LEBANON – Most armies come to tear down and destroy, but the RV army of Campers on Mission comes to build and restore. Missouri Baptists make up the vast majority of the Missouri Campers on Mission members, and their efforts have benefited Missouri Baptist churches and camps all across the state.
One of the churches the Campers have served is Orla Baptist outside of Lebanon. Soon after Pastor Jordan Witt was called to Orla two years ago, he knew the church building needed a remodel. It was erected in 1971, and much of it was still original.
“There were a lot of things that needed attention,” Witt said.
The church was in agreement and had voted even before Witt came to address several aesthetic and structural issues. But as often happens, the vote had not led to concrete action, and monetary concerns led the church to table the issue.
Witt had heard about Campers on Mission and decided to investigate to see if they could help. Campers on Mission responded and held a mini-rally at the church in April. Mini-rallies vary in size, but this one saw about a dozen volunteers roll in and hunker down with their RVs to spend twelve days working at the church.
The Campers worked on several projects, including electrical work, sheetrock, painting, and finish work. The project included a remodel of the sanctuary and the addition of a bathroom on the church’s main level.
Not only did Campers work in the building, but several lady Campers spent their time sewing quilts. The finished quilts were then given to local non-profit organizations.
During the mini-rallies, the host church provides meals for those who are serving. Dorothy Deckard, a long-time member of Orla Baptist Church, was one who helped cook and serve.
“We furnished a meal for them every night at the church,” she said.
“They did an amazing job and they were amazing people.”
Her Pastor agreed. Not only did the workers excel in workmanship, but their lives and attitude reflected Christ, according to Witt.
“You can feel Christ’s love through those people. The joy that is in their heart is just amazing,” he said.
Witt estimated that the Campers saved the church tens of thousands of dollars.
“It’s just a huge, huge blessing when those people come to help,” Witt said.
Roger Marshall, a retired Missouri Baptist pastor who serves with the Campers, noted that they have done similar projects for churches and camps across the state.
“We have been able to do work at Shelbina Baptist Church, Omaha Baptist Church, Orla Baptist Church, Camp Keirsey, Laclede Baptist Association Camp, Baptist Hill, and many, many others,” he said.
“So many people don’t know it is available to their churches and how much they could benefit from it,” Marshall said.
“Someone once said to me, ‘It’s one of the best kept secrets in the state of Missouri.’”
The Campers welcome volunteers to join their ranks. They also welcome calls from churches to determine how the Campers can help. If you are interested in learning more about either volunteering or seeing if the Campers can serve your church, you can visit www.missouricampersonmission.com or contact them through email at email@example.com.