Louisville—Around 1,000 students paid $200 to spend a week sweating in the heat, working to share Christ’s love through repairing houses with the Kentucky Changers. They worked at four locations across the state: Richmond, Marshall County, Maysville and Henderson.
“This summer was incredible because the whole goal of Kentucky Changers is to teach youth how to be on mission every day, not just one week out of the year,” Peggy Murphy, Kentucky Changers coordinator with the Kentucky Women’s Missionary Union, said.
“There was a great project at each location, and they got a lot of opportunities to see God at work. They got a lot of evangelizing in and learned how to do that as they were showing the love of Jesus in a tangible way,” she continued.
At one site, the students got to see the neighbors of homeowners won to Christ. The neighbors prayed and accepted the Lord right in front of the students, Murphy said.
“I think Kentucky Changers is unique, because when kids are at home, they don’t see their home as a mission field, but when you step out of your home—whether it’s the town or county you live in—when you go to a different place, you sort of have different goggles on,” Jt Jones, member of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville and student at Southern Seminary, said.
Jones’ first Kentucky Changers experience was four or five summers ago in Paducah. After that, he and his friends “were changed so much” they took the idea back to Sebree First Baptist Church and started their own ministry, Faith Builders. The group now does two to four projects locally each year, he said.
“For these kids, they know the reason they are there is to work hard and tell people about Jesus,” he said. “Somehow the Lord blesses them with a good attitude and a good work ethic.
“They are intentionally seeking opportunities to be a blessing to someone, whether that’s to pray with the homeowner, which they did, or talking to a kid on the side of the road. They’re more open to telling them about Jesus than they would be at home,” he noted.
“Changers gives them a neat environment and it shows them that if they can work hard for Jesus and tell people about Jesus in a different environment, then they have that same ability back home. It just gives them a new perspective,” Jones added.
Jones was part of Crew 8 at the Henderson location as an assistant crew chief. They built a deck, pressure washed and painted a house.
One student, Emily, saw a 9-year-old boy, Braden, walking down the road. She went to talk to him and brought him back to the worksite.
Braden spent the rest of the week working alongside the team and even brought his family to worship with him. The students and their leaders had the opportunity to pray with his mother, who was in rehab.
“When Braden was helping us, he had a lot of runs in his paint. We equated the runs in the paint as sin. We took the brush as sort of like the Holy Spirit getting those sins out of our life. So with God’s grace, I depicted the gospel through getting the runs out of the wall,” Jones shared.
Part of Crew 8 intends to use their own time to return to Henderson and work on Braden’s house, prayer alk and look for other small projects while wearing their Kentucky Changers shirts, said Timothy Hall, a member of Crew 8.
“Changers is not a location, but a lifestyle. Changers should not end on the last day of the project. Changers should begin on the last day—begin to look for opportunities to be on mission showing the love of Jesus in a tangible way,” Murphy concluded. (WR)