Farewell From Kathy Henson

Looking back to six years ago, when I came to GAP I didn’t know what I would be doing and felt inadequate, but I knew that God had a purpose and a plan. The relationships that I have with the people in this community are more than just friends, they are family. I can’t explain the love that I have for them. For a long time, I struggled with loving others and being loved. However, God took this fear and turned it into one of my strengths that allowed me to make some remarkable relationships I will cherish forever.

With a heavy heart, I do believe that God has closed this chapter of my story and is preparing me for the next one. I’m not exactly sure of what that is yet but I do know that God is faithful and His plans are best. Just as I stepped out on faith to come to GAP six years ago, I find myself once again stepping out on faith knowing that my God is faithful!

Good-byes are never easy and though my heart is hurting too, I will ever be grateful for GAP, McDowell First Baptist Church, the many mission teams I have served alongside, and the individuals who have invested into me both spiritually and financially. I am ever grateful for my home/sending church of Freedom Baptist who 21 years ago started discipling me, loving me unconditionally, and instilled within me a passion for evangelism.

Even though I am leaving, I am excited about the Lord’s ministry that will be continuing at GAP and about what He will be doing in the future right here!

GAP will be hosting a celebration in honor of Kathy’s faithful years of ministry in the area on September 29, 2018 at 7:00 pm. The event will be held at the Family Life Center of McDowell First Baptist Church. You are invited! If you are unable to attend and would like to send a card of encouragement please send to:  GAP C/O Kathy Henson Celebration, P.O. Box 704, McDowell, KY 41647. If you have questions about the celebration and how you could be a part of the event please contact John Morris at 606-791-0900.

The Blessings of Fresh Vegetables

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.)

KidStock 2018

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.)

Barlow First Baptist Church 2018

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.)

South Orlando Baptist Church 2018

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.)

Second Baptist Church of Marion 2018

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 2018

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.)

Smoke Rise Baptist Church Men’s Mission Trip May 2018

(Click 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/

Have You Ever Considered the Ant?

(Please click on above image to view more pictures.)

As I sat outside one day, I marveled at one of God’s creatures, the ant. The ants were so well organized and disciplined in their lines as they sought out to accomplish their goal. They displayed such strength and work ethic as they worked together. The ants tirelessly stayed busy all day with such persistence because they understood one thing: winter is coming. They plan for winter, when food is scarce, by stock piling during all the other seasons. As I was fascinated over these small wonders, I was reminded that, in Scripture, God calls us to consider the ant. Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers it food at harvest.”

There is a sweet family that GAP has had the pleasure of serving that I would like to introduce you to. They have considered the ways of the ant and in turn have become wise. Victoria and Thomas is a young couple in their early 20’s who have three small, precious children. Thomas works at the local Lowes Home Improvement Store which is about 45 minutes away and Victoria is a stay-at-home mom. The couple was paying rent on an apartment until they decided to act upon their dream of owning their own home. They decided to make sacrifices and move in with Thomas’ parents in order to save money and purchase property near where Thomas grew up.

Within months of saving and making difficult sacrifices, they were able to purchase the land and prepare for building. As they continued to save money, they sought out and were able to buy materials as they came on sale or became discounted. Although Thomas puts in long hours working at Lowes, he and Victoria have persevered and work hard laboring on their house. Thomas’ parents have joined in and have physically helped, but it is the determination and devotion of this couple that is making their dream a reality for their entire family!

Not only is Victoria a stay-at-home mom with a 4-year old, 3-year old, and 1-year old, but in May she graduated with her associate degree in Early Childhood Development. How she found time for taking care of the kids, her home, homework, and building a house is beyond me. I was talking with Thomas about how much I hate finishing drywall and he said he had done very little of it because he could not do it to suit Victoria. She had done all the mudding and finishing herself, and it looks wonderful! Victoria plans to go back to college in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

At the end of May, a group of men from Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, GA arrived and served alongside us, helping this young family with their home. The team installed three interior doors, five windows, one exterior door, siding on the entire house and built a small back porch. The team also left resources for them to build a big front porch, which they have almost completed. Victoria and Thomas expressed how overwhelmed and grateful they are for all the team accomplished and how humbled they were by the team’s love and generosity. Thank you Smoke Rise Baptist Church for being the hands and feet of Jesus and loving this family!

Although the home is not complete yet, the family is thrilled with the progress. Victoria said, “It would have taken us months to save and do what this team did in just a few days. We are so grateful!” As for now, Thomas is building his own kitchen cabinets as he finishes the porch and prepares for the next big job of laying carpet/flooring down in the house.

Families are Grateful & Thankful for the Thrift Store

This past March we opened our first ever Thrift Store just for GAP families. Families who have visited the store have been incredibly grateful. “It is so hard finding clothes I can afford for these kids. They grow too fast. This store has helped me so much. I can even buy some brand new clothes here. Last month, I even started school clothes shopping for next year. I have never been able to afford that before. I am so thankful you opened this store. There is even stuff for me too!” laughed one of the ladies we are honored to serve.

The store is only opened the first Monday and Tuesday of each month from 10:00 – 2:00 pm. Although we mostly have clothing, we do have some furniture and household items. The purpose of the Thrift Store is to meet this need in our community and give us an opportunity to share with them about their greatest need, which is Jesus Christ! The store has allowed us to show God’s love, strengthen relationships with our families, and given us more opportunities to share. Please continue to pray for this new ministry!