The Mission Team from the First Baptist Church in Orlando has made the trip to The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville every summer now for the past seventeen years, sacrificing their vacation time and resources to serve on the campus. Motivated and committed, these servant volunteers pressure wash, remodel buildings, paint, clean, lay tile, trim and remove shrubs, a few of the tasks that they are involved in during the week.
Close to a hundred team members including adults and children arrived on the BCF campus, ready to serve in any capacity needed. Combating extremely hot temperatures, the members split up into several working groups only slowing down for water and watermelon breaks, fellowship around the table, and designated times of worship. The Orlando “Family Oriented Mission Team” has always brought a unique component to the BCF campus as entire families come to do missions; a practical and visible way of training the next generation about missions.
“The group of volunteers from the First Baptist Church of Orlando have been coming to BCF for so long and have done so much that they have become family in the best sense of the word,” stated BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen. “Each year, we get to meet new family members as well as catch up with the lives of those who have been here before. We have seen some of the children grow up along the way. The campus seems very quiet and somewhat lonesome for a few days after the “Orlando Group” leaves. While the volunteers might be gone back to Orlando, we have numerous campus improvements as reminders that they were here. And we have the anticipation of knowing that they will be back next year.”
As in previous years, the children were able to participate in what they call “Graceville Bible School” (GBS as opposed to the traditional VBS – Vacation Bible School) while the adults worked long hours checking off assignments on the needs of the campus. In addition to a special night of sharing from his heart in the recently dedicated Kinchen Center, President Kinchen and First Lady Ruth Ann hosted a cookout at their home in honor and appreciation for the teams’ efforts with enough of Ms. Ruth Ann’s 14 layer chocolate cakes for everyone to have a slice!
According to the Orlando Mission Team Leaders, Mr. Jim and Mrs. Pat Wortham, “It is always four days of work and sweat, sore muscles, good food, and lots of fun, fellowship, and laughter.” BCF staff members stated that every year when the Orlando mission team arrives they bring new life and excitement to the campus. The hard work and campus improvements completed by these servant volunteers save the college enormous resources that can be spent on providing scholarships to prepare men and women for areas of leadership and ministry.
By Sandra Richards, Baptist College of Florida, June 26, 2018