Hello, all! My name is Rachael Heavrin. This spring, my husband Hayden and I moved down to Kentucky and began work at Big Creek 's main campus full-time. Prior to this, both Hayden and I volunteered at Big Creek and were on summer staff for two summers. We were excited about our decision to move to Kentucky, come back to Big Creek, and start these new roles, but there was still a learning curve. This year I have served by coordinating the community ministry. Simply put, I catch what isn’t done by the construction groups, but doesn’t fall into ministry with children. So it’s a lot! Here’s what we’ve been up to this year:
We have over twenty-five different places we serve at in Leslie, Clay, Perry, and Laurel County. We’ve created good relationships with both the staff and the people at these locations and continue to serve with them to grow those relationships. I’m continually asking staff and the people how to better serve them and using that feedback when we return the next time. I also continue to look into new locations in this area where we can serve.
We’ve extended our summer food truck ministry into the fall! This summer we were able to go from one food truck serving at four locations to two food trucks serving at nine locations! This fall, we then decided to go back to a few of those locations and serve food, as well as pass out needed hygiene products and items to prepare for the colder weather. While the residents were initially thrown off by us being there, as it wasn’t our “regular time,” there was a lot of excitement from all of the kids and adults that Big Creek was back!
We’ve also been able to do multiple giveaways at The Pantry in Hyden, as well as local apartment complexes and the Leslie County High School. Big Creek Missions is continually blessed by volunteers giving, not only their precious time, but items as well. The simple gift of clothing, hygiene products, towels, and toys that can be given to people in our community, that otherwise would not have been able to afford them, is huge. These giveaways have also given us a chance to connect further with people of all ages in the community. We further our ministry by being available for intentional discussions and prayer
Finally, with the help of volunteers, we pulled off a women’s lunch at The Well. It was an afternoon filled with food, a devotional time, and fellowship between our volunteers and women from around the community. Many women that attended were grandmothers or widows that truly appreciated the fellowship with women of faith. This is definitely an event I look forward to doing again, as well as other events like it.
Most of all, it’s been exciting to watch the relationships formed through the summer continue to grow throughout the fall--this includes the residents at the nursing homes, the residents of local apartment buildings, and the homeowners we do yard work for. Our volunteers truly make this ministry thrive and we are excited to work more with you. If your church or group has an outreach or event that you’d like to replicate here at Big Creek to reach people in the community, we would love to have you
- Rachael Heavrin, Community Ministry Coordinator
Hello! My name is Hayden. Me and my wife, Rachael, have had the privilege of serving with Big Creek at the main campus for the past year. My ministry has focused on the teenagers in Leslie County in a youth group-like ministry I’ve called “The Hangout”. In Leslie County, there are a bit over 450 High School students and a few hundred of Middle School students attending the four different Elementary School so there are plenty of students in this county that we can reach and we are only scratching the surface. In our ministry, we have focused on teaching the teens practically how to follow Christ, starting with those who come to our Summer day camps. On average, 40 to 60 teenagers came everyday this summer to our Pool day camp. This year we completely restructured the day camp to include weekly speakers and trips to give our students a one of a kind experience that would give the teens a summer to remember. Since we have to close the pool and school begins in the fall, we have been trying to keep the teens engaged for the whole year, not just the summer.
We try to do so by thinking outside the box on what youth ministry could be. We wanted each event that we do to accomplish several different things. First, we wanted to share the Gospel as often as we could to anyone who would come to these events in order that anyone who comes knows more about Jesus and His good news. Furthermore, we wanted our events to teach our students in what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Many teenagers have heard about Jesus in this area but many have no direction on what it means to live a life following Jesus. Lastly, we wanted our events to be fun and enjoyable experiences. We want our teens to see the joy in serving Christ and fellowshipping with other believers. There are many dark things happening in our student’s lives and we were hoping that the Hangout could be an escape from that.
One of the ways we attempt to accomplish our goals is by getting connected with as many other Godly leaders as we could. The main way we do this is through an event we call the Sunday Hangout. In this weekly event, we pick up 3 to 9 teens each week that wouldn’t normally find themselves in a church (or their guardians wouldn’t take them) and bring them to the various Churches in the area. Our goal is to introduce them to the pastors and people of the church in order to build connections so even if they don’t end up finding a Church home, the teen will have heard the Gospel and know that the Church down the road from their house would be there if they are in need. Afterwards, we take them out to lunch and talk to them about the message they have heard in service. While it is often difficult to keep them focused, we have had many good conversations about Christ and the mission of the Church as well as teaching them how Churches work in general.
We also have the Handymen. This is a group of guys (and one girl) who work on construction projects with our construction leaders. By a miracle of the Lord, we have been able to take many teens who would much rather go home and sleep after school and bring them out to homes in need and do the things many of the volunteers at Big Creek Missions do. Our goal is to not only give them practical skills in building and repairing houses but also give them motivation to do things they never thought they could do. In the process we have created a team of teenagers who are excited and eager to build a ramp or go fix underpinning on a trailer. I’m super excited to see how this group can grow and help the mission of Big Creek by eventually coming on as staff to help with construction.
