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February 14, 2014

Lasting Love (Celebrating 50 plus years of marriage): The Bivinses

(Continued)

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

Eventually, the two felt that God had called them to be missionaries.  This calling led them to seminary and then to Israel.

While working as missionaries in Israel, the couple worked on a farm and at a school with Kentucky native Bob Fields and his wife, Eddie.

During their time in Israel, the two took furloughs and traveled all over Europe.  Sarah has been to about 54 different countries and her home is decorated in paintings from various places they visited.  She excitedly recalled visiting the mountain where “The Sound of Music” was filmed, which she said is one of her favorite films.

“We were in Israel from 1961 to 1976,” Sarah said.  “We went with a 9-month-old and came back with three girls who went to Rockcastle schools.”

After their missionary work was finished, their friend Bob Fields asked them to come to Kentucky to help build a retreat center.

Lee helped Fields build every home in the CleftRock Retreat Center in Rockcastle County and he did so without pay.  In 1979 he finished building the home they live in now.

Lee continued construction work, doing residential and commercial construction while Sarah earned her doctorate of ministry in counseling at South East Baptist Theological Seminary at Wake Forest, S.C.

Lee and Sarah served in various Christian counselor positions at churches including First Baptist in Somerset, Baptist Student Union at Berea College and First Baptist Church in London before being asked to become directors at CleftRock in 1989.

During their time at CleftRock, the retreat was hosting a group of Baptist leaders from Kentucky when they were asked by the group’s leader, Benton Williams to go to Saint Petersburg, Russia to help coordinate a Kentucky/Russian Baptist partnership. 

They served in Saint Petersburg from 1994-1997 and then came home to CleftRock Retreat.

They credit their long and eventful relationship to God.

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