Shelby mission camp looks for volunteers
    August 11 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Asst. Managing Editor

    As things move along at the North Carolina Baptist Men’s latest mission camp in Shelby, there is an ongoing need for volunteers.

    “There’s a real need,” said Eddie Williams, mission camp coordinator, not just at the site but in the surrounding areas.

    The area has one of the state’s highest unemployment rates and a surprisingly high homeless rate, Williams said.

    BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

    Shirley and Jim Collins cut wood for use in the main building at Shelby mission camp. See photo gallery.

    The site, which is still under construction, can now house 84 people at a time. Deep Impact, a ministry of Baptist Men, almost maxed them out earlier this summer. The goal is to have sleeping accommodations for 210 people. Twelve acres of the 43-acre site are enclosed in fence.

    To begin construction on the Shelby site timber had to be cut, the land had to be graded, and lines for sewer, water and electricity run to the property.  

    Trailer living
    On site coordinators Eddie and Martha Williams live in a camper “not built to live in all the time,” said Martha. The Williamses coordinated Baptist Men response to Hurricane Katrina in Gulfport.

    For Internet use and at times when no volunteers are on site, the couple has a mission house donated by a couple at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby.

    But when teams are in town, the couple has to stay on site to make sure everyone’s needs are met. They go home to Spruce Pine when they can.

    Volunteers with Deep Impact went into the community doing Vacation Bible School and helped elderly people in Kings Mountain. Mission work relies on volunteers.

    Locally trained disaster relief workers come and help too, especially when bigger crews are working.

    With Deep Impact, 82 people on campus shared a shower trailer, but they did it in shifts so it worked, Martha said.

    On Aug. 3, a team of 14 from Branch’s Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., was on site framing.

    They spent part of the week building a couple of ramps at local houses as well. The team stayed in mobile sleeping units that sleep 26 and shared the shower trailer.

    “This crew does a lot of work,” said Mat Brown, Branch’s pastor.

    Hammers banging and saws whirring, the crew stayed busy at the task — serving God through laughter and sweat.

    One of the volunteers sporting a yellow disaster relief shirt and hat was in Massachusetts just a month ago helping with flood relief efforts.

    “We go somewhere two to three times a year,” said Warwick Llewellyn.

    The Branch’s crew sent teams to work with Eddie in Gulfport and at the Red Springs mission camp.

    After a hot morning, when the crew broke for lunch, Jim Collins prayed, “Thank you for the opportunity to serve You.”

    When finished the main building will have areas for beds, showers and bathrooms to accommodate larger groups, and an office as well as a fully stocked kitchen and pantry. Now crews use the warehouse next door for the eating area and a mobile feeding unit to prepare food.

    The main building and the coordinator’s house still have much work to be done.

    The coordinator’s house — 1,500-square-feet — will have three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

    A lot has been donated to help the site continue its work: two refrigerators and a stove, as well as the tables and chairs.

    The key is keeping the associations and churches involved.

    “So far we’ve had a great response,” Martha said. “The biggest challenge right now is with the economy.”

    Martha said they utilized their experience when designing the buildings.

    “I don’t think we have any wasted space,” she said. Someone donated some flowers and she and Eddie took the golf cart around the neighborhood up the street to get to know the neighbors. “We want to be a light in the community,” she said.

    Some people from Campers on Mission have stayed at the recreational vehicle stations on site.  

    On the go
    Eddie and Martha stay busy. Each carries a cell phone and Eddie’s is labeled “Fuzzy,” a nickname from military days.

    Eddie’s truck is a mobile office, complementing the files he keeps in the camper.

    His mind is always churning, Martha said.

    Eddie still receives media calls from Gulfport for follow-up stories on Hurricane Katrina and the work of N.C. Baptist Men.

    The couple share with others about the work that is going on in Shelby.

    “Everybody’s real excited about North Carolina Baptist Men being here,” Eddie said.

    In March it had been a year since the Williams moved to the site. The hard winter has put work behind schedule. More volunteers are needed.  

    Tasks ahead
    Baptist Men has been asked to help with the renovation of a homeless shelter and to be part of a local program to spruce up neighborhoods.

    The goal is to “set a higher standard,” Eddie said.

    With so much to do Martha is hesitant to call anything a challenge. “I feel blessed by everything God has given,” she said. “I don’t ever want to look at anything as a challenge but an opportunity.”

    Once the main buildings are done, the eventual plan is to build ball fields and have fields for soccer and other sports camps. Williams foresees this as a hub of activity for the community and for people to come to volunteer.

    Part of his long-term vision is to have cabins like at Caraway for people or groups to stay. To volunteer, contact N.C. Baptist Men at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5599. 

    The Mission Camp is a project of North Carolina Baptist Men, which operates on gifts received through the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO).

    This year’s NCMO goal is $2.1 million. 

    8/11/2010 5:46:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Asst. Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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