Reaching out to teachers from China

Our 2017 Rise Up and Shine state missions emphasis has focused attention on Kentucky Baptist ministries with internationals. It is our prayer that the focus has made us more sensitive to the internationals we meet and how we might befriend them. It is friendship that opens doors to share the gospel.

Earlier this year I posted a blog about welcoming Chinese teachers who are teaching in Kentucky to gain experience in our schools. I received a follow up email this week providing us with an updated list of school districts with teacher from China. These teachers need friends, help with shopping, and above all, a gospel witness. They would love to be invited to an American home for a meal and often will be open to attend church with your family.

This ministry is first of all a ministry of friendship. “We treat our teachers like family whether they go to church with us or not,” says Dreama Ruley who works with teachers in her district. “We can show Jesus’ love in other ways besides going to church, and after some have returned home, they contacted us with questions that they did not seem to be interested in while here. We plant seeds and let God worry about the harvest.”

The following districts have teachers from China. Would you prayerfully consider volunteering to meet a teacher and befriend her/him this year?
Butler County
Barren County
Bowling Green
Warren
Daviess
Muhlenburg
Cloverport
Meade
Hardin
Oldham
Logan

If you are interested in getting involved, Dreama Ruley will provide additional information to help you in making contact. If emailing, please put “Chinese teachers” in the subject line  Email: [email protected] Phone: 270-586-7632.

May we Rise Up and Shine to befriend these teachers from China.

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Summer 2017 In Review

“We facilitate missions involvement” is more than a catchy phrase for Kentucky WMU. When we plan our work, this is what drives us. We are constantly thinking, “How can we involve more people in missions?” Our 2017 summer events have reflected this passion.

Kentucky Changers worked in Shelbyville, Harrodsburg, Albany, and Greensburg this summer. Statistics from the four weeks show:
Churches represented: 81
Job sites: 68
Participants (students/chaperones): 632
Volunteers (crew chiefs, assistants, food service, etc.): 271
Total participants: 902
Total decisions: 85, with 16 for salvation, 39 for call to ministry, and 30 rededications.

What these statistics tell us is that 902 people were involved in hands-on missions. They came to help with many aspects of the ministry, from construction to clean up, from cooking to delivering supplies, and everything in between. By sponsoring and planning Kentucky Changers, Kentucky WMU made it possible for 902 people to experience missions.

In June, Kentucky WMU sponsored Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids (MAKK) in Louisville and Lexington. Through age-appropriate missions activities, boys and girls learned that they can do missions. Their chaperones/leaders encouraged them and were their cheerleaders as the children stepped up to serve. Thirty six children and leaders participated in MAKK Louisville and 58 participated in Lexington. Children did a variety of helping projects in the community and collected paper products for the Ronald McDonald House. In Louisville the children worked at the Baptist Fellowship Center and with Fern Creek Community Ministries. In Lexington they served at the Ronald McDonald House, Lexington Rescue Mission, Mission Lexington, Hope Center, and nursing homes.

A team of 12 Kentucky Acteens Activators served for a week in Knoxville, TN where they worked with over 80 children in day camp. The Acteens also served in a food ministry, Love Local, where snack packs were delivered in an area where 100% of the children receive free lunches during the school year. Acteens also spent a week at the Haven of Rest in Inez where they helped with Vacation Bible School and served in the community.

In cooperation with National WMU and Central Baptist Association, we were host to Familyfest in July which brought us over 150 volunteers from Kentucky and beyond. These volunteers participated in different ministries in the Lebanon/Springfield area including Backyard Bible Club/VBS, light construction/repairs, servant ministries, social ministry, several block parties, prayerwalking, senior adult ministry, evangelism, sports camps, and health/wellness ministries. It is a special week as families serve together.

Royal Ambassadors and Challengers gathered at Camp Courage July 28-29 to learn about missions as they also raced cars, learned knot tying and other outdoor skills.

The Mission Friends and Girls in Action Leaders Retreat August 4-5 was a time for leaders to learn and share ideas for enhancing missions for preschool and children.

We wrapped up the summer with a mission team of 12 to Swaziland to deliver Baptist Global Response Hospice Care Buckets. These buckets had been packed and sent by Kentucky Baptists. The team saw 31 professions of faith during the week. In addition to bucket delivery the team led revival services in two churches each night, led a three day camp for 75 children, provided WMU training for the Swaziland Women’s Committee, and had a day of training for pastors.

