When organizers at Salem Baptist Church started planning a mission trip to Wyoming, they expected a half dozen people to sign up to go.
Instead, 39 church members plan on participating, which means the church needs to raise $20,000 to get them there and back.
Retirees, couples and families with young children will all do their part to clear out land at a Southern Baptist camp in Casper, Wyo. this July.
â€œWhich isnâ€™t just a little hop skip and a jump kind of trip,â€ said the Rev. Andy Royals.
The land cleared will be used as a retreat for adults and a summer camp for children. Participants will be staying on the campsite throughout the duration of the trip.
â€œItâ€™s not going to be like staying at the Marriott hotel,â€ Royals said.
Because the church has a new sanctuary and a new mortgage, the $20,000 will have to be raised between now and July, and organizers plan to depend on more than just yard and bake sales.
First up is a tractor show in the Lincolnton High School Stadium on May 12. Funds raised from concessions and admission will go towards the trip.
Next up will be a spring â€œSingFestâ€ on May 18 at the Lincolnton High School Stadium. Event organizers are encouraging area gospel singers to perform at the event.
â€œIf it takes until midnight, everyone gets to sing two songs in a row,â€ Royals said.
The biggest event will take place on May 31 when the nationally-known southern gospel group The Hoppers will perform at the James W. Warren Citizens Center.
â€œWeâ€™re pretty sure weâ€™ll sell out the Citizens Center,â€ Royals said.
The Citizens Center seats nearly 1,300 people. Royals believes heâ€™ll have to turn people away in order to keep the fire marshal happy.
â€œHeâ€™s likely to show up too because he likes southern gospel,â€ Royals said.
Royals feels confident these three events will fund the churchâ€™s mission trip. If any money is left over, it will be put in a fund for next yearâ€™s mission trip.
Mission work, he says, â€œis just what part of Southern Baptist workâ€™s all about.â€
Heâ€™s especially excited that a number of children are attending this summerâ€™s trip. He hopes the work will turn into a lifetime of service.
â€œThe main thing for them is just to go and catch that fever,â€ Royals said.
by Sarah Grano