Pastor Roer Morrison said repairs being made to his home this week by a mission outreach team are “love in action” and carry out biblical teachings.
An Impact! Virginia team of 11 young people, ages 12 to 18, and several adult supervisors and chaperones are working on the home of Morrison and his wife, Roberta, on Chatham Road.
According to the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) website, Impact! Virginia “is our ‘classic’ one week construction mission opportunity for teenagers in which ... participants focus on home repair and renovation for those in great need in Virginia. Project days begin and end with worship celebrations to help set and maintain the right spirit and attitude.”
Gene Medley, a member of First Baptist Church of Martinsville, is the crew chief for the project at the Morrisons’ eight-room cinderblock-and-frame house. The work involves removing gutters along the front edge of the front porch roof; replacing rotted fascia, soffit (both part of the roof structure) and ceiling; painting all fascia, soffit and the ceiling on the front porch; and installing new gutters, according to information Medley provided.
The project also involves installing a new low-slope shingle roof over the small deck on the right side of the front porch, tying into existing roofs on two sides and new columns on two outside edges. It also involves replacing handrails where necessary and painting all columns and handrails.
The Morrisons’ house is one of 17 houses being refurbished this week as part of the Impact! Virginia camp in Danville. The Morrisons’ house is the only one in Henry County; the others are in Danville and Pittsylvania County, Medley said. The teenagers are staying at Averett University.
“This is my 21st year doing mission trips with children” through Impact! Virginia, Medley said. “I’ve been to Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Germany and Costa Rica.”
“I love to help people that are sometimes less fortunate than me. It is part of my faith ...,” he said. He added that he enjoys leading young people and teaching them carpentry skills that he learned growing up on a dairy farm.
Medley and his son, Scott, own Soy Solutions in Martinsville, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals and other products.
Until this year, Gene Medley has volunteered one week each year for Impact! Virginia projects, but this year, he will volunteer two weeks. The second will be the week of July 20, when Impact! Virginia will have a mission camp in Staunton.
Among the teenagers working on the Henry County home are Kelsey McGuire, Kathrine Baldwin and Morgan Kirby, all of whom are from Webber Memorial Baptist Church in Chesterfield. Group leader Gordon Moore, a retired electrician, also is from that church.
“This is my sixth year (doing Impact! Virginia projects),” Kelsey said. “I love helping people. I love getting closer to God. ... I can’t wait to come back every year.” She said. She is the roof leader on this project.
Kelsey, 18, recently graduated from L.C. Bird High School in Chesterfield and will be continuing her studies in cosmetology at Chesterfield Technical Center, she said.
“I had a blast last year helping people,” Kathrine said of her first year taking part in an Impact! Virginia project. She said these projects give teenagers a different perspective about the circumstances in which some people live, and that teenagers should appreciate what they have.
Morgan said, speaking generally, most teens would have balked at the $275-per-person cost of participating in the week-long project and would have said, “I’m not going to pay. What am I going to get out of it?” (Fundraisers helped defray the cost.)
For her, she said, “It is an indescribable feeling of how happy people are to get things fixed (at their homes).”
She added: “We have a chance to show God to some of these people.”
Kelsey and Morgan are 15-year-old rising 10th-graders.
Moore said he has been participating in Impact! Virginia projects for 14 years. “It’s the enjoyment of seeing homeowners and teaching young people,” he said when asked why he takes part.
Joe Busic, 17, from Shiloh Baptist Church in King George, said, “I like helping people and impacting people’s lives.”
Joe, who was home-schooled, will enter Lynchburg College in the fall, with plans to major in athletic training, he said.
“This is going to be a great improvement,” said Pastor Morrison, who is in his 80s. “It’s wonderful, awesome. That’s a beautiful gift to an old man.”
“This is called charity work,” Morrison said. He quoted the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13, which says (King James Version): “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
Charity is “love in action,” Morrison said.
“The Apostle John tells us in his epistle (1 John 3:18, KJV): ‘My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth,’” Morrison said.
Morrison said he has been pastor of Mt. Olive United Holy Church in Martinsville for about six decades. He worked for American Furniture for 18 years and for Martinsville City Public Schools for 24 years.
He said he and his wife plan to show their gratitude for the project not just in words but in deeds by holding a picnic for the volunteers.