As seen in these and other events and activities, WMU points people to a world beyond themselves and facilitates missions involvement. WMU challenges people to be involved in the mission of God and provides avenues so that everyone can learn, pray, give, and go!

This is why I am so passionate about WMU and starting WMU in every church. WMU is a movement that gets people involved in missions. Too many church members are content to show up for a service once a week and do little else. For WMU, this is not what being a Christ-follower is all about. WMU will not rest until the gospel is proclaimed down the street and around the world. We teach missions. We do missions. Join us!

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MAKK Impact

Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids is a three-day mission trip for children in grades 4-6 and their leaders. During MAKK we have Bible study, crafts, games, drama, and music. A missionary shares their work at each location.

I was able to join in the MAKK experience this year in Lexington. In our closing session, participants were asked to write on Post-It Notes things that they were thankful for. The notes show the impact of MAKK on the children and adults who participated. Here are some of the things they shared:

  • Kids with big hearts
  • All of the friends I made
  • Meeting all the people and getting to go to the rest home
  • Being able to fill sack lunches for the homeless
  • For the Lexington Rescue Mission
  • I am thankful for the kids learning how to show God’s love to others. And for meeting new people that we helped
  • For nursing homes
  • For the many volunteers to help share Christ with kids
  • Telling people about Jesus at the nursing home
  • Helping seniors
  • Two salvations!
  • Getting to see joyful faces on the people at the nursing home
  • I got to go on mission and serve others in God’s Name
  • That we helped tell people about Jesus at the nursing home
  • For all the ministries we got to experience this weekend
  • Chance to serve Miss Shirley at the nursing home and pray with her. We said John 3:16 together.
  • Being saved by Jesus!
  • The way we worked to show God’s love to others. Very rewarding.
  • I’m thankful we got to go to Mission Lexington and help the people
  • Baking for Ronald McDonald House
  • Serving the Lord with other Christians. Meeting new people
  • I enjoyed loving on the patients at the nursing home
  • Talking and working with the nursing home patients
  • For making new friends and baking
  • That we got to help clean
  • Lots of fun
  • A great week

The thankful note that made me smile the most said “We got to conquer the world!!” Sending children and adults out to prayerwalk on Thursday (in the rain!), serve in area ministries on Friday, and have Bible School nursing homes on Saturday might not seem like conquering the world to some, but I understand what this child meant. Through MAKK, children conquered fears of new places and people. They conquered fears that they were asked to do a ministry they had never done before. And we know that whenever we go in the Name of Jesus, Satan is conquered. Yes, to the child on the Green team who wrote the note, we conquered the world in Jesus Name.

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This is the perfect time for the Christmas Backpacks project!

Did you know that 17.3 million children in the U.S. live in poverty? You can help through the Christmas Backpacks Project. Kentucky Baptists are filling new backpacks with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, food and clothing for children. These will be distributed at Christmas events in December where the gospel will be shared.

Christmas seems a long way off for many, but this is the perfect time to be shopping for the Christmas Backpacks Project. School supplies go on sale over the summer at many stores. And because Christmas Backpacks need to be delivered in October, churches can get started over the summer. It makes for a great VBS missions project or a Back to School ministry. Each church is asked to register the number of backpacks that you will prepare with the KBC and download gift tags to mark each backpack with the age and gender child to receive it.

Here is how to participate and the Backpack Collection Timeline:

How to Participate & Pack

  • Register online the number of backpacks your church is committed to pack and share.
  • Begin with a NEW, zippered backpack.
  • Determine the gender and age for the backpacks, then mark a label for each backpack accordingly.
  • Fill the backpacks with NEW gifts (item list).
  • Securely tape the labels to the outside of the backpacks.
  • Pray specifically for the child receiving the backpack and his or her family.
  • Deliver the backpacks to your designated collection site on the assigned day (associational collection site list).

