KIMBERLING CITY – Falling asleep in church is one thing, but it’s another entirely for a church to step up and make sure children in the community get a good night’s sleep.
First Baptist Church here is doing just that with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a program that provides bunk beds and linens to children aged 2 to 17 in the Branson area who otherwise would be sleeping on the floor. First Baptist’s chapter of the national organization hosts build days where different groups from the congregation and community at large converge on the church to crank out 56 beds during June, July and August. Those beds come complete with new bedding, mattresses, pillows and even stuffed animals. The church then delivers the beds to families who have requested them.
“At first, I thought there probably weren’t that many kids in our area who could benefit,” said Jeff Hardy, pastor of First Baptist. “Boy, have we been surprised. Kids right next door are sleeping on the floor. We probably have requests for 50 more.” Hardy said Sleep in Heavenly Peace has been a fruitful and engaging community-focused ministry. First Baptist sets up the build day, and various groups from the area come and work from 9 a.m. to noon when the church provides a meal.
The groups coming to build raise their own funds, but donations have come in, as well. The cost for materials is covered by donations. Meek’s Lumber and Hardware donated about $10,000 in tools, equipment and materials. Other local stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Fastenal have chipped in as well.
“It really takes off,” he said. “It ministers to those who are building plus we get to minister to those families when we deliver the beds. On our first build alone we have kids who were four and five years old working alongside 80-year-olds.”