It's always great when friends come to visit!! A team of 18 youth & adults from our home church, First Baptist Church of Fort Payne, Alabama, spent 10 days in the Agusan River Valley working with the local association. Actually 2 teams in 1, these 18 were joined by Nehemiah Teams members and local believers to complete a vast array of ministries. You can see pictures and read updates from their ministry on our personal blog: www.jennings-journal.blogspot.com
Ministry started out with a half-day work day with the Nehemiah Teams Habitat for Humanity team. The guys helped build the walls for the house while the gals painted roofing supports. The ride to the worksite in a dump truck gave the team a quick introduction to Butuan City... they were kinda like an impromptu parade going down the road! After lunch, the youth team headed out for an overnight associational youth fellowship. While the association planned the logistics for the event, the FBCFP team led the program which consisted of games, food, worship, & just having fun together. The next day, the team was divided into groups of 3-4 and went for an overnight "homestay." Hosted by local churches & families, the team members spent the night in the Filipino homes, experiencing a day, and night, living as they lived. The next day was Sunday and most members were involved in local worship services- sharing testimonies, singing, "preaching", and being an encouragement to local believers. Other, including the medical team, attended a local wedding and got to experience this part of local culture.
The medical arm of the team, led by Dr. Mike Story and Dra. Glee Dacanay-Velenzona conducted free medical clinics in 6 sites with a total of 1319 patients. As families came through the clinic they experienced Christ's love through meeting their physical needs as well as hearing the gospel shared through scripture and personal testimonies.
The youth team, led by Student Minister Jeff Ford, focused on local elementary & high schools. In 4 different villages, they visited the elementary schools in the morning, presenting a short dental hygiene program in kindergarten through third grade classrooms. The program ended with a gospel presentation and the distribution of toothbrushes to the kids. After a sack lunch (lots of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches!), they spent the afternoon at the high schools playing games with the students and sharing one on one with students using tracts and storytelling (salvation) bracelets.
Another component of the week's ministry were late afternoon basketball games. Organized by our son, David, "Team USA" (composed of David, cousin Luke Jennings, Doug Mackey, and several Nehemiah Teams members) played local village teams in exhibition games. During half time of each of the games, the youth team shared testimonies & drama followed by a clear verbal explanation of the gospel. The team also distributed tracts to many watching the games.
Some stats from the week:
Tracts distributed: 1800
Story-telling (salvation) bracelets shared: 750
Basketball games: 5
Total attendance at games: 2000
Schools visited: 4
Dental hygiene presentations: Done 12 times for around 400 children, preschool-3rd grade