There’s no place like home, and for Victory Baptist Church in Maryville, there’s no home mission like the renovations of The Harmony Family Center at Montvale.
Since June, close to 100 dedicated volunteers from the church have painted, made repairs, installed plumbing fixtures, performed yard maintenance, cleaned and assisted in many other ways as the nonprofit organization transitions the camp into The Harmony Family Center at Montvale, a facility designed to support and care for families who adopted through the foster care system.
Steve Craft, lead pastor with Victory Baptist Church, said the renovations at Montvale offer a great home mission for his church.
“We believe in what Harmony is doing. We’ll give what resources we have. We know Harmony’s needs are greater than our resources, but we’re asking God to let us be a channel to help them,” Craft said.
Victory Baptist Church initially got involved with Montvale renovations through its “Engaged Sunday” service over the summer where the congregation met for a brief worship service in the morning, broke up into ‘life groups,’ and went into the community to do various service projects throughout Blount County.
Brenda Brown, who co-teaches a life group with her husband, Allen, said working with Harmony Adoptions has been a blessing for members of her group from the first time they stepped foot on the property.
“It’s been a real honor for us. As life leaders group leaders, Allen and I have prayed for this. There’s so much in the community that churches can do and can get involved in,” Brown said. “But we’ve prayed for a place that our people can fall in love with and be committed to. When we showed up at Harmony, it was like God said to us, ‘This is it.’”
Pam Wolf, founder and CEO of Harmony Adoptions, is delighted the local church has ‘adopted’ the organization.
“We’re so honored to be working with Victory Baptist Church. They’ve done so many repairs and renovations for us,” Wolf said. “For instance, they helped us with our barn, which has allowed us to start doing equine psychotherapy for our adopted children.”
Wolf added that she cannot thank members of the church enough.
“Victory Baptist Church has been a tremendous asset not just to Harmony Adoptions and Montvale, but also to Blount County as a whole,” Wolf said.
Craft noted that the core values of adoption are what intrigued his church to get involved with Harmony Adoptions.
“I think the whole concept of adoption is very Biblical, and not just that, but it’s restorative,” Craft said. “We all function best in homes where we’re loved, and so we’re passionate about that and think that what Pam’s trying to accomplish in a restorative measure is something God would be pleased with.”
Brown said that her life group was so impressed with The Harmony Family Center at Montvale that the members of her group agreed to “adopt” a project at the facility on an on-going basis.
“Right now we are focusing on adopting the upper cabins at Montvale,” Brown said. “We are looking for a long-term partnership... Then we also want to be able to help our work days with something else as needed - not just our adoption area, but anything else that it needs.”
Brown also said her group is happy to volunteer for activities outside of renovations.
Brown added, “It’s such a calling to help Harmony do what they’re going to do at Montvale, and we’re glad to be a part of it.”
Many other churches in Blount County have reached out to volunteer with Harmony Adoptions, including Word of Life Lutheran Church.
Members of the church’s youth group have picked Harmony Adoptions as their nonprofit organization of choice for service projects.
Word of Life Lutheran Church’s Youth Leader Dee Dee McGhee said volunteering is one way she can get her youth excited about getting involved with the community.
“We’re a small church, and we don’t have a lot of money. But we can give our time,” McGhee said.
McGhee’s youth group is set to volunteer for an upcoming homecoming celebration Harmony Adoptions has planned for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
She said her youth will run games, do face painting and more at the event.
McGhee added, “They don’t want to sit back and do nothing, and they don’t want to be a youth group all about pizza parties and amusement park outings. They want to do something that makes a difference in their community.”
Wolf said that every minute of every hour a volunteer can give makes a difference to Harmony Adoptions and the children her organization serves.
“Since May we’ve had over 250 volunteers give over 2,200 hours of their time,” Wolf said. “That’s over $45,000 worth of work that has been done to Montvale - all by volunteers like Victory Baptist Church.”
Wolf added, “But more than the value of the work, those hours equal relationships we’re building. Those are people who believe in us and what Harmony is doing for the children here in Blount County and across Tennessee.”
Harmony Adoptions of Tennessee, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit 501(c) 3 adoption agency with headquarters in Maryville since 1996. The mission of Harmony Adoptions is to share life, love, and joy through adoption. The focus of Harmony Adoptions is the child, promoting each child’s right to a safe and healthy family, whether through adoption, kinship care, or foster care. Harmony’s statewide programs serve over 1,000 Tennessee children and families each year.
To get your church or organization involved or for more information about Harmony Adoptions and the renovations at The Harmony Family Center at Montvale, visit harmonyadoptions.org or call 865-982-5225.