Church sends missionaries to Africa


PANAMA CITY BEACH — A group of 19 church members and friends embarked from Woodlawn Methodist Church on a mission trip to Tanzania, Africa, in the wee hours of Friday.

The group plans to stay 12 days to build five water wells, renovate a previously started school with additions such as a bathhouse with shower and toilets, and make a soccer field for the children.

Beyond the construction, the group will lead a children’s Bible school and start a basketball clinic. The six educators that are part of the team will give lessons in English, math, reading and art. Birthing kits also will be given and women will be taught hygiene awareness.

The main focus for this missionary group is to provide an educational system for the Masai people of Tanzania.

“For the Masai children, education is the key function for them to move forward, opening up opportunities for them,” said Bill Spivey, a Woodlawn member in the group and a prison warden.

In1998, Spivey spearheaded this project as a family mission trip with a vision of developing a school for the Masai children. Now, 60 children attend this school.

“My actions were and are part of a family mission to answer a ‘call’ to serve Christ wherever He tells me to go,” Spivey said.

This calling took Spivey straight to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

“It had always been more of a grassroots family thing, and this is the first time a whole group is going with us,” said Bill’s wife, Ellie Spivey, who is principal at Patronis Elementary School in Panama City Beach.

The Spiveys and Woodlawn Pastor Allen Newton are setting goals for future missionary work in Tanzania.

“We are not there to change their culture or to be their rescuers, but to rather partner with them and empower them so they can do things that God was leading them to do,” said Newton. He said missionary work is all about cross connecting and forming relationships through which the love of Christ is shared. Read more: NewsHerald


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