The summer of 2008, I went on a ten day missions trip that changed my life. Our youth group participated in Kentucky Missions, a yearly event sponsored by First Baptist Church,Spartanburg, S.C. I’ve been a lot of places and done a lot of things, but this experience stands alone for many reasons.

I wasn’t scheduled to go and to be dangerously transparent, I didn’t want to go.  A few days before they were to leave, our female chaperone backed out and there wasn’t time to get anyone else. My Chipper & I were coming back from a convention in Indianapolis on the day we found out. I was ready go home and sleep in my bed, but as the pastor’s wife, I felt obligated. I’m glad GOD knew my heart better than I did!  I wanted to go, I just didn’t know it until after I got there!

We ministered in a very poor area. I’m talking poor. I don’t consider myself anything close to froufrou (sisters, Lori & Kelly, take after Mama in that area and sister, Amy and I are like daddy. Sweats and a ponytail holder, all good) but, to these children, I came across as FANCY and that’s what they called me from day one, FANCY.  To say it the way they did, drag it out, FAN-CEE 😀

The picture above is me with four year old, Landon.  The classroom we’re in was beneath the church.  It had a dirt floor. I’m seriously scared of mice, so I was petrified when we’d go down there to make crafts and tell stories.  But to them, it was normal.

We took our own supplies and the state of Kentucky provided a meal for them that Kentucky Missions staff picked up.  We’re talking tractor trailers going all over the place. Youth Pastor Seth Buckley, could run a corporation…this operation is huge and unbelievably professional and it’s a SHAME that MORE CHURCHES aren’t following their example!  Dr. Don Wilton, the Pastor with an awesome South African accent, wouldn’t be offended if your church wanted t0 play copy cat I’m sure!

It makes me smile to think about those unforgettable children. They wanted to be in your arms and they all wanted to hear you say that you loved them. The girls took turns wearing my watch, wedding rings and brushing my hair. The boys wanted time, too! I served as official referee of the dirt basketball court with one hoop only.

Second, I witnessed Hannah, Dustin,Victoria, Cody, Clay, Miranda, Tabitha, and Timmy, investing in the lives of those kids. Each one of our youth led at least one to Christ.  Our teenagers were “my kids” and I was one proud mama!

I was asked to share my testimony of childhood sexual abuse to a full house of teens one night and when the service was over, they stood in line to talk. Many..needed to talk…THAT opened my eyes to HOME MISSIONS.  My family spent 5 years in a foreign country;  I needed a reminder that we have people in AMERICA who need Jesus just like every place else!

I met awesome teenagers who were part of the missions team and many who lived in Kentucky. I spent every evening ministering with the parents of HANNAH SOBESKI, a beautiful, seventeen year old from Spartanburg, who lost her life to cancer, but not before she inspired thousands of others. It was emotional, seeing Coach and Debbie, there after such a devastating loss, but the Sobeski family has spent ten days every summer in the mountains of Kentucky for many years.  Her parents and brothers were carrying on what Hannah loved doing.

The night Hannah went to see Jesus, she was at home with family and friends singing HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD.  When I think of a courageous girl making sure everyone knew she wanted to enter Heaven  singing HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD, my eyes water.  What a poignant portrait of  unwavering faith!

The night I gave my testimony, I’ll never forget her parents seated in the back of that small church..their hearts broken in a way I cannot fathom and yet, they had a purpose and desire to be there.  I remember Debbie sitting in a metal chair outside peeling mountains of oranges for the children while we played.  We played a lot.  They got good food and we gave them surprises.  We picked them up and carried them home…van load after van load.

LISTEN! Those children aren’t just in KENTUCKY…they’re in Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Wyoming, Utah, Michigan, Arizona, Iowa, Delaware..children who need love are living EVERYWHERE.

In honor of the children in Kentucky and the time I was blessed to have with them, I created this book series called; FANCY’S FARM.  The setting is that of a pioneer village on fifty three acres with log cabins, livestock, pet animals, vegetable and flower gardens, a general mercantile, blacksmith, chapel and a one room schoolhouse.

Teens must be seventeen to apply and should come highly recommended by a pastor, youth pastor and one other character reference such as a teacher, principal or coach. They volunteer six weeks during the summer, mentoring troubled and underprivileged kids between the ages of 8-12.

Now, while all of my characters are fictitious…I can almost guarantee that I got my inspiration from watching our girls swoon over the ranch hand, who I have to say, was quite the charmer when he came riding up on his horse 😀 or our boys when they met one of the girls from the other church. Ahhh..young’s just sweet.

It just so happens that the teens who work at Fancy’s Farm, have things going on at home that your teenagers are familiar with, too. Who knows, maybe one day, there will be a FANCY’S FARM right here at Morgan Meadows.  Hey, with GOD, it’s possible…..HE FAVORS ME just like HE FAVORS YOU!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nett
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 10:41:26

    Fancy’s Farm!! I love it!!


  2. Mama
    Nov 13, 2015 @ 08:53:53

    Love love love. I often think about when you guys went to Kentucky.


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