How Do Digital Literacy And Scuba Diving Fit Into Church Planting?

The island of Catanduanes is a tropical paradise. In the town of San Andres the people are known for being suspicious of outsiders, especially missionaries.

Workers Edwin and Amy moved to San Andres with a vision for serving people while sharing their faith. The first thing they did was meet with local officials to ask what needs they saw in the community. They looked for places to apply their gifts and skills with the needs that had been identified. The result was the creation of a non-profit Professional Enrichment Center providing training in computers, English language, business skills, and more. The training has been well received, giving them connections with government workers, teachers, young professionals and the general community.

Much of the training is mobile and takes place outside of a classroom, like the recent training with fishermen in a remote village. These Filipino men are expert fishermen who can dive 40 meters using only a tire compressor and hose. But they don’t know the science behind safe diving practices and so many suffer from decompression illness including stroke, paralysis and sometimes death.

Missionaries Edwin and Tom, and their friend Mel, are all trained scuba divers. They spent a day with the fisherman teaching them about decompression illness and how to dive safely. They played videos showing alternative ways to attract and catch fish rather than using the dynamite or sodium cyanide traditionally used by the fishermen. After lunch they played a game and gave the winner a watch to use when diving. Then they all went fishing together and practiced what they’d learned.

Previously these fishermen were reluctant to meet and talk. The women in the village were much more open and a Bible study has been started with them. After spending a day with the men on their turf and talking about things important to their daily life, the door for relationship has been opened. In the video Mel talks about the feeling of family he has with Edwin and Tom. Our hope is to develop that kind of relationship with these other men, and one day welcome them into the family of God.

To reach these men, to love them, means to serve them. We serve creatively because we serve a creative God!

Video link:

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