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Cumberlands Baptist Campus Ministries students share smiles at local nursing home


UC junior and active BCM volunteer Stephanie Lawless paints a lady’s nails as part of the Williamsburg Health and Rehabilitation Center ministry.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. - While most college students spend their after lunch hours taking a power nap or in class, a group of students from the University of the Cumberlands Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) has chosen to use that time to serve others. Each Wednesday from 2-4 pm, these students travel to the Williamsburg Health and Rehabilitation Center (WHRC) to spend time with the residents.

This ministry is student organized and run. “Last year, several of us just went at random times for fun; then God showed me that we needed to start it up as a new ministry within BCM. This past school year, he has allowed me to lead an awesome group of people every week,” said Stephanie Lawless, UC junior.


Caleb Hetrick, UC student and BCM volunteer enjoys a conversation with one of the residents at the Williamsburg Health Rehabilitation Center.

Over thirty students from UC have been involved in this unique ministry, making each Wednesday different. “God has blessed us with a large, diverse team of people. Each person has something unique to offer in service,” Lawless said.

While the students are there, they do anything the residents want; they sit and talk, play puzzles and sing songs. They also play guitar, paint nails, crochet and have Bible lessons. Lawless added that as the ministry has grown, the group has been able to do more things. Now, they are able to split up and visit individual rooms as well as visiting in groups in the activity room. Once, the students even put on a circus for the residents in the lobby, complete with a unicycle, stilts and juggling.

“My favorite parts are those special encounters we have with the residents,” Lawless said. “One lady we visit basically cannot hear anything. We go to her room and sing at the top of our lungs. When she started singing along with us, we started tearing up. She then told us of how she used to be able to go to church, and how she loves hearing singing when she can hear it.”

One resident, Nancy Anderson, enjoys visiting with the students. “I love it. I like to talk, especially if it’s about God. He’s my best buddy in the world, and I’m glad I know him,” Anderson said.

The staff at WHRC has noticed a difference in the residents since the UC students began volunteering.

“The residents really love it,” said Joyce Boggs, WHRC activities director. “They just look forward to Wednesdays. They can’t wait for them to come. They talk about it all week long. They enjoy the company and that people talk to them and care about them.”

The student volunteers agreed that it is their favorite part of the week too. “James 1:7 says the essence of religion is to take care of the poor and the widows,” said Ben Clayton, volunteer and UC Resident House Director. “This is one of the highlights of my week. I’m learning from them.”

Faces of the elderly and hurting light up as they hear the voices and see the smiles of the UC volunteers. The WHRC ministry is a truly special thing. “We go to be a blessing, but we are blessed so much more in return by the residents and how God is working,” Lawless said.