When ministries work together to meet physical needs, this often results in spiritual needs being met. A prime example happened in Kentucky in recent months, involving two ministries collaborating from opposite ends of Kentucky.
The story begins with backpacks being sent from the Georgia Baptist Convention to Pike County, Kentucky, where Richard Greene, director of the Freeda Harris Baptist Center, distributed them — along with Christmas backpacks donated by churches in the Pike Association of Southern Baptists.
Greene said those backpacks were put to good use in the county — 1,432 were distributed to children in need.
“We had supplied all the children that we serve with Christmas backpacks, but had some remaining,” said Greene, who serves as a Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionary through the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Praying for more ways to serve
“We began to pray about and look for areas where we could take the backpacks we had left to another ministry and bless them,” Greene said. A contact with Teresa Parrett, missions mobilization coordinator at KBC, resulted in Greene contacting HR Ministries, headquartered in Princeton, which could make use of the backpacks following the Dec. 10 tornado devastation that impacted western Kentucky.
A week after that tornado, Greene and Zeke Stepp, pastor of Sidney Missionary Baptist Church in the Pike Association, made the six-hour drive to Princeton to deliver about 250 backpacks.
Those backpacks included a Bible, a printed copy of the Christmas story, new clothing items, hygiene products, socks, underwear, toys and non-perishable foods.
Seeing the tornado destruction, Greene was prompted to return the following week to serve with Disaster Relief volunteers in the Mayfield area. “That trip helped me get a picture before I went to serve,” Greene noted.
Once delivered, the backpacks weren’t immediately distributed. Harrell Riley, executive director of HR Ministries and a KMSC missionary, said the “reality was that when we got those [we] weren’t 100% sure where we would distribute them, but we knew they’d be useful. We held off a little, and God opened a door through conversations with another ministry for us to distribute them in January.
“We had some leftover backpacks as well, so we ended up having about 600 to distribute,” Riley said. “We took them to First Baptist Church in Dawson Springs, where we had a partnership with a team that did a recovery meeting for those in the community impacted by the tornado. We had a Baptist minister out of Texas who came and made jambalaya and dessert for the meeting.”
There were seven people who made professions of faith at that distribution, Riley noted.
“We had the distribution and met needs and connected with families in that area,” he said. “So far we have seen 13 saved here through Disaster Relief distribution.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was written by Chip Hutcheson and first published by Kentucky Today, news service of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.