leven-year-old Sarah had no way of knowing when she
heard the gospel at a street festival and responded by giving her life to Jesus
that she would be face-to-face with Him before another year dawned.
Rachel Gillum, a volunteer with Campers on Mission, was at the Rocky Mount,
North Carolina, street festival when Sarah and her friend asked Rachel to make
a beaded bracelet.
As Rachel prepared the bracelets, she explained what the color of each bead
represented, using the opportunity to share the message of salvation with the
young listeners. One of the girls was already a believer. But as the dialogue
developed, Sarah realized she did not know Christ.
Asking Rachel to pray with her, Sarah gave her heart to Jesus.
Sarah told her parents about her decision and showed them the contact
information from Rachel when she arrived home.
A few weeks later, Rachel received a call from Sarahs parents. Sarah had
died suddenly of a brain aneurysm, and her parents were calling to thank Rachel
for leading their precious child to Jesus in the 11th hour of her life.
Since Sarahs death four years ago, her parents visit the Campers on Mission
booth during the festival every year and express their appreciation for this
Ministry that brings a healing touch. Don and Gladys
Blizzard lost everything they had when the town of Rocky Mount was hit with the
500-year flood in 1999.
Everything we had went out from under uscars, truck, furniture, appliances,
everything, Gladys said. The water was five feet deep inside the house and 12
feet deep on our road.
Gladys and Don had lived in their brick home for 23 years when the flood
hit. The house had to be completely gutted right to the outer walls; not even
the floors were saved.
The Blizzards had no insurance.
Within a couple of weeks of the disaster, Campers on Mission (COMers)
arrived and went to work on the Blizzards home.
They came in waves whenever they could get there. Within nine months, the
Blizzards were back in their house, able to start over with donated food,
furniture and appliances. Eighteen months after the flood there were still many
people who were not back in their homes.
Not only did the Campers on Mission supply volunteer labor, but they
often paid out of their pocket for building materials.
Joe and Grace Barrett from Matthews (COMers from North Carolina) took us
under their wing, Gladys said.
They helped us right up to the end and then stopped in to see us a couple
months after they finished, just to see how we were doing.
Could you be a Camper on Mission?Test your knowledge
on Campers on Mission and Resort Ministries. Answers below.
1. What is the Campers on Mission motto?
[ ] Happy trails to you[ ] On the road again[ ] AS WE GO
[ ] 2x2 in your 4x4[ ] RVs R Us[ ] It only takes a spark
2. What is Beach Reach?[ ] Hippie
slang for a Volkswagen van with Beach or Bust painted on it.[ ] Part of a calisthenics routine for
beach-goersspecifically: toe touching.[ ] A National Parks satellite used for determining whether
the width of any beach in their jurisdiction meets federal guidelines.[ ] A handheld metal detector.[ ] A pathway connecting the parking lot with the beach.[ ] An innovative resort ministry outreach.
3. The unspoken rule of Resort Worship is:[
] The bigger the boombox, the bigger the crowd.[ ] Offerings are collected in sun hats.[ ] Get it said, preacher, the sun is shining![ ] Everyone is welcome and dress is casual.[ ] No shirt, No shoes, No service.[ ] No surfboards allowed.
4. Every COMer must have:[ ] A
20-foot recreational vehicle minimum.[ ] A hefty income or retirement package to cover the cost of
gas.[ ] A GOerin order to be balanced.[ ] Wiener sticks in the shape of a cross as campground
conversation starters.[ ] A heart for ministry and the desire to take Christ
wherever he or she goes.[ ] Certified training in at least one area of
Answers:1. The Campers on Mission motto is AS WE GO.
It is taken from the risen Christs charge to His disciples just before He
ascended into heaven, As you go make disciples (Matthew 28:19).
2. Beach Reach: the mission of a beach reach is to share the gospel message
with people on the beach in an innovative, captivating way. Sand sculpture,
volleyball, face painting, water bottles and Frisbees are some of the tools
used in a beach reach.
3. The unspoken rule of resort worship is that everyone is welcome and dress
is casual. If resort worship is at the beach or campground, shorts, T-shirts
and flip-flops are normal attire. If resort worship is held on the ski slope,
either in a chapel or outdoors under a wooden cross, warm winter clothing would
be preferable. The key is to dress so guests feel comfortable coming as they
4. Every COMer must have a heart for ministry and the desire to take Christ
wherever he or she goes. Whether your camping gear consists of a backpack and a
thirst for adventure or a fully stocked RV, you can be a successful COMer if
you are responding to the call of God to be an on mission
The Blizzards attend Union Baptist in Rocky Mount where Pete Butler, the
onsite Campers on Mission coordinator for the Rocky Mount disaster relief, is a
Ministry that gives back. Ask any COMer why they do what
they do and the answers vary little:
We do it because we love the Lord. We go where we can be around people and
send the word out. Weve had up to 75 people in our campground services.
