CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY -- Campbellsville University senior Cameron Raulston said he "wanted to be the hands of Jesus and put my faith into action and help people" during his summer break, so he pursued an internship with Kentucky Heartland Outreach (KHO), instead of "wasting" his summer working at a "burger joint."
Raulston, of LaGrange, Ky., was one of nine Campbellsville University students who spent their summer breaks interning with KHO as staff members overseeing construction projects at homes throughout the region.
The interns worked as "crew chiefs" with 308 high school and middle school students and adults from various churches from across the country and built decks, repaired roofs and siding, painted and built ramps at 22 homes in Taylor, Green and Adair counties during the early part of the summer for six weeks, and in July they worked for three weeks with 345 volunteers at 32 homes in Barren, Metcalfe and Hart counties.
KHO focuses on helping those in need, while also ministering to the campers and homeowners.
A group of volunteers from Brainerd United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., Lynn Haven United Methodist Church in Panama City, Fla., First United Methodist Church in Panama City and Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, N.C., under the direction of Kentucky Heartland Outreach interns Lindsay Jones, Collin Johnson and Amanda Mosier, build a deck and ramp and replace a roof on a home near Cave City, Ky., during a week-long summer camp with KHO. (Campbellsville University Photo by Ashley Zsedenyi)
Todd Parish, executive director of KHO, said during the first week of camps 12 students and two homeowners made a first-time profession of faith.
During the course of the camps, 63 first time salvations were made, of which seven were either homeowners or relatives of homeowners, there were numerous rededications and over 40 students accepted a call to serve in the church or as a missionary, according to Brian Hensley, camp pastor.
"When we first established Kentucky Heartland Outreach in 2000, it was a step of faith in response to God's leadership to provide a venue for our students to serve others in the name of Christ," John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, said.
"We had little funding in the beginning, and it's very rewarding to see how KHO has grown and impacted the lives of several hundred homeowners in the Kentucky Heartland region as they have seen their homes upgraded by young people, including youth groups from around the country and Campbellsville University students."
Chowning said the lives of thousands of young people have been positively impacted by the servant ministry opportunities provided by KHO home repair experiences.
Since its beginning in 2000, KHO has renovated 541 homes and has constructed 26 new homes.
"CU is grateful for the opportunity to continue to be involved in the work of the Kentucky Heartland Outreach as homes are repaired and constructed around the region, young people give of themselves in Christian service to others, and we see numerous professions of faith made by both homeowners and those working," Chowning said.
A typical day for a KHO camper begins with a brief shower, which depending on where the groups are staying might be in a Campbellsville University residence hall shower, or, as was the case when the groups stayed in Glasgow, in portable shower units.
The groups then head to the work sites for an eight-hour workday making home repairs and ministering to each other and the homeowners.
Melissa Green, KHO case manager, said the crew chiefs are responsible for teaching the groups how to do the work, as well as leading devotions each day.
She said the summer camps focus on roofing, decks and wheelchair ramps, "because that's what we can teach the students to do."
On Wednesday, the groups work until noon and have the rest of the day off to relax so they can finish the week strong, Green said.
Laura Hatfield, administrative assistant for KHO and summer camp manager, and a 2007 graduate of CU, led devotionals during lunch for her crew, one of which she discussed the story of The Three Young Men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (Campbellsville University Photo by Ashley Zsedenyi)
"God can change the hearts of people," she said.
She urged the campers to "surround yourself with Christians because it's easier to stand up for your beliefs and remain strong than when you're alone."
"When you're faithful and stand up for your beliefs, God can use that and change the beliefs of others," she said."God is faithful, and God is there no matter what."
Hatfield said she enjoys "getting to be with the campers and seeing them progress through the week."
"Being able to see them worship during construction and at worship services - seeing them minister without being told to" she said was one of the best parts of the camps.
Hatfield said the homeowners were "grateful and very appreciative" of the work being done for them. She said they were "amazed it was free" and excited to receive the help.
The homeowners were "very touched that groups of teenagers would pay to come and work during their summer break, simply to share the love of Christ," Hatfield said.
Laura Hatfield, administrative assistant for KHO and summer camp manager, reads a devotion to her group of volunteers from Brainerd United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., First United Methodist Church in Panama City, Fla., and Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, N.C.,during their lunch break. (Campbellsville University Photo by Ashley Zsedenyi)
Homeowners Wes and Betty Rea of Cave City were referred to KHO by the local Community Action office. They were desperately in need of two new decks to replace ones that were rotting and falling apart.
Betty Rea said, "Without this help we could not have been able to replace them."
She said she enjoyed watching the students work and was "amazed how some of these young kids can do some of this work."
