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Christmas in June

 

Stuart Lang

Left to right, Billy Baggett, Pickett Bondrey, and Robert Weaver help construct a trailer provided for the Baptist Association of Southwest Pennsylvania. Bondrey is a member of Camilla First Baptist and Weaver a member of Nashville First Baptist.

It started as an empty trailer. Then Georgia Baptist volunteers added a water tank and shower stalls and floors. Then they packed it up and drove it to southwest Pennsylvania.

There was no big red bow on top of the shower trailer, but there might as well have been. It was a great Christmas present – one that will mean far more than just a hot shower.

The trailer is a gift from Georgia Baptists – purchased with donations from the Pennsylvania association, Monticello Church, and Cooperative Program funds. The 30-foot, 14,000-pound trailer was built by volunteers with Georgia Baptist Builders. The group, led by George Crenshaw, built in six shower stalls and a washer and dryer.

“It’s a really nice unit that will serve them well,” said Stuart Lang, GBC disaster relief consultant who delivered the trailer to Pennsylvania.

Lamar Duke, associational missionary of the Baptist Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania, agreed.

“We have a lot of volunteer mission groups coming to southwest Pennsylvania who often can’t pay for a hotel room. Now that we have a shower trailer, they can sleep in sleeping bags at a church, work on site and shower on-site. It’s a great thing. You just can’t imagine how this will help us,” Duke said.

Stuart Lang

Jack Baker, a member of Camilla First Baptist, holds a piece in place while Carl Gillespie, a member of Abbeville First Baptist, secures the wall of one of the trailer’s six showers. Looking on at left is Billy Baggett, a member of First Baptist Church in Sycamore.

The association has about 70 churches and missions in an area that includes three million people in nine counties. Pittsburgh is the largest city in the association. Volunteers are an integral part of the Baptist work in the area.

“We have a place called Mt. Washington. USA Today named it the second most beautiful view in America. I go there and look over Pittsburgh and pray over the city. In 2004, God showed me there was a vacancy for volunteer missions in Pittsburgh,” Duke said.

He went to work recruiting volunteers to help with a variety of projects, including church planting.

“In 2004 we had 400 volunteers. The next year we had 700, then in 2006 we had more than 1,000. We’re on our way to hosting several thousand volunteers a year with the help of Georgia Baptists,” said Duke, who was a church planter and pastor in Savannah area before moving to Pennsylvania.

The new shower trailer was delivered June 1 and in place for its first group of volunteers less than two weeks later.

“The first group that used it put out 7,000 door knockers in one day for Iron City Church (in Pittsburgh). That one day will be a big help to the church,” Duke said.

“This shower trailer makes possible so many more opportunities for volunteers. We really appreciate all that Georgia Baptists have done to make it possible. Once the word gets out, it will be used almost every week. We’ve already got five weeks scheduled – and that’s just a week after we received it,” Duke said.

Stuart Lang

Grady Wilkes, from Dublin, works on the hitch at the front of the trailer.


Georgia Baptists partner with the Baptist Association of Southwest Pennsylvania through Appalachian Regional Ministries. ARM is a partnership ministry of the North American Mission Board, the Woman’s Missionary Union, and eleven states, including Georgia. To find out more information about volunteer opportunities in Pennsylvania and other Appalachian areas, see the website www.arministry.org.

The ministry of ARM and the partnership with Pennsylvania is supported by Cooperative Program funds. You and your church may send your Cooperative Program gifts to:

 

Dr. J. Robert White
Executive Director, GBC
6405 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, GA 30097