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

Shelby mission camp looks for volunteers

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

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


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


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


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


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