From grandparents bringing grandchildren, to a family with five children, and several other families with four children, to groups from churches and associations, the volunteers came to make a difference in Kentucky. A total of 155 volunteers from 13 states worked in Paducah and Henderson, July 13-18, sharing Christ in a variety of ministries.
Throughout the week in both locations, volunteers served alongside local churches and volunteers in the community doing projects such as prayerwalking, light construction and repairs, food and clothing distribution, health-care ministries, block parties, Backyard Bible Clubs, Vacation Bible School, sports camps and other community ministries. A highlight in Henderson was VBS, crafts, and a tent-revival at the Redbanks Nursing Home. The nursing home is not the typical location for VBS or a tent-revival, but these ministries were well-received and people were saved! And the perennial game favorite of Bingo took on a new twist with Bible Bingo as residents played using books of the Bible!
The impact of FamilyFEST Western Kentucky has been tremendous. Not only has FamilyFEST been a witness to lost people in both Henderson and Paducah, it has also been a great encouragement to our churches. The fact that the volunteers were coming was an incentive to plan the projects, line up the materials, and enlist local leaders to work with our guests. The FamilyFEST volunteers helped our churches do ministries in the community in a significant way, including servant evangelism. As the volunteers served, doing a variety of tasks and ministries, they had opportunity to share Jesus and why they had come. Their encouragement to our churches was vital.
We hope that the outcomes from the ministries this week will continue to be felt and that the churches will see new ways to make an impact. For many of our volunteers, this was their first mission trip. Many came from small churches and found that FamilyFEST was a way that they could join with others to meet needs. It is really great to be able to sign up to help and have others do the planning of the projects. Local folks know the ministry opportunities but often need volunteers. Sometimes local churches have gotten discouraged and the infusion of volunteers is a great boost to them. The sheer number of volunteers on location for several days makes a big impact.
FamilyFEST is significant to the volunteers who come. It is personally rewarding to be involved in ministry and to bring family members along. The intergenerational experience is wonderful. The children and youth not only experience their own families at work in missions, but they meet other families and share the experience of service.