was the second year that God’s Appalachian Partnership held Day Camps during
the summer at three different locations. It was the greatest year yet for our
summer children’s program at GAP. This year we focused again in three different
areas, holding three week long activities at each location: Left Beaver
Townhouses, Weeksbury Community, and Ivy Creek Townhouses. Our biblical theme came
from 1 and 2 Samuel entitled “A Kingdom Created”. Children learned that God was
the nation of Israel’s first king but that the people wanted a human king to
follow. Then they learn about Saul, Israel’s first human king. Finally, several
days was spent looking at the life of David and how God used him. Throughout
the study, the Gospel was clearly shared each week with the children. 6
children & youth accepted Jesus Christ!
summer started off with a bang with three wonderful teams leading at Day Camp
at Left Beaver Townhouses: Dallasburg Baptist Church, Wayne Association of
Baptist, and South Orlando Baptist Church. We averaged 14 children each day and
was able to build some wonderful relationships with the families there in the
complex. Two weeks during camp, the kids were taught about puppets and on the
last night of the three weeks they performed a puppet skit for their parents
and community at a community cook-out! On the second week of the camp the team
held a digital camera class for the kids where they learned how to take photos
using a camera. They even played a scavenger hunt game with the cameras that
the kids absolutely loved and are still talking about. Most of all, these
children experienced the love of God first hand while they heard the Gospel
message. Several children wanted to talk more about salvation and 4 accepted
24th through July 12th we had an amazing time in the
Weeksbury Community. Barlow First Baptist Church, Heartland Church, and
Blackrock Baptist Church loved on the children and shared the Good News of Jesus
Christ! The first week of Day Camp began with an Olympic Games theme were the
children were encouraged to run the race with perseverance. Heartland Church
brought the stories of David to life through drama that kept our children
wanting to know what would happen next. They also taught the kids some awesome
truths through archery. Blackrock Baptist finished our time at Weeksbury
sharing the Gospel and ended the week with a family cook-out event. The
children had learned a few interpretive movements to songs which they shared
with their families during the cookout. We averaged 13 children during the
course of the three weeks at Weeksbury.
summer ended with Paducah First Baptist Church, Lawndale Baptist Church, and
New Hope Baptist Church ministering to the children and families at Ivy Creek
Apartments. The awesome aspect about this ministry site was that it consisted
largely of youth instead of children. We averaged 17 youth at Ivy and they
connected immediately with each team, forming bonds that allowed for the Gospel
to be shared easily. Several Gospel conversations were had throughout our time
at Ivy and 2 youth accepted Christ! Both of them have been baptized and them
and their families are regularly attending church. Praise be to God!
October 9, 2019, was the last day that God’s Appalachian Partnership’s Thrift
Store was open this year. Last year, we decided to open a Thrift Store just a
couple days a month for only our families. 2019 was the second year of this
ministry and today in preparation for closing for the season we held our annual
$5 fill a bag. That bag is a 13-gallon garbage bag filled till it can’t close.
Today was the busiest ever with 17 people waiting at least 30 minutes till we
we heard over and over again from our families was how much they appreciated
the Thrift Store and how much they were going to miss it over the next few
months while it will be closed. One pointed out that everything she was wearing
she had gotten at the store some time before this year. So much appreciation
and excitement for the great things the Lord had provided.
they would say thank you we just reminded them to thank the Lord for it was He
who provided all these wonderful things because He loves each of them so much!
and I would like to say thank you to all the volunteers that have worked so
hard this year keeping the Thrift Store looking so neat and organized. We
appreciate you more than we could ever express.
We would like to also thank everyone who has given supplies to the
Thrift Store. Thank you for giving good, useable things. We appreciate your generosity
and know that the Lord has used it.
love God’s Appalachian Partnership.
Every time I hear the scripture “For I was hungry and you gave me
something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a
stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me…” (Mt.
25:35-36a) I think about GAP. They
helped me and my family 14 years ago with food, clothing and encouragement in
the name of Christ. I have volunteered
every chance I could over the last 10 years.
