N.C. volunteers build, serve in Tennessee
    September 22 2010 by Mike Creswell, BSC

    SURGOINSVILLE, Tenn. — Tina and her mother came out onto a porch that wasn’t there three days earlier.

    Tina, 28, nearly died in an auto accident; she is still in a wheelchair. Until the new porch was built, Tina and her chair had to be lifted straight up to get through the front door. If home alone and fire broke out, she could not have escaped.

    So 10 North Carolina Baptist volunteers led by Ken Funderburk worked three days to tear down the old porch and steps, then build a sturdy, covered front porch with a ramp and concrete sidewalk at the base. Now Tina can wheel herself out the front door for the first time in months.

    “If a general contractor had done this, it probably would have cost $8,000, but for the good it does, it’s priceless,” said Ken Marshbanks, a building contractor and Baptist Men director at Cornerstone Baptist Church, Charlotte.  

    A successful project? Sure, but it was just one part of a week of work done by the 64-member volunteer team from Cornerstone and eight other churches, some as far as Mayodan and Garner. Team leader was Susan Justice, Cornerstone’s minister of music.

    BSC photo by Mike Creswell

    Laura Jernigan and Josh Wyse, both members of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Charlotte, provide flying balloons to kids during the classic car “cruise in” in downtown Rogersville, Tenn. See photo gallery.


    “This is only a four-hour drive from Charlotte. It’s not so far to come to a place that’s so completely different,” she said. The team worked in the rippling hill country west of Kingsport and Johnson City.

    Get off the main roads around here and you’ll see some of the worst poverty in the Southeast; houses or mobile homes falling apart with outhouses out back. 

    Spiritual needs abound as well. “On any given Sunday here, 80 percent of the people in Hawkins County will not be in anybody’s church,” said John Parott, director of missions for the 55-church Holston Valley Baptist Association.

    The North Carolina team’s work came under the Appalachian Coalfields Ministry, a ministry of N.C. Baptist Men targeting poor areas of Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. Baptist Men are partnering with Appalachian Regional Ministries across the Appalachian area, supported by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and 12 other state Baptist conventions, plus the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the national Woman’s Missionary Union.

    Gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering help to support this outreach because they provide the operating funds for N.C. Baptist Men.

    North Carolina Baptists Dewey and Kathie Aiken are self-supporting Mission Service Corps missionaries assigned to Appalachian Regional Ministry by NAMB. They are veteran missions workers who earlier coordinated thousands of volunteers in Vermont for N.C. Baptist Men. 

    In 2009 about 1,000 North Carolina Baptist men and women volunteers served in Appalachia. 

    But the most important local element of the North Carolina team’s work was Of One Accord Ministries led by Sheldon Livesay. A Rogersville native, Livesay worked in retail sales in South Carolina and Shelby before heading back to his hometown, where God called him into full-time ministry.

    Of One Accord has grown to be a well-respected multi-million dollar collection of ministries that includes thrift stores, three food pantries, medical clinic, evangelistic outreach and other work that helped well over 30,000 people across a two-county area last year. An international missions program has work in seven countries. 

    More than 300 local volunteers provide manpower, with 25 volunteer teams from outside, including the North Carolina one. A long-time member of First Baptist Church, Rogersville, Livesay had high praise for the North Carolina Baptists.

    Such visiting teams allow Of One Accord to expand its work during the summer months. Livesay tells the volunteers, “It’s God’s ministry but you’re the ones that make it happen.” And he says they should watch for how God creates ministry opportunities that became possible just because they are here.

    Another North Carolina construction team, headed by Ken Marshbanks of Cornerstone shored up a woman’s house whose floor had rotted away, forcing her to live in the garage.

    Dentist David Kwan, a member of Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte, joined with Lloyd Price, a local dentist and Baptist, to treat some 80 patients at a free dental clinic. Mandy Campbell was dental assistant. She is a member of New Hope Baptist Church, Charlotte, where her husband, Mike, is pastor. 

    Also assisting was Shannon Paulo, a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Waxhaw. Gracie Frank, a New Hope member, managed patient records. Glenn Stuart, who drives one of the two medical-dental bus clinics of N.C. Baptist Men, also helped. He is a member of Aversboro Road Baptist Church, Garner.

    Coordinating the ministry was Elizabeth Locklare of Cornerstone, a registered nurse with the Mecklenburg Nursing Fellowship’s dental ministry. She works regularly in the dental ministry at East Baptist Church, Charlotte, and many other locations.

    “We’ve seen terrible needs among the people here. Most people needed multiple extractions and deep cleaning,” she said. The dentists had done 45 extractions by Friday morning and estimated that over just two days they provided dental care that would have cost more than $16,000 in standard office visits.

    But the clinic provided more than dentistry. Brenda Coleman talked with every patient and presented the plan of salvation, giving out 36 Bibles during the week. She is a long-time member of Beaver Island Baptist Church near Mayodan.

    “It was been a heartbreaking week. Dental problems are just part of it. There are school problems, drug problems, alcoholism problems, housing problems,” she said. 

    The case that hurt her heart, she said, was a 28-year-old man who was a diabetic. He told Coleman he would be living in a park by the weekend because he was losing his house. His insulin must be temperature controlled yet he has no place to lay his head, she said.

    Back at the Shepherd’s Center, Of One Accord’s ministry center on East Main Street in Rogersville, four volunteers — April McDermott and Virginia Crawford of Cornerstone; Jeff Smith and Charlotte Stuart, New Hope — packed food for needy families.

    Three volunteers helped prepare meals for senior adults: Marilee Funck of Aversboro Road Baptist Church, Garner; Sandra Duncan and Trish Marshbanks, Cornerstone.

    Jeff Smith and other North Carolina volunteers also worked in the thrift store: Bobby and Betty Branson, Westwood Baptist Church, Cary; Joan Brown, Joanne Potter and Joanna Potter, Cornerstone; and Teresa Smith, New Hope. Eddie Walker of Cornerstone provided help and counseling to people using Of One Accord’s computer lab. He also spent many hours updating the ministry’s web site and teaching the staff how to maintain it. Mike Justice of Cornerstone, a retired Charlotte police officer, helped with fingerprinting, another Of One Accord service to the community.

    Paul Talbert and John Watson of Cornerstone mowed and trimmed many lawns into shape, including one for a woman who is sick and undergoing dialysis.

    Friday night before the team returned to North Carolina on Saturday, the town of Rogersville closed off the downtown area and brought in about 100 classic cars, from hot rods to early 1950s Fords and Chevys — a “Cruise-In.”

    As visitors oohed over the cars, Baptist volunteers sang Christian songs from the steps of the historic courthouse; Susan Justice directed. North Carolina volunteers helped kids play games while Laura Jernigan and Josh Wyse of Cornerstone, did ballooning and Sandra Duncan, Joanna Potter and others painted kids’ faces.

    For the North Carolina volunteers, it had been an eye-opening, productive week.
    9/22/2010 7:18:00 AM by Mike Creswell, BSC | with 6 comments




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