News Articles

NAMB website for volunteers makes missions happen in Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–Sharon Colantonio stood in the bathroom of Avery Woods Cottage No. 7, paint roller in hand. The splatters of Dover Cliff White on her baseball cap, clothes and skin matched the freshly painted cinderblock walls in the cottage living room. As she listened to music, she prayed for the students who would live and study in this dormitory cottage when fall semester classes begin at the University of Mobile in Alabama.

This was summer vacation for Sharon and other Southern Baptists who used their Internet connection to visit the North American Mission Board’s Volunteer Mobilization Information System website at www.volunteers.namb.net. It’s a connection that soon led to an actual visit to Mobile, Ala.

“I signed up on the NAMB site as a volunteer and they contacted me,” said the 23-year-old physical education specialist. A member of First Baptist Church in Waldorf, Md., Colantonio combined the mission project with a visit to her grandparents’ home in a neighboring town.

“I’ve been doing missions since the summer of my sophomore year in college,” she said. “No matter where you are, you’re always on mission, always helping someone. It’s a lifestyle God has called me to.”

It’s a lifestyle that appeals to others who also used the NAMB site to locate a mission project that would provide the perfect fit between their skills, talents and schedule. That’s how a group from Shiloh Baptist Church in Chipley, Fla., discovered the University of Mobile project.

With much of their church’s focus on a $3.5 million building project, the Chipley group needed a project that could be done quickly and close to home, without massive coordination. A few clicks of the mouse led them to the NAMB website, where they learned of the Baptist college’s need. The nine-member team stayed on campus in dorms for two days while painting and cleaning the men’s cottages.

Vicki Mathis, a junior college administrator, said she likes “the idea of continuing to support the schools that teach the values we think are important.”

“This is a great opportunity to go to bed tired, content and happy, and feel we are making a difference,” she added.

This is the first time UM has submitted a project request to NAMB, and school administrators are delighted with the results.

“That these individuals would give of their time and talents to help us prepare for students is wonderful,” said Leon Pirkle, vice president for campus operations.

James and Kathleen Carroll of Baton Rouge, La., arrived on campus as the Chipley group was leaving. They had just completed a two-week renovation project at Louisiana College through the Campers on Mission project coordinated by NAMB. Having found the University of Mobile project on the NAMB website, the retired couple drove their RV onto campus, parked and started painting women’s dorm rooms in Arendall Hall.

“With the NAMB site, you can plug in your interests or talents and search out who wants your participation,” Carroll said. “When I put in ‘painting,’ the University of Mobile project came up. I thought it looked like something I would like to do.”

The Carrolls, members of First Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, spent a week on campus. While they worked, they prayed.

“We pray for the kids who will use this room. That’s who we’re doing this for, so they’ll have a good experience at college,” Carroll said.

Colantonio said Christ has already set the example of service, and she is committed to responding. Spending part of her summer painting dorm rooms is one very important way to witness to family members and friends who are not Christians.

“Talk is cheap to them, but when they see you taking a proactive role, it means something,” she said.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: JAMES CARROLL and VOLUNTEERS.

    About the Author

  • Kathy Dean