“Together for Hope” • McCreary County, Ky
Launched in 2001, “Together for Hope” (TFH), the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s “Rural Poverty Initiative,” is a long-term commitment to work with people in the nation’s 20 poorest counties to affect change and break the cycle of economic disparity. The ministry is about establishing long-term relationships, listening, learning, and walking alongside local leaders. The hope is that communities will be transformed as will the churches and individuals who live in these 20 counties.
Trinity has committed to serving in McCreary County, KY, the closest of the 20 counties to Raleigh. We partner with a local missionary and his wife Jim and Rita Cmolik, whose non-profit ongoing organization is called Hills & Hollers Ministries. They seek to establish relationships with families in this impoverished former coal mining region and bring the message of God’s love through Jesus by discerning how best to assist those families who need a little hope and help to get their feet under them.
Most of their efforts focus on improving substandard housing; however, they also have a burden for family members caught in domestic abuse situations, unwed teenage mothers, the forgotten elderly, and making sure children have decent warm clothing and school supplies.
Each spring, we work with Jim to choose a home that is in need of repair and renovation. A lead team makes a trip to assess the work and materials needed, and to establish a relationship with the family. Planning is done and building materials are ordered to be on site the day before we arrive with the mission team. Every effort is made to complete the construction project during the week of the mission. However, Jim supervises the employment of unemployed locals to complete the job if we cannot.
Trinity also has a lead team focused on planning and conducting a Vacation Bible School in an area of McCreary County, where outreach to un-churched children and parents can be maximized. A theme is developed, materials are ordered and organized, and the team makes necessary plans prior to the mission trip. Lasting relationships with these children and seeing them grow in Christ have been rich blessings of this annual effort. Thus far, the VBS Team has served in two communities – Rattlesnake Ridge and Eagle.