central Time). A parade of flags will begin with the prelude music. See the detailed time schedule for conference and general sessions times.

PROGRAM GUESTS:
Linda Cooper, new national WMU president from Kentucky, will share theme interpretations. Join us in congratulating Linda on her election as national president.
Wayne & Barbra Myers, Swaziland, will tell about their work and how Hospice Care Buckets are being used to share the gospel. Plan to bring a bucket!
Terry Sharp, Urban Mobilization Strategist, International Mission Board will share insights on reaching the nations in our midst.
Meet Ron and Marilyn Leonard, along with Molly the Therapy Dog, as they share about their ministry to military men and women. The Leonard’s are NAMB MSC missionaries living in Hermitage, TN.
Ruth Ripken will be with us for a special preview showing of the new “Insanity of God” movie. If you read the book, you will not want to miss hearing Ruth and seeing the movie on Friday evening. This brand new movie will be released later in 2016. We are showing it by special arrangement with the IMB.
Benita Decker, Minister of Music, Farmdale Baptist Church, Frankfort will lead the music for our missions celebration.  Melody Stafford will be our pianist.
The Childress Family singers will present a gospel concert at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening. Come for a time of  worship and great music by this family group from Madisonville.
Kentucky missionaries will be featured through conferences on both Friday and Saturday. The Missionary of the Year Award and commissioning service for new Kentucky missionaries will take place in the Saturday morning session.
Donna Fegenbush will be on hand to portray Eliza Broadus! Get your picture with “Eliza.” There will also be a photo booth at registration with life size pictures of Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. Bring your camera (or smart phone).

Children/Students are especially invited to attend on Saturday morning for a special time with the Leonard’s and Molly at 9:00 a.m.

A boxed lunch will be served on Friday. Preregistration required.  Cost $9.00.

Missionary Parents are invited to gather in Room 113 during lunch for a time of sharing. If you are a missionary parent, just bring your boxed lunch and join the group.

Baptist Nursing Fellowship will have a supper meeting on Friday at 5:00 p.m. This is open to all nurses and medical professionals. At the same time, current and former members of the Kentucky WMU Executive Board will gather for a special meal. Preregistration required for both groups. Cost is $12.00.

An offering for Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries will be received during the Missions Celebration. We receive the offering in the Friday morning, evening, and Saturday morning sessions. NEW this year: If you are not able to attend the Annual Meeting, please consider sending a $10 gift for the offering with someone else who will be attending. You may also mail in your offering or give online: www.kywmu.org/givenow.

There are two ministry projects this year.  First, fhe Bucket Project returns! Kentucky Baptists collected over 3000 buckets in 2014 and will collect hospice care buckets for Baptist Global Response again in 2016. Bring completed buckets to our Missions Celebration. Disaster Relief volunteers will load the buckets onto a truck for shipment to the port selected by Baptist Global Response. Note: Please use only the updated bucket shopping list which has changed. Also, a $10 donation per bucket is requested to help defray shipping costs.

A collection of needed food items by Breaking Bread Ministry will also be received during the meeting.  Help meet the needs of people in the Madisonville area.

There will be a special Heritage Fund mailbox on site where you can leave Heritage Fund donations and a card to be sent to the person you would like to honor with a gift or to the family of a person you would like to remember through your gift.  Bring your address book!

For Registration, a printable information piece, and other information, go to: www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting

The Kentucky WMU Missions Celebration/Annual Meeting is the gathering place for people who care about missions. Join us!

PS: If you would like to receive other information from Kentucky WMU by email and are not already signed up, please subscribe. kywmu.org/subscribe

KY_WMU_notag_large   Kentucky WMU – Helping churches learn,pray, give, go, and send!

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Kentucky WMU Report to 2015 KBC Annual Meeting

In addition to our written report for the KBC Book of Reports, I am invited to bring a brief oral report each year on behalf of Kentucky WMU. The report is often a time to highlight some significant area of our work or to promote a new missions initiative. This year’s report was different and I share it here in hopes that you will share it with others.

WMU Report to KBC Annual Meeting – November 10, 2015

In my report today I would love to dwell on the great things that have happened this year such as having 979 participants in 4 weeks of Kentucky Changers doing 76 projects, with 101 decisions made by students, adults, and homeowners. Or I could tell you about how excited we are about Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids, a mission trip experience for children in grades 4-6 and their leaders. How we saw children learn to lead and share their faith. Or I could focus on the re-launch of Creative Ministries Festival and how students not only learned skills in creative arts, but how they met missionaries and learned ways they can use creative arts in missions and evangelism.

