Retirement Is Coming

It’s official…

Here’s the backstory. One of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made has been the decision to retire. Like many others, it began to be on my mind after I turned 60, and more so at 62. But when my husband retired and asked me to consider retiring, the decision moved from conjecture to a decision I had to make.

A few weeks ago, at the close of what we call October Board Meeting, I shared the following with the Kentucky WMU Executive Board.

I have asked Susan to allow me to close out this meeting. When I came to Kentucky WMU 18  years ago, I came with the support of Lee Bolton who promised me when he proposed that if the opportunity came for me to do WMU work as a career, he would go with me. And so he did when the opportunity came to join the SC WMU staff in 1995 and again in 1999 when we came to Kentucky.

Now it is time for me to honor his request for me to retire. While you would not know it to look at him, his health has not been good this year and he is ready for me to slow down. This has been an agonizing decision for me for many reasons.

I talked with Susan and Marcia, chair of the personnel committee, when I had my annual review and shared with them that I was wrestling with what to do and that Lee’s health was driving the bus for me. 

I will be 65 in August. I propose to retire not earlier than September 1, 2018 but not later than September 1, 2019.  I am committed to a smooth transition and will stay as needed to work with the next executive director. I watched Wanda Lee stay on and work with Sandy Wisdom-Martin for about 6 weeks to take her to meetings, spend time with her to explain things, and eventually slipped out and left Sandy on her own. They modeled a positive transition and I want to follow her example.

I love you all, love Kentucky WMU and the KBC. I have been blessed to serve with you and am also committed to work hard to my very last day. I will not coast this year. I have a long list of things to be done before I retire, including writing up helps for the next person who has this position.

Thank you for your love and support. Kentucky WMU will forever be in my heart – and, Cheryl, Kentucky WMU has already been named beneficiary of a legacy gift.

I asked the Board not to put this news on Facebook to allow me time to make some calls that I needed to make. I appreciate the Board for honoring my request.  After the meeting, I talked with Dr. Chitwood, and made the decision that the Western Recorder would break the story.

A Search Committee will be named by Susan Bryant. Please pray for Susan as she names the committee, and for the next leader of Kentucky WMU.

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WMU, chocolate cake, and gospel conversations

Doug Williams, Missions Strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, caught me in the hall and said with excitement, “Let me show you this picture!”  He proceeded to pull out his phone to show me a picture he snapped in Salt Lake City.  After I heard the story, I wanted the picture!  Here’s what Doug said when he sent me the picture:

Here is the picture of the Kerns’s home pantry. I was in their home this week, as I took a group of KBC church leaders to meet planters and hear the vision of reaching SLC with the gospel. We sat around their table eating chocolate cake and listening to the testimony of a couple who they won to Jesus, coming out of Mormonism. Because WMU featured the Kerns family in September and it mentioned that Stacie loves to bake, they continue to receive baking goods. Oh, did I mention that the chocolate cake we ate was from a mix sent to them by someone from WMU?! Thank the Lord for mission education through WMU! Who would have thought that chocolate cake could be used for gospel conversations!!

Doug told me that these baked goods had come from Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, and other WMU missions groups. If you sent items to the Kerns, thank you!  To all who prayed for the Kerns and shared their story with your missions group, thank you.

Teaching children about a missionary, then leading them to pack a box of baking items and send them to a missionary, might not seem significant to some.  But we know that when you do this, it has an impact on the missionary AND on the children who learned and responded.

Yes, WMU teaches missions and provides chocolate cake for gospel conversations.

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Leaders Need to Keep Learning

I’ve been in leadership a long time. My parents used to tell about me as an older preschooler visiting churches in the association with my parents where Vacation Bible School was being held. At one church, as the story goes, there seemed to be some confusion among the children as to what they were to do. My parents would smile as they told how I jumped to the front and announced to the other children, “Follow me. I know what to do.”

When one has been in leadership for many years, it is easy to get arrogant. We’ve done this job before and we know what to do. It also becomes easy to get stagnant or simply just coast rather than keep growing as a leader. As a leader who wishes to avoid arrogance, stagnation or just coasting, the Christian Women’s Leadership Center (CWLC) offers challenging courses that are not expensive or too difficult to add to an already busy schedule.

I am currently taking Spiritual Formation as a Leader. The course includes on-line videos, response assignments, and reading Upside Down Leadership by Taylor Field. This book touches heart and attitude issues that face every leader. The leadership principles that Field puts forth are stark in opposition to the teachings of most leadership gurus: Stop Leading, Forget Results, Think Small, Make No Plans, Associate with Losers, Get Off the Cutting Edge, and so on.  Don’t let the titles fool you. There is deep content for leaders.

The CWLC Leadership Certificate Program consists of nine four-week courses in three areas. Each $30 course includes the course textbook in PDF format and interactive assignments. Participation usually takes 3-5 hours per week (on your own schedule) and also introduces you to others who are taking the course with you through forums and opportunities to comment on assignments. CWLC Leadership Certificate courses are offered on a rotating schedule and must be taken when offered. Courses in the certificate program include:

Leadership Foundation
– The Biblical and Theological Foundations of Leadership
– Leadership Theory
– Women Leaders from the Past
Leadership Formation
– Spiritual Formation as a Leader
– A Sense of Call to Leadership
– Missional Living: A History of Missions and How It Impacts Missions Today
Leadership Skills
– Leader Skills: 5 Leadership Essentials for Women
– Follower Skills
– Leading with Integrity: 12 Strategies for Your Ministry or Non-Profit

In addition to the leadership certificate series, Christian Leader Learning offers Develop Courses and Enrichment Courses. These provide a way to learn about leading WMU organizations (such a Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, Mission Friends, etc.) or courses to help enhance leadership skills. Develop courses can be taken anytime and you have 30 days to complete the course from the date of enrollment.

Learn more: Christian Leader Learning

Join me and keep learning!

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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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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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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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Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer 2016

LOGO WD BWA.epsEach year on the first Monday of November, Baptist Women around the world gather for a day of prayer. Utilizing materials written by one of the seven continental unions of the Women’s Department of the Baptist World Alliance, women pray for each other and for missions needs.

WMU participates in the Day of Prayer through the North American Baptist Women’s Union. Many associations plan a Day of Prayer observance as an associational gathering and reach out to all Baptist women in the area. It is a great  time for us to come together as Baptist Women to pray.

img_3812In my international travels, one of the very special things has been to talk with Baptist Women in other countries about the Day of Prayer. I am encouraged by the commitment of women to pray. They often travel under difficult circumstances to join with others for the Day of Prayer observance. It is my prayer that we will be as committed.

img_3793In July 2015, three of us from Kentucky joined with other Baptist Women in Johannesburg, South Africa for an international women’s leadership conference. A number of women that we have met across the years were there, including friends from Korea WMU. I think of them and many others as we observe the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer.

The Day of Prayer material includes a Bible study, testimonies from Baptist women, and a prayer guide. We also receive an offering to be used for the ministries of our continental unions as well as for international projects.  NABWU projects to be funded by this year’s Day of Prayer offering include:
– Deborah Project of the Women’s Convention, National Baptist Convention
– Earn While You Learn, Island Pregnancy Centre, Atlantic Baptist Women
– Graffiti 2 Works, Life Skills Ministry, New York WMU
– Refugee Outreach, Canadian Baptist Women of Ontario & Quebec
– Military Wives’ Retreat, North Carolina WMU
– Sister to Sister, American Baptist Women

Christian Women’s Job Corps of Middle Tennessee, Girls Equine Therapy Program (Canada), Oasis Women’s Counseling Program (Latin America), and a Job Skills Training Program for Women (Canada) are among the international projects to be funded this year through the Day of Prayer offering.

win_20150720_033001Learn more about the Day of Prayer and find a link to download materials at kywmu.org/dayofprayer.  If you would like to participate in the Day of Prayer Offering, please send to: NABWU, P.O. Box 282 Bordentown, NJ 08505-0282.The checks need to be made out to NABWU.

Find out if there is a Day of Prayer Observance in your area.  If not, plan your own and gather other women to pray with you. Utilize the Prayer Guide for the Day of Prayer and earnestly pray for our Baptist sisters around the world.

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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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BREAK bus painted!

It is always a time of rejoicing when we hear about how EBO funds have made a difference in ministries across Kentucky. We received this letter from Kentucky missionary Beth Arnold.

painted-bus-1September 19, 2016
Dear Joy,
I just wanted to let you know our newly painted BREAK bus has been going to schools the last two weeks. The students have been excited and so pleased to see “their” bus looking so shiny and pretty. After receiving the EBO grant money we were still $3,700 short for the quoted $10,000 for paint and labor. After saving for three years and getting much closer to our goal, an individual (the man actually painting the bus) personally donated $1,200, then the painting company wrote off $2,500 still needed. I really think the EBO grant money pushing us up in reach of the needed amount is what motivated the generous giving. Thank you!

The BREAK decals are not put on yet but have been promised to be provided free, including the labor for applying. We hope to do that soon when we have a few days that the bus is not being used.

painted-bus-2I have attached two pictures of the BREAK bus at Whitley North Elementary taken last week the first day after getting it from the painters. This school has a very high attendance for students (participating in BREAK Bus). Two of the classes have 100 percent of the students enrolled in school.  Many children are hearing the Gospel each month. 

The EBO video is really impacting our getting the word out about the ministry. I have been to three churches this month in our county to set up a BREAK display and answer questions after the video was shown. I am also getting calls from outside the Tri-Counties with questions how to start a Bible Release Time in their community. I’m sure I will continue to use the video in sharing about the ministry.  I appreciate so much the opportunities EBO has provided for BREAK and especially the encouragement from you and Teresa Parrett. 

Please drop by for class if you are ever in the area. 
With Praise and Thanksgiving to our Lord!  Beth

break-busIf you want to see a BREAK bus in action, join us for the Kentucky WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting, March 31-April 1, 2017 in Corbin.

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