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Students from University of the Cumberlands minister to youth in Waynesburg, Ky.


WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — When LeAnn Wright came to University of the Cumberlands in 2009, she planned to pursue a degree in music. She enjoyed singing and knew she wanted to use her vocal talents in ministry. When she started working with Appalachian Ministries and Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM), however, she realized there was so much more.

“God showed me that He had more for me than I had in mind,” said Wright.


It was this realization that led Wright into the leadership position with BCM that she now holds. As Family Group Leader, Wright recently organized a weekend event for youth at her home church, Double Springs Baptist, in Waynesburg, Ky. When Wright and other BCM students planned the event, things came together very easily.

“God made it really clear what He wanted us to do,” she said. With this reassurance, the team began the three-day ministry weekend with worship by student-run band OH! Divide and inspirational dramas designed to speak specifically to the needs of youth.

The first night of worship and drama, Wright realized something special was happening. “I looked out at the girls, and their faces were covered in tears,” she said. Because most of the young people don’t come from Christian homes, Wright was a bit surprised and excited at the response to the ministry.

Saturday was as successful as Friday, as the young people continued to seek Christ through worship, trust-building and friendship-building activities. One activity, using mirrors for girls and rocks for boys, was designed to show the teens that they are made in the image of Christ. The girls used mirrors, passing them around a circle while one would write something positive that they could see in the owner of the mirror. At the end, they read the comments and look into the mirrors for a fresh perspective of themselves. "It was a touching and bonding experience for the teens," said Wright.

“We prayed, and looked at the mirrors, and all the girls had pure joy on their faces,” Wright said with a smile, tears filling her eyes. Wright and her UC peers were able to minister to one girl who said that everyone in her life has lost hope in her. Another said she had made a mistake and now that’s all anyone sees. One of the young men from UC bonded with a teen who admitted that he struggled with drugs, and by the end of the weekend, everyone in the group saw a significant change in the boy.

Sunday morning the UC team and the youth group joined the church for worship. Calling it the “highlight” of the weekend, Wright said that two girls and one boy stood up in front of the church members and gave their testimonies of how their lives had been changed that weekend. During the altar service, the entire youth group knelt and prayed together. Church members relayed to Wright how blessed and proud they were, seeing the sincerity in the young people.

“One deacon stood up and said, ‘if the future of the church is in the hands of young people like this, we’re in good shape,’” said Wright.

The Cumberlands students were just as blessed, thanking Wright for bringing them to her church and for the experience. “One of the guys, Tom Crawford, said ‘This weekend has taught me that I can do things that I didn’t know I could do,’” said Wright.

With tear-filled eyes and a constant smile, Wright recounted the weekend. Several times, as joy overcame her words, she would say, “It was just so awesome!”

Her call from God assured, Wright plans to continue in ministry through her time at UC and after graduation. “Everything in me comes from God and needs to be used for God,” she said.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.