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Blindness didnít stop Phenix City Baptist from being a pastor, starting a ministrycomment (0)

April 23, 2009

By Emily Flack

When the Lord wants you to do something, He gives you the ability to overcome the obstacles in your way if you let Him,” said Jack Kinley, recently retired pastor of Beaver Creek Baptist Church, Phenix City, in Russell Baptist Association. “The trouble is people often don’t let Him.”

As for Kinley, he has let Him.

The obstacles in Kinley’s life come as a direct result of a concussion he suffered during World War II that damaged his optic nerves and caused blindness in his right eye.

Over time, he also began to lose sight in his left eye, eventually leaving him legally blind.

“He’s just about blind but he can see further than most men with eyesight — he is that wise,” said Dan Hammock, a deacon at Beaver Creek Baptist who has known Kinley for a number of years. “He is the most dedicated person to the Lord that I’ve ever met.”

Though Kinley received a medical discharge from the military, he did not feel limited in his ability to change lives and be used by God.

Kinley surrendered to the ministry in 1959 and began his education at the Baptist Bible Institute (now the Baptist College of Florida) in Graceville, Fla.

After two years there, he transferred to William Carey College (now William Carey University) in Hattiesburg, Miss. He accepted his first pastoral position at Rolling Creek Baptist Church, Quitman, Miss., in 1964.

By the early 1980s, having served as pastor of that Mississippi church as well as three in Alabama and Bible teacher and headmaster at Woodland Christian School in Phenix City, Kinley refocused his ministry goals, honing in on letting his earthly obstacles be blessings to others.

Kinley and his late wife, Gwen, committed to serve the visually impaired and blind as volunteers with the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. They made three trips to Nigeria and one to the Philippines.

In 1982, the couple founded Vision Tape Ministry (VTM). Now managed by Kinley and his daughter, the ministry produces a free bimonthly audio magazine for the blind, visually impaired and physically handicapped. Each issue is composed of three tapes — one is The Bible in Living Sound, a dramatization of Bible stories, and the other two are a mixture of Christian articles that cannot be found in large print or braille and music.

The articles are hand-picked for each issue. “We try to choose that which we feel is not only inspirational but also meaningful to the everyday life of the Christian person [and] practical [to fit] the impaired (person’s) needs,” Kinley said.

Interspersed with the articles is music. “We have cantatas, choral music or gospel music on every issue,” he said.

On each tape, there are also two Tinyburg Tales, stories about a fictional small town by that name.

Though advertising for VTM is limited to word-of-mouth, it is a nationwide ministry, reaching people in more than 40 states.

“He has done well with one eye,” said James Sanders, a deacon at Beaver Creek. “You can call on him anytime, ask anything of him, and anything he can do, he’ll do it.”

Kinley’s retirement after four years at the church was a sad parting. “He is able to relate to other people very well, and they love him to death,” Sanders said.

Now 81 years old, Kinley, with the help of his daughter and occasional volunteers, will continue through VTM the ministry he still feels called to — a ministry he doesn’t take credit for.

“All of this that I’ve done since I’ve lost sight would not have been possible without the help of the Lord and a very dedicated and wonderful wife,” Kinley said.

For more information about VTM, contact Kinley at 334-297-6432.

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