The Bucket Project – Hospice Care Items to Go!

BGR logoKentucky is one of the lead states for the Bucket Project with Baptist Global Response for 2014.  The Bucket Project is a way to provide Hospice Care Kits to families caring for a loved one with AIDS.  The need for these buckets is great.  Sub-Saharan Africa is more heavily affected by HIV/AIDS that any other part of the world with nearly 23 million people living with HIV in the region.  The Bucket Project provides a tangible way of sharing God’s love and a gospel witness.

In December, a team of 12 from Kentucky traveled to South Africa to lead Holiday Bible Clubs with children. We also had the opportunity to deliver Hospice Care Buckets in Sweetwaters Township. Many of the children who attended Holiday Bible Club either have AIDS or live in child-headed households because their parents have died of AIDS. AIDS has affected life expectancy as well as household income. Households affected by the loss of income earners due to AIDS also have the necessity to provide home based care for sick relatives.  Orphans left behind must be cared for by members of the extended family or siblings, some as young as eight years old.DSCN1455

Baptist Global Response has found that sharing a five-gallon bucket of hospice care supplies is an effective way to open doors to share the love of Christ with those who are at death’s door and their extended family members. BGR has researched and worked with partner organizations to determine the best resources to include in the hospice kits.  One kit costs around $85 to assemble. A detailed shopping list is included below and nothing more or less should be included for the sake of customs regulations and a need for uniformity.  A step-by-step packing guide is available so that all items will fit properly in the bucket. Links to a video and other information are also available on the Bucket Project page of the BGR web site.

If your church will be packing buckets, let your local Wal-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot or other home store know that you will be needing 5 gallon buckets with a lid.  We have learned that individual stores choose the amounts to order and we are not able to notify the corporate office of the need for buckets.  You can also order the buckets online and have them shipped to you if you prefer to shop for the contents.  You may also donate online at the BGR web site and donate a completed bucket or order an unassembled bucket.

Wal-Mart is not the only store where these items can be purchased.  Try Dollar Store, Fred’s, etc. Don’t forget that any items not easily found in stores can be bought from the Online Bucket Store.  
Shopping List
Hardware: 
5 Gallon Bucket and lid that snaps on WHITE, with wire handle. Green, blue or dove (light) gray buckets are acceptable but white is preferred.
If purchased at Walmart: Walmart bucket code (#9826250640); Walmart lid code (#9826270645).
If purchased at Lowe’s: Lowe’s bucket code (#43770); Lowe’s lid code (#50640).
Pharmacy & Health/Beauty Supplies:
1 – 200 tablet EQUATE or CENTRUM Complete Multi-Vitamin. Equate found at Wal-Mart ONLY – code (#7874244276) Purchase latest expiration date.
4 Dove UNSCENTED Sensitive Skin Soap Bars. FRAGRANCE FREE soap is VERY important for patients with sensitive skin. Please leave bars in individual box-es.
2 .35oz. SQUEEZABLE Carmex Lip Balm tubes.
1 50 count box LATEX FREE disposable gloves (First Aid/Bandage aisle).
1 metal fingernail clippers.
1 13oz. FRAGRANCE FREE tub of Petroleum jelly.
2 SOFT bristle adult size toothbrushes (Soft bristles are important for sensitive gums).
1 6.4 oz. tube of FLUORIDE toothpaste.
1 10 oz. FRAGRANCE FREE moisturizing body lotion. NO PUMP bottles.
Baby Bedding:
2 BABY CONNECTION, GARANIMALS or PARENT’S CHOICE Waterproof, Flat (not fitted), Quilted, Multi-Use Pads (27” X 36”) Buy one packet that contains 2 pads.
Bath Linens:
4 THIN washcloths (12” X 12”), bright colors preferred. Thin washcloths are essential so that they may be washed easily and dry quickly.
1 THIN cotton towel no smaller than 24” X 44” and no larger than 27” X 52”. A THIN towel is essential so that it will dry quickly and fit well in the bucket. Bright colors preferred.Bedding:
2 Twin Flat sheets 200 thread count or higher, bright colors preferred.
2 Standard pillowcases 200 thread count or higher, bright colors preferred.
1 TWIN SIZE fitted vinyl mattress protec-tor
Cleaning Products (in the grocery area):
1 kitchen scrub brush (2.5” X 6.5”) with or without handle
2 pairs Latex gloves long cuff, medium size
1 thirteen-gallon sturdy plastic garbage bag (to store kit contents in while bucket is in use)
Miscellaneous:
100 drinking straws (Flexible hospital type)
1 box of Ziploc gallon size freezer bags (You will need six bags to pack one kit)
2 pairs crew length cotton socks Medium adult size, any color. (You may also download the Shopping List from the Bucket Project web page.)

You are invited to bring completed buckets or items for buckets to be packed at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting, April 4-5, Central Baptist Church in Winchester.  We will be filling a shipping container headed for South Africa.  But you can continue participation after our Annual Meeting because buckets will be collected all year long. Herb & Wanda Edminster are our state coordinators and can provide information about Kentucky drop off locations. Email them:  [email protected].

