Recently I visited Cumberland, KY located in the famous Harlan County. I had never seen anything so eye-opening in my life. I, born and raised in Nashville, kept replaying Patty Loveless singing the ghostly “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” as I tried imaging how it would look. When we arrived 9 hours later (about 2 hours later than expected) it was pitch black and a bit daunting.
The next morning we drove through town to our destination, Club 180. Our task was to work with the Club by helping some teenage mothers with a scrapbooking project. As we sorted out the materials and got prepared the director told us that in Harlan time was very lenient, meaning that time wasn’t really an issue especially when your main client, of sorts, are teenage mothers.
The mothers and children arrived and soon enough I had adopted a little girl named Jaylyn. While her mother pieced together pictures of her high school years and senior trip, Jaylyn and I hung out and played on every toy possible. I couldn’t help but wonder where she would be in 18 years, hopefully not here in Cumberland where unemployment is 70% (before the national recession).
When we drove back to the house we were staying I thanked God for my many blessings and put away the worry about the bills that were waiting for me when I got home. Remember to thank God for dirty dishes.
Club 180 is a Christian ministry that was founded to help local teenagers. They offer teens a safe place to hang out, fitness activities, education assistance and spiritual direction. One finger of their program, Ester’s Closet, is strictly to help teenage mothers in their uphill battle. God Bless the Burkeens and others who continue to praise the Lord. On the Club 180 website you will find this quote: Isaiah 61:1-4 is the passage of scripture that encompasses Club 180 Ministry. It states, “The Spirit of the Sorvereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
God Bless you and America (whether you like it or not)!