ASHLAND, Ky. (KT) – Six years ago, Amy Compston’s life was a mess.
She had become dependent on drugs and alcohol to make it through the day.
“That was my life before, but that’s not me now,” she said. “I’m a changed child of God.”
Compston will be telling people how the Lord transformed her life at the upcoming Hope for the Mountains crusade, set for Nov. 11 at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville. She’ll take center stage during worship portion of the crusade, not long before evangelist Jon Reed preaches the gospel to people of central Appalachia, a region where an estimated 350,000 people don’t attend church.
Scores of churches within a two-hour drive of Pikeville have joined together with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the state’s largest religious organization, to organize the crusade. Admission is free.
When Compston turned her life over to Jesus in the summer of 2012, her life dramatically changed from the 14 years of drugs and alcohol that had gripped her for so long. Compston grew up in Greenup County, near Ashland, and took her first drink at age 12. She overdosed twice, nearly dying each time, but continued to use drugs.
“I tried marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, acid – anything I could get my hands on – and none of it gave me the peace and love I was looking for in life,” she said. “My pastor at the church I was attending started a Master Life class and that’s when I realized all Jesus had done for me.”
Now the 34-year-old mother, wife and fulltime missionary has a new habit – praising Jesus and sharing her story of redemption with anyone who will listen.
“People need to understand that Jesus wants you just the way you are,” she said. “He doesn’t care what kind of mess you’ve made of your life. Turn it all over to him. You won’t regret it. I sure haven’t.”
Compston will be part of a dynamic program that includes perhaps Kentucky’s largest choir with nearly 600 members, music from the Jason Lovins Band and a message before the evangelist speaks.
Compston’s mission work in Uganda has allowed her to travel around the world sharing how God took away her dependence on drugs and alcohol.
“I tried everything (to quit) but Jesus was the only thing that freed me completely from my addiction,” she said. “When I realized what He did for me, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Him.”
Compston has shared her story of recovery with churches, youth groups, schools, jails and even the federal prison near her hometown where she teaches Bible classes to 55 male inmates every week.
Her mission organization, Amy For Africa, began in May 2013 and has grown in support so much that she was able to quit her 13-year career as a registered nurse and become a fulltime missionary for the organization in March 2017. A book about her life, Grace Runner, was published in 2015.
“God gave me the best job in the world,” said Compston, a Kentucky Baptist and member of First Baptist Church in Russell.
Her Amy For Africa mission helped start six Christian schools in Uganda and currently operates its own school near Jinja, one of the country’s biggest cities. They have purchased three acres of land overlooking the Nile River where a new school big enough for 1,000 students is being constructed along with a five-acre farm to feed the students.
“We’ve seen light come to this dark place in the world and it has been a beautiful sight to behold,” she said.
Compston is also an avid runner and has competed in six world marathons, including four Boston Marathons. She was in the 2013 Boston Marathon, finishing 30 minutes before two terrorist bombs stunned the world.