Buckner International CEO Visits Campbellsville University
The Christmas Seasons provides opportunities to reflect on the previous year. As I think back, one of my cherished memories was my visit to Campbellsville University (CU) in Campbellsville, Kentucky.
In September, I was invited to participate in Missions Week at Campbellsville University by Dr. Twyla Hernandez, Missions professor in the School of Divinity at CU. Each time I walk onto the campus of CU, I experience a sense of God’s presence and His activity in student body, administration, staff, and faculty. Missions Week is a prime example. Dr. Hernandez and her peers have cultivated a passion for missions and spreading God’s love in practical ways among the Nations. During Missions Week, a prayer tent is featured with practical prayer guides to pray for persecuted Christians, vulnerable children, refugees, and people in the most challenging circumstances.
Now in Buckner International's third year of a collaborative agreement with CU, Buckner's Shoes for Orphan Souls program has seen an annual student shoe drive and a mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Additionally, I was an honored dinner guest, hosted by Dr. Michael Carter, CU President, with university deans and faculty. I shared the mission and vision of Buckner International, and we considered ways we might deepen the collaboration to serve vulnerable children and families around the world. I also spoke during Chapel about my second book, "Hope Now."
I was invited to lecture in a Research Methods class taught by Dr. Michelle Tucker, Carver School of Social Work, as well as in Missions classes. I was also a guest of Rev. John Chowning, University Relations VP, on his weekly TV program “Dialogue on Public Issues.”
CU is ranked among the top 50 Christian Colleges and Universities in the United States, and it just launched an online Masters in Social Work program. I highly encourage you to consider an educational opportunity at CU.
During this trip, I traveled to Albany, Kentucky, to visit the First Baptist Church. Pastor Jeff Brown invited me to speak to the congregation on a Wednesday night. David Cross, church historian and local attorney, shared more with me on the backstory of Dr. R.C. Buckner, founder of Buckner International. This was a fascinating visit to say the least. Why FBC Albany, though? Two facts tie me to this church: First, this was the church Dr. R.C. Buckner led before he moved to Paris, Texas, in 1859 to serve as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Paris, Texas, and later founded Buckner Children’s Home (today Buckner International). Second, the tie to this congregation is the Rev. Charles F. Johnson, pastor of Bread Fellowship in Fort Worth, Texas. Pastor Charlie, as we refer to him, served as my family's pastor while we were members of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. The serendipitous nature of these relationships can only exist by the good favor of God and His desire to bless us in our work. We still love Pastor Charlie, his family, his ministry, and our fellowship; as though we never left his care over us. We pick up where we left off when we see each other. Ministry leaders know how precious these kinds of relationships are. Hope Shines brightly at CU, at FBC Albany, in Pastor Charlie Johnson, Bread Fellowship, at Trinity Baptist Church of San Antonio, and at Buckner.