(Craig Montroy)
FARMINGTON — Nine members of the First Baptist Church in Bloomfield traveled to Kenya in December to participate in service projects in Nairobi and another town on the border of Kenya and Uganda.

Craig Montroy, the associate pastor, has been serving missions in Kenya since 2001. He said the mission trip focused on partnering with local organizations and not just doing a service project and leaving. Instead of focusing on evangelism, the missionaries focused on community development and, with the help of local churches, they hope their work will be sustainable even after they leave Kenya. Montroy said the mission trip was important from a spiritual standpoint because it helped "churches there proclaim the message that God has given them to proclaim."

The group's projects included building a new school, providing water filters and malaria nets, building houses and running an eye clinic.

Montroy said the group helped start construction of the foundation and walls for the new school and it hopes the school can be finished in the next few months. The previous school in the area had been condemned by the government, which meant the children in the area had to travel to another town if they wanted to get an education. In addition to helping build the school, Montroy said the group also brought school supplies.

According to the World Health Organization, waterborne disease kills more than 3.4 million people each year, most of whom are young children. The diseases include cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery.


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By filtering the water, bacteria and parasites that cause the diseases are removed. Montroy said the missionaries donated 15 water filters. Each filter can process 50 gallons of water a day.

Malaria is another common killer that is preventable. Malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites. The group provided nets treated with insecticide to help prevent mosquito bites, Montroy said.

Montroy said the communities gave the missionaries a list of families that didn't have adequate shelter. Over the course of the mission trip, the group built 10 houses for these families.

Montroy said the nine members of the Baptist church were accompanied by three other people, including an eye doctor. They set up an eye clinic and gave out hundreds of donated glasses. Montroy estimated that around 900 people attended the eye clinic and, before leaving, the eye doctor trained someone else so that the clinics can continue after the missionaries leave. Montroy said it was amazing to see the reaction of people who had never been able to see after they were given glasses for the first time.

The church plans to continue its mission work in Africa and other places throughout the world.