My Mother’s Glasses

When I was growing up, my mother, Dorothy Luebbert, was extremely nearsighted.  After cataract surgery a few years ago, that all changed with new lenses in her eyes.  Now she could see at a distance but needed reading glasses.  She got a nice prescription pair as well as a number of the dollar store variety. They were often found around the house at the places where she would sit down to read.

Mother died just before the WMU team went to Malawi and her funeral was a week before the trip.  I wrote an earlier blog about her missions legacy.  But the story continues.

Prior to our trip, Marjorie Yandell, a member of the team and also a member of the Lion’s Club in Fredonia, made contact with the a Lion’s Club chapter in Lilongwe and arranged for us to take glasses to them.  Providing glasses for people who need them is an international Lion’s Club project.  Marjorie let me know about the arrangements and I added mother’s glasses to my suitcase.

The WMU team went to teach a week of classes for seminary wives at the Malawi Baptist Seminary.  There is no married student housing there, so pastors come for 10-week terms and leave their families behind. The wives are invited for a week of classes just for them three times per year.  We went to be the faculty for the July 2012 week.  We provided Bible studies, classes on the role of the pastor’s wife, spiritual life development, health education, and crafts.

As I was teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, participants were called on to read verses aloud. When Mary was asked to read, she said, “I can’t see to read my Bible anymore.”  Knowing that mother’s readers were still among the glasses, I determined to find them and bring them to Mary.

Mary reading her Bible once again

What a thrill when the glasses were presented to Mary and she read her Bible aloud in class.  The Cooperative Program put our missionaries in place in Malawi, provided for the seminary, and provided a partnership director for the KBC who made the initial arrangements for the Kentucky focus on the Zambezi Cluster.  All of these converged in Malawi when a Baptist pastor’s wife in Malawi received a needed pair of glasses, a luxury for most in Malawi, and the missions legacy of Dorothy Luebbert lived on!

Changes at the KBC and Kentucky WMU

A major staff reorganization plan was approved by the Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board in their May 2012 meeting.  Many have asked if it affects Kentucky WMU.  The answer is yes and no.  Yes, in that it affects the KBC missions priorities and who we will work with in the days ahead.  No, in that Kentucky WMU is an auxiliary to the KBC and determine our own staff and finances.

The new vision for KBC was presented to answer three questions –  Why?  What?  How?  You can download all of the presentation materials and see a video of Dr. Chitwood explaining the reasons and the plan at www.kybaptist.org/relaunch.

The most important question he answered was the first: Why do we have a Kentucky Baptist Convention?  Everything else flows from the answer: The KBC was created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.

Dr. Chitwood outlined many things that the KBC does to fulfill this vision. Kentucky WMU has been and will continue to be a partner in these things which include:
– Comprehensive ministry consulting for churches.
– Facilitating training and networking opportunities.
– Facilitating missions partnerships and church planting.
– Facilitating relationships between churches and Kentucky Baptist agencies and institutions.
– Promoting Cooperative Program giving to assist churches in Great Commission obedience.
– Mobilizing Kentucky Baptist churches to influence society with Christian principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love.

The new KBC staff structure includes five teams:
– Administrative/Executive Office
– Finances & Business Services
– Evangelism & Church Planting
– Church Consulting and Revitalization 
Missions Mobilization Team

While Kentucky WMU relates to all of the teams in various ways, our closest ties will be with the Missions Mobilization and the Evangelism/Church Planting teams.  We will also work with the Church Consulting and Revitalization Team in overall church consulting and leadership development.  We welcome new staff to KBC and pledge our support and assistance in this time of transition and implementation of a new vision .

The biggest change in KBC strategy in the days ahead will include fewer events and more time for consultants to be out in the state working with church and association leaders directly.  All of us struggle with the best use of our time.  Is it better for us to have many events and try to provide services to large groups OR is it more productive to spend time with leaders individually or in small groups so that discussion and consulting can be tailored to particular needs and situations?

I would like to hear from you.  What would you prefer?  We cannot do as many events if we increase the time that staff spends on the road in consulting work with small groups or individuals.  But if more individual time will reap greater benefits, then we are open to change.  Your comments will help us plan for the future.  Write me a letter or email:  [email protected].

For more information about KBC Reorganization and Kentucky WMU, please read my earlier blog on this topic:  http://www.discoverjoy.org/2012/05/09/kbc-reorganization-and-kentucky-wmu.