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Locals church members headed on mission journey to Philippines

 

NATCHEZ — Storms did not prevent local missionaries from Crosspoint Church from departing for the Philippines on Friday evening.

Crosspoint Pastor Marcus Archer said he and his family and church members left Natchez earlier than anticipated Thursday evening as tropical storm Barry moved to the Louisiana coast.

The group had been planning the journey for more than a year and pursued the trip despite certain obstacles along the way, Archer said.

Meanwhile, God continued to work in mysterious ways even before their departure, Archer said.

Kate Gooding of Delaware would join Archer, along with his father, his sister and church member Tammy Waller before departing from Atlanta for Manila.

There, the group would meet up with a group of missionaries, including Amy Loy Samson of Natchez and her husband Edwin Samson.

“Our flight was supposed to leave at 5:42 (Friday) from New Orleans, but because of the storm we are renting a car and driving to Atlanta instead,” Archer said. “As we we’re leaving, someone called my mom and was going to drop some stuff off. She gave us a $500 check and said for us to use it in whatever way we needed for the trip. As I’m getting ready to rent a car, which wasn’t something we were prepared to do. The cost came to $428. God moves in mysterious ways, and that is just one of the cool things that have happened already.”

A sixth person, Corey Adams, had also planned to join the group for the trip, said Archer’s mother, Tana Archer.

“Corey unexpectedly passed away in his sleep sometime after that (April 2018),” Tana said. “His girlfriend (Gooding) had planned on going on the trip with Corey and she is still going — for Corey.”

During a one-week stay in Manila, the group plans to build a playground to support the Samsons’ ministry and other churches in the area, Archer said.

They would also visit public schools and the juvenile detention center in Manila and share the Gospel to underprivileged children and youth.

Archer said he would leave his group for two evenings to mentor Filipino pastors who may not have the same educational opportunities offered in America.

Prior to their leaving, Archer said other local churches in Natchez raised money to send to the Samsons to help with their work in the Philippines, which coincidentally provided for other unexpected expenses.

Community Chapel Church of God members raised approximately $3,400 and sent it to the Samsons to help with the project, Archer said.

“It worked out really well,” Archer said, “because just this last weak they had a retaining wall that fell in next to where the playground is going to be built and it had to be redone. They needed to spend $2,000 to fix it.”

Each person is traveling with two check bags, Archer said, one of which is filled with personal items and clothing. The other is filled with items for their ministry, including crayons, markers, toys and even Oreos and chocolate chip cookies.

“You’d be surprised how much you might miss little things, like Oreos, when you can’t just drive over to a convenience store and buy some,” Archer said. “The level of poverty there is something I’ve experienced in other places, but no one else in our group will have ever seen. There are people everywhere. … What would be a 30-minute drive in the states might take you two hours in Manila.”

Archer said his hope is that he and those traveling with him would have life-changing experiences while helping others in Manila.

“God is already at work in the Philippines,” Archer said, “and we get to go and see some of the things God is already doing and be a part of it. … Yes, we will be doing a lot of work building the playground and talking to kids. But a lot of times on trips like these, you get more out of it than what you put in. My hope is that God will change our perspective on things. … We’re excited to join what God is already doing in Manila, and I truly believe God wants to do something for us while we’re there.”