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Wrestling With Poverty

Originally posted on prayer encounters:

One of the annual missions of our congregation is called Project Joy an Appalachian Ministry.  Every year, with the help of 24 other churches and dozens of folks that live in our neighborhood, we gather warm clothing, school supplies, food, children’s books, and bibles and travel to Harlan, Kentucky.  The National Guard allows us to set up in its armory.

Harlan is a coal mining town whose heyday was some 50 years ago.  Many folks live up in the hills and have very little of anything.  Children often go without.  Winter is harsh.

The poverty cycle in Harlan is extreme. We realize that one day a year probably won’t break it.  Our hope is to provide some needed goods, some hope, and some joy.

A few years ago, we decided to put up a prayer station near the exit.  I put out two chairs, one for me and one for another person. …

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