GAP is overjoyed to announce the launch of four new ministries in 2018! In March we will be opening a thrift store for GAP families. God laid this ministry on our director’s heart over a year ago, and the vision was to build a home for this ministry on Elk Ridge in the second building phase. However, over the last couple of months, God has been clearly saying that the time for this ministry is now. We are in the process of converting the warehouse used for the Christmas Store into a thrift store that will be opened the first week of each month, February through October. It has been challenging working out the logistics with the constraints of our space, but through some creativity we are making it work. This will not only meet a great need in the lives of our families by providing clothing, household goods, and some furniture, but it will also allow us more opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus with those in our area. We have estimated that it will cost nearly $650 to purchase the supplies and equipment needed to do this, but we know that God will provide for that which He has called us to do. We are also concerned about the limited parking space that is available at the warehouse. For those of you who have helped during the Christmas Store, you know just how limited we are and how difficult it can be. Please pray for provision, but also safety for those who come, and for wisdom for those developing solutions.
In April, we will begin a 4-week series of Bible study classes each Thursday at the distribution building. We have chosen to host because we have seen that God has allowed us to create an atmosphere where our families feel safe and at ease. Our desire is that through these classes, people would feel comfortable enough to ask questions about the Bible thus providing them with a time of discipleship and spiritual growth. We want to encourage them in their Christian walk and to connect them with one of our local churches. Many of you know the challenges we will face in this area. Please pray that God’s truth will be revealed to those who do not fully understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We desperately ask that you mark these days on your calendar to pray for those God will send and for those He has called to teach.
Throughout late Spring and early Summer, we will begin a ministry called Supper @ GAP. Several times a month, we will invite our families back to GAP to have a family picnic outside with food, games, and music. We were able to do a few of these ministry events last year and our families absolutely loved them. But more importantly, we as a staff see these events as an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with our families and to share the Gospel. During distribution and other ministry events, we (staff) are so busy working, that we are unable to solely focus on the one-on-one ministry. We are designing this ministry event in a way that would allow GAP staff to have no other responsibilities but to fellowship and share with our families. We want to provide a time where we are able to listen to our families and see how God is at work. We know that developing strong relationships and building trust is vital to any ministry here in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.
The last new ministry we have developed has been in the works for several years. We are excited to finally be able to transform the way we do VBS and Backyard Bible Clubs during the summer. Mission Teams will now assist us in offering a three-week, three days each week, Day Camp. We will be hosting three of these Day Camps over the course of the summer. Each camp will be strategically held in a different location over the course of the 9-week summer. We have chosen the Bible study materials for the Day Camps so that each week builds upon the next and provides continuity. Each week will also have a special focus allowing the team to utilize their gifts and talents to engage the children in activities that they may not normally have the opportunity to enjoy. It is our desire to be more intentional with how VBS is done so that each child will be able to grow in their knowledge and relationship of who God is and what He has done.
We are excited about the new ministries of 2018 and the direction God is leading us in. We are thrilled at the prospect of being able to engage more people in our communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! God is mightily at work, opening new doors for us to serve here in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky. We invite you to join with us in praying for these new ministries. Your partnership is vital to this ministry. We are grateful and praise God for each of you!