SALYERSVILLE – With new directors, the Kentucky Mission Bible Training Center is looking forward to rebuilding ties with the community.
In the early part of August, Amy and Chad Ellis, were approached about being directors of the local faith-based non-profit treatment program. The two were in leadership roles at the Greenville location of Mission Teens, Inc., which has 21 locations nationally, but they told the Independent they felt the Lord was pushing them to come to Salyersville.
“Usually, the board will put a call out for new director positions, but this time our board came together and prayed over the Salyersville mission and said the Lord gave them our names,” Amy told the Independent. “I was just sobbing. I could feel the conviction moving in me as soon as I heard the words. Chad said, ‘I don’t need to hear anything else,’ and just like that we knew what we had to do.”
The married couple packed up a U-Haul, quit their part-time jobs and headed to Salyersville.
While originally from Knott County, Amy knew all about the Kentucky Mission Bible Training Center, located next to Hometown True Value on Parkway Drive, having been a staff member going through staff training in 2012.
Amy told the SI the building had been neglected in recent years, so when they arrived, they went straight to work, pulling up old carpeting and starting in-house construction to make the place livable, again.
“The Lord has provided, so we’re working little by little and we live by faith,” Amy said. “Everything that comes in, it’s the Lord’s doing.”
KMBTC, often referred to as the Mission, uses non-secular rehabilitation, involving 5 1/2 hours of non-denominational bible study a day (taught by many local pastors who volunteer their time at the Mission), along with some counseling, to help the residents overcome their obstacles.
The couple have been meeting with local churches and faith-based programs to rebuild relationships and support throughout the community.
“Between working on the building and the spiritual aspect and the people, we’re blessed to get more people in here,” Amy said.
Local pastors and church leaders volunteer as teachers, with Amy noting they still have openings for more teachers if anyone is interested.
At every step of the way, she said, just as they must do with the mission, they rely on the Lord to lead them to serve in this new role.
“I’m just like, ‘Alright, Lord. I know you sent use here, so we’re waiting,’ and He’s been faithful,” Amy told the Independent.
While COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of the community in some way, Amy said they have had a really good year as mission teams.
“I think everything that’s going on has shown many people that the Lord is trying to get our attention, so a lot of people are returning to the Lord,” Amy said. “That’s what the mission is all about – having to seek the Lord for everything.”
Amy and Chad said they are looking forward to being involved in future Community Days and PRIDE cleanups, as well as other needs in the community.
“This center is here for a reason,” Amy said “We’re serving this county and surrounding counties. We take locals, so if someone wants the help, they’ll be able to stay here.”
She explained that anyone can walk in the center for help, noting that all services – including housing and food – are free.
“We’ll do a quick interview just to see where they are and have them fill out a one-page application,” Amy said. “After that, they are asked if they will submit to authority and if they will seek the Lord for everything. If they can agree to that, they can stay. If they feel like they want the help, but staying here is not a good idea, we’ll help to get them to one of the other locations.”
She explained that the state sees the mission as a rehab center, but she called it a “discipleship training program,” nothing that they have 5 ½ hours of bible study with local pastors, seven days a week.
“It’s a lot of bible study and lot of just trusting God,” Amy said.
As for who they hope to reach with the local mission center, the Ellises said they want to reach the desperate people who have been affected by addiction.
“We’re calling all the desperate, the liars and the thieves,” Amy said. “Never in a million years does someone wake up and want to be an addict or to steal from their grandma, but that’s where anyone can end up, but you don’t have to stay there.”
Amy explained her route to ending up in Salyersville, noting she turned to Oxycontin after losing her mother.
“My son was a newborn and his dad overdosed and I lost him, too,” Amy said. “I was in nursing school and 25 years old and I got into a really bad depression. After eight months of taking Oxycontin – just eight months – I ended up on the psych ward and I couldn’t take care of my son.”
She found her way out of addiction and said she wants to help others, too, noting that anybody affected by addiction and/or an emotional disorder is welcome at the mission.
“Most of the time it takes an emotional disorder to turn to addiction,” Amy explained. “There’s something deep inside that needs healing, so you turn to alcohol or drugs. It affects people of all backgrounds – pastors, truck drivers, nurses. It’s just people tired of living empty – with no purpose for life. That reason is they’re not living life for the Lord. That’s what we’re supposed to do, so when we’re not fulfilling that, there’s an emptiness inside that nothing else can fill.”
At her lowest, Amy said she felt like a failure, but said if she had finished nursing school and followed the path she thought she was on, she wouldn’t be where she is supposed to be.
“Praise God I didn’t finish nursing school,” Amy said. “That could have gone really wrong, but I felt like a failure. Turns out I was on this track to help people and this is where I should be. Any given day I see people walking up and down the street, aimlessly. I can’t help but wonder if they will ever get tired of just wandering.”
She said those wanting to enter the program have to be willing to commit to at least eight months, but said they can stay longer if they feel like they need it. If they want to stay with the program to continue to help others, she said they can enter staff training and become part of the largest healing and delivering ministries in the world.
“If they want to, it just keeps going on, which is a beautiful thing,” Amy said. “You won’t meet anyone here who didn’t come into this saying, ‘I’m tired of living like this,’ and they can end up staying to help others if they feel called to do so.”
Amy said those who enter the program can expect a change and transformation.
“It takes time and it’s a process, but just trust the process,” Amy said. “The Lord is definitely in charge here.”
In recent years, Mission Teen, Inc., has increased their success rate of 92% for those who have completed the eight-month program.
Amy said they are still trying to figure out how to direct the mission, but they’re just trying to lead by faith.
“We’re just a couple of knuckleheads, but I’m thankful the Lord can use a couple of knuckleheads like us,” she said.
At this time, she said their biggest needs are for flooring of any kind and winter clothes, noting that they serve upwards of 300 people annually, many of which come in with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
To donate, or just for information about the Kentucky Mission Bible Training Center, people can call 606-349-7607.
As for upcoming events, the Kentucky Mission Bible Training Center has a banquet scheduled for November 13 at the Salyersville Renaissance Center, starting at 6 p.m. They will have a lasagna dinner, a graduate ceremony, and teacher and community member appreciation, with everything open to the public.
They also have a talent show scheduled for November 20 at 6 p.m. at the mission center on Parkway Drive. The event will be free and will include skits, songs, poems and more, with free refreshments afterward.
On Thanksgiving, November 25, they will have an open house Thanksgiving Dinner for the public.