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Kentucky Changers 'have an agenda'


RUSSELLVILLE—Cody Lockhart started coming to Kentucky Changers 12 years ago as a teenager. He now returns each year as a crew leader. This year, his Russellville roofing projects concludes his 30th Kentucky Changers project. He "fell in love" with the work and worship surrounding Changers, he shared.

"When I first started out, I didn't really want to be here if I'm being completely honest," Lockhart, a member of Clear Fork Baptist Church in Rockport, said. "A weeks' worth of hard manual labor did not sound like a great way to spend my summer." Still, at the request of a good friend, he decided to give it a try.

Kentucky Changers work on repairing siding on a homeless shelter in Russellville.

"You know, the work is great. But the worship around the program is what keeps me coming back. The fact that you have an entire week that's based around worship of God, it's unbelievable," he added.

Lockhart was one of around 750 students, chaperones and volunteers to work on projects in Maysville, Northern Kentucky, Russellville, and Tates Creek in June and July.

Each day, the students and crew leaders work on construction projects, roofing, porch building, and other various areas of need from early in the morning until late afternoon. After a short period of rest time, shower time, and dinner time, they all meet together for a time of worship. The last night, homeowners are invited for a homeowner celebration.

"They have just amazed me from the first minute. It gives me hope. They've got a message. They've all got an agenda, and it's not for themselves. It's to serve the Lord, and it's just awesome," homeowner Mary Mills of Russellville said.

Gene Mills, Logan-Trimble Baptist Association's retired director of missions helped with Changers and other service projects for decades. This year, a group of Changers in Russellville worked on his home.

"This is the first time I've been on this side of the work," he shared. "I like the other side much better. But these people have done such a wonderful job, coming together, working as a unit, and serving the Lord."

Mills added, "Kentucky Changers is a tremendous ministry. It's a blessing to the homeowner, but it's a blessing to them as they give of themselves."

Kentucky Changers paint siding on a house in Russellville.

And student Cassie Rodgers, a member of Liberty Baptist Church in Madisonville, agrees with Mills.

"It's just a great experience as a whole. The worship experiences are awesome. But honestly, I feel like I get the better end of the deal," Rodgers said. "They get their porch painted or they get a new deck or something, and they really need it, but I guess you really don't understand until you go."

She added, "You don't really understand the feeling until you get here, but despite the fact that you're only working with these people and these homeowners for four days, you get to feel like family. It's just all around great despite the fact that you're sleeping on an air mattress in an English classroom."

For more information on Kentucky Changers, www.kywmu.org/changers. (WR)

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