This is my 20th year to champion the Kentucky Season of Prayer for State Missions and Eliza Broadus Offering. As I reflect on 20 years of themes and stories, this year's theme, Testify, is a favorite.
Each year our materials tell just a small part of the state missions story. There is too much going on to tell it all, so we choose representative ministries to feature each year. One church leader told me how much she enjoyed learning about state missions and said, "If you watch the videos and read the materials every year, after awhile you really learn a lot about state missions." I was so pleased to hear this comment, for that is exactly why we tell different stories yearly in print and through videos.
I will be retiring at the end of October and handing off responsibility for state missions promotion to our new leader, Liz Encinia. She is a dynamic young woman who will bring a fresh perspective to the resources we prepare each year. She will be ably assisted by Larry Brannin, KBC Media Services director, who has helped Kentucky WMU prepare videos for the past 19 years. I am grateful for our partnership with the Kentucky Baptist Convention as we tell the story of missions in Kentucky.
My missions experiences this summer included three weeks with Kentucky Changers. In Northern Kentucky, after initially being upset with me for parking in her spot, a simple act of kindness changed the dynamics with a neighbor to a homeowner we were assisting. She later asked a local pastor to make sure I had her phone number. I called and was able to pray with her over the phone for her sister who was in the hospital.
In Russellville, I stopped by McDonald's where a bearded man started talking with me, asking why I was in town. After telling him about Kentucky Changers, I eventually was able to share the plan of salvation with him, and he promised to visit Post Oak Baptist Church. When Nick Stamps called me to say that the gentleman had, indeed, come to his church, I was thrilled. Your gifts to state missions helped me and Kentucky Changers witness to homeowners and people the communities where we served.
I urge you to download the "Lostness in Kentucky" PowerPoint file from our state missions page (kywmu.org/ebo) and see the numbers that reveal the level of lostness in our state. In Eastern Kentucky, only 10 percent of the population attend any evangelical church. While the number is a little higher in other parts of the state, the statewide average is only 13 percent. We must Testify!