The 2016 Kentucky Baptist Convention annual meeting was a tremendous time of celebration as messengers had opportunity to hear updates on the work of the Mission Board and its entities. I sensed a wonderful spirit of thanksgiving and unity unlike any I’ve experienced in the past. My appreciation goes to the host church, Florence Baptist, and to all of the KBC officers, staff members, volunteers, and messengers who made the annual meeting and Pastors’ Conference a blessing for all who were in attendance.
During the holiday season of giving thanks and celebrating God’s gift of our Savior, I want to make you aware of some of the practical ways Kentucky Baptists are touching lives, healing hurts, and sharing the gospel through Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief. As I do so, I want to thank every person who gives their tithes and offerings in a church that participates in cooperative missions through the Cooperative Program. Your gifts fund KBDR. Thank you for this eternity-changing ministry!
First, I’m pleased to share with you that more than 800 hospice care buckets to help families comfort those with HIV/AIDS were collected during the KBC annual meeting in Florence. Churches also made monetary donations of thousands of dollars to help support this project undertaken in partnership with Baptist Global Response.
In addition, over the past year, KBDR trained 802 volunteers to participate in relief work. In a special initiative, some of our disaster relief teams have begun working with Baptist churches in sub-Saharan Africa where they trained 75 volunteers in South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia.
New and seasoned volunteers have responded to needs created by floods in South Carolina, Missouri, Louisiana, Michigan, eastern Kentucky, and West Virginia. They responded to needs in Kentucky created by tornadoes in Mayfield and Ohio County and Hurricane Matthew as it impacted people and property in Florida and North Carolina. Our volunteers helped ensure clean water for people in Flint, Michigan, by installing water filtration systems in 275 homes. They also helped provide clean water overseas by assisting with wells and filters in Zambia and South Africa. Disaster relief workers fed 3,500 hundred hungry families in the African countries of Lesotho and Madagascar and did medical and trauma care in Iraq. Here in the U.S., KBDR workers prepared 52,938 meals, distributed 89,736 cases of bottled water, and did cleaned up 381 flooded homes.
These combined projects and relief work created significant ministry opportunities. Our workers and chaplains made 7,474 ministry contacts, distributed 767 Bibles, and saw 57 decisions for Christ. Every church that gives through the Cooperative Program can celebrate this ministry as their own.
KBC staff member, Coy Webb, coordinates our DR work and would be pleased to share with you and/or your church about upcoming training opportunities and ways to get more involved with KBDR. Coy can be contacted by phone (502-489-3527) or email ([email protected]). Information is also available on the KBC website at www.kybaptist.org/dr.