EBO at Work through Summer Ministries

The heart of God is at the center of all we do in missions. “For God so loved the world…” is such a familiar verse that we can quote it without even thinking about what it means. Yet, it is the heart of the story of missions and why we learn, pray, give, go, and send.

As you read this column, summer ministries with children and families are taking place across Kentucky to share the love of Jesus and EBO is at work to help. Let me mention just a few.

MAC school suppliesAmy Wilhelmus, director of the Moore Activity Center (MAC) in Covington uses EBO funds to provide meals, snacks, crafts, recreation equipment, and Bible materials for ministries with children and youth. Her accountability form for last year’s grant included the story of Susan, grandmother to some of the kids who come to MAC. On her deathbed Susan said, “Amy, please make sure my grandkids keep coming to the MAC once I pass away.” This grandmother had no doubt that God was using MAC for the good of her grandchildren. Praise the Lord that the grandfather is still bringing the children, allowing MAC to continue ministry to the family.  www.facebook.com/MooreActivityCenter.

IMG_3355This week students in Little River Baptist Association are engaged in community service through Camp Cadiz.  EBO funds are assisting with the purchase of materials for home repairs, food, water, VBS materials, and other supplies. Last year the students completed 105 projects in 76 locations. Over 250 vehicles were washed or had their windows cleaned. Youth passed out over 150 bottles of cold water as well as hundreds of cookies in the name of Jesus. And they cooked meals for over 25 elderly and shut-in persons. Each day students participated in morning devotions and evening worship services. Four students accepted Christ and several dedicated their lives to Christian service.

Operation Love In Action 5During the week of July 11-15, Christian County Baptist Association will reach out to their community through Operation Love in Action, a mission trip at home. During the week EBO will help with expenses for Back Yard Bible Clubs, block parties, construction projects, sports camp, and other outreach ministries. Last year over 200 people were involved in this effort.

EBO is at work all summer long and gifts to the offering are received all year! Pray for these and many other summer ministries. Give now at www.kywmu.org/ebo.

On Mission with Kentucky Changers and MAKK

Sleeping on an air mattress on the floor is not everyone’s definition of a good time, but it is for the students and adult volunteers who go on mission through Kentucky Changers and Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids. Last week I joined in the fun with with 240 Kentucky Changers participants and volunteers as they served in Calloway County (Blood River Baptist Association), June 18-24. I also kept tabs through Facebook on the children and leaders who were in Richmond and Bowling Green with Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids.

Since I experienced Changers first hand, let me share a little about the week. IMG_3541After arriving on Saturday and getting settled in rooms at Calloway County High School, the week began with supper prepared by a great kitchen crew. The food is wonderful and in spite of working hard, it is not a week to lose weight! After supper, students were assigned to crews and met their crew chief and other students. They learned about the homes where they would be working and the jobs they would tackle together.

IMG_3690On Sunday, the Kentucky Changers attended worship with their host churches. These churches provided lunch every day at the work site for their Changers crew.

IMG_3748Nightly worship times were very special. Casey Jones led in praise and worship music. Nick Stamps was our camp pastor and challenged us all in our walk with Christ. Decisions for Christ were made throughout the week.

DSC_1727I was one of two photographers throughout the week. We traveled to the sites to capture pictures and video of the work. Students were a witness to a watching community as they toiled in the heat without complaint. In a day when students are in the news for all the wrong reasons, Kentucky Changers make an impact just by showing up to work and care for people with needs.

IMG_5911It was exciting for Kentucky Changers to be on the front page of the Murray Ledger & Times. I learned a new term when a local official shared her thanks in the closing celebration and mentioned that it was significant for the newspaper story to not only be on the front page, but also “above the fold.”

I spoke with several senior adults who were assisted by Kentucky Changers. They could not say enough good about the students who had come to work on their homes. We have posted two video testimonies.

A new part of the training for Kentucky Changers is on how to share your faith. Students learned how to share the plan of salvation and also wrote out their testimonies using the outline provided by Tell Your Story.Today. On one day’s recap video, we had the testimony of a student telling about her experience in sharing a “colors of faith” bracelet. It was great when students came to see Kentucky Changers Coordinator Peggy Murphy and tell her that they had given away their bracelet that day and needed another one. We always asked them to tell us about that experience. These students were always beaming when they told what had happened. One student participant in Hopkinsville told Peggy that learning to share her faith using the bracelet was the best part of the week.

