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/
(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.
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!
Over the past several weeks, GAP has been blessed to receive food from a large food drive undertaken by the South District Association of Baptist in central Kentucky. First Baptist Church of Danville, Parksville Baptist Church, and New Journey Baptist Church have transported thousands of items to our center. We are so grateful for not only these churches but for all the churches in the association who participated in this wonderful event. These items are much more than just cans of food, for they are tools that will not only fill empty bellies but will be used to share the love of Jesus Christ with our people! Please join us in praising God for His provision through His people!
Heartland Church from Paducah, KY sent their second team of the year April 2nd through Aril 6th, 2018. The team was led by their youth department with a total of 12 excited servants for Christ. They grilled hamburgers for BeansTalk, served at the Thrift Store, and ministered at the Group Home and Senior Citizens’ Center. They also showed the love of Christ at a home construction ministry site where they put down new flooring in a room. The home owner was thrilled and forever changed by their Christ-likeness. The team also hosted our first Supper @ GAP. Temperatures were cold and quite windy that evening but we still had a great time connecting to our families that braved the weather. Thank you Heartland. We look forward to seeing three more teams from your church this year! (Please click on the photo below to view more pictures.)
GAP hosted our first mission team of 2018 in March! It was such a joy to have the First Baptist Church of Winter Garden, Florida serve alongside us. The team of eight served supper at Golden Years, ministered to our families at BeansTalk during distribution, ministered to families during serval home visits, sorted clothing at our new Thrift Store, prepared materials for our Easter ministry event, and gave the outside of the lodge a good spring cleaning. It was a busy, fun-filled week with ministry and sharing the love of Jesus. During distribution we were privileged to have our first salvation of the year as we witnessed one gentleman come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior! This year makes 10 years of partnership with FBC of Winter Garden. Three of the teammates on this trip have been to GAP every one of those years. We are so excited that this year will be the first that Winter Garden will be sending two teams. The second team will arrive July 29th. Thank you Winter Garden for your faithful partnership and ministry! (Please click on the photo below to view more pictures.)