Sam Kelley author
Beginning in 1970 with Campers on Mission, volunteers from across the state have been ministering to Southern Baptists in Ohio by giving a week of their time to construct and maintain the great facilities housed at the Seneca Lake Baptist Assembly (SLBA) campgrounds. During the last several years, this ministry has been carried on by many volunteers known as Buckeye Baptist Builders (BBB).
Projects such as building cabins, boat docks, sports fields (softball, volleyball, horseshoes, etc), miniature golf, dining hall, shelters, Frisbee golf, and snack shacks have been built and maintained over the years.
When asked why they would give a full week of their time to be away from home and family to work hard for no pay, you get answers such as: This is like a week of revival, working for Our Lord to provide a place for young and old to come and learn about Him; You can’t out give God; Why not, if you only knew what God has done for me!; I look forward all year to this week, because we get together, work hard, renew friendships, and get closer to our Father!
Truth be known, there are countless thousands who have surrendered their lives to Christ at SLBA. Some have gone into ministerial professions, such as pastors or onto the mission field. Some have gone on to minister more boldly in their local church. Some have moved on to other endeavors in life and are raising their children and grandchildren to know God. What an awesome legacy to be a small part of.
This year, April 30-May 4, ministry was continued under the direction of team leader, Dale Patterson. Patterson has been a long time Baptist Builder and is also the leader of the Metro Columbus Association Builders team. He is very active in his home church, First Baptist Westerville and leads the Disaster Relief Chain Saw Unit. Dale leads this week’s work, while our newest statewide builder leader, Randy Sparks, steps up and takes the lead on other projects around the state. Randy attends FBC Heath and has been a long time member of the Buckeye Baptist Builders, working with Patterson on several projects over the years. Please welcome Randy to this new leadership role.
Approximately 50 volunteers added a new metal roof to the front half of the gymnasium, cleaned and maintained both mini golf parks, placed mulch, painted benches in front of each of the cabins, built a new welcome station for entrance into the camp (with electric), removed and replaced a deteriorated wall on the back side of the dining hall, painted the exterior of the dining hall, installed rubber flooring in shower area of Ash cabin, painted the inside of the boat house, built a ramp to the boat dock, and installed new mattress covers on all beds in the cabins; to make the camp ready for summer campers. What a beautiful week of ministry!
Beginning in 2000, the BBB began honoring those team members who passed on and went to be with Our Lord during the preceding year. Plaques, in builder’s tradition, were affixed to the shelter fully donated and built by the builders. This year, number 21 – Gene Wilcox – and number 22 – Ray Morris, were added to the memorial. Gene and Ray are both former statewide leaders of the BBB Ministry and have led volunteers not only at SLBA, but also around the state and in many other states and foreign countries. The dollars saved in ministry expenses and lives invested in are countless. Vince Waters, Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Sidney, Ohio, provided words of encouragement and dedication.
Thinking of work to do, you don’t have to wait until next year to join Baptist Builders! No sir, we have some churches asking for assistance in building repairs and roof replacements. Your assistance in doing this work will be greatly appreciated and blessed. Contact Sam Kelley at the state office for more information. FREE FOOD AT THE PROJECTS (LODGING IS FREE IF YOU CAMP OR SLEEP IN THE CHURCH).