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Local church group heads to Peru on mission

What do an orphanage, a local church and Peru have in common?

They are all part of a mission trip started by members of Zoar Missionary Baptist Church in Coal Grove.

Thirty-five people from the ages of 14 to 62 rose with the sun Thursday morning to start their journey to Lima, Peru, with the purpose of building an orphanage and passing out 4,000 Spanish Bibles.

The idea was put to the congregation years ago when Mike Kennedy, a missionary in Peru, was working with their youth summer camp in 2001.

"He planted the seed back when he was here," said Kevin Willis, associate pastor at Zoar Missionary Baptist Church.

Four years later, the efforts of Bill and Rita Haney have finally come together as the group embarks to help the man who got the ball rolling.

"We're going to help Brother Mike with his orphanage and pass out Bibles," said Rita Haney, who helped her husband, Bill, organize the mission. "We will go into schools and churches and the streets passing out the Bibles and (pamphlets)."

By distributing the literature, she said they hope to spread their message.

"It's to tell people about Jesus Christ and lead people to the Lord," Haney said. "They're to show people there is a way."

Helping to build the orphanage is what Willis is looking forward to the most.

"Working on the orphanage is my main goal, the physical part, and getting the Bibles down there," Willis said.

There is another reason to go though, to open one's eyes.

"I felt like it would be a good learning opportunity," one of the younger members in the group, Jeremy Dillion, 18, said. "I felt it would open my eyes to see how privileged we are here and make me closer to our Lord and open my eyes to other mission work in the world."

Twenty-five members of Zoar Missionary Baptist are going on the mission, five people from Ice Creek Missionary Baptist Church and another five from out-of-town with connections to those going.