By Alexandria Swanger, communications assistant, Office of University Communications
Campbellsville University students and faculty served so that others could better serve the community of Lynch, Ky.
Campbellsville University social work students and faculty traveled to Lynch, Ky. to partner with Lonnie and Belinda Riley with Meridzo Ministries to complete a renovation project for Solomon’s Porch, a mission retreat center for Meridzo Ministries.
From Wednesday, Feb. 20 until Saturday, Feb. 23, a total of 24 faculty and students worked to renovate a room within Solomon’s Porch to be used by future ministry teams. From 1920 until 1961, the building served as a coal mine hospital. It has since been repurposed as a Mission Retreat Center that resembles a hotel or dorm for mission teams from across the United States to stay in.
Solomon’s Porch serves as a base of operations while the various groups conduct mission work for the Appalachian community in Harlan County. In 2018 over 1,300 volunteers stayed
at Solomon’s Porch while serving the area.
Terry Tipton, co-director at Solomon’s Porch and a 1991 Campbellsville College alumnus, said, “They did a wonderful job! Their work included plaster repair, paint scraping and repainting, furniture painting and baseboard replacement. They also purchased four new mattresses and the bedding was custom made in CU colors and logos by a personal friend of Debbie Carter whose work showed great skill.”
Dr. Helen Mudd, dean of The Carver School of Social Work and professor of social work, said students also volunteered with the Freedom Center to work in the clothing distribution center, bringing clothing donations they had collected prior to their trip.
Autumn Turner, a sophomore from Franklin, Ky., said, “I am grateful for the opportunities and connections this trip provided me. During this week I was able to make new friends, connect with my professors on a different level and gain insight on what social work entails. I am eager to attend more mission trips and to see just where God leads me within the program here at Campbellsville University.”
While there the group received a tour of all the local Meridzo Ministry operations. These ministries included the Black Mountain Exchange (a gas station/convenient store), Lamp House Coffee Shop, Meridzo Agri-Business Center (with a Mushroom Farm and other businesses to come), Lettie Viann’s Gift Shop and candlemaking, Stables at Creekside Glen (an equine ministry) and Shekinah Village Youth Camp/Retreat Center.
Members of the university also met with Lonnie and Belinda Riley at the Lamp House Coffee Shop in Lynch, Ky. to discuss future cooperative service learning and ministry projects. The Lynch couple founded Meridzo Ministries in 1999.
Following God’s prompting, the couple left behind the safety of a six-figure salary with insurance and retirement and stepped out on faith with only God to supply their needs. Now, almost 20 years later, they still live by faith with no salaries. What started with two people following God has grown into 14 ministries with 24 full-time volunteer missionary staff members and is continuing to grow today.
For more information about Meridzo Ministries, visit www.meridzo.org/.
Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,000 students offering more than 90 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has off-campus centers in Kentucky cities Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with Kentucky instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. The university also has a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.