Volunteers work on Lockhart addition

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2015

Patience and faith are what’s making it possible for an extension to the fellowship hall and the addition of a kitchen at the Lockhart Baptist Church.

“We had formed a fellowship committee to see about constructing this fellowship kitchen and we got an architect that drew the bids, then got three different bids,” Chairman of Deacons Nolan Laird said. “The bids were way beyond the financial capabilities of this church, so some of them wanted to quit.

“I said ‘no, wait a minute, don’t get in a rush’,” he said. “I said just hold on and let the Lord intervene, and He did. That’s when I talked to my friend.”

Laird talked to a friend who is a member of the Alabama Campers on Mission, a charitable organization that offers free manual labor to churches in need.

“Basically what we are is builders, free labor,” said Ron McMonagle, project director and current president of the organization. “Generally, Alabama Campers are used because of the spread of word-of-mouth. We do churches and other churches see us and hear what we have done.

“People contact us and we’ll send one of our representatives to see what kind of work they have, and where they’re located,” he said. “When Brother John Bryan contacted us, they were looking at enlargening the fellowship hall. So, what we’re doing is taking the building out 18 feet and then meeting it to be 43 feet long.”

Laird said the project was expected to cost more than $100,000, but with the help of the Alabama Campers, the church will only have to pay half of that.

“We can save churches 50 percent of their projects by supplying the free manual labor. The churches supply all the materials,” McMonagle said. “There are about 350 members in the state of Alabama, and most are retired. They come to work for Alabama Campers and now they work harder now than when they were really working.”

The cost to the church is strictly in materials and housing for the campers.

Bryan said the members are doing a great job and in less than four days, the group has made fantastic progress.

“They take a 15 minute break in the morning, lunch and another 15 minute break in the afternoon,” Bryan said.

There are 15 members working on the Lockhart project, men and women alike.

The women have set up a sewing center to make curtains for the church, but also clothing for children in need.

“The ladies are actively engaged also, and some of the ladies work with the men on the building projects,” McMonagle said. “They make reversible dresses, pants and shorts for children.”

The only requirement to host the Alabama Campers is to provide them a hookup for their RVs and travel trailers, a water and electric hookup and one meal a day. McMonagle said the meal isn’t really required, but most churches like to feed the members.

The enlarged hall is integral for the church to minister to the members and to the community.

“There have been times when we’ve had hurricanes and we would open this up to the public,” Bryan said. commodate all of that.”

The campers work 7 to 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and will be working in Lockhart for another two weeks.