MAKK HospiceMAKK WKUWhile the Changers were hard at work, children and leaders also came together to do missions. Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kidds (MAKK) was held in Richmond, June 16-18, and Bowling Green, June 23-15. Through MAKK, boys and girls in grades 4-6 experience a missions trip where they participate in local ministries. The children also learn new skills and then lead in outreach activities with children in the community.

MAKK Prayerwalk WKUKentucky students are ready to go to the next level and they can through MAKK and Kentucky Changers. Kentucky WMU provides opportunities for children and students to serve and witness. We are Kentucky proud of them!

Ky Changers, Calloway County

IMG_3642200 students, leaders, and a host of volunteers are working with Kentucky Changers this week in Calloway County. Our thanks to Tim Cole, director of missions for Blood River Baptist Association, and all of the host churches.

Students arrived Saturday and got settled. Most have brought air mattresses to sleep on the floor at the high school for a week. A few cots are here, and there may be a few hardy folks in sleeping bags on the floor. After a great meal we began with team assignments, worship, and church group time.

IMG_3690On Sunday, teams attended worship with their host church, had lunch, then prayerwalked at the site where they will be working.  In the afternoon, after starting to learn some team skills, everyone participated in a class on “How to Share Your Faith.”

Nick Stamps, pastor of Post Oak Baptist Church in Russellville, is the pastor for the week, preaching nightly to help students grow in their faith. Our prayer is that many students will be saved this week and that believing students will make a deeper commitment to Christ.

IMG_3726Pray for Kentucky Changers this week as they work on projects all over Calloway County. Pray for the homeowners as well. Pray that the students will have a bold witness with the communities where they serve.

Reflections on the 2016 National WMU Meeting and SBC


WMU 2016 mtgI recently went to St. Louis for the National WMU Missions Celebration/Annual Meeting, followed by the Southern Baptist Convention. I started attending national meetings with my parents as a child and have been going ever since. I always enjoy these gatherings because of the inspiring speakers, music, and other presentations. I also enjoy reconnecting with friends from across the country and sometimes, from around the world.

Attending a national meeting reminds us that no matter what size church we attend, what we do together is significant. The SBC is comprised primarily of small churches so the praying and giving of small churches who work together is making a huge impact. Likewise, the efforts of larger churches is also needed and provides leadership and resources for our joint efforts.

WMU meeting 2016 missionaries 1Hearing missionaries say thank you for praying, thank you for giving, thank you for caring for our families always touches my heart. I thrill at the stories of people who have been saved because a missionary we sent and supported shared the gospel. In this year’s WMU meeting, we heard from one missionary who is serving today because a missionary came and shared the gospel with his great grandfather. Every generation since in his family has produced pastors/church planters.

Just before we went to St. Louis we received the report that Southern Baptists had given the largest Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in the 127 year history of the offering – $165.8 million. This offering, begun in 1888 by the women of a fledgling organization we know today as WMU, continues to make an impact around the world.

The letters WMU mean a lot to me. W is for woman’s (spelled with an A! – singular, possessive) because of each individual who identifies with the Missionary purpose. U is for union because together we can do more.  Thus, when I attend a WMU meeting, it is not about the meeting. It is about the outcomes. What happens in my life and around the world because we in WMU learn, pray, give, serve and support missions.

Wanda Lee Joy BoltonThe 2016 meeting was one of mixed emotions for me. I am so grateful for the 20-year ministry of Wanda Lee as a national WMU leader – 4 years as president, then 16 as executive director-treasurer. She has been a mentor and friend. Yet Wanda has identified that this is the time for transition to a new leader and several months ago, I was named by WMU president Linda Cooper as chairperson of the Search Committee.

WMU Prayer for Search CommitteeIn a devotional and update shared with the WMU Executive Board in General Session, I shared the spiritual journey of the search committee. We have an enormous task but we serve a God who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. When the time is right, the committee will make a recommendation. Until then, we have asked everyone to honor the confidentiality of the process. Serving on this committee is a high calling and we all are grateful for the prayer support and kind words of so many.