But my heart has been broken since we received the news that due to revenue shortfalls, that 600-800 missionaries serving with the International Mission Board will be coming home. While this has worked out well for some, it is still not what they had planned on and all are grieving the closing out of their ministries far too soon. Our prayer is that national believers and missionaries still on the field will be able to carry on. We also pray that those returning home will find new places of service here and that the tremendous language and cultural skills that they bring will indeed help us to reach the nations in our midst.

At the Kentucky WMU display we have a handout that says at the top, Revenue shortfall will bring 600-800 missionaries home. On the left side, there is a list of ways you can help returning Southern Baptist missionaries. On the right side, there is a list of ways you can help ensure this never happens again.

In a recent address to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wanda Lee reminded us of the words of Annie Armstrong who said “After study of God’s Word comes study of the fields. Then people pray. Then they give.”  Wanda called us to account for the fact that many of our churches, including churches in Kentucky, have abandoned the part of what Annie said between study of the God’s Word and praying and giving – that is the study of the fields.

Wanda correctly pointed out that mission study is the driving force between how much we pray and how much we give. She said, “We can lament the churches that haven’t given, we can lament many things….But one thing we have failed to do in our churches is to embrace the missions assignment of helping our children and our youth understand God’s field.” As Wanda rightly pointed out, when there’s no understanding of the depth of lostness, there’s no passion to give and when a church tilts toward entertaining their children and youth, or abandons Wednesday missions night activities in deference to other programs or sports, we have let that overshadow the priority of equipping the next generation for missions.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have received calls from people who are upset because their church is cutting the Cooperative Program because whoever was elected treasurer or another key leader did not know what it was or why we support it. Study of the fields not only includes a study of lostness, but it also includes teaching our children, students and adults the ways we send and support missionaries so that they can go and push back the darkness.

I am a blogger and a few weeks ago I shared an email from a missionary who will becoming home from a warm weather climate. In response to that blog, I received this note:

Dear Joy, I appreciate getting your notes from missionaries who are going to have to “come home”. What a TOUGH DECISION TO MAKE.  I have been praying for them ever since I heard about it happening…… I REALLY FEEL FOR THEM AND PRAY FOR THEM IN SO MANY OF THE SITUATIONS THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN, ESPECIALLY THEIR CONCERN FOR THEIR MISSION FIELD AND THE LOST ON IT. I would be willing to share my winter clothes, which are nice, with someone who is returning and has no winter clothes and I am sure other Baptists would do that. I am so old (92) there are not any more missionaries on the field that I knew as they have “all retired, Ha!” or they are deceased. I just want the missionaries to know I pray for them having to leave just like I prayed about them going over there to serve the Lord, and their safety while they were there and their work with the lost. I WILL CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THEM DAILY.

 As Wanda said to the SBC Executive Committee, “we can’t go through this again.” In WMU we invite you to go with us. Quit entertaining children and young people. Lead them to study God’s Word and then expose them to the lostness of the world. Our children and youth long for deeper meaning and purpose and they will commit their lives to service and the call of God to the fields that are white unto harvest if we teach them. And when we do, money and needed resources will follow.

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WMU needs to hear your voice!

National WMU is in the process of evaluating missions resources for children and students. We have been asked to enlist as many people as possible to participate in the surveys as WMU seeks ways to enhance materials for children and students.  There are separate surveys for the leaders of Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, Acteens, Challengers, and Youth on Mission. If you work with one of these organizations, we ask that you would participate in the appropriate survey by October 30. As a thank you for your time, you will find a promotion code at the end of each survey for 20% off your next purchase of WMU, New Hope, or WorldCraft products.

To make participation in the survey’s easier, Kentucky WMU has placed the links for all the surveys on one web page.  Please visit kywmu.org/surveys.

Your input will help national and state WMU leaders as we seek ways to improve missions materials and enhance learning for children and students.  Thank you for taking one or more of the surveys and letting WMU hear from you.

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Tell Your Story!

