On a mission: Deep Impact spends a week on the Outer Banks

Published 2:21 pm Thursday, July 25, 2019

Spending part of the summer working in the community may not seem the ideal summer vacation for some people, but one group of students not only volunteered for the task but paid for the opportunity to do it.

Using Manteo Baptist Church on the corner of North US Hwy 64 and Ananias Dare Street in Manteo as base, more than 120 youth and leaders participated in a variety of mission activities from Roanoke Island to Kitty Hawk last week as part of their Deep Impact Mission OBX Week.

Deep Impact, a ministry sponsored by NC Baptists on Mission, are week long opportunities for middle and high school age students to share the love of God with people through their words and deeds in a pre-planned and pre-selected area.

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According to Paul Batson, pastor at First Baptist Church in Elizabeth City and the week’s Deep Impact coordinator, there were 127 students, leaders and chaperons here from all across North Carolina.

“We have nine different churches represented from Asheville to Manteo,” said Batson. “Almost a Murphy to Manteo group here.”

A week designed to be a youth mission camp, each day students working in small groups spread out across the Outer Banks to conduct sports camps, paint fences, build wheelchair ramps, wash cars, deliver meals to first responders and pick up trash on the beach.

Camping out in the church building overnight, each day started with a 7 a.m. breakfast followed by morning devotions. Evening worship sessions at the end of each long day were designed to help students reflect on their life and how to commit themselves to serving others in Christ’s name.

“Our purpose is to be a youth mission camp for middle school and high school student to come together and do mission work in a community,” continued Batson. “It’s a chance for them to share the love of God and extend His kingdom into the area we are serving and support the host church and the ministries in that community.”

Batson said there were 31 different mission sites in the community from Roanoke Island north up to Kitty Hawk.

Batson explained that working with a local church like Manteo Baptist, a team identifies potential needs and sets up a schedule of work and activities with local agencies, like Hotline and Dare Challenge, for when students arrive.

“It’s basically networking with the local community to find out what are the needs people know of in the area,” Batson continued. “My role as coordinator before camp is to make those contacts and to line up the job sites and the needs they have. So it really takes a team.”

Actually, according to Batson, planning for the next year’s project starts even before the current event ends. Then things begin to crank up in October for a June/July event with about half a dozen planned across North Carolina. Once a camp is set, students can register for the area they want to serve and pay a nominal fee to attend. Other Deep Impact areas included Boone, Fruitland, Shelby and Red Springs.

When the scheduled week arrives, staff leaders come in on Sunday and campers arrived on Monday for an orientation. Mission projects are scheduled Tuesday through Friday and they all go home Saturday.

“Students are usually excited when the leave when they learn that the projects they do here are ones they can do at home,” offered Batson.

Each project, however, has its own challenges. Some require hard labor, especially tough on hot summer days and others, like children ministry sites, are at times a challenge to find the kids to participate.

“We even have some projects,” continued Batson, “that when we get on site and are ready to do it and the project falls through at the last minute.”

One example was construction of a wheelchair ramp last week where the homeowner had emergency bypass surgery.

“They understandably wanted to delay that project to another day,” explained Batson. “So this team will not do it, but a group from the church stepped up and said they would make sure that the ramp does get built when they need it. When you have 31 different sites and 125 different participants, there will always be some logistical bugs that come up. You just adapt and work with it.”

When projects do go as planned, the work is often appreciated.

Spending several days in Wanchese, one construction crew provided Rick Daniels with a new deck and ramp for his home.

“This is a testimony to the glory and grace of God,” said Daniels. “I praise Him for that. And it is a joy to see them working together.”

Service to others appears to be the common thread.

That’s why Morgan Thomas, a group leader from Apex, brought her students.

She said when she started working at her church two years ago, there had not been any recent mission trips.

“I heard some good things about Deep Impact,” Thomas explained. “And I like that there are a diversity of youth groups.”

She said Deep Impact also offers an opportunity to get to know people all across North Carolina. She said there are projects around the Raleigh area, but she likes to branch out and serve other areas.

“Our kids cannot drive themselves to the beach,” she added.

The week was such a success that the group has already scheduled a Deep Impact session for Manteo next summer.

“I told the church that this is the ninth Deep Impact I’ve been a part of,” said Batson. “And Manteo Baptist is one of the best, if not the best, host church site that I’ve worked with. And it says a lot when you let 125 kids come and stay in your church all week.”

For more information about Deep Impact, visit https://baptistsonmission.org/Camps/Deep-Impact/ or call 800-395-5102 ext. 5626. Baptists On Mission (NC Baptist Men/NCBM) is an auxiliary to the Baptist State Convention of NC, which is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.



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