October 16-20, 2017
Churches deliver backpacks in boxes to associational collection sites.
Each church must:

  • Ensure that each backpack is packed with toys, clothing, food items, a copy of the “Christmas Story” leaflet, and a copy of the Mailbox Bible Club postcard.
  • Ensure that each backpack has a label specifying the age and gender of its contents.
  • Pack four to six backpacks each in 18″x18″x16″ cardboard boxes (available at Lowes, Home Depot, Staples, etc.), keeping those designated for the same ages and genders together when possible.
  • Transport the committed number of backpacks to its designated associational collection site.

October 23-27, 2017
Associations deliver backpacks in boxes to regional collection sites.
Each association must:

  • Ensure backpacks are labeled and packed (four to six backpacks each in 18″x18″x16″ cardboard boxes), keeping those designated for the same ages and genders together when possible.
  • Transport boxed backpacks to its designated regional collection site.

October 30-November 3, 2017
All boxed backpacks will be picked up from the regional collection sites and distributed to the requesting ministries and church plants.

The great thing about this schedule is that churches deliver the Christmas Backpacks in October. The schedule does not interfere with the collection of other Christmas ministries (such as Operation Christmas Child) which are usually due in November. Also, by participating in the Christmas Backpacks, your church can provide a gospel witness to a child at Christmas right here in the United States in addition to participation in international projects.

So, start watching for school supplies to go on sale. Look for bargains on new clothing, toys, and other items. Our Kentucky goal is 5,000 backpacks. Half of that number will be used in Kentucky, and half will go to Cincinnati, a Send City with the North American Mission Board.

Join us in sharing the gift of love and the gospel with a child in need this Christmas!

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Missions Education Still Having an Impact

A recent email made me smile.  My friend Ann had noted a Facebook post by a friend and they had been texting each other about an upcoming mission trip. Ann was eager for me to know that things learned in missions as a child were still having an impact. She even sent a screen shot of their texting with each other.

Ann wrote:
Last night a friend from Oakland Ave Baptist Church posted on Facebook about about getting ready to go to Ecuador for her 12th year. I asked what group she went with, etc., etc. Tonight I was reading in Genesis where God blessed Issac and he reaped a hundredfold of what he planted. I prayed for a hundredfold for WMU age level organizations at Lone Oak First Baptist Church in terms of mission education and future missionaries and for a hundredfold on the mission trip to Brazil from LOFBC that I’m participating in.  I wondered, “how can we have a hundredfold?”  Then the Lord reminded me of the conversation with Judy from Oakland Avenue Baptist Church last night!  Attached is a screen shot of the last part of our conversation.  Judy and I are part of the hundredfold that Dorothy Crace and other leaders at Oakland Avenue reaped! Praise the Lord!  

If you are a missions education leader with preschoolers, children, or students, thank you! You have no idea what will be the outcome of your investment today in the lives of those you teach.

Heather Keller, Children’s Consultant with National WMU, asks churches what outcomes do they want to see in 20 years in the lives of the children they are reaching. What do they want their children to value as adults? That is taking the long view of what we do today!  The online conversation between Ann and Judy shows that Heather is on to something!

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Help us welcome Chinese teachers to Kentucky

I recently received a phone call alerting me to a ministry need in our state. The caller has become friends with Chinese teachers who are here in Kentucky in a type of exchange program where they come to spend a school year working in an American school. The caller was brokenhearted because she had just learned that many of the friends of the Chinese teachers that she has befriended have no one who has welcomed them.

The caller sent me an email which I share here :
As I told you over the telephone, this all began with giving a ride in the rain and then on to Walmart.  We include the girls (which is what we call them affectionately and consider them our daughters-hand picked by God) in our life.  We take them shopping, to church, events we think might interest them and local activities.  They have become good friends with people outside the school district and have experienced our culture first hand.  They have no choice but to judge us by our movies which they quickly learn is not accurate.  We are not wealthy people and cannot take them to expensive tourist destinations but they are very happy to experience American culture any way they can.  We include them in our holidays. Most of them cry and say they were hoping to see what a real Christmas in an American family would be like.  They help me decorate for Christmas and this gives me opportunity to teach what each thing symbolizes and how it relates to the true Christmas story.   

We celebrate their Chinese New Year with them and they love to cook for us. They are happy to experience our food outside the school cafeteria and are always surprised how different home cooking is.  Its the little things that make our culture what it is and they leave with an accurate appreciation of the people who make up America.  Our friends consider them our daughters too and invite them to weddings, birthdays, and even funerals. Everything is a teaching moment and they are very curious, just like we would be in China.