TTell-Your-Story.logo_-300x192his past summer in preparation for an overseas mission trip, I spent time on the phone with my cell phone provider arranging for international coverage for the time I would be away. The representative was chatty and asked about why I was going to Malawi. I explained and we began to talk about church. She told me a little of her story but could not spend much more time on the phone, as she had a job to do. So I asked, “Would you listen to my story?” and then gave her the web address for TellYourStory.today where my testimony is posted under Joy B from Shelbyville. A few minutes later I received a text that someone had listened to my story.

Tell Your Story and other evangelism efforts of the Kentucky Baptist Convention are funded in part through the Eliza Broadus Offering. When you give to EBO, you are helping us tell the story of Jesus across our state. You are helping us provide evangelism training. You are helping to provide various opportunities for evangelistic outreach.

But you, too, must tell your story. Please visit the website and get the phone number to call to record your story. Take some time and write down what you want to say. Practice it a few times, then call the number. If you mess up, it is OK. You can stop the recording and do it again. It took me several tries before I was satisfied.

After your story is recorded, it will be reviewed and a message from Dr. Chuck McAlister will be appended. When you record your story, you will need to leave a cell phone number or email to receive messages about your story. You will receive a message when it is posted and when people listen. You can share links to your story through social media, email, and text messages.

Recording your story will also help you prepare to tell your story in person. The Heart of the Story of state missions is people. You can be at the heart of the story as you share your story with someone who needs Jesus.

Thank you Kentucky Baptists for giving $1,220,277.57 to the 2014-15 offering.  Join us as we give again for 2015-16. Our EBO goal is $1,250,000.

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Join the Voices of Recovery

SCCUAD Logo.jpgI am a part of a group called Shelby County Christians United Against Drugs. The ministry was started in response to the addiction of one of the founder’s daughter. The group prays, encourages those going through the Drug Court program, sponsors Celebrate Recovery groups, and holds activities to point those struggling with addiction to a better way. September is National Recovery Month and we held a Recovery Month Celebration on September 24 at the Community Development Center of New Mount Zion Baptist Church.  I was asked to share a theme interpretation. Because the issues of addiction affect every community, I share the theme interpretation as an encouragement to us all to keep helping people in our communities who need to experience recovery from “hurts, habits, and hang-ups.” This ministry has received several small EBO grants which have helped with materials for recovery groups and other ministry supplies.

Our theme for this gathering is “Join the Voices of Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable.” The theme helps us understand why we are gathered.

First, we come to join our voices in Shelby County with the voices of others all over the country. We understand that recovery happens in community as we own up to our hurts, habits, and hang-ups. None of us can do life without others – we need each other.

In joining others, we declare that:
– Recovery brings visible change. As we let go of addictions and turn our lives over to God, there will be change that is noticeable. We want recovery to be visible in our community. We are not sweeping the problem of addiction under the rug. We are instead acknowledging that it is a problem that has created chaos in so many lives, but we are joining together for accountability and encouragement.
– We are vocal about the need for recovery and vocal about the journey. There is power in owning a problem out loud to other people. When we hide our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, those things control us. But when we vocalize it, now we are taking charge and seeking the help of God and others for victory.
– And we affirm that every person is valuable, no matter what your issue or addiction, every person is valuable to God, to family, to friends, and to this community.

On being valuable, the Bible teaches us that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. In Luke 15, it says that all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to listen to Him. That’s us – the ones with hurts, habits, and hang-ups – the ones who know our lives are a mess and we need help.

In the passage there were some high and mighty folks who grumbled about Jesus spending time with such sinners. Jesus responded by telling three stories – the story of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son.

In the case of the lost sheep, even though there were 99 safe in the pasture, the lost one was so valuable that the shepherd went looking until he found the sheep. The shepherd brought the sheep home and called his neighbors to rejoice with him. Jesus said “I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance.”

In the case of the lost coin, a woman had 10 but lost one and would not rest until the house was swept and the coin found. Jesus said, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God over one sinner who repents.”

And in the story of the lost son, the son was lost because of the choices he made. The son wasted his inheritance with “loose living” and after nothing was left, he found himself in a pig pen, feeding the pigs just to have something to eat. But in the story, the son came to his senses and realized he needed to go home and beg for his father’s forgiveness. He planned his speech, not to make excuses, but to own up to what he had done. To his amazement, his father had been waiting and watching for him to come home. His father received him with gladness and threw a party to celebrate, saying “This son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

Yes, in the story there was an older brother who grumbled, just as there are some people in our lives who grumble over the mess we have made of things. But the father threw a party and welcomed his son home anyway.

