“More Than Ever, Make a Difference” is the Eliza Broadus Offering theme for the year. More than ever, our gifts are needed to support ministries across Kentucky in sharing Christ. At this time of year when Southern Baptists focus on international missions, let me share some of the international impact of EBO right here in Kentucky through three Friendship International sites in Lexington, Louisville and Paducah.
Friendship International of Elkhorn Baptist Association reaches out to international women in the Lexington area. Through a ministry of cross-cultural friendships where 80% of the participants are not Christians, American ladies are sharing Christ one-on-one. The ministry provides food and fellowship each week and various classes such as English as a Second Language, crafts, exercise and cooking. The ministry has also been able to distribute left over bread from a local restaurant to Chinese and Muslim families. One Muslim lady said, “My husband was without a pay check for three months this summer, but we have always had wonderful, delicious bread. It was a gift from God and we are so grateful.”
The Lexington area Friendship International usually meets only during the school year, but this past summer continued with a Bible study taught in Mandarin. About 50 men, women and children attended each week. Probably about one-third were Christians, one-third were seekers, and one-third came out of curiosity. The Chinese Christians found great encouragement. Several of the seekers became Chrisians. Others are closer to the Kingdom. One man, visiting his family here explained that since he is a government official in China, he is not a Christian but said, “I have experienced a special love in this place.”
Friendship International of Long Run Association meets on Wednesdays during the school year at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville. Through this ministry, internationals from every part of the world have learned English, Bible, citizenship, and participated in creative activities such as scrapbooking, crafts, quilting, crocheting, knitting and sewing. Mary Lou Crutcher of Hurstbourne Baptist Church is this year’s director and said on the accountability form for last year’s grant that “Through ‘Friendship’ our Baptist women and men volunteers reach out in love to all who participate, building relationships which allow us to share our Christian faith. Each session begins with Scripture and prayer.” The EBO grant was used to provide child care, English as a Second Language materials, and other supplies.
Friendship International of West Union Association provides a witness to internationals in the Paducah area, offering English classes and provides students with free textbooks, Bibles, videos, childcare and transportation if needed. The Paducah area Friendship International has classes using the Bible as the textbook. At break time they provide refreshments and a devotional from the Bible, sing, and pray. This they have had students from Peru, Nigeria, Columbia, Thailand, Russia, South Korea, Honduras, Lithuania, Spain and Mexico.
More than Ever, EBO is making a difference to people around the world right here in Kentucky!