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Local couple's mission reaches the people of Davao City and beyond

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The Snyder family moved to Outlook in 2007, but left behind a ministry in the Philippines that Mrs. Snyder continues to oversea. The family includes (L-R) Kenneth, Cliff, Kevin and Lilibeth.

OUTLOOK - Lilibeth Snyder nearly 10 years ago started an outreach for children in her neighborhood when she lived in Davao City in the Philippines.

That outreach grew and the community members there encouraged her to open a pre-school so that she might serve more children, as well as adults in the community.

Snyder's program fed the people's spiritual needs, as well as a certain hunger for education.

With a bachelor's degree in education from Harvest Baptist Bible College, which is also located in Davao, she had the tools and the faith that was needed to serve her community in such a way.

Stepping out in faith, Snyder and her husband, Pastor Cliff Snyder, were able to open Lighthouse Development Center across the street from their home.

The center thrived and grew to serve as an umbrella for other ministries, including a jail outreach program that serves to teach inmates about the gospel.

Lighthouse Development Center, according to the couple, was an answer to many people in Davao City and beyond because people of all ages were provided the opportunity to learn about Christianity.

"Even Muslims are open to learning about Christianity...it's a blessing," said Mrs. Snyder.

She said the ministry has touched her greatly and she sees the joy it brings to the lives of those who are served by Lighthouse Development Center.

The Snyders moved to Outlook in 2007, leaving the school behind. However, as director of the school, Mrs. Snyder has annually needed to travel back to her home country so that she can handle the administrative responsibilities for each new school year.

The expedition takes her away from her family in Outlook for nearly two months and requires long hours of work.

Mrs. Snyder, this past May through July, made the journey back to Davao City to take care of the needs of the school.

She had to make sure the school stayed licensed by the government, which involves a lot of paperwork and training the teachers. She had to find a replacement for a teacher who recently married, as well this past spring.

"Private school is expensive and we serve those who are less fortunate," Snyder said of her ministry.

She said traveling overseas to take care of the school's needs can be taxing on her, but she feels there is much encouragement gained from the experiences of helping the families served by the school.

It isn't just the youngsters attending the school that obtain and education because the school requires adