I preach for the Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield, Kentucky. Kentucky has several counties that have only one church of Christ. Now that my kids are getting older, I wanted to lead a group, with the help of my wife, to one of these congregations this year to preach a meeting and hold a VBS. I was late in the planning of the trip, but it came together for us to work with the Menifee County Church of Christ in Frenchburg, Kentucky. The Menifee County church is a small struggling church of less than 20. The work has been going on for around 20 years. The county is small with a total population of just over 6000.
We had a group of 21 from 7 Oaks go. Our summer youth intern went with several of our teen group. We had three families go and take their small children as well. Plus, we had some single adults. All in total, we had a great group of hard working Christians.
We left on Wednesday and returned on Sunday afternoon. We were blessed to stay at a youth camp operated by the Rolling Hills Church of Christ in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. The camp worked as a great home base for eating and lodging needs. We worked with Randy and Cathy Imel who have served the church there almost 17 years. Randy and Cathy are a wonderful family who faithfully serve the Lord despite the difficult work of growing the church in this area. They were so kind, loving, and hospitable to us. We all were encouraged by their love and loyalty to the Lord.
We spent Thursday and Friday door-knocking the town and county. We were able to easily do the populated areas and much of the rural neighborhoods. The ladies prepared for VBS while the teens and kids practiced their VBS skits. One of our men, who is an electrician by trade, repaired the lights for the church. I preached the gospel on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The VBS went from 10 to 2 on Saturday. We had three skits, crafts, lunch, and games.
The Benefits of an In-State Mission Trip
- It allows for folks that may not want to fly or have the time for a longer trip to go on a mission effort.
- The cost is substantially less because of travel distance and time away from home.
- It helps practice evangelism in a similar context as back home, which will hopefully help evangelism be easier back home.
- It helps open our eyes to the world we live in close to our home. We were able to experience poverty and a surprising different culture here in our own state. We came back more appreciative of our area and grateful for the strength of the church in our community.
- It allows for a wider range of people to go on the trip. We had from 4 year olds up on our trip. We had whole families and we had a group of teens. It really was not possible to take a group with the dynamics of ours on a long trip.
- It encourages a struggling church. We were able to provide a free VBS and gospel meeting for this very small church. It helped expose our group to a mission church and to experience its challenges first hand.
We were very blessed by this trip. We are grateful for the Menifee County Church of Christ hosting us and appreciating our efforts. We pray the trip will continue to produce glory to God.