Shelby County Christians United Against Drugs has thrown a party and we say to all – whether you are a lost sheep, lost coin, or a lost son or daughter, you are so valuable that God has placed people and programs in your life to help you experience recovery. And know this – that our redemptive God is able to take the messes we make and use them for His glory and our good if we turn our lives over to Him.

We are grateful to all who joined us and helped us have a Recovery Celebration. Everyone of us can be a voice for recovery – visible, vocal, valuable.

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Coming Home – A Difficult Decision

Since the news first broke about the decision to bring 600-800 IMB missionaries and staff home due to on-going budget shortfalls, I have heard from a number of our missionaries. Those who fit the parameters of being offered the Voluntary Retirement Incentive (VRI) are agonizing over what they should do. One missionary wrote the following which I asked if I could share. I have edited somewhat and will not identify the individual. But I have heard these same sentiments from many. Please pray for our missionaries, pray for their decision making process, pray for those who decide to come home at this time, and pray about what you and your church can do to assist in this time of transition.

Thank you for praying for wisdom for decisions during this time when I and so many of my coworkers are considering the Voluntary Retirement Incentive (VRI) for early retirement.  I have heard from a number of you assuring me of your prayers. Thank you.  Several have asked if I have reached a decision and for more about my thinking process in all of this.  So, I thought I would share more with you in this update.  I’ll give you the short and longer story for your choice.

SHORTER UPDATE – For a while I have had a sense the financial situation would soon hit the crisis time.  I thought we would be in a situation of some being offered an early retirement package.  I never thought it would be as wide in scope of who would be considered.  But this has led me to prayer and seeking Him about how to respond to possible changes coming and my future service for him for several months.  I have been drawn to a deeper hunger to know Him.  He has answered and several close prayer partners have confirmed He has spoken the same word to them for me.  I completed and sent in the Letter of Intent for the VRI package with a ‘Yes’.  I am accepting the offer and beginning the process to work out the details of returning stateside.

PROCESS TO REACH A DECISION AND HOW TO MINISTER TO MYSELF AND OTHERS AS WE COME HOME – I write this from both a personal perspective and from the general perspective so you may also relate and minister to others who are also in the process. I hope it encourages you and those you partner with as they are on this journey.

My/Our call and faith in the current decisions being made. – For those of us who are being asked to consider the VRI offer know that we have been and continue to pray unceasingly and begging God for a clear word of what He wants for our lives and focus of continued service for Him. For many of us we have struggled as hard over this as any other decision we have made during our journey of service for HIM.  Whether Yes or No I know of no one taking this lightly and not struggling and grieving over the need to make a decision and what we personally should do. For those who say YES I/we have not given up our faith, rejected our calling or stopped our fight for bringing souls from darkness to light in HIM. I/we have laid it all on the altar before Him again.  We say “Yes Lord” before knowing the answer.  Our greatest desire is to know Him and obey His word of direction for our lives. Do I understand all the decisions?  No. I do trust that the leaders are seeking God first.  And I trust who I know my God to be, His character and leading in my life.  He is faithful!!  And I willingly choose to say “Yes Lord”. Thank you to the many who have and continue to pray for me/us as we move thru this process.  Thank you to fellowships who have had focused times of prayers for me/us.  Please do not stop as many are still making decisions and my ‘Yes’ is just the beginning of so many other decisions to come.

Personal Grief in the Process – While I say ‘Yes Lord’ it does not mean I do not grieve thru the process.  He understands my grief.  Someone who loves me said recently ‘there is a time of adjustment. It takes a little while to get use to not going to the office each morning and finding new routines.” I love that they love me and want to help me process. But know that my/our grieving goes much deeper. Once again to obey His leading I will move to the other side of the world.  I am to leave my home both the structure and the city. I am selling almost all of my belongings except what fits into a few suitcases and a few boxes.  I am moving almost 10,000 miles from my neighbors and friends of the last 11 years…. Be patient with us as we grieve the loss of home, regular contact with friends and a ‘normal’ that is to be no more.  Some days we will be fine but a memory will hit and tears may flow.  New homes, friends, ministry opportunities and normal will come but it will take time.