CU sophomore Collin Johnson of Shelbyville, Ky., said he knows God has his hand on KHO.
"Some sites I thought there would be no way we could finish them. By a miracle it seems we are able to finish, and I know it's from God. That's the only way it could get finished," Johnson said.
He said KHO is a "great ministry" and he likes being able to reach people through construction and "use the opportunity to spread the Word and Christ's love."
Kati Hamilton, a junior at CU from Springfield, Ky., said she "really enjoys helping people."
"I like knowing I'm doing something good for someone else," she said. "There are a lot of homes that need repairs and not everyone can afford them."
"People have serious needs that need to be met," and she said she was privileged to be a part of helping them.
Hamilton said her brother participated in the KHO camps a couple of years ago, and she "saw a change in him and wanted the same thing" for herself.
One of her favorite memories of this summer was when the campers hid the alarm clocks in the crew chief's rooms and set them to go off at 3 a.m.
She said a video was made after that of the crew chiefs destroying the alarm clocks in various ways.
Hamilton said she hopes to keep in touch with the students she worked with "to see what God is doing in their lives and to be an encouragement to them."
Samantha Baker, a KHO volunteer with Brainerd United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., shovels shingles onto plastic to assist with the cleanup of a roof replacement in Glasgow, Ky. (Campbellsville University Photo by Ashley Zsedenyi)
Lindsay Jones, a sophomore at CU from Stanford, Ky., worked with KHO as a camper and "developed a heart for service" through her experience.
She said she learned more about KHO through Campbellsville University and her church, and she felt God leading her to be a summer intern.
"I didn't think I could do construction all summer," but she said she was "blessed more this summer than I could have ever imagined.
"I got to see how meeting a physical need affects homeowners spiritually and use it as a way to spread God's love," Jones said.
Another former camper, Amanda Mosier from Lawrenceville, Ill., served as a KHO intern this summer.
Mosier began classes at CU this fall.
She said, "KHO has a more humble attitude and servant spirit" than other similar organizations, and when she wanted to do something during the summer, KHO seemed like the best idea.
Mosier said she most enjoyed "seeing the homeowners' reactions" to the finished projects.
Drew Underwood and Warren Akers, both from Campbellsville and 2009 graduates of Campbellsville University, were also summer interns with KHO.
Sherrie Haldeman with Ascension Lutheran Church, one of the many churches that volunteered during the summer, said, "My youth group had another great experience this year. We had three youth recommit themselves to Christ, two who want to be KHO interns when they graduate high school and one who has decided that Campbellsville is the college for her."
"This was our first time at Campbellsville, and it was really nice," she said.
The volunteer groups during the course of the summer include: Ascension Lutheran Church, Louisville, Ky.; Ninevah Christian Church, Ninevah, Ind.; Glendale Christian Church, Glendale, Ky.; College Heights United Methodist Church, Elizabethtown, Ky.; Pleasant View Baptist Church, Waynesburg, Ky.;
Immanuel Baptist Temple, Henderson, Ky.; Ridgeview Baptist Church, Church Hill, Tenn.; Caledonia Christian Reformed Church, Caledonia, Mich.; First Baptist Church-Crofton, Gambrills, Md.; Hillside United Methodist Church, Woodstock, Ga.; Meadow Park Church Of God, Columbus, Ohio;
Central Christian Church, Lawrenceville, Ill.; Eubank Baptist Church, Eubank, Ky.; First Baptist Church-Sonora, Sonora, Ky.; Highland Hills Baptist Church, Fort Thomas, Ky.; First Baptist Church, Columbia, Tenn.; Macedonia Baptist Church, Owensboro, Ky.; Palestine Baptist Church, Campbellsville;
Mt. Roberts Baptist Church, Campbellsville; Scottsville Baptist Church, Scottsville, Ky.; John Wesley United Methodist Church, Cincinnati, Ohio; South Campbellsville Baptist Church, Campbellsville; Christ United Methodist Church, Mobile, Ala.; Lantana Church of the Nazarene, Bartonville, Texas;
South Shore Baptist Church, Crownsville, Md.; Glasgow Wesleyan Church, Glasgow, Ky.; First United Methodist Church, Panama City, Fla.; Lynn Haven United Methodist Church, Panama City; Brainerd United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, Boone, N.C.
For more information about KHO visit www.khohome.org. For more information about Campbellsville University visit www.campbellsville.edu, call (800) 264-6014 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Listed in U.S.News & World Report's 2010 "America's Best Colleges," CU is ranked 23rd in "Best Baccalaureate Colleges" in the South and fourth in "up-and-coming" schools in the south. CU has been ranked 17 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America's Best Christian Colleges® and to G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his 11th year as president.