BREVARD, N.C. (BRN) — In the southern regions of the United States, veiled by the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a cabin that serves as both a home and a headquarters for missionaries Dewey and Kathie Aiken.
“Every morning when I have my quiet time, I’m able to look out right across the Blue Ridge Mountains – beautiful sight,” shared Dewey.
He and his wife Kathie became official on-site coordinators for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) four years ago, but have served as volunteer missionaries for the BSCNC since the early 80’s.
“We were able to take some kids from New Orleans, that were out of the inner city, over to camp and spend a week with them. During that week, we had the opportunity to lead three of them to the Lord, and it changed our life forever,” shared Dewey.
He continued: “We were involved in volunteer missions since 1981… and that’s where it started. Over those years, we’ve led mission teams [and] we’ve been on mission teams – we’ve done it for years – and, finally, in 2002, God called us to full time ministry.”
During their early years of ministry, prior to serving as on-site coordinators for the BSCNC, Dewey and Kathie served in Vermont. It was through this opportunity that they made connections in Pennsylvania.
“We have some connection with Pennsylvania because of us traveling through, but the actual partnership was even started before Kathy and I came with… it started with Mark Abernathy and Barry Whitworth… ,” said Dewey.
The first mission teams from North Carolina came to Pennsylvania in 2008, with Dewey and Kathie joining those efforts in 2015 and becoming on-site Coordinators in 2017.
“We are considered on-site coordinators for the Appalachian Coalfield Ministry, which covers five states. That’s Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina – in the mountains of North Carolina – and we’re also the on-site partnership coordinators for the Pennsylvania/ South Jersey partnership,” said Dewey.
Kathie also defined their positions as “mission mobilizers” or “mobilization missionaries” and shared what responsibilities fall under those roles.
“What we do is we work very closely with Baptists on Mission, which is the missions involvement arm of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and we work with the volunteers who go on mission throughout those areas that Dewey just mentioned.”
Kathie continued: “We visit the sites – like in Pennsylvania – we visit the church planters, we visit the pastors, we pray with them, we learn their needs, we give gifts, [and] we encourage them – that’s a lot of what we do.”
Typically, for two weeks out of each month, Dewey and Kathie are visiting sites and learning of their needs.
If a church has a specific need for a mission team, then Dewey and Kathie post that project on the Baptists on Mission website, where teams all over the country can be matched up with a church or ministry.
Locally in Pennsylvania/South Jersey, one of those projects involved the BRN’s Volunteer House.
“One of the big projects we’ve been working on is the mission house in Harrisburg. It was 2018 when we started working on that,” shared Dewey. “It’s been really neat to see how we’ve basically done a total remodel on the entire house. It’s been good. We’ve had a lot of wonderful teams together to help us. We’re getting close to completion; I would say we’re probably about 97 or 98-percent complete.”
The Volunteer House has been a project near and dear to Dewey and Kathie’s hearts, as it has served as a shelter for them on their long trips back to North Carolina and from Vermont.
“Sometimes we would stay at the Volunteer House in Harrisburg on our trip back from Vermont, so we were familiar with it. What has been so amazing about it is we have seen God do some awesome stuff, [and] we’ve had a lot of volunteer hours and volunteer people come in and work on it,” said Dewey.
Along with Dewey and Kathie, a team from First Baptist of Kannapolis in North Carolina came and worked on the house.
One of those volunteers, Joseph Ashmore, shared about his on-mission experience at the BRN Volunteer House.
“There’s something the Lord does inside all of us that just has a burning sensation to go out and serve others. This was one of those times I had the opportunity to go out and serve and I jumped on the opportunity,” shared Ashmore.
He also shared about the specific work he and his team did during their week in Pennsylvania.
“We’ve been putting in flooring – not breaking anything – and this is a home for new missionaries to come in as they do mission work for other people, so it’s great knowing I’m a part of this, which is going to give to so many others.”
With only a paint job and, possibly, a front porch to go, the Volunteer House has gone from a “Motel 6 to a Hampton,” thanks to the partnership with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Along with construction projects, the BSCNC also helps plan and coordinate evangelical opportunities.
“Sometimes with a mission team, it may have varied skills on it. So, there might be like a servant evangelism project, or a home repair project in a community, that maybe construction people could work with. And then it could be that there might need to be some work in one of the city parks…the team could help with painting or whatever, or maybe a Backyard Bible Club; [and] prayer walking is always needed,” shared Kathie.
No matter the project or mission at hand, Dewey and Kathie ensure that there is a team for anyone and everyone who is looking to make a difference for the Kingdom.
“There’s just great opportunities that we can all work together, I mean it’s about Kingdom work [and] he’s the same Lord here as he is in Pennsylvania. He hasn’t changed,” said Dewey.
Kathie echoed him stating, “We’re not territorial. Whatever can be done to get the Gospel out, lead people to Jesus, and just to grow his kingdom – that’s what we want to be about.”
The Aikens, in addition to hands-on service, regularly pray for every church they work with, believing in the power of the Holy Spirit all the way from North Carolina. They pray against spiritual warfare and for encouragement and wisdom for all involved.
The Baptist Resource Network is very thankful for its partnership with the BSCNC. To learn more, visit https://www.brnunited.org/partner/bscnc.
Listen to the podcast interview:
The “50 Stories of Transformation” series, told in honor of the Baptist Resource Network’s 50th anniversary, highlights the many ways God has moved throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey and beyond. Your generous support of the Cooperative Program makes this ministry possible and fuels evangelism and outreach in our local churches and all over the world! Thank you!