UnscriptedAt the WMU meeting, the preaching of Dr. Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, was challenging. His book, Unscripted, is the 2016-17 WMU emphasis book. In challenging us to do be on mission, no matter what our circumstances, Dr. Iorg said, “Circumstances refine the mission, but do not define the mission.”  In speaking of the organization he works with, Dr. Iorg said that is what is most difficult for him is not administration, fundraising, or the myriad of things to be done. He said “What is most difficult is keeping the organization focused on its mission.” Our mission is to proclaim the gospel. What would happen if WMU members embraced the three simple words: as you go. Imagine what would happen in the lives of individuals or families, in cultures, or to political and economic systems if believers embraced and lived those three simple words and shared the gospel “as you go.”

On Tuesday of the SBC, I took my seat and stayed in place all day except for meals. There were reports and sermons, motions and resolutions. I’ve not always been comfortable with everything that happened at a SBC meeting, but there is no doubt that this year’s convention will stand as a high mark for years to come. I say this for several reasons. One was that the Tuesday evening session was devoted to prayer. This time of prayer spoke to my soul, especially during a video reading of the Ezekiel passage about dry bones. We were challenged to persevere in ministry because the dry bones will live again.

For me, the apex of the meeting came when, after a problem with 108 ballots, one presidential candidate withdrew so that the convention would be unified. J. D. Greear will long be remembered for his statesmanship in that moment. It must be noted that Steve Gaines was willing to do the same thing and in prayer these men came to the decision of who would withdraw. Greear’s announcement was followed by a timely sermon by Dr. Ted Traylor which drew from Psalm 133:1 – Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.

There were many other great moments during the convention. Due to other commitments, I could not stay on Wednesday, but through the wonders of technology was able to tune in during the meeting, and even go back to parts I missed. You can listen to the entire SBC, from gavel to gavel, at www.sbcannualmeeting.com. Just click “Watch Live” and you will find recordings of all the proceedings.

EBO gifts at work this summer

Summer is upon us with all of the wonderful ways that Kentucky WMU involves children and students (youth) in missions.

Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids will take place June 16-18 in Richmond and June 23-25 in Bowling Green. Red House Baptist Church will host in Richmond and Calvary Baptist Church in Bowling Green. Each three day mission trip includes prayer walking, worship, Bible study, mission projects and Kentucky Kid fun! Ministries include sorting, organizing donations of food and clothing, home meals delivery to the homebound, games with children at a shelter, making cookies for international students, and more.

Equipment TrailerKentucky Changers
will do home repairs for low-income home owners in Hopkinsville (June 11-17), Calloway County (June 18-24), Greensburg (July 2-8), and Frankfort (July 9-12).  Building on the 2016 theme, “Stay Connected to the Source,” students will be challenged through nightly worship to stay connected to Jesus in all of life. Volunteers of all ages assist with teaching construction skills, supervising projects, cooking, checking out tools, and many other tasks to support the students as they serve.

Overnights for Mothers and Daughters and Girls in Action will take place at Cedarmore (July 1-2) and Jonathan Creek (July 8-9). Participants will meet a missionary and enjoy summer fun while they learn. Acteens Quest, our newest overnight, will be held at Jonathan Creek (July 8-9) followed by a state Acteens Activators Team trip (July 11-17) to New Orleans to work at the Baptist Friendship Center.  Acteens Leaders are invited to their own event, Acteens Quest for Leaders, August 5-6 at Liberty Baptist Church, Campbellsville. This will be a time for leaders to get acquainted and share ideas.

Camp Courage, a campout for boys will be July 29-30 at Laurel Lake Baptist Camp in Corbin. Boys will participate in a variety of outdoor activities while learning about missions.

We are most excited to report on the completion of a new Kentucky WMU storage facility at Cedarmore. With the addition of Kentucky Changers to the WMU family, the need for adequate storage of all the required equipment was huge. We are grateful to Mercer Baptist Association for the use of their storage building for the past two years. We also appreciate the partnership with Crossings who allowed us to construct a building at Cedarmore.

Whether supporting summer activities led by Kentucky missionaries, helping with WMU sponsored ministries, or funding outreach by church planters, EBO is at work all summer long!