We also have a Bible Study every Tuesday. We have partnered with Big Creek Baptist to have a study for many of the High School teenagers. Not only are we able to dive deeper into the Word of God but we also are having connections be made between the teens and the Church as the pastor and his wife have worked very hard to make this study as Christ focused and practically based as possible so that the teens (some of which have never experienced a focused Bible study before) to ask deeper questions and apply the scriptures to their lives as opposed to just seeing the Bible as another text book for them to ignore.
Lastly, on the weekends we often have larger events focused on giving teens fun experiences in order to bring their friends and hear the Gospel. These events are the closest we come to a “youth group meeting”. We have movie nights, bonfires, hikes, game nights, and many other things and bring it all back to the Gospel each time. We focus on looking for Christ in everything from his creation to how we are to look at mundane things such as watching movies as ways to focus on Christ. These events are often the most well attended and have shown great promise in bringing more people in to share Christ with so many teens on a more focused level. We have also had volunteers from over the summer come in and host some of these events. I’ve been able to see first hand how a volunteer who came over the summer can make a drastic change because when they come back and see the teens in the off season, teens come in just to catch up. If you have interacted with the teens in this community in any way, please consider coming back in the spring or fall; the impact you have on these teens is so powerful. I encourage you to come and help out on a weekend during the Spring in order that we can work together to share the saving love of Christ to the teens that are open and ready for it.
- Hayden Heavrin, Teen Ministry Coordinator
Holiday Greetings from The Pantry at Big Creek Missions. We have had a busy successful year.
Along with serving thousands of food boxes this year, we were able to provide our clients with access to insurance enrollment assistance, diabetic foot care and other community action services. We provide basic hygiene items, senior commodities, and home goods.
Our pantry is open three days a week, and serves 150-200 clients per week. Each day, we see and hear stories of families needing that extra bit of help. We hope and pray that the food we serve, along with the love we show, makes a difference in the lives of the clients we serve.
We love our clients, and are touched when we see them reaching out, even in their time of need, to serve their own community.
We saw our entire community come together when dozens of our local miners were laid off. The community worked together - and we were able to provide extra food and assistance during this time of need.
We see clients who take their own box of food out the door - and immediately begin sorting it to give to their neighbors who have greater needs. Even in their own time of need, community serves their own.
We see families opening their homes to neighbors, friends, and other family members who are experiencing difficult times.
We are thankful to be a part of this fine community and provide a little bit of help to our wonderful neighbors.
- Mary Lewis, Pantry Coordinator
2019 in Wheelwright will be a year that we will not soon forget. It was a year of trials, triumphs, and a whole lot of Jesus. We had the opportunity to move our family to the community of Wheelwright and serve God in a way that we didn’t believe was possible! And boy, did He surprise and surpass all our expectations. Volunteers have become part of our family and this community has become our home.
In the last year alone we’ve seen God move in some pretty spectacular ways and even though we know numbers aren’t the test of good ministry sometimes it’s nice to look by at all God accomplished using Big Creek Missions Wheelwright this past year: 82 children enrolled in day camps with daily attendance average of 63, 47 home repairs/improvements completed, 14 wheelchair ramps built, 4 roofs replaced, 1,850 meals served to children and adults in our community, 103 yards cut and cleaned, 132 community visits to locals and senior centers.
One particular ministry opportunity has really stood out for us this year. Mrs. Reba, a local resident, was in desperate need of a wheelchair ramp. To say she had a difficult 2019 would have been an understatement. Her identity was stolen and twice her checking account drained of funds, she’s diabetic, bedridden, and a very lonely lady. One of our very first groups built Mrs. Reba’s ramps, and from that moment she’s become one of our regulars. Countless groups have had the wonderful opportunity to meet and serve this sweet lady. She says Big Creek Missions changed her life, but we say she’s changed ours.
We had an amazing year and are looking forward to the upcoming year of service. Won’t you be part of it? Come serve our community, meet Mrs. Reba, and become part of our family here in Wheelwright. We can guarantee that you will be glad you did!
Bubba & Tammy Roberson, Wheelwright Center directors
At Big Creek, we don't spend time begging people for money or a handout. We prefer to ask for "hands-out" serving! We hope you'll put on some gloves, come on down, and serve with us!
Here are some opportunities & changes for 2020!
*Spring, Fall, and Winter missions: We have many needs in our community. You and your team can make a huge difference in someone's life by serving with us. You can set the arrival and departure time, and we will work with you to create meaningful opportunities for your team and our community.
Be creative! Think of ways your church and group can strategically show and share the gospel in our community!
All our spring, fall, and winter missions are by donation only. Check out our info page at www.bigcreekmissions.com/anytime
New for 2020: We now have semi-private accomodations for families and individuals at our Big Creek AND Wheelwright campus! We know some team members may be reluctant to stay in a bunkroom with a bunch of other people. Now, there's an option for a smaller "more private" room. (space is limited - and only available during spring, fall, and winter)
*Summer Missions: We are anticipating another incredible summer of serving! Last year, over 130 groups of all sizes served with us! We hope you'll consider serving with us this year.
