Sandy Franks was looking forward to the youth at her church getting involved with Kentucky Changers, a ministry of Louisville-based Woman’s Missionary Union.
So when the Kentucky Changers event in Somerset was canceled, she was disappointed.
“I was more than disappointed,” said Franks, a veteran Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer. “You think you’re doing everything right and have the rug pulled out from under you. You’re always disappointed at first … until you remember Who’s in charge.”
Pleasant Green steps in
But despite the schedule change, members of Pleasant Green Baptist Church in Cynthiana, Kentucky, huddled together and came up with a replacement plan. The youth group would do the same kind of work for their own church members and community.
“Sandy called me the moment she got word they were canceled,” Pastor Rob Stanley said. “She had done a lot of prep work along with four other adults. She was devastated. We talked for a few minutes and came up with the new plan. There was nothing wrong with the kids doing work for our church members or people in the community.”
Thus, Pleasant Changers was born.
Franks said the experience has been a beautiful one for the youth to meet and assist the senior adults, who willingly gave them some jobs that maybe they could have done themselves. But the opportunities they provided turned into a lot more than a job getting done.
‘Such a rewarding experience’
“These aren’t strangers in a way, and in another way, they are,” Franks said. “How many kids don’t know the [senior adults] in the church? They know where they sit and when they’re sick, but that’s about it. Now they know them personally. It has been such a rewarding experience.”
Both Franks and Stanley spoke of an older man who lives near the church who once attended regularly. He enjoyed watching work being done on his house, including power-washing and staining his deck. He talked about how much he enjoyed the humor and energy the kids offered, along with the work. The man bought the $40 can of stain himself, Franks said.
He fixes up antique cars and took some of the youth down to fire up one of the old vehicles as the relationship continued to grow.
“You know, next Sunday, when these kids go into church, they’re going to see these people as totally different people,” Franks said.
Stanley is equally proud of the 10 youth who are coming out early for a 7 a.m. breakfast and devotion and then taking on varying assignments for the rest of the day.
“We’re doing Kentucky Changers in Cynthiana,” the pastor said.
They have tried to schedule around the heat as much as possible and that meant an early morning breakfast before work. Nobody complained, Franks said.
“We’re doing our best to avoid the heat,” she said. “We’ll work in the morning and then try to find some shade in the afternoon. Today we went to Dairy Queen.”
That came compliments of a church member who appreciated the work the youth were doing.
Keeping the work going
Many of the youth will be able to participate in another Kentucky Changers event scheduled for Shelbyville next month, Stanley said.
“We’re not giving up the Kentucky Baptist ministry but creating a new ministry,” the pastor said. “It’s giving them a taste of being a servant.”
Franks said she’s glad they will experience Kentucky Changers, which she said was one of the best secrets among Kentucky Baptists.
“It’s such a wonderful ministry,” she said.
That’s why when the event in Somerset was canceled for a lack of workers, she was disappointed.
But as so often happens, God turned that disappointment into delight.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally written by Mark Maynard and published by KentuckyToday.