I have prayed for God to guide the ministry and bless it so they can
continue sharing Christ and meeting needs.
a year ago I began praying for God to send missionaries to help John and
Shaughanessy carry out all that God had planned for GAP. In March of 2019 I volunteered at the annual
Easter Egg Hunt. I remember exactly
where I was standing that I felt the Lord tell me, “this is it. This is where I want you.” I didn’t
immediately obey. I started second
guessing myself and I was becoming miserable.
I finally gave in and called John at GAP and asked him questions about
the “missionary life”. After a
time of fasting and prayer I confirmed that God truly was calling me to serve
For over two years
Shaughanessy and I have been praying that the Lord would “send someone like
Tanya Parker to GAP”. Who knew that He would send the one and only Tanya
Parker! Praise be to God! We are so excited to welcome her to the Lord’s team
here at GAP. She brings a wealth of gifts, talents, and experience to the
staff. She was raised here in the McDowell area so many already know her and/or
her family which makes building relationships for Christ easier.
Tanya has been married to
Joseph (Joe) Parker for 21 years. They have three wonderful daughters, Makayla
(20), Grace (18), and Allison (16). Joe is a deacon and Sunday School teacher
at their church and the Lord has blessed him with a full time job at
Prestonsburg City Utilities. Makayla is currently pursuing a nursing degree.
Grace is in cosmetology school expecting to graduate this summer. Allison is a
sophomore in high school and is currently being home schooled.
Do you remember the days of tilling the garden, planting rows of produce, hoeing and weeding, watering, and patiently waiting for God’s blessings of harvest? There is just something amazing about eating food that one has grown and cultivated. There is no better food than fresh vegetables from the garden. However, we live in a world were unfortunately the art of gardening has almost been lost. The youth of McDowell First Baptist Church for the last three years are being taught about gardening and GAP and our families are being blessed with the “fruits” of their labor.
Inspired from the Biblical account of Ruth and the concept of gleaning, McDowell’s youth group has raised a garden for the last three years and given the produce to us to distribute to our families. This year around Memorial Day weekend, deacons in the church plowed the garden and prepared it for planting. The youth planted green beans, corn, onion, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Based upon a weekly work schedule, youth was given tasks to accomplish each week in the garden. As the produce became ready they delivered it to GAP for us to use on Distribution days.
Our families have been thrilled with the fresh produce. A couple of weeks ago, the youth delivered green beans. We divided them up into bags and put them on the shelves for our families that morning for distribution. One lady shared with me that she was so excited for the green beans because this was the first ones she had since last year when we had them on our shelves. I reminded her that God provided them for her and her family and as she eats them just remember how much He loves them all!
Thank you McDowell First Baptist Church for not only teaching our youth the valuable skill of gardening but also compassion, love, caring for others, and for blessings our families with the abundance of God’s harvest! (Click on the image above to view more pictures.)
At the end of summer when it is time for children to go back to school there is always a flood of emotions for both parents and children. The one thing that usually brings smiles to faces is the newness that comes with this time of year. Whether it is a new outfit, a new pair of shoes, or new school supplies, we all enjoy receiving something new in preparation for a new school year.
For many families in our area, KidStock is the means that God uses to provide some of these new items. KidStock is GAP’s annual back-to-school ministry event and it was held July 28th, 2018. 223 children and their families attended this fun-filled day. Families arrived by appointment and each student was given a nametag and new backpack or new pull string bag, depending on their age. Then the fun began! Families walked around playing carnival type games filling their backpacks with much needed school supplies. The day will filled with delicious treats such as cotton candy, snow cones, hot dogs, and lots of candy. Throughout the day each family rotated into the building where they were presented a skit of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Then, in the solemn quietness of the moment, individual volunteers humbly knelt before each child, washed their feet, and placed a new pair of socks and tennis shoes on them while sharing the world’s most powerful message – the Gospel!