Our goal for the year  is 5,000 buckets. Let’s get off to a great start at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting!

Repaving the Road – A Challenging Read

When I returned from South Africa, I found among the materials left for me from the KBC Mission Board Meeting, a copy of Repaving the Road: Mapping the Future of Southern Baptist Associations. I called Eric Allen, KBC Missions Mobilization Team Leader, to learn more and told him that I found it to be quite challenging, but absolutely on target with the questions raised.

In Repaving the Road, Josh Ellis examines dire predictions about the future of membership associations in general and Southern Baptist associations in particular. After a brief presentation of the background of Baptist associations, Ellis begins to look at the current influences on associations. The section on the influence of Millennials could be applied to any setting.  As I read, I kept thinking about the local church and WMU.

Of Millennials, Ellis said: “Millennials expect to make substantial contributions in everything they do, and they expect the meetings they attend to cater to their needs …. The Millennial generation has grown up in the age of the blog comment, the online rating, and internet-based instant publishing. If Millennials like a product, they will promote it through social media. Conversely, they will use the same social media to spread negative publicity when they feel it is warranted. Institutions are slow to incorporate the sense of immediacy that Millennials expect, and conversely, Millennials are prone to impatience…. Rainer and Rainer (2011) state that 85% of Millennials felt they had unused potential at their jobs. In associations, where participation is voluntary, similar feelings will result in Millennials withdrawing their participation or ending their membership.”

On the topic of loyalty, Ellis encourages readers “to think of loyalty as a dynamic concept.” He further sates the “Loyalty is a subjective concept and systems dependent on loyalty as the basis for engagement are doomed.” Rather than depend on brand or organizational loyalty for the future, Ellis encourages us to see “preparing for the future as a range of options….[which] allows people and organizations to better adapt to reality as it unfolds.”

Then Ellis asked a question we must all answer: “What year is it in your association?”   Substitute church, WMU, Women on Mission, etc. and you begin to understand the importance of this question. Ellis explains that you can tell what year it is by whether you “use current technologies, innovative methods, and operate from contemporary paradigms.”  He challenges us “to determine how old the mental models are, and what the implications of innovation might be.”

About association trends, and with plenty of other applications in my thinking, Ellis says that leaders would do well to remember three things: (1) Associations are merely one form of networking open to their members; (2) Associations cannot rely on their roles as guardians of information; and (3) Geographically-based associations are not the only game in town.

Over and over, Ellis challenges associational models based on loyalty to the organization. Rather he  points to organizations which “prove their relevancy and perpetuate their relevancy into the future” by what they do cooperatively that assist the members in accomplishment  of their own mission.  I would summarize this by saying that associations are relevant when through cooperative effort, member churches see the association as an avenue for accomplishing the mission of the church. By the same token, missions organizations are relevant when through cooperative effort, the members see the organization as an avenue for being “radically involved in the mission of God” as stated in the WMU vision statement.

Ellis presents four scenario narratives which describe four associations. These scenarios lend themselves to any membership organization.  He shares some “wildcards” that would be “significant ‘game-changing’ events should they occur.”  He asks some “What if” questions that help readers “imagine a future full of possibilities.”

I urge you to read Repaving the Road: Mapping the Future of Southern Baptist Associations and apply the background material and questions raised to your setting. This piece is available as a free download from repavingtheroad.org. You can read about Josh Ellis and read the material in the book as individual blogs, or download the entire book  (51 pages) for printing.  I have enjoyed having a print copy and have used a highlighter throughout!

BCM & WMU – A vital connection

Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) and Kentucky WMU are partners in ministry in many ways.  An important one is through the Eliza Broadus Offering which will provide $98,000 this year to assist with collegiate summer missions, evangelism, mission action, and international student ministry.  Another is through WMU involvement on our campuses.

Brian Combs, Collegiate Evangelism Strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, met with members of the Kentucky WMU Executive Board last fall and shared a host of ideas for ways WMU groups could connect with campus ministry.  Many WMU groups have been faithful through the years to provide meals and other assistance, but we have also found that sometimes with changes in leadership either on the campus or with WMU, these ministries sometimes are discontinued. We would like to see WMU connections on our campuses renewed and strengthened.

Brian and our Campus Missionaries value WMU and are asking us to come along side them.  Here are just a few of the ideas:
Social Justice Initiatives—Students are passionate about making a difference in the world. Issues of social justice are a natural connecting point to college students whether they are Christ followers of not.
Food—Food opens many doors. From International Cultural Nights to Outreach Luncheons, providing and serving meals creates opportunities to help people encounter Jesus. If ladies could come out, cook, serve, and even hangout with students, the benefits are even greater for all involved!
Gift Cards—International students often show up with little of their own. They have to purchase clothes, bedding, food, etc. as it is usually too expensive to ship/fly over. Gift cards from different stores have been a great resource for BCMs to utilize to connect with these students and help them encounter Jesus!
Relationships—Students don’t know what they don’t know. They often wonder why their relationships are as much “work” as they are. Most come from broken families. Many have experienced abuse in one form or another. Most have not grown up in loving environments that supported their effective personal development. WMU’s emphasis on building positive individual, marriage and family relationships is a great way to engage college students!
Adjusting to the Cold—We have several students that come from warmer climates and could use a good winter coat.
Discipleship/Missions Education—Many of our BCMs and churches provide great opportunities for students to learn what it means to be a disciple of Christ and to engage the Mission field. It would be helpful for WMU groups to work together to provide a leader kit for various Bible studies or missions education studies. These kits could be used over and over to lead multiple groups.  Providing a leader kit could provide funds to allow more students to engage and learn about God’s plan for discipleship and taking the Gospel to all nations.
Bibles—International students often want to learn about the Bible, but are not able to comprehend enough English and would greatly benefit from a Bible in their language.
Jesus Videos—These are another great way for students to learn about Jesus. They are created in several different languages and provide a great way to expose international students to The Gospel. Consider donating Jesus Videos and helping International Students encounter Jesus!

