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First Baptist LJ youth part of homeland outreach

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By Heather Hensley

 CAMPBELLSVILLE - About 270 teenagers and adult leaders brought new roofs and decks to homeowners in need through a partnership with Kentucky Heartland Outreach (KHO) recently. 

At least five salvations and countless lives were changed, according to Todd Parish, executive director for KHO.

Sixteen families received a total of 11 roofs, 11 decks and four wheelchair ramps through KHO’s summer repair program in Taylor and Green counties. Thirteen churches were represented from Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio.

Campbellsville University hosted the volunteers by providing lodging and several vans to help transport crews to their site each day. KHO was founded and launched in 2000 as a ministry of CU.

Lowell Avenue Baptist Church and South Campbellsville Baptist Church, both located in Campbellsville, also helped the KHO crew.

“We have a great partnership with CU,” Parish said. “In addition to the year-round support they provide, they also allow our campers to stay on campus while we are working in the surrounding communities and give us the ability to host large groups, such as the most recent one.”

KHO typically hosts several weeks of camp, but due to funding limitations, they made some different decisions this year.

“It’s always hard to change what we’ve always done,” Parish said. “But we went into this year knowing that we had to do what was best for KHO and the local homeowners.”

He said he hopes this decision will allow them to be able to help more families and host more volunteers in the future.

In addition to CU housing the students, Lowell Avenue Baptist Church allowed the use of their facilities to host the 270 plus group for meals each day, while South Campbellsville Baptist Church allowed them to use their sanctuary for worship services.

“We’re so thankful for the help of these churches,” Parish said. “When you host that many campers at one time, there just aren’t a lot of places that can hold groups that large, but we really appreciate the sacrifices that each of the churches made with their buildings in order to make our camp week run smoothly.”

Overall, 13 churches from five states were represented, bringing their youth groups to complete the repairs for the homeowners free of cost. Several of the youth ministers, crew chiefs and adult leaders were CU alumni.

“Fearless Faith” was the theme of the week, focusing on how God can transform our fears, and turn them into acts of faith to serve Him in a powerful way. Kristina Critcher, CU alumna, led the praise team, along with several other CU alumni including Charity Powell and Josh and Heather Hensley. Trent Creason, also a CU alumnus, was camp pastor for the week.

Churches represented were: Eubank Baptist Church of Eubank, Ky.; Glendale Christian Church of Glendale, Ky.; Ridgeview Baptist Church of Church Hill, Tenn.; Alton Baptist Church of Lawrenceburg, Ky.; Main Street Baptist Church of Alexandria, Ky.; Pleasant View Baptist Church of Waynesburg, Ky.; First Baptist Church of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; Hillside United Methodist Church of Woodstock, Ga.; East Newnan Baptist Church of Newnan, Ga.; Greenwood Baptist Church of Bowling Green, Ky.; Wellspring Community Church of Liberty Township, Ohio; Scottsville Baptist Church of Scottsville, Ky.; and Orange United Methodist Church of Chapel Hill, N.C.

According to KHO, several decisions were made to follow God’s calling on the student’s lives in ministry as well as decisions made to follow Christ for the first time.

Whitney Tingle, youth minister at First Baptist Church of Lebanon Junction, Ky., and CU alumna, said that though her group didn’t have any first time decisions made, the overall camp had a huge impact on what her youth felt God calling them to do, even after they got home.

“A few said they felt led to help more in their community and a few also felt led to share their faith more,” she said. “And they realize now that they need to know their faith well in order to share it, so in turn, they feel more motivated to be in the Word of God.”

KHO is a non-profit group that seeks to provide roofs, decks and wheelchair ramps to homeowners who are unable to do so on their own. 

They are funded in part by Kentucky Housing Corporation, as well as Campbellsville University and various other donors.

KHO officials also said the camp week wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the local churches.

“We had so many local churches step up and help feed our crews for lunch,” said Melissa Green, case manager. “Churches sponsored crews throughout the week and brought lunches to them and the homeowners on site. It was a really great way for the entire community to work together on these projects.”

Though KHO said its repairs for this year are mostly completed, they are already gearing up for next year’s camp to be held in the Bowling Green area. 

They are accepting applications for roofs, decks and wheelchair ramps for Allen, Barren and Warren counties.

KHO accepts applications year round for the 13 counties it serves but may not always be able to work in each county every year.

“We rotate our funding between the counties every year,” Green said. “However, we always encourage people to get their applications in so they can be on our waiting list for when we will be in their area again.”

To receive an application for the home repair program, call KHO, toll-free at (270) 469-4949 or visit www.khohome.org.

You can also contact KHO if you would like to know how your church youth group can participate during the summer camps.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.