During the Christmas break Shorter University BCM students took part in a mission trip to Covington, Ky. where they, among other things, helped distribute presents to children at the Moore Activity Center. DAVID ROLAND/Special
ROME — Nine students and two leaders from Shorter University’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries shared God’s love with families in Covington, Ky. in mid-December. This was the 19th year that BCM students and leaders have gone to help South Side Baptist Church in Covington with its ministry to families in need of food and gifts at Christmas.
During the week students helped inter-city missionary and Moore Activity Center activity director Amy Wilhemus prepare for a give-away service to provide families with food and Christmas gifts for their children. The activity center is located next to the church in a former bar once called the “Salty Dog Saloon.”
“The phrase ‘God is good all the time’ was clearly seen during the week that the students were here,” Wilhemus said. “The students gave of themselves to help things happen by using their abilities doing ministry projects and leading worship services.”
Students helped collect and move food as well as collect toys and clothes for families while sharing God’s love with the people each day, she said.
On the night of the big give-away, students led the service by sharing music, skits, the meaning of Christmas, and the Good News of Christ with the families.
The biggest blessing
“The center goes from one full-time person to more than 10 people working full time during the mission week getting the work of the Lord done,” Wilhemus said. “The students are a blessing to many people, but they are the biggest blessing to me personally. God has called me to a great ministry, and I love it when He provides the people to help me get His work done.”
More than 100 families participated in a special signup at Thanksgiving to receive the Christmas food and gifts provided by other churches in the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association. The students worked along with South Side Church volunteers wrapping gifts and packing the food for the special event.
To make the trip happen, students raised their owns funds of approximately $130 each and slept on air mattresses each night at South Side Church. For some of the students it was their first time to go to Covington, while others were making their second or third visit to the church and Moore Activity Center.
“For me, it was a life-changing experience,” said senior Cayle Davis. “This was my second trip to Covington and going back, I was able to build on relationships I had made in 2018. I was able to see how the kids and their families had grown physically and spiritually while we shared the Gospel to them.”
Abby Wright said she enjoyed getting to reconnect with people on this, her third, trip to Covington and South Side Baptist Church. “Seeing the growth of this ministry was a blessing,” she said. “We saw people who were hesitant to hear the Gospel in past years and are now more open to it this year. It was amazing.”
A calling confirmed
Wright said the work that Wilhemus is doing in that ministry” is astounding. “For me, going to Covington the past few years has confirmed the calling that the Lord has put on my life to start a similar ministry one day.”
Freshman Brady Jacobs said the trip was about helping people who had nothing at Christmas, people who were struggling to put food on their table and others who could only imagine being able to provide Christmas for their kids.
He said the Moore Activity Center and South Side Baptist Church does an amazing job of helping families in the community with what they need. But the most important thing they do is to share effectively the good news of Jesus Christ.
Jacobs said the families got to hear the story of Jesus’ birth and the good news of Jesus. “I actually got to deliver the message of Jesus and how all the Christmas gifts are great, but God has given us a better gift, which is eternal life in Heaven if we choose to follow Him,” he said.
For Shorter BCM campus minister David Roland, the trip to Covington is a homecoming for him because he grew up in South Side Church. In 1982 he was ordained there while a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In the past, he has taken mission teams to South Side Baptist Church from Georgia Tech and Brewton-Parker College BCMs as the campus minister there.
Dub Joiner is a writer and newspaper veteran based in Ellijay, where he attends First Baptist Church.