Ky. Baptists’ bucket project surpasses all expectations
Bowling Green — Kentucky Baptists will be helping AIDS victims by sending nearly $125,000 in hospice supplies to Sub-Saharan Africa, an area more heavily affected by the virus than any other part of the world.
Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, challenged churches earlier this fall to pack 800 buckets with hospice supplies as part of a Baptist Global Response initiative. Each five-gallon bucket is tightly packed with clean sheets, vitamins and personal hygiene items worth about $85.
“These buckets have the opportunity to show love to a dying person,” Chitwood said, “but more importantly, they are being used to introduce the lost to Christ.”
Kentucky Baptist churches packed and shipped more than 2,000 Buckets of Hope earlier this year. This week, they delivered another 1,458 buckets to the KBC Annual Meeting at Living Hope Baptist Church in Bowling Green.
Wanda Edminster, one of Kentucky’s BGR bucket coordinators, said so many buckets arrived Monday, the 30 volunteers were forced rethink their packing strategy in the semi-tractor trailer.
“Whenever you do a project like this, the Lord always multiplies,” Edminster said.
The 30 Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers who helped unload cars and SUVs filled with buckets literally went the extra mile, Edminster said. Some met a group from First Baptist Church of Cannonsburg halfway between Ashland and Bowling Green to make sure their buckets arrived at the convention.
When a van showed up Monday with about 100 buckets, Edminster said the mostly silver-haired volunteers were pleasantly relieved to hear that University of the Cumberlands students would unload the heavy buckets the next day.
Eddie Talley, collection coordinator and member of Living Hope Baptist, said he was not surprised by the overwhelming response.
“If you think about what Jesus did with the loaves and the fish, it’s not about being surprised. It’s about showing up and expecting miracles to happen,” Talley said. “He does it every day.”
According to BGR, nearly 23 million people are living with HIV in South Africa. As parents get sick and eventually die from AIDS, children as young as 8 are left to care for their younger siblings. In 2012 alone, about 1.2 million South African people died from AIDS.
BGR’s intent is that the buckets will not only bring comfort to AIDS victims, but will open the door to sharing the gospel with the dying and their caretakers.
“I have witnessed the impact of these buckets firsthand,” said Coy Webb, director of Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief. When Kentucky Baptists participate in this ministry, they are “truly being the hands and feet of Christ,” he said.
Kentucky churches can learn how to get involved by visiting the BGR website at gobgr.org and look for “Buckets” under the “Projects” menu. (KBC)