Some have left behind husbands and children for this American experience and it is so sad when our girls tell us how lonely some of the other teachers are.  Often when I meet teachers from other counties, they will hug me and say “I wish I worked in your county so I would have an American mom who cares about me.”  That breaks my heart!  Not because I am anybody but because I know there are plenty of Christians out there who are praying for an opportunity to show Jesus love to someone but they don’t know where that someone is. Maybe in their own town, but they are not with the school system or they assume the school system is keeping that teacher busy.  American teachers are usually too busy for their own family and are not able to take in another person.

Actually my family is in the perfect position for this because my kids are grown, no grandkids to keep me hopping, I work in the school system as a paraeducator so I’m not as busy as a classroom teacher, and we have a van.  There are four teachers in my county so the van is very important!  

We have learned so much from them about Chinese people and culture. I was able to teach for a month in China which I thoroughly enjoyed. It definitely gave me first hand insight into their culture.  We have been blessed to be able to lead five of our daughters to Christ. They are active in their churches in China and one has led her parents to Christ. The other ten daughters have not yet committed to Christ but we know seeds have been planted and they periodically contact us with questions about the Bible or about salvation.  We make sure each one returns home with a Bible that is easy for them to read and understand.  

The daughter I left out, V, was already a Christian and her time here helped make her a leader at home. China only allows one church in every city so if it is not your “flavor” you stay home.  V does not want to attend [the state approved] church and her house church leaders disappeared 10 years ago so her family has been hungry for Christian fellowship and discipleship.  She brought her husband and child here last summer and spent 3 weeks with us. It was the first time her husband and child had ever been in a church that was different than the one at home.  It really makes me appreciate our freedom of religion here.  Her husband is working on starting a church but trying to figure out how to do it safely.

This email has been very long and I apologize. I just wanted to give you a sense of what we are doing and how simple it is so you can help us minister to the Chinese teachers that God is sending to Ky.  Who knows how long this opportunity will be available? 

If you would like to befriend a Chinese teacher, we are aware of teachers in the following school districts at this time:  Adair, Barren, Butler, Cloverport Independent, Daviess, Hardin, Logan, Meade, Metcalf, Muhlenberg, Oldham, Simpson, Todd, Warren.

Please contact me for specific schools in these counties/districts. We have direct contact information for only a few of the teachers but are aware of nearly 40 schools with Chinese teachers. You may work in one of the schools or have other contacts. For more information, please email: [email protected]

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Mats for the Homeless

Homelessness is a problem across our state and around the world. While there are many reasons for this problem and many attempts to help people in need, homelessness persists. A project involving discarded grocery bags is one way to help.

Bill Barker, missionary with the North American Mission Board, serves as National Director for Appalachian Regional Ministry and Mississippi River Ministry. Bill will be with us for the 2017 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting at Central Baptist in Corbin. While his primary task will be to introduce the Christmas Backpact Project, we’ve also asked Bill to share about NAMB’s work through Send Relief.

Bill is in contact with many of our Kentucky missionaries as he partners with KBC Missions Mobilization Coordinator, Teresa Parrett. He frequently is given items to donate to ministries as he travels across ARM / MRM areas. Bill suggested that WMU groups might like to bring mats for the homeless as part of our collection of items for Eastern Kentucky Ministries at Annual Meeting.

Printed instructions for making the mats are found on both the National WMU and Kentucky WMU web site. There is also an instructional video available on YouTube.

Bill says that these mats are a welcome item for many who are homeless. While we all want to do even more, this is a start.

If you can’t make mats, there are plenty of items you can bring to Annual Meeting to help with ministry in Eastern Kentucky.  Learn more: kywmu.org/annualmeeting/ministryproject.

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Missionaries Confirm the Importance of Missions Education

At the recent Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board meeting, IMB missionaries Stan and Wendy Meador shared about their work in reaching people of European descent living in Brazil. What caught my immediate attention, however, was what they had to say about the importance of GA and RA in shaping their lives and preparing them to hear God’s call to missions.

