Something very special happened last fall as Kentucky Baptists were preparing for the Christmas backpacks initiative in central Kentucky.
A woman named Kathleen, who had a court order to fulfill community service hours, showed up at the church to help unload back-packs that were going to be distributed locally. She was inquisitive about the backpacks and where they were going.
After hearing how Kentucky Baptist churches filled the back-packs for needy children, she was moved with emotion. Kathleen was overwhelmed with the generosity and love from so many people who filled and donated the backpacks. After hearing a presentation of the gospel, Kathleen made the decision to follow Christ. A Kentucky Baptist church continues to follow up with her and is seeking to disciple Kathleen in her new faith.
Matthew 9:36 challenges us to com-passionately reach the harassed and helpless. No demographic is more helpless than children. In Kentucky, 26 percent of our children live in poverty—that's one out of every four children.
For the almost 1 million children in the state who live in poverty, Christmas doesn't always come with the promise of gifts or even a Christmas meal. Every day is more about survival than celebration. Kentucky Baptist churches have come together to address the need through a very practical initiative knowing we are always better together. For a second year, church-es have compassionately reached the needy children in our state by participating in the Christmas backpacks project.
"We are definitely better together."
Last year, almost 8,000 Christmas backpacks were collected in Kentucky for distribution by missionaries and church planters. Each backpack is a tangible expression of God's love as it is filled with gifts of new clothing, toys, food items and a copy of the biblical Christmas story.
Hundreds of decisions for Christ resulted from the gospel message included with each backpack. An exciting thing about the decisions is that many were made by parents and grandparents of the children who received the backpacks. Christmas backpacks don't only provide hope to a needy child, they can impact the whole family.
Kathleen came to the church because she was ordered by the courts to do so, but she willingly chose to come to Christ. Isn't
it exciting to realize that what started with a church somewhere in Kentucky filling a backpack for children ended in an adult coming to know Jesus Christ? We are definitely better together.