April 27, 2016
Dear Partner in Missions,
You probably just received communication regarding our goal and plans for Christmas Backpacks for Appalachia sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Ministry. This is a great ministry which continues to touch the lives of children and their families from Tennessee to New York. In fact, it is through participating with this ministry that Friendship Baptist Association formed a partnership with Upper Cumberland Association of Baptists (UCAB) in 2015 to reach those in Harlan County, Kentucky, with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Upper Cumberland Association of Baptists recently received an urgent request from Harlan County High School for backpacks, school supplies, and personal items needed for the first day of school in August. UCAB requested assistance from us to fill this need. Unfortunately, we received their request after publicizing our intentions for 2016 backpacks. Rev. Michael Truitt consulted with our Acts 1:8 Mission Council concerning our partner’s request and our conflict. The Council agreed that our partnership should take priority and we should do our best to help UCAB meet this need. It is our hope that you and your church will understand the need to be flexible when it comes to missions and doing the will of God.
We will be substituting “To Harlan County with Love” as our associational backpack collection effort this year instead of Christmas Backpacks for Appalachia. (See enclosed flyer.)
We are asking you to plan a “To Harlan County with Love” ministry opportunity that works best for your church. We established a flexible process allowing each church the opportunity to participate as desired. As you look over the list of needed items, you will notice that they are requesting 1,200 “unfilled” backpacks. It is my opinion that the best way to accomplish this is for FBA to purchase these by the case and have them drop shipped to our ministry area. This will keep the backpacks clean and undamaged while making the collected supplies much easier to transport.
I understand that some may want to continue with Christmas Backpacks for Appalachia. Please know that the association will do whatever we can to assist you with this ministry. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.
May the Lord bless you and thanks for your help!
Charles Stoops, Associational Missionary
You can give "To Harlan County with Love" online: