Judy and Alan Holmes' parrots are more than just pets - they are part of the couple's work with Campers on Mission.
Rooster Fluff and Cricket travel with them in their motor home and are especially useful in the children's ministry, to illustrate God's dominion over humans.
"Just as these parrots were once wild but are now tame," says Alan, 61, "so I was wild but have been tamed by my belief in Christ."
North Carolina Campers on Mission, which began in the 1970s, is sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Open to Christians of all denominations, their objectives are fellowship, sharing and doing missions.
Judy and Alan are members of Minneapolis Baptist Church in Minneapolis, N.C. Retired from his 30-year career in the barber and beauty industry, Alan prefers to describe himself as "re-directed."
Although they hadn't been camping in 25 years, they bought an RV so they could travel with Campers on Mission.
"We are people that love the Lord," says Judy, 62. "We enjoy RVing and sharing what the great communion is all about. We're doing the Lord's work on a full-time basis, so we take our orders directly from the chief."
Their fellow Campers on Mission travelers, John and Barbara Arnett, are charter members of Denver Baptist Church, founded in 1982. John, 67, is retired from his career as a welder for Norfolk Southern Railways. Barbara, 66, is a retired registered nurse.
"I heard Alan and Judy talking about CoM," said John, "and I thought it meant Crazy Old Men, so I joined."
Both couples have homes in Denver, although they may spend anywhere from four to 10 months a year on the road. "Wherever we pull up is home," said John. "We've traveled as far as Alaska, but we are focused mainly on the Southwest. When the shades are down, we don't know if we're at a warehouse or at the beach."
"We are like a mini-church whenever we are together," said Barbara. "We do things out of our comfort zone, beyond what we would normally do, because that's what is needed. You don't have to go to Africa. You can fall out your back door and be in the mission field."
They decide where their next trip will take them after consulting the state and national websites, which list locales available for mission work. The sites listed have been checked out by regional or national Campers on Mission boards "to distinguish needy from greedy." They also attempt to match their skills with the needs of a particular project.
They may spend time at state fairs and motor speedways, as well as rural campgrounds.
For the past few weeks, they have been ministering to the needs of the fair workers at the Denver Days festival.
They were able to set up camp at the West Campus of Denver Baptist Church, close to the fairgrounds, on property the church has established for Campers on Mission groups heading for mission projects.
"We offer them morning coffee and pastry, and we feed them two hot meals a day," said John. "We also make donated clothing available."
"We try to meet as many needs of the fair workers as we can," said Barbara adds. "We arrange for a barber to provide haircuts, and we try to arrange for local medical and dental personnel to be available for first aid, blood-pressure checks, and so on."
They point out that children and grandchildren may accompany them and in the process become involved in mission work.
If you are Christian and enjoy camping, you can get information at the N.C. Campers on Mission website, nccampersonmission.org. You can also call Alan Holmes at 704-641-0070.
"We would love to have you join us on a mission," said Alan.
And don't forget to introduce yourself to Rooster Fluff and Cricket.