NEW FOR 2020! we have two "half-week" opportunities available the week of July 4th. You can choose to serve the full week, or split the week in half. View our summer missions page to see more info!
*Families are welcome here! We have been blessed with a large number of families and individuals taking mission trips instead of vacation. We would be honored to serve with yours too!
Every week, we are blessed with a variety of construction teams. People of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences come to serve with us. They come as families, youth groups, school groups, friends, and singles. Why do they come? To serve, love, help, and share the good news of Jesus to the people in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky.
The construction teams at the Big Creek Campus have completed about 60 jobs in 2019. However, their only goal is not just to fix leaking roofs, repair holes in floors, build wheelchair ramps, fix leaky pipes, or any other project. They are sharing the love of Jesus to the homeowner(s) and their families. God used the construction teams to bring eight people to accept Him into their lives this past year. The last day, of the last week of summer, at a project that wasn’t planned, two children accepted Christ. It is awesome to see when our plans are interrupted for the glory of Christ!
Big Creek Missions has also been blessed in being able to work on construction projects with local teens this year. They have a great willingness to serve their local community and learn a trade, while building relationships and friendships with each other and their leaders. In a community where there isn’t a lot to do, minimal jobs to learn the value of work and service, this is a great opportunity for everyone!
To all the volunteers who gave up family time, vacation time, and free time, we say THANK YOU. Hebrews 6:10 says “God is not unjust, he will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” Please continue to show the same love you did here as you live in your home town!
- Matt and Rebecca O'neal
**(Matt and Rebecca O'neal, with their three children Ansen, JJ, and Ivan, felt God's call to move to the Big Creek area to help serve in the ministry. Matt is currently assisting Garry Ostrander with construction ministry. They are raising their own support. Your prayers are appreciated - however - If you would like to financially support the O'neals,contact Rebecca at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The large majority of our teams serve in the community. However, we do occasionally need some help with our facilities!
*Concrete Polishing (Big Creek) - our dining room floors are bare concrete! If you know someone who can polish concrete, we'd appreciate their help!
*Underground pipe lining (Big Creek) : We have a 30'underground pipe that we would like lined with PVC (sometimes known as "trenchless pipe lining")
*Plumbing (Wheelwright) : We need some plumbers at our Wheelwright center to replace all the supply lines with pex!
*Painting @ Big Creek: Our sleeping rooms haven't been painted in 10 years. It's time for a refreshing. We can supply the paint if you can supply talented painters!
*Paving @ Big Creek: Our parking lot is in desperate need of paving. Anybody got an old paving machine laying around? (just kidding... but we do need a paver!)
*Roofing @ Wheelwright: The Wheelwright Center's roof is CLOSE to needing a replacement. It's quite high - but it is a metal roof. Any team brave enough to tackle this roof?
*Box Truck @ the Pantry: We are in need of a NON-CDL box truck for our food pantry. Must have a liftgate, and be somewhat low mileage, and good condition!
2019 Year End Update
As we approach the end of another year of missions here at Big Creek, I want to say "THANK YOU"
- To every church that has supported our mission by serving with us
- To every donor who has given to support our cause
- To our local residents who welcome us into their homes and lives
- To our staff who have worked tirelessly to identify and meet needs
- To our Lord Jesus for giving direction, provision, and grace.
It's hard to write a full summary of what has happened in a full year. We could share dozens of stories of how we have impacted the lives of specific families, but we want to respect their privacy and certainly do not want to capitalize on their struggles. To keep it short and simple, we have been blessed with more service groups than ever before. We have served hundreds and hundreds of local residents, and we have shown and shared the message of Jesus throughout this area. We are seeing the evidence of Christ's work in the lives of many of our local friends.
I hope you'll take a few minutes and read through the updates from some of our staff here at Big Creek!
We are thankful for your prayers, and would consider it an honor to serve alongside you here in Eastern Kentucky!
- Kevin Rogers, Director
2019 Statistics (both campus locations):
Number of Churches, Schools, and Groups serving with us: 180
Approximate number of volunteer hours provided by our teams: 123,500
Big Creek's approximate financial investment into Leslie County: $475,000
Wheelwright's approximate financial investment into Floyd County: $125,000
Volunteer Team estimated financial investment (purchases, eating out, etc): $35,000+
(estimated each volunteer spent approximately $8-10 in town during their stay)
Construction Ministry Basics:
100+ major construction projects completed, including
*20+ roof replacements, 30+ ramps
*multiple bathroom and kitchen remodels
*multiple outhouse and well repairs
*multiple sub-floor replacements
*Foundation work,window replacements, door replacements
Children's Ministry Basics:
*750 local children enrolled in summer daycamps
*250 children attended daycamps daily (on average)
*Approximately 40,000 meals served to our local children& families!
Community Ministry Basics:
Hundreds of home visits
Dozens and dozens of lawns mowed
THOUSANDS of food boxes provided for local families - over 245,000 pounds of food!
LOTS and lots of goods given to local residents in need.