We start before Memorial Day and move from park to park in Ohio and keep
going until the end of October if the money holds out and the 77 van keeps
Worldwide impact via seamenTim Rice, a NAMB-appointed
missionary to seafarers in Charleston, South Carolina, relies on regular
involvement from Campers on Mission (COM) volunteers like J.R. and Yvonne
McGee, both retired bankers from South Carolina, and others to carry out port
ministry. Thanks to the availability of trailer hookups at the Seafarers
Center, volunteers are able to stay for a week or a month at a time.
COMers help Tim minister in many ways: They visit on board docked ships,
handing out magazines and tracts and welcoming the travelers. They offer rides
free of charge to seamen who need to access businesses away from the portthe
favorite destination being Wal-Mart. They sell telephone calling cards and help
internationals make long distance connections in private booths at the
seafarers center. They distribute New Testaments in more than 70 languages and
multilingual Jesus videos as well. And, in every act of service, they are
mindful of opportunities to share the gospel one-on-one with all who are
Racing for souls at NASCARWintford and Martha Haynes, national coordinators for
Campers on Mission saw 11 people come to Christ during their mission experience
with Raceway Ministries on the NASCAR circuit in Las Vegas last year.
The Haynes have been active COMers since 1972, giving the lions share of
their annual vacation to short-term missions. After his retirement from the
insurance business in 1997, Wintford accepted the role as national coordinator
There were about 5,000 campers parked at the races last year in Las Vegas,
Wintford said. In typical COM fashion, Wintford and Martha and two other COM
couples joined forces with two summer missionaries, the racetrack chaplain and
some volunteers from local churches to form a ministry team.
We minister mainly to the fans at the racetrack, Martha said. When people
come down for free hotdogs, we have a Christian country singer doing a free
As people mill about enjoying the music and the food, they can register for
a prize. On the registration form are survey questions dealing with spiritual
issues. COM volunteers use these surveys as good conversation starters for
sharing the message of hope in Christ.
Last year they prayed with a woman who was quite distressed because of her
cancer diagnosis. The woman thanked us for helping her get her heart right with
the Lord, Martha said. The Haynes kept in touch with her by email over the next
few months and up to her final days on earth.
Were both disabled and suffer from constant pain, but the Lord will help us
if He wants us to continue. By the end of the season, were exhausted and we
spend our winter recuperating, but its a good blessing.
Tony and Marlene Geiger, Ohio
We had never camped and never done mission work when we joined COM in 1988.
Some people think were pretty nuts, but were trying to give a little back.
We are confident that every assignment has been the right
onethe one the Lord wanted us to be on. We have grown spiritually. Theres no
way you could receive those blessings sitting in a recliner! Now we have
extended family all over the place.
Bill and Joan Adair, South Carolina
We took a trip to Alaska before starting this work (with COM) but we didnt
feel fulfilled. We hadnt made any contributionwe felt like we had more to offer
than that. We have bonded with wonderful people in the churches and with other
Robert and Voncile Mallory, North Carolina
We love the Lord. Weve served Him for a long time, and well do it til we
die. This is the joy of our salvation. The highlight of our ministry is winning
someone to the Lord. You have to go out where the people are. I never pressure
anyone, but I win many people to the Lord doing beaded bracelets at the state
Thilmon and Carolyn Vonier, Georgia
The Lord blesses me so much. I get such joy. The joy of seeing people come
to the Lordyou couldnt put a price tag on it! Of course my house has gone to pot. It changes your
priorities, how you look at people. We started with COM in 1989, and in 1997,
after I had both knees replaced, I suggested to my husband that we take a real
holiday. We went to Disneyworld, and we found it so boring we decided wed
rather do mission work.
L.D. and Carroll Flowe, South Carolina
We saw the need and the Lord wanted us to go. Its not easy work, but its
rewarding work because were doing it for the Lord. He enables us to try to make
a difference in someones life. We have volunteered at the Laverne Griffin
Native Youth Camp in Alaska every summer for seven of the last 10 years.
Paul and Dot Davidson, Georgia
After my wifes first cancerous brain tumor was discovered in 1999, we could
have stayed home and felt sorry for ourselveswe decided to follow the Lord
A second tumor was found and also removed and after some
chemo-therapy treatments, she was completely healed. As a retired registered
nurse, I am able to monitor my wifes rehabilitation wherever we go. These trips
have been a blessing. When the Lord calls and you respond, He takes care of the
Bill and Irmi Motte, South Carolina.
Ministry that networks for added value. Campers on Mission
often partners with the Special Ministries Evangelism unit of the North
American Mission Board.
Specialized evangelistic ministries include resort ministries. Volunteers
like Campers on Mission often provide the hands and feet needed for resort
ministers to accomplish their goals.
Resort ministry, in a nutshell, is communicating the gospel to people who
are caught up in a leisure lifestyle.
Bill Black and his wife, Cindy, co-directors since 1981 of Smoky Mountain
Resort Ministries (SMRM), Tennessee, coordinate an annual volunteer force of
600 people in their effort to take the message of Jesus out of the church and
into the world.
Volunteers provide energy and passion for Christ as they step out of the
traditional walls of the church and into resort ministry, Bill said. They are
essential to our work in that they multiply our program presence as well as
fulfill their own call to mission.
Bill enables and equips volunteers to have evangelistic encounters in
ministry, and he helps them find and fulfill their call to missions.
Jeff and Thea Ford, newly appointed US/C-2 missionaries, co-direct Gulf Area
Resort Ministries headquartered in Orange Beach, Alabama. Jeff works with 400
volunteers annually. COMers like James and Janet Petty, retired after 36 years
with a telephone company in Decatur, Alabama, make an impact on Jeffs resort
After the Pettys completed several months of volunteer ministry to snowbirds
at the Gulf State Park Campground, the North American Mission Board provided
funding for a campground chaplain to take their place so they could serve with
Brad Lartigue spends his winters ministering at Big Sky Ski Resort and his
summers working with Christian Innovator summer missionaries at Yellowstone
Almost every year Brad welcomes the help of one or two COM couples to serve
as dorm parents for the summer missionaries who live and work alongside
Yellowstones 3,600 summer employees.
These adult volunteers are a crucial aspect of this ministry that needs
additional personnel to be effective, Brad said.
Ministering in Yellowstone is not an easy task. The ministry is focused on
the employees because the government prohibits evangelistic ministry to
tourists, he added.
Young people like Dave Cleary of Illinois find Christ after studying Zen,
Darwinism, Taoism and Buddhism by working alongside committed Christian
Now that he has found the answer to his searching, Dave hopes to attend
Ministry that multiplies. Every October for the
past several years, COMers Carol and L.D. Flowe have parked their RV beside a
historic 150-year-old church in Heritage Village on the state fairgrounds in
Raleigh, North Carolina.
Besides coordinating a host of incoming volunteer groups that minister to
fairgoers at the church, Carol keeps a huge crockpot simmering with nutritious
soups free for the fair workers, many who are homeless, most of the year under
an awning on their RV. With the help of other COMers and local churches, they
served over 2,000 meals during the fair last year.
What is Campers on Mission?A love of the great
outdoors and Christian fellowship and the desire to tell others about their
faith in Jesus are characteristics of Campers on Mission (COM).
COM is a national fellowship of Christian campers working in cooperation
with the Volunteer Mobilization unit of the North American Mission Board and
with the Southern Baptist Convention. COM includes Christians of all
denominations who want to share their faith and the love of Jesus Christ while
camping or participating in mission activities.
COM has 7,000 members in 28 chapters involving 32 states in the United
States. Membership is free and open to any Christian.
What do Campers on Mission do?
COMers accept short-term mission assignments across the United States and
Canada and overseas. Typically these assignments last a week or more.
The Campers on Mission motto is AS WE GO, taken from the risen Christs
charge to His disciples just before He ascended into heaven: As you go make
disciples (Matthew 28:19).
How can I find out about COM and other short-term
The Adult Volunteer Mobilization unit at the North American Mission Board
manages a national needs list for short-term projects. The list is published
quarterly in OnSite. You can subscribe to OnSite by emailing your mailing
address to email@example.com. For
Resort Ministries information you can contact Wintford and Martha Haynes at
256-796-2575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One afternoon as Carol was rushing between tasks, she was approached by a
policeman who had come to the historic church looking for help.
Distraught because his wife had taken their newborn child and left home that
morning, he asked Carol to pray with him. Carol and other COMers rallied around
the young officer, praying and offering hourly support over the next few days
as his story poured out.
After admitting that his adulterous affair had prompted his wife to leave
him and accepting responsibility for his actions, the policemanwith the help of
good Christian counselwas able to restore his family.
I just wanted you to know that if you hadnt stopped and talked to me that
day in the church, the policeman told Carol some time later, I was planning to
go back to my trailer and use my service revolver on myself.
Not only did he save his marriage and get active in church, the following
year the policeman introduced 13 people to Christ.
And every year, he returns to the historic church in Heritage Village and
hugs on us, Carol said. That hooked me on fair ministry!
Connie Cavanaugh is a writer and speaker living in Cochrane,
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC