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Gospel’s power showing at Faith Baptist of Myra

A $30,000 anonymous donation has benefited a growing rehabilitation ministry at Faith Baptist of Myra. Submitted photo.

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (KT) — Ministering to people in recovery centers and homeless shelters has resulted in some amazing Gospel success stories at Faith Baptist of Myra.

Since August, Faith Baptist has had 31 baptisms — 25 of those being men drawn to the church while being in recovery. The number of men being transported from rehab to the church continues to grow, prompting a need for a second van. This month an anonymous church member donated $30,000 to help meet that need, and with $7,000 from the church, a vehicle was purchased.

The rehab ministry is special to Dave Hammond, who has pastored Faith Baptist since 1991. He has spoken in about 10 rehabs across the state and has a weekly prison ministry at Pike County Jail.

“I feel God has given me a testimony,” Hammond said. “I was once broken … I had an alcohol problem and was fired in 1985 as a teacher and basketball coach. It was then that I committed my life totally to the Lord. I said, ‘Take my life and make something of it.’ I can relate to those in rehab because I have been broken and down myself.”

After losing his job, he began a 30-year career with UPS while serving as a bivocational pastor. At Faith Baptist, “we started with about 12 members, and now have over 250. It’s all God.” The church is in a town that has no stoplight and only has one stop sign. Its post office was moved to Virgie. “Where the church is used to be a nightclub,” Hammond said. “God took a nightclub down and put a lighthouse in.”

The lighthouse has seen men from rehabs and prisons and homelessness come to faith in Christ.

“We have four members of our church who came out of rehabs who have been transformed and are pillars of our church,” Hammond noted. “Demetrius Scott sings in our praise group. He was facing 40 years on drug charges, but got it reduced to two years. He was saved at the Pike County Jail and is probably one of the most loved guys in our church. He hasn’t missed church in seven years. He got married and is now director of a rehab facility.” An interesting aspect of his past is that he played football at Marshall University, where he was a wide receiver on one end along with Randy Moss as wide receiver on the other end. Moss played 14 seasons in the NFL and is regarded as one of the greatest wide receivers in pro football history.

Another success story is Shakiem Anderson, who was “homeless, lived in the hills but then heard about a homeless shelter in Pikeville.” Hammond led him to the Lord there. “He is absolutely on fire. He has been here five years, married a lady and now works as a cook at a rehab. He lived in the woods of Jenkins and has done some prison time, but his life has been totally changed.”

Then there is Michael Clark, who was in a recovery center when Hammond showed up to preach one day. Hammond was surprised to encounter him there. The two had met during Hammond’s UPS work. “I told him I would be preaching and asked him to come in (to hear it). He said he had never been to church, but since he knew me as a UPS driver, he came in. He came forward with tears running down his eyes, got saved and started a ministry in the rehab with about 30 guys.” Clark pastors in Whitesburg and is an engagement specialist at Addiction Recovery Care.

Each Sunday, Faith Baptist transports persons in rehab to the church for services, then buys their lunch. “That’s a bonus for them coming to show we love them. Our church embraces them, loves them, hugs them and shoots them full of Jesus and gives them hope in Christ. There is no critical stuff.”

“It’s a phenomenal ministry they are doing, linking men and connecting them to the local church,” said Cory Bledsoe, mobilization and community ministry associate with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “A critical part of someone’s recovery is having a local church’s support.”

Hammond retired from UPS seven years ago. His wife, Kay, started Appalachian Pregnancy Care Center in Pikeville about 18 years ago. “She is a retired teacher and started it from scratch. It is one of the thriving ministries in eastern Kentucky — it has probably saved hundreds of abortions. She helps unwed mothers to go on to college and to have great jobs.”

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  • Chip Hutcheson/Kentucky Today