Ministry grief and hope – I/we came to these places and peoples we now call home because of a deep calling to take the Good News to a people who have never heard and do not know Him.  While victories have been won in some lives, so many others – millions – still live in darkness.  And we grieve and wonder why we must leave now.  And yet there is HOPE.  Pray for the believers who we have worked with in our respective people groups.  Ask for deep faith, maturity in their walk with HIM, perseverance in times of persecution, and boldness to continue to take the Good News to others in darkness. I ask that He would make the smaller group of my coworkers like Gideon’s final battle group.  And may the national believers take up the task of the Great Commission to even a greater measure.

Who am I now is not who I was when I first accepted the call to the nations. – I was raised in America and lived there till I was 37.  I am American.  But for most of the last 23 years I lived overseas in different cultures, languages and among a different people. I/we love our home country but our adopted culture is also home.  We are no longer fully American.  We are not fully our adopted country. We are Third Culture people, a mix of 2 or more cultures.  We view things differently.  We have changed. As we return to our ‘homeland’ please be patient as our ‘homeland’ has changed in the 5, 10, 20 or more years we have been gone.  For years my/our daily life has been in a different culture, land and people that we have adapted to become our own in many ways. Please be patient as we process and as we re-learn America and find our way to a new normal. Pray we make the adjustments but do not lose the edge of our boldness for lostness and discipleship toward Kingdom matters.

Practical ways to support those coming home – Several have asked what you can do for those who accept the offer and come home. So, I will share some thoughts in a general sense for you to consider.
– First, pray!! Send prayers written out in an email. When you are present with them, pray for them and not just say I will pray for you later in my quiet time. We need that too, but the personal prayer is meaningful.
– Second, ask us what the situation is for our leaving the field as to what will be brought home. Some may live where they cannot crate and bring things out of country. Others may choose that after years of many moves, the furniture is not up to another big move, so will come home with only a few special items. Others will bring most things home.  ASK.
– Third, ask what their plans are for coming home. Do they have a place for the short term and/or the long term? What can you do to help them find a home that is something they can afford.
– Fourth,  what other needs might they have to begin life all over.  This includes car, home furnishings, basic kitchen supplies, clothes, etc. Let me say a word on clothes.  Some of us come from tropical places and will be coming home in December or January to cold weather.  For me the only shoes I have here are sandals or tennis shoes. I do have some shoes/clothes in storage from being in the States in 2012 for cool season.  So, this example is that some folks will need some help with clothing items if they are coming from different climates.  For us as adults, we are more likely to have clothes that fit in storage from past stateside times.  For families with children, I am thinking that they have grown and will need some other sizes.

You as SBC have given and the retirement package is generous. THANK YOU. As you consider these things, ask Father what He would like for you and your faith family to do to offer additional support.  A few practical things might be gift cards, a pounding for workers once they have a home to move into, assistance with the purchase of a car or house furnishings, or help in finding a job. For many of us finding the job is a major priority that other long term decisions will be made from. THANK YOU for all your prayers, love and support over the years! You are awesome partners!!  Please keep praying for I need you in this transition.  I’ll try to keep you informed as things progress.  And will soon be sending more stories of God at work.

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Working Together

John 9:1-41 tells a story about Jesus healing a man born blind. In this passage we meet Jesus and his disciples, a man born blind, his parents, neighbors, and the Pharisees.  The disciples were more concerned about who sinned than they were the man. The neighbors could not really believe that the healed man was the man they knew as a beggar. The Pharisees were concerned about Jesus healing on the Sabbath, something they considered to be work and therefore forbidden and making Jesus to be a sinner in their minds. The parents were questioned by the Pharisees and put on the defensive about the healing.  Only Jesus is focused on the man and his needs. The Pharisees were determined that Jesus not get glory for the healing, not realizing that to give Jesus glory was to give God glory as they demanded. And so the heart of the story is revealed in the man’s answer to them:  “Whether He is a sinner I do not know; but one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

We, too, can get focused on the details of ministries – how they operate, how they are funded, who leads them, who is their target audience and so forth.  The heart of the story of state missions is people, people who have come to faith in Christ and whose lives have been changed for eternity.

In the September 8 issue of the Western Recorder, the center four pages includes stories about eight different ministries and tells about people who are the heart of the story of these ministries. Yes, each ministry receives Eliza Broadus Offering funds to assist their work, but the offering is only a part of the story. Changed lives are the true heart of the story.

