Virginia Baptists Serve on Mission at BC
As part of its institutional mission and commitment to the Baptist General Association of Virginia, Bluefield College is dedicated to “service to God and the community.” Students are often found serving on mission at home and abroad, participating in service projects to support the community, or leading ministry efforts in Virginia Baptist churches.

Virginia Baptists Serve on Mission at BC

By Chris Shoemaker | June 15, 2012 | RSS


Charles Hall of New Bethesda Baptist Church, one of 26 volunteers to complete serve on mission at Bluefield College this summer, works on renovations to a BC faculty house.




Judy Burruss of Cool Spring Baptist Church works on a paint job as part of her support of a Virginia Baptist mission project at BC in June




Virginia Baptist volunteers (from left) Tracey Jowers of Berea Baptist Church, Charles Hall of New Bethesda Baptist Church and Mike Adams of Cool Spring Baptist Church team up to renovate a faculty house at Bluefield College.



This summer, however, the tables were turned when two Virginia Baptist mission teams came to Bluefield to give back to the college and its students through a missions project designed to complete much-needed renovations and improvements to BC facilities.


Twenty-one members of Virginia Baptist churches from Greater Richmond, along with five other BC friends, spent two consecutive weeks in June on the Bluefield College campus on a mission to support their Virginia Baptist partner.


“I do a lot of mission work as part of my ministry,” said Rev. Todd Combee, pastor of New Bethesda Baptist Church. “I have served on the Board of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, and I know how important Bluefield College is and how important it is for us (Virginia Baptists) to support the school.”


The Virginia Baptist missionaries represented Berea Baptist Church, Broadus Memorial Baptist Church, Cool Spring Baptist Church, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Mechanicsville Baptist Church, New Bethesda Baptist Church, Northside Baptist Church and Sharon Baptist Church, and included Rev. Combee (New Bethesda), Mike Adams (Cool Spring), Cecil Barrett (Mechanicsville), Kevin Blunt (Cool Spring), Berkeley Bullington (New Bethesda), Judy Burruss (Cool Spring), Lyn Folk (Northside), Beth Gryder (Cool Spring), Norris Gryder (Broadus Memorial), Charles Hall (New Bethesda), Tracey Jowers (Berea), Nancy Keeton (Sharon), Sam Loving (Mechanicsville), Bettie Mansini (Sharon), Edwin Morrison (New Bethesda), Jack Sarver (Cool Spring), Jean Sharp (Hillcrest), Cotton Sizemore (Mechanicsville), Fred Tipton (New Bethesda), Tommy West (New Bethesda), and Leroy Williams (New Bethesda).


Other missionary friends working on behalf of BC included alumnus and trustee Tem Marshall from Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia, and Beth Farley from First Baptist Church in Princeton, West Virginia, along with Grace Barrett from North Carolina and George Ossman and Sue Sherwood from Maryland.


“I’ve never done a mission trip before,” said Norris Gryder. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s a new experience, and it’s great being around such a nice group of Christians.”


Burruss, on the other hand, was participating in her third consecutive mission trip to Bluefield. She started not long after she overcame a brain tumor, despite a diagnosis that she would live only about six more months.


“I’ve been committed to missions ever since,” said Burruss. “It’s basically my way of saying ‘thanks’ to God for letting me live.”


The two groups constructed and painted a locker room for the school’s new football team and completed renovations to a faculty house on campus. They also converted administrative offices into residential space to meet the growing demand for on-campus housing for students.


“I like to fix things and work with my hands,” said Adams, who added he discovered his talents through a spiritual gifts inventory exercise at Cool Spring. “I’m glad I have that gift, and this is a good opportunity to use it. When I found out about this project, I thought I could help and that it’s got to benefit the school somewhere down the line.”


The mission teams also repainted and re-wallpapered the foyer in BC’s Harman Chapel and installed new lighting and painted in hallways and stairwells of Rish Residence Hall, all for the sake of giving back to Bluefield College and to God.


“The Lord has richly blessed me,” said Hall. “I enjoy working with my hands and knowing that at the end of the day I have helped somebody.”


Spearheaded by Williams, a Bluefield College alumnus and longtime missions leader at New Bethesda, the annual summer mission project at BC began in 2009 when Williams organized a crew of more than 100 workers to renovate the school’s dilapidated cottages into married-student housing.


Since then, Williams, Barrett, Folk, Loving, Marshall and West have served four consecutive summers. The college recognized the symbolism of their four years of service to BC, like four years of study for a student, with the presentation of certificates of appreciation.


“I cannot adequately express the profound appreciation I and the campus community have for Leroy Williams and the volunteers who assisted him,” said Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive. “He has a servant’s heart and is willing to do anything we ask of him and his team of volunteers. We are blessed by the improved facilities, and our faculty and students will enjoy the enhancements as they arrive in the fall.”





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