Church group serves Nor­wood

Mis­sion­ar­ies travel to Dun­dalk

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By NI­COLE RODMAN nrod­man@ches­

School may be out, but the halls and classrooms at Nor­wood Ele­men­tary School were bustling with ac­tiv­ity last week, thanks in large part to a group of 40 North Car­olina mis­sion­ar­ies.

The vol­un­teers, mem­bers of Den­ver Bap­tist Church in Den­ver, N.C., stayed at Cap­ti­vate Church, next to Nor­wood, and spent their days serv­ing at Nor­wood and Ho­labird Mid­dle School, as

well as min­is­ter­ing to mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

This marks the third year the team has trav­eled to Dun­dalk and served lo­cal schools.

At Nor­wood, the mis­sion­ary team com­pleted a num­ber of tasks dur­ing their week of ser­vice, in­clud­ing cre­at­ing “book nooks” for stu­dents and chil­dren in the neigh­bor­hoods sur­round­ing the school.

The book nooks — six at Nor­wood and six in lo­cal neigh­bor­hoods — are painted mail­boxes con­tain­ing age-ap­pro­pri­ate books that chil­dren may bor­row, read and re­turn. The books in the com­mu­nity boxes are geared to­ward ele­men­tary school chil­dren, while, at Nor­wood, there is a box with books geared to­ward each grade at the school. The mail­boxes used were do­nated by Home De­pot and 84 Lum­ber.

The aim is to get kids read­ing and keep them read­ing — dur­ing the sum­mer and into the school year.

The mis­sion­ary team also spent a por­tion of their week re­dec­o­rat­ing the Nor­wood cafe­te­ria in prepa­ra­tion for stu­dents’ re­turn next month.

Ac­cord­ing to Nor­wood prin­ci­pal Pat Goldys, the cafe­te­ria will be di­vided into four eatery ar­eas, mod­eled af­ter a diner, bistro and cafe.

Around the cafe­te­ria last Thurs­day, vol­un­teers were hard at work paint­ing the par­ti­tions that will be used to divide the ar­eas.

“We want to make it plea­sur­able and en­joy­able for them to eat,” Goldys said, adding that sep­a­rat­ing the spa­ces will al­low stu­dents to con­verse with each other with­out be­com­ing ex­ces­sively loud.

Matt and Denise Dull, with son Gar­ri­son, were paint­ing col­or­ful im­ages of healthy lunch op­tions on par­ti­tions in the cafe­te­ria last week.

Their goal in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the mis­sion trip, Matt noted, was to “share Je­sus’ love and get out in the com­mu­nity” as well as “set a good ex­am­ple for our son.”

Across the school, vol­un­teers com­pleted numer­ous other tasks, in­clud­ing stamp­ing Nor­wood’s name into new books on dif­fer­ent cul­tures. This year, Goldys noted, stu­dents will have greater ac­cess to me­dia de­pict­ing a wide va­ri­ety of cul­tures around the world.

The team also worked to put to­gether a new maker space. Hard at work in that room, Wake For­est Uni­ver­sity stu­dent Carly Bolton sat on the floor, paint­ing book nook mail­boxes. She was also re­spon­si­ble for much of the paint­ing in the maker space room it­self.

Though she moved four hours away from Den­ver Bap­tist Church, she made the trip back to her home­town church to travel with them to Dun­dalk this year.

Mean­while, just down the hall, Pre­ston and Michael Collins were lend­ing their tal­ents to the school’s new Sen­sory Room. Com­plete with a foam floor, in­flat­able rock­ing chairs and more, the room will pro­vide a sooth­ing space for stu­dents.

“Kids are go­ing to come here for med­i­ta­tion and mind­ful­ness and calm­ing down,” Goldys ex­plained.

She added, “You need breaks dur­ing the day to get your­self into the frame of mind you want to be.”

When they weren’t work­ing at Nor­wood or Ho­labird, the mis­sion­ary team spent time last week reach­ing out into the com­mu­nity. In the morn­ings and evenings, mem­bers would visit lo­cal bus stops of­fer­ing food, wa­ter, pray­ers and a kind word to the homeless and those wait­ing for their bus.

“We’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the love of Christ per­son­ally,” said mis­sion­ary team mem­ber Ginger Hel­ton, not­ing that the team wants to share that love with area res­i­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to Den­ver Bap­tist fam­ily pas­tor Jeff Cor­nette, Bal­ti­more is one of the cities iden­ti­fied by the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion (SBC) as a city in need of spir­i­tual as­sis­tance.

The SBC has iden­ti­fied 32 “Send Cities” (one of which is Bal­ti­more), de­fined by the North Amer­i­can Mis­sion Board as “cities with the great­est spir­i­tual need and po­ten­tial in­flu­ence through­out North Amer­ica.”

The aim, ac­cord­ing to Cor­nette, is to “plant churches in Bal­ti­more.”

“We want to plant a church within walk­ing dis­tance of every­one on the planet,” he noted.

Their work, ac­cord­ing to Cor­nette, is in­tended “to re­ally pro­claim the Gospel of Je­sus Christ to the com­mu­nity … in word and in deed.”

While they spent the week giv­ing to the school and wider com­mu­nity (they also spent time cook­ing meals for the Dun­dalk Po­lice Precinct, Nor­wood teach­ers and oth­ers), the mis­sion­ar­ies are quick to note that they nei­ther ex­pect nor want any­thing in re­turn.

“We just re­ally love the peo­ple of Bal­ti­more,” Hel­ton said. “We just want to pray for them and love them and give them some hope.”

She con­cluded, “I wish we could do so much more.”


Mis­sion­ar­ies from Den­ver Bap­tist Church in Den­ver, N.C., spent part of their week in­stalling “book nooks” at Nor­wood Ele­men­tary School.


Mis­sion­ary team mem­bers (clock­wise, from top left) Lori Mil­hol­land, Claire Rat­cliff, Court­ney Collins and Matt Cof­fey stamped books at Nor­wood last week.

Mis­sion­ar­ies (from left) Denise Dull, Matt Dull and Gar­ri­son Dull re­dec­o­rated Nor­wood’s cafe­te­ria last week.

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