Camille Butner and Family Plan to Build Church in Honduras
By Susan Shinn Turner
When Camille Butner and her brother, Carl Nichols, were in the process of settling their parents’ estate, they came up with a unique idea to donate the money.
Carl, who lives in Mooresville, has been involved in mission work in Honduras since 1992. Either this summer or next summer, he will join a team there to build a church in memory of his and Camille’s parents, Jim and Daisy Nichols.
Jim and Daisy died a year and four months apart — Daisy in March 2016 and Jim in July 2017.
“We were having to clean out the stuff and it was very stressful,” Camille says. “Carl and his wife Jane would help. One day, I decided, why don’t we take the money from the estate and build a church? I told Carl my idea and he thought it was wonderful. It all became a big ol’ pleasure, and we raised $5,000 to build the church.”
It took three sales in October and November to meet their goal, Camille says. “We finally raised all the money with the last one, and we were so excited. Cyndii Owen helped with the pricing, and we did it all ourselves.”
Bless their hearts.
“Yeah, bless our hearts is right!” Camille says. “But we were so excited about the project, and it felt right. It felt like the God thing to do. We thought our parents would be happy. Getting rid of their stuff was a hard thing ’til I had a positive thing to give it to.”
Carl, who spent his career with Duke Energy, does mission work through the Honduran Evangelistic Association. This group serves the Chorti Indians, an indigenous people in Honduras. The church they will build is much like a picnic shelter, with concrete floors and pillars, a metal roof, and rows of concrete blocks around the perimeter.
“Mom and Daddy had always been very supportive of my mission work,” Carl notes. “Ultimately, when we build the church, I hope as many family members as possible can go with us. As soon as they get a village that qualifies, we’ll go down and build the church.”
To qualify for a church, a village must be holding ongoing worship services and have a worship leader who agrees to take training.
Although the church is being built in the Nichols’ memory, the village will give the church its name, Carl says. “I thought it would be a positive thing. It accomplishes two things: we were able to prepare the house to sell it, and we were able to donate to a worthy cause. It gave everybody a chance to do something good, not only for an oppressed people, but for the Lord.”
Carl and his wife Jane are members of First Baptist Church in Mooresville. He says of the project: “It gives a sense of permanence to the village. They know it’s the Lord’s building.”