In a note after being with us for the meeting, Wendy wrote:

It was a privilege to be able to share. We have been promoting missions education everywhere we go. We are concerned at the growing number of churches that don’t have any WMU organizations at all. Many are replacing this with Women’s Ministry and Awana, neither of which do the job that WMU does in educating Southern Baptists about missions. We wonder if the loss of close to 1000 missionaries would have been necessary if churches had kept WMU and her organizations as an important element of their church. 

When people in Southern Baptist churches ask us who Lottie Moon is, then we have a huge problem. One church even asked us how we were supported. I wanted to go double check the sign out front for fear we had walked in the wrong church. 

I have been a part of WMU in some form all my life and now my role in our affinity includes sharing ideas for stories for missions education through WMU.  WMU should be an essential part of church life.

If there is anything more we can do to help promote missions education, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Blessings, Wendy Meador

I appreciate Wendy’s forthright note. I recently said something very similar when speaking on behalf of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering on December 4 in Whitesburg.

I use five words to describe what churches do related to missions: learn, pray, give, go, and send. We in WMU begin with learn because we know that people are not likely to do the others until they know about lostness, about the needs, about how support missions, how people can be involved, and so on. So today we will learn in order that you might be more effective in praying and be compelled to give as well as go. And it my prayer that you will have the opportunity to send people from this church either as missions volunteers or as career missionaries.

Many years ago I sensed a calling to missions. I was willing to go and explored that option but God showed me that my calling was to educate. It is an area that needs greater attention than ever before. The fact that the IMB had to bring home what ended up being over 1,000 missionaries  says that something has been lacking and I believe it is learning about missions. We support and pray for what we know about. And when we fail to teach missions to our children, we fail not just for that year, but for years to come. Bringing home the missionaries was a failure that began 20 years ago when many churches decided that other programs were more important than missions.  We must educate!

Please understand that I am not against other programs. But when they are used instead of missions, an important dimension of discipleship is left out! For the sake of lost people around the world, please start or strengthen missions education in your church. What you do today in teaching missions and engaging children and students in doing missions will have an impact for years to come.

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Stuck In Traffick

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When WMU had Project Help: Human Exploitation as a focus, the purpose was to put a host of exploitation issues on the radar of our churches, including human trafficking. At the time there were too many of us who thought “it does not happen in my town.” Unfortunately we have learned that human trafficking does happen – in our small towns and big cities.

Human trafficking ensnares about 27 million people worldwide, including Kentucky. Advocacy groups say children as young as 2 months old have been victims of sexual exploitation. Children are twice as likely than adults to be trafficked, with the average girl groomed for prostitution being between 12 and 14 years old.

Stuck in Traffic is a one-day workshop designed to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking in the state of Kentucky, and to help the church to learn practical ways to be a changing force in our culture.  Join Kentucky Baptists as we seek to end this modern-day slavery and to learn how we can help victims be freed from the chains of trafficking.

REGISTRATION
COST: $10 (includes lunch & materials)

Register at  http://www.kybaptist.org/stuck-in-traffick,1631  by October 19 or contact (866) 489-3527 or [email protected] for information of assistance in registration.

Free child care is available for infants through 5th grade. Registration is required.
(Parents must pick up their children during lunch, but may order lunches for their children for an $5 per child.)

Location: 
Bethlehem Baptist Church
5708 Preston Hwy.
Louisville, KY 40219

CONTACT INFO
Kristen Drake
[email protected]
(502) 489-3404

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An empty belly can drown out the cry of an empty heart

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Global Hunger Relief provides an avenue for believers to fulfill the biblical mandate to care for others, and it also makes it easier for those receiving the relief to be open to the voice of God. Just as hunger is an obstacle to children making the most of their time at school, an empty belly often shouts down the cry of an empty heart.

As October begins, let’s get an updated picture of this global crisis, and encourage those around us to respond individually and corporately. WMU has curricula for preschoolers, adults, and in Spanish, related to the issue of hunger relief.

As part of our new Plug-In Missions Ed initiative, Kentucky WMU encourages churches to get boys and girls involved in hunger relief. WMU’s e4 (engage explore, expand, and experience) series (pictured above) provides up to four weeks of focused learning and application for children at just a few dollars for the digital download. If you’ve never tried an e4 study before, this will be a great opportunity for you and your students to give it a test drive.

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