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University of the Cumberlands and Blackford Baptist Church Connected through Softball


Fahlin Pulliam, pitcher for the University of the Cumberlands Patriots softball team, is also a member of Blackford Baptist Church, Hawesville.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky.—In 2005, after a visit to University of the Cumberlands, Fahlin Pulliam, of Hawesville, told her parents that she believed it was where God wanted her to attend college. The star softball player could not have known the indirect results of her choice.

In June 2009, residents of the Mount Morgan community in Williamsburg—children and adults, as well—watched in silence as members of the youth group from Blackford Baptist Church in Hawesville shared “Cardboard Testimonials.” Each member held up a card on which he or she had written a personal problem, sin or shortcoming. After telling the rapt audience about the experience, each person turned over the card and revealed how Christ had helped or is continuing to help him or her overcome the situation.


Members of Blackford Baptist Church’s youth group and their leaders share “Cardboard Testimonials” at a Backyard Bible Club in Williamsburg.

These events are connected because Pulliam’s parents, Brianna and Eric Pulliam are members of the five-person committee that leads the Blackford youth group. Through their daughter, the Pulliams learned of UC’s mission programs and how their youth group could make a difference in Whitley County. A summer mission team from the University has traveled to Hawesville in the past, and this is the second year that the Blackford group has come to Williamsburg to join forces with Appalachian Ministries for a week of study and missions.

For five days, in the afternoons, the Blackford group conducted a Backyard Bible Club in an apartment complex on Mount Morgan, where they set up a tent, provided refreshments and shared, through activities, music, prayer and scripture, that Jesus loves each of us. The children who attended were often accompanied by parents or grandparents who enjoyed the program just as much as their charges. There were even a few adults who came without children.

In the mornings, the young people and their leaders engaged in Bible study and preparations for the afternoons. They also visited a local nursing home.

Activities like the “Cardboard Testimonials” help to strengthen the connection between the church group and the people who attend the programs. According to one of the adults who serves on the church’s youth committee, Angie Brown, “We are determined to be transparent. We want to show that we are not saints, but just people with real problems--the same kinds of problems that the people in the audience will recognize.” Some members of the group come from broken homes, from families ravaged by violence and substance abuse, from families with health issues or from questioning, seemingly hopeless situations, while others come from backgrounds that have helped blind them to the needs of people less fortunate than themselves. But, all are willing to share how Christ’s love has made it possible to overcome those conditions and has made them true Christian ambassadors.

This is the second year that the Blackford group has come to Williamsburg for their “big” mission trip. They will conduct a Back Yard Bible Club, similar to the Mount Morgan event, at a Hawesville apartment complex when they return home, and they may conduct a program in one of the parks in Owensboro.