The Times Journal & Russell County News
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Family, Faith and Favorite Things
In July 23 Issue
By Linda Stephens, Columnist

Favorite thing…. young Christian people, like Megan Chapman and her sister Mandy,  who are making a difference in our world and sharing their faith with others. Thank you Megan for an excellent presentation on the health care law. Megan is from Russell county and a  Liberty University law student.  Here’s a couple of things Megan pointed out to us about the 906 page  health care law

1) Nothing in these bills prevents federal funds from being used to pay for abortions. An Executive Order to the contrary does not override any provisions in the bill. It’s a political ploy with no real meaning or value. 2) There is a mandate and if you don’t participate, you will be required to pay a penalty between  $695 and $2,085.

 I’ve  just read  a powerful article about eastern Kentucky. “Stronghold of Hell to Sanctuary of Hope” tells about the huge drug problem in Clay County, its terrible toll on families  and the change that came about when God’s people got involved in the problem. It reminded me of the letter from inmates in the Russell County Detention Center, printed in the  Times Journal’s July 14 issue. When churches get involved in the community, good things happen!  God things happen!

 By 2003, Clay County had earned the reputation as the “Painkiller Capitol” of America.  A USA Today story said that from 1998-2001, nearly half a ton of narcotics found their way to six counties in eastern Kentucky. That amounted to more prescription painkillers per capita than anywhere else in the nation. Add to that abuse the explosion of marijuana and methamphetamine traffic and a dismal picture emerges.

Two pastors, who shared a passion for ministering to addicts and their families,  began to pray. They were up against a tough situation. One example… Bobby Jones, who had operated an illegal drug and alcohol business openly for years.  He had a drive through window at his home and  elected officials on his payroll. By  1999 he served up to 600 vehicles per day, more than all the fast food restaurants!

Pastor Abner and Pastor Bolin began praying together for a transformation of their town from a stronghold of illegal drugs to a sanctuary for godly families. It wasn’t easy. The darkness was bad, but as Pastor Abner said, “the lack of light was more of a problem. Good people sat back and did nothing.”

In 1999, Clay County churches first cooperated to bring the John Jacobs Power Team to their schools. This experience showed the churches that they could pray and work together for the good of their community.

By 2003 Pastors Abner, Bolin and many others were growing more and more alarmed about the county’s out of control drug problem.  Prayer meetings continued. Then during a time of prayer, Pastor Bolin was given a vision to have a march.  He and Pastor Abner  hoped the march would  change the perception of Christians. For months, before the march, both pastors were threatened repeatedly for their lives, their homes, their churches.

When the day of the march came, it was wet and cold. A small band of diehard supporters gathered together. The turnout didn’t look good. But slowly it changed as church busses and vans began to arrive.  In all 63 churches were represented. The crowd was estimated at 3,500-4000, roughly 20% of the county’s population. It was the milestone that marked a turning point.  

 Since then 12-14 elected officials have been indicted. As local citizens stepped up their efforts, an FBI undercover operation began to bear fruit.  

Also in 2003, 5th District Hal Rogers launched UNITE. This acronym describes what happened in Clay county as citizens, churches and law enforcement worked together to tackle the drug problem.  In April 2004, a coordinated law enforcement effort arrested 212 drug dealers in less than 8 weeks investigation.

Justice was on a roll, but what about mercy? The churches stepped up to the mercy plate. Pastors and layman began visiting inmates  in prison, teaching  bible studies and ministering to them in various ways. This quick, direct ministry is one of the things that has  restored the reputation of the church in Clay County. The church is demonstrating that God’s people may fight for justice, but they’re also quick to show in tangible ways that they love mercy.

The article is three pages long, so I’ve  had to leave our a lot of what happened. Clay County’s riveting story is told  in a newly released DVD entitled “An Appalachian Dawn”. It’s the latest story in a series of revival documentaries  by The Sentinel Group. Visit their web site:  or call 800/668-5657.

Hope You All Will Participate and Do Your Part.

“The President ordered the cabinet to cut $100 million from the $3.5 trillion federal budget. I'm so impressed by this sacrifice that I have decided to do the same  thing with my personal budget. I spend about $2000 a month on groceries, household expenses, medicine, utilities, etc, but it's time to get out the budget cutting axe, go through my expenses, and cut back.  I'm going to cut my spending at exactly the same ratio, 1/35,000 of my total budget. After doing the math, it looks like instead of spending $2000 a month; I'm going to have to cut that number by, Six cents.

Yes, I'm going  to have to get by with $1999.94, but that's what sacrifice is all about.  I'll just have to do without some things, that are, frankly, luxuries.” (Did the president actually think no one would do the math? Surely  people understand what a load of “baloney”  this is!) Thanks to my friend  Ann Craig for sharing this e-mail.  Feel free to pass it on.

One more thing… I hope you read Megan’s  article in the Times Journal’s July 14th issue- “A nations laws are a reflection of the hearts of its people.” Thanks again for reading my column. Thanks to all who told me they read about the  “white elephants”. If you know of other “white elephants” in our county, let me know.

Till next week. 

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
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Russell Springs KY 42642
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