Families not only received new supplies for school and new shoes but they heard how they could have a new life in Christ Jesus. This year we had a station for the elementary children where they could color their own Bible bookmark. Volunteers helped them find the scripture on their bookmark in their new Bible while others talked with parents sharing with them how to have newness of life in Christ. It was a blessing to see all the smiles on children’s and parents’ faces alike but nothing compared to the fact of knowing that seven people accepted Christ at KidStock 2018!
Praise God for all our generous donors and partners who made this ministry event a great success! Thank you for your prayers and for the many volunteers who came with hearts dedicated to Jesus and sharing His love! Special thank you to Left Beaver Volunteer Fire Department for providing cotton candy for all to enjoy. Thanks to all who stood in the GAP at KidStock 2018! (Click on the image above to view more pictures.)
June 24th – 29th, 2018 Barlow First Baptist Church partnered with us in ministry. The team was busy holding Day Camps at Weeksbury Community Park, serving at Distribution/BeansTalk, ministering at the Group Home with supper, serving at Senior Citizens’ Center, and squeezing in some home visits. The team also had a group of skilled carpenters that labored to build a ramp enabling an elderly lady to return to her home. Thank you Barlow First Baptist Church for showing the love of Christ in word and deed! (Please click on the photo above to view more pictures.)
June 9th – 15th, 2018 a group from South Orlando Baptist Church arrived eager to serve our community. The team held the summer’s first Day Camp at Left Beaver Townhouses. They did a wonderful job and the children really enjoyed their time. It was awesome to see the kids develop friendships with team members and how those friendships allowed the kids to open up and share! On Tuesday, South Orlando ministered at Distribution/BeansTalk and shared God’s love with all who entered. Also during the week, half the team served at a ministry construction project at Elk Ridge. They accomplished so much and even power washed the maintenance building, which was in desperate need. Thank you South Orlando Baptist Church for serving alongside of us! (Please click on the photo above to view more pictures.)
June 3rd – 8th, 2018 a team from Second Baptist Church of Marion, IL partnered with GAP for their first time and we were blessed with an amazing week of ministry! A group of men worked on a family’s home that needed a door replaced and their bathroom remodeled. Ginger, the home’s owner, was excited about the finished product but more blessed with the new friends she had made. A group of ladies traveled one day to two different apartment complexes to minister to women by offering a ladies’ day out centered around the story of Esther. The ladies who attended learned about Esther, had their haircut, nails painted, hand messages, made a craft, and had a snack! The team also ministered two days at the Thrift Store, Senior Citizens, Group Home, distribution/BeansTalk, home visits, and at Hope Homes! It was a FULL week of wonderful ministry! Thank you Second Baptist Church. (Please click on the photo above to view more pictures.)
Blackrock Baptist Church, near Jacksonville, FL, served alongside us for their first time May 28th – June 1st, 2018. The team consisted mostly of youth and had a full week serving two days of distribution and BeansTalk. They had many wonderful conversations with our families, especially, since one of the team members was originally from eastern KY. The team visited and ministered at the Group Home and helped around the ministry center by shopping and preparing for distribution. Thank you Blackrock Baptist Church for your partnership in ministry! (Click the above image to view more pictures.)
Flexibility is a word we often use in missions and the team from Stone Mountain, GA truly exemplified it as they served at GAP during the week of May 20th – 25th, 2018. These men traveled to eastern KY with hammers in hand, eager to participate in a construction ministry project. Unfortunately the project that had been planned for them had to be canceled. This team has been faithfully coming to GAP for several years, but this may have been the first time they arrived not really knowing what they were getting themselves into. However, because of their unfailing willingness to serve under any circumstance, God had the perfect family in place for this team to minister to. During their week, Smoke Rise blessed a young, working family with new windows, interior doors, an exterior door, siding on their home, and the supplies to build a big front porch. The family was overwhelmed and blessed by these men and their hearts for the Lord! To read more about the family this team served, please click the following link http://www.gapky.org/2018/06/have-you-ever-considered-the-ant/