The heart of the story is being told over and over by Kentucky missionaries. Many of our state missionaries are self-funded but often apply for grants from the Eliza Broadus Offering for their work. As commissioned missionaries through the Kentucky Baptist Convention, one of the ways we support and encourage them is through an annual retreat. The missionaries will gather September 16-18 at Cumberland Falls State Park for several days of Bible study, helpful workshops, and just some time of fun and fellowship. You can pray for our state missionaries by name. Their names, pictures, and a description of their work is listed atkybaptist.org/missionaries. You can also print out InterSEED, a monthly prayer calendar of Kentucky missionaries on their birthday. And if God is calling you to missions in Kentucky, the Missions Mobilizationteam would like to talk with you and help you find a place of service.

Join us in praying for Kentucky missions this week and throughout the month. The 2015 Heart of the Story prayer guide goes right along with the stories shared in the Western Recorder and in the Master Articleincluded on the DVD.  You can download all of the state missions videos and print materials atkywmu.org/ebo.

Join us in giving for Kentucky missions through the Eliza Broadus Offering.  The goal is $1,250,000.  Every dollar has been designated for missions needs around our state and for missions education and involvement opportunities.  EBO works in partnership with the Cooperative Program to provide funding for our work together as Kentucky Baptists.  Click here for a detailed list of the 2015-16 EBO allocations.

Thank you, Kentucky Baptists for how you have prayed and given for state missions across the years. We closed out the 2014-15 Eliza Broadus Offering at 1,220,277.57.  This is the second highest amount ever given, exceeded only by the year we received a large estate gift for the offering. Thank you!  May we continue to learn, pray, give, go and send to make the gospel known across our state and around the world.

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The Heart of the Story

John 9:1-41 tells a story about Jesus healing a man born blind. In this passage we meet Jesus and his disciples, a man born blind, his parents, neighbors, and the Pharisees.  The disciples were more concerned about who sinned than they were the man. The neighbors could not really believe that the healed man was the man they knew as a beggar. The Pharisees were concerned about Jesus healing on the Sabbath, something they considered to be work and therefore forbidden and making Jesus to be a sinner in their minds. The parents were questioned by the Pharisees and put on the defensive about the healing.  Only Jesus is focused on the man and his needs. The Pharisees were determined that Jesus not get glory for the healing, not realizing that to give Jesus glory was to give God glory as they demanded. And so the heart of the story is revealed in the man’s answer to them:  “Whether He is a sinner I do not know; but one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

We, too, can get focused on the details of ministries – how they operate, how they are funded, who leads them, who is their target audience and so forth.  The heart of the story of state missions is people, people who have come to faith in Christ and whose lives have been changed for eternity.

In the September 8 issue of the Western Recorder, the center four pages includes stories about eight different ministries and tells about people who are the heart of the story of these ministries. Yes, each ministry receives Eliza Broadus Offering funds to assist their work, but the offering is only a part of the story. Changed lives are the true heart of the story.

The heart of the story is being told over and over by Kentucky missionaries. Many of our state missionaries are self-funded but often apply for grants from the Eliza Broadus Offering for their work. As commissioned missionaries through the Kentucky Baptist Convention, one of the ways we support and encourage them is through an annual retreat. The missionaries will gather September 16-18 at Cumberland Falls State Park for several days of Bible study, helpful workshops, and just some time of fun and fellowship. You can pray for our state missionaries by name. Their names, pictures, and a description of their work is listed atkybaptist.org/missionaries. You can also print out InterSEED, a monthly prayer calendar of Kentucky missionaries on their birthday. And if God is calling you to missions in Kentucky, the Missions Mobilizationteam would like to talk with you and help you find a place of service.

Join us in praying for Kentucky missions this week and throughout the month. The 2015 Heart of the Story prayer guide goes right along with the stories shared in the Western Recorder and in the Master Articleincluded on the DVD.  You can download all of the state missions videos and print materials atkywmu.org/ebo.

Join us in giving for Kentucky missions through the Eliza Broadus Offering.  The goal is $1,250,000.  Every dollar has been designated for missions needs around our state and for missions education and involvement opportunities.  EBO works in partnership with the Cooperative Program to provide funding for our work together as Kentucky Baptists.  Click here for a detailed list of the 2015-16 EBO allocations.

Thank you, Kentucky Baptists for how you have prayed and given for state missions across the years. We closed out the 2014-15 Eliza Broadus Offering at 1,220,277.57.  This is the second highest amount ever given, exceeded only by the year we received a large estate gift for the offering. Thank you!  May we continue to learn, pray, give, go and send to make the gospel known across our state and around the world.

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