×
N.C. volunteers build, serve in Tennessee
Mike Creswell, BSC
September 22, 2010
7 MIN READ TIME

N.C. volunteers build, serve in Tennessee

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

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.