In addition to these opportunities, Kentucky BCM needs more help to reach our campuses. They are addressing this need by working with local churches to discover, develop, and deploy Campus Missionary Interns to engage the campus. These are self-funded people that have dedicated a year at a time to serving on a campus.  Consider joining the support team of one or more of our campus missionary interns through prayer, financial support, or housing. Many of these interns will be recent graduates. They will each be engaging in direct campus ministry and exploring a potential call to ministry. It would be wonderful if churches/individuals could provide a room or provide some way to help these missionaries interns have a place to live so they can focus more on engaging the campus and less on raising funds.  In addition, the intern can also work with the local church in missions education or some other area of outreach.  We think this type of internship / partnership could do great things in the lives of the students and benefit the work of the local church.

For many summers, Kentucky WMU has utilized college students to work with us in summer camps.  I have often felt that the investment in the college students, helping them to develop as leaders, was as important as what we did with the children at camp. Supporting and providing opportunities for campus missionary interns will have an impact for years to come as the intern gains ministry experience.

M
ore information is found at www.kywmu.org/supportbcm.  You may also email: [email protected]

The Insanity of Obedience

Nik Ripken‘s new book, The Insanity of Obedience, incorporates some material from his first book, The Insanity of God, but takes the reader to a new level of discomfort. This book is not an easy read in the sense that western readers will see themselves and our churches in ways that make us squirm.  But if we are willing to be uncomfortable, even convicted, the book has much to offer those who are serious about sharing the gospel.

I bought the book for my husband for Christmas, then promptly started reading it after he had opened his gift.  A few days later I bought a Kindle version and started reading my own copy so he could read his.  It’s hard for me to read without highlighting and I do like the highlight feature in the ebook version.  Here are some of my highlights.

– You do not have to come back; you simply have to go.
– “Bible women” in China…There boldness was almost scary. Their ability to share the Good News of Jesus Christ every where they went was inspiring. Wanting to understand more…I listed to these women explain: “God has chosen men to pastor the house church with a mixed audience.” Then with sheer joy radiating from their faces, they added, “Look how good God is! God has given men the ministry of the church and He has given women responsibility for the rest of the world!”
– One enlightened brother said every Body of Christ who have a heart for the Nations needs four types of people: (1) Those who go, (2) Those who send, (3) Those who raise support for those who go, and (4) Those who welcome the Nations in their midst to their homes. Evaluate the obedience level of your church by these statements. Evaluate your commitment.
– What percentage of your time is spent being “sheep among sheep” or as “sheep among wolves”?
– We came to realize that believers could be unwittingly complicit with the  persecutors by simply refusing to share their faith.
– We sometimes thank God that we live in countries where we are “free to worship.” It is interesting that public prayers are rarely uttered thanking God that we are “free to witness.”
– While we must find creative ways to stand with our brothers and sisters who are in settings of persecution, our primary way of identifying with them is by being consistent witnesses in our own environments.  It is impossible to replace witness with money.
– Perhaps this is a brand new thought, but is it possible that persecution is simply the normal way of living for those who choose to follow Jesus?
– Perhaps the crucial question is not: How can I keep persecution from happening? Perhaps this is a better question: Why am I not being persecuted?  If Jesus said that His followers should expect persecution, then why am I not being persecuted?
– What if the worst persecution today was having little or no access to Jesus? Am I a persecutor when I keep my faith to myself, only within the environment of the church?
– Census Christian? Member Christian? Practicing Christian? Committed Believer?  Hidden Christian?
– Based on budgets, time and resources, what does our church or denomination care most about? Who do I care about? How many spiritual conversations do we have each week? How is success ultimately measured?
– The hardest task of all may be sending: giving and blessing our sons and our daughters to serve the Nations.
– Fear is the deadly enemy of the church. Your fear is the greatest tool you will ever give to Satan. Overcoming your fear is your greatest tool against Satan.

I am stopping this list of highlights with chapter 7. A lot of folks will stop reading at Chapter 7, “Lies, Lies, and More Lies” because Nik challenges a great deal in our church culture. These are not all of my highlights, just a few I chose for this blog.  You need to read each of them in context to appreciate what Nik has to say, and to feel the discomfort.  There are 24 chapters.  I’ve got a lot more highlighting to do.  More importantly, I have a lot more witnessing to do.