I have to admit a huge feeling of satisfaction and gratitude to God as I stood with youth and leaders during the first worship service of the Kentucky Changers week in Lawrenceburg / Frankfort. When the title slide with the theme for the week came up that included the Kentucky WMU logo, I wanted to shout. The Changers participants were praising the Lord in song, so they would have hardly noticed if I had done a happy dance in the aisle.
It has been a challenging year of transition. I am grateful to the Kentucky WMU Executive Board who caught the vision and agreed to take a risk in taking on this ministry. It was not in this year’s budget and required faith that the finances on paper would work. I am grateful to Peggy Murphy who said yes and agreed to leave her post at the KBC to join the WMU staff as the Kentucky Changers Coordinator. After working with Peggy this year, I am absolutely amazed at what she accomplishes in coordinating four weeks of Changers. And normally she is working two years out, but this year had only seven months.
For those who have not experienced Kentucky Changers, let me say that putting together one week would be a tremendous task. Peggy does it for four weeks in four different locations. Coordination includes working with the local association and local committees, working out housing and meals, working with the project coordinators to find and fund the project materials, registration, insurance, and enlisting volunteers such as crew chiefs, assistant crew chiefs, cooks and many others. Due to our bad winter, schools got out later this year and added to the challenges for Peggy.
I spent the day on Saturday with Changers, helping with check-in, meeting leaders, and attending worship. Then I spent Monday with a crew painting a house for a gentleman with back problems. The organization amazed me with the tools, supplies, and lunch delivery. Most meaningful of all was listening to a youth participant lead our devotional after lunch and hearing one of the adults cry as he shared his testimony. Due to working in VBS at my church, I have not been able to be with the Changers for their nightly worship time, but certainly enjoyed hearing the teens on my crew discussing what they heard the night before.
Above all, everyone on the team understands that Kentucky Changers is about changed lives, not house repairs or paint. Changers also pray for the homeowner, interact as much as possible and share Christ. Some Changers participants come because it sounds like a fun trip and they like the idea of helping others. But changed lives is the real purpose of Kentucky Changers, and this includes the students. There are many who accept Christ as Savior or commit to ministry during the week.
Changes are also taking place at Mission Adventure Camp at Cedar Crest. During each week of camp, participants hear the gospel and learn about missions. The Experience 1:8 Team that is serving as our camp staff are being changed as they learn to share the gospel with children. What 1:8 team members learn will be used as they go overseas next week to serve. And the experience in an international setting will make an impact on our campuses as they return to share Christ with international students through Baptist Campus Miinistries.
One significant change for Kentucky WMU is that we will do summer camps in different ways starting next summer. Crossings has announced plans to expand their camps for children and we hope to partner with them in providing missions learning for children. We anticipate working with an Experience 1:8 team in a different setting to provide missions camps. Details are being worked out but changes are coming. Our prayer is that the changes will allow us opportunities to interact with more children’s leaders than ever before, encouraging them to engage children in missions.
A friend once told me that there are two things Baptists hate. One is change and the other is the same old thing. Some changes we embrace (like Kentucky Changers!) and others we resist. Above all, the most important change is a changed life. Pray for change!