By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
The secular world is always quick to point out the faults of Christians in general and Baptists in particular. But they don’t always give Baptists credit for the things Baptists do well.
On Saturday night, May 27, straight-line winds swept through Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center in Newport, downing numerous trees, including one that fell on the edge of camp director Kevin Perrigan’s home.
Perrigan called William Maxwell, administrative director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, who in turned contacted Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist.
Overnight, word spread and early the next morning Perrigan began to hear from East Tennessee disaster relief volunteers, including Don Owen who leads DR efforts for Nolachucky Baptist Association.
By 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, more than 50 DR volunteers from Nolachucky and Jefferson County Baptist Association, and others from the community, gathered at Carson Springs to begin clean up. Ironically, the efforts were taking place on the very day Tennessee Baptists had set aside as a day of prayer for Tennessee Baptist Conference Centers.
Volunteers worked with a common goal — to get the camp ready for All Nations Camp that began on Memorial Day (May 29). “Their desire was to get everything ready for the kids,” Perrigan said.
Within about four hours, trees were cut, sawed, and limbs were mulched. Roads on the campus that were impassable after the storm were accessible.
Perrigan said there was no way All Nations Camp could have begun on Monday were it not for those volunteers who responded to a need. He saw a local woman there with her family who told him they came “because we are neighbors and that’s what neighbors do.”
That’s also what Tennessee Baptists do. When there’s a need they meet it.
Perrigan observed that on a day of when Baptists across Tennessee were praying for the conference centers, volunteers did their job so “God could do His work.”
And, as always, God doesn’t disappoint. In the first full morning of camp on Tuesday (May 30), eight children professed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Continue to pray that more children will make salvation decisions not only at All Nations Camp this week, but throughout the summer at both Carson Springs and Linden Valley Baptist Conference Center in Linden.
To God be the glory. Great things He hath done (and will do)!