When many of us think about the North Carolina Baptist Men, a picture of people from all age groups begins to emerge—of both men and women wearing yellow hats and shirts. The next scene is one of many trucks and vans pulling up on site at a disaster work site, whether it is a flood, hurricane, tornado or ice storm. Here we are willing and ready to respond within a few short hours of notice. And this is a good image; however, a new picture of the Baptist Men is beginning to emerge.
We first arrived on site and witnessed several worn and tattered apartments to be renovated for future camp staff. These small quarters looked like they’d been sitting empty since the 70’s. The musky odor was strong and it hit hard as we walked inside one of the units; not to mention the harsh green colors of the early 70’s that demanded a present reminder of the days gone by. However, knowing my husband’s expertise in rebuilding and remodeling, I could easily visualize the hope and change in store for these shabby worn down apartment houses.
Next we found ourselves bouncing along the mountainous terrain, riding in a church van. Finally, we made our first stop in the wilderness. As we all piled out of the van and walked across the hillside, the view was captivating even in the winter. At the bottom of the hill nestled a big lake with nothing but trees and landscape beyond as far as the eye could see. As I looked out over the scenery, I could imagine small huts erected throughout the hills. I saw young girls scurrying from campsite to campsite laughing and playing with new friends. Then I imagined that I could see twilight setting in and small campfires outside each site with young girls gathered around the fires rubbing their small hands together atop the leaping flames to keep warm, all the while enjoying the freedom and simplicity that the outdoors had to offer.
Next I saw rustic looking bathhouses springing up on site as the director spoke these scenes into existence with his enthusiasm and plans to see the work begin. Then we went to a house that in the future would serve as the main conference center for the girls and this is where the greatest vision began to emerge. It was here that I could see the halls filled with young girls excited about learning more about Jesus and how they could become effective servants in ministry for Him.
Mark 19:14 reads, “But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Then verse 15 reads, “And He put His hand on their heads and blessed them before he left.”