2015-06-17 / Front Page

DeCamp House returning to life in the name of Jesus

By LARRY HILLIARD
Ledger Staff Writer


Church Builders of Gaffney ministry founder Mike McLeymore hopes to be in the ministry’s new home, the DeCamp House, in a few weeks. McLeymore, a recovering alcoholic, brings the gospel of Christ through his homeless shelter and community outreach programs. Church Builders of Gaffney ministry founder Mike McLeymore hopes to be in the ministry’s new home, the DeCamp House, in a few weeks. McLeymore, a recovering alcoholic, brings the gospel of Christ through his homeless shelter and community outreach programs. For more than a week, a father huddled with his wife and son in their car with all their possessions next to them.

They were turned away from several homeless shelters because of the age of their son.

“At age 14, (my son) was too old to stay with the children but not old enough to stay with the adults,” said the 30-something father.

A family friend told them to contact Mike McLeymore, founder of Kingdom Come Ministries, now known as the Church Builders of Gaffney,

“Mike said to come on in,” the father said. “I had to get my family out of the car. We are just very thankful.”

McLeymore is a wiry 31-year-old with fiery eyes and a deep conviction that Jesus can save and deliver the lost and hopeless drug addicts of this world. He preaches the Gospel to the lost and whoever he happens to come across each day.

McLeymore is living proof that his message is true. A self-confessed alcoholic, McLeymore was transformed, he says, through a powerful encounter with the living God.

“I was 19 when I took my first drink,” McLeymore said. “I was hooked. It was a slow downward spiral. My life was going down the drain. The only thing I had to eat was a hot dog and bun. I gave my son the hot dog and ate the bun. But I always made sure I had my bottle of liquor. I didn’t care about anything else.”

McLeymore was working in North Carolina when he met a friend, Mike Rollins, who would change his life through the Good News.

“He showed me the love of Jesus,” McLeymore said. “He came to my house one night when I was drunk. He prayed with me and left his Bible. Four days later, I picked up the Bible and started reading. In Matthew 7:21- 23, it talked about that Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

“After reading those verses I gave my life to Jesus,” McLeymore said.

He was called to preach three years later.

“I told God if he wanted me to preach to make it known. I had three different confirmations and I knew they were from God.

“The first one was when an old friend invited me to breakfast and he said if you were preaching, I would come to your church. The second one was that I said (God) if you want me to preach, then I will be the first one to win a prize (at a raffle) and I was.”

The third sign happened in church.

“I went to church and the pastor said this message is for someone here today. The pastor said God is telling someone to preach even though he has no church.”

That changed two years ago when McLeymore met Gaffney businessman Joey Lemmons, who had a vacant metal building on Frontage Road that, ironically, was the former Battlefield Church, where McLeymore once attended.

McLeymore now was a man with a church in search of a ministry.

That changed, too.

“I always felt like I wanted to start a ministry based on Matthew 25. So, I told God that if you want me to start a homeless mission, put people in my path. I talked to a man and he said he had three homeless people who needed a place to stay.”

They come from different parts of the country and have various tales of how they ended up at McLeymore’s shelter, but all have two things in common: They spent most of their lives addicted to alcohol and drugs, and they want to give their life to Christ.

The “Christ-centered” program includes daily Bible studies and outreach programs in the community.

“We make sure that they know the rules,” McLeymore said. “That it’s going to be Christ centered, and they can’t have any drugs or alcohol. The goal is to get them back on their feet and out of addiction.”

McLeymore and the shelter do several outreach programs each month to help the area’s homeless, passing out food or Bibles or just having conversations.

Several weeks ago, they visited the Happy Valley community to break bread together, or in this case, some hot dogs and hamburgers.

Before leaving, they circled up and held hands as McLeymore led the group in prayer.

With as many as 23 people in the shelter, McLeymore and his ministry have outgrown the small metal building.

After a visit to the shelter, good friend Myra Strickland volunteered to help McLeymore find a larger space. She introduced McLeymore to local businessman Larry Sossoman who opened his De- Camp House doors to the ministry.

“Larry gave us a year to get it ready and use it for a mission debt-free,” McLeymore said.

About the same time, McLeymore and his ministry became associated with Jim Rutledge and his Church Builders of Spartanburg ministry.

They are now yoked together, which gives McLeymore and his ministry more resources.

Since January, McLeymore, shelter residents and community supporters have spent countless hours renovating the vacant building.

“We’ve replaced the floor joists and put new flooring in two big rooms,” he said.

There’s also fresh coats of paint on the walls.

More work remains, though. The sprinkler system needs to be hooked up, the bathrooms remain unfinished and the kitchen is a mess.

Once the renovation is complete, McLeymore plans to turn the second floor into a hangout for young and old believers alike.

“We want to start a Christian Cafe,” he said. “We can have a live band every other weekend.”

Since the DeCamp House was once a popular restaurant, McLeymore wants to use the kitchen to feed the countless hungry in the county.

McLeymore has begun a prison ministry and hopes to help released inmates get back on their feet.

“The Church has turned their backs on those people. They feel like they are lost causes. But these are the people who we want to give the message of hope to.”

(— McLeymore wishes to thank the following people who have helped his ministry with either their time, support and money - his wife, Jessica, Bruce Price, Mike Rollins, Tierny Rollins, Shannon Moore, Jake Doster, John Cudd, Joey Lemmons, Larry Sossamon, Jim Rutledge, Mike Duncan, Myra Strickland, Chris Simms, Brenda Earls, Tonya Blanton, Tony Abdou, Tracy Blanton, My Church Builders brothers and sisters, Ian Climer, Emily Blaney, Chip Swanson, Mike Holiday, Steve Mueller, David Goodson, Casey and Heather Riemer and most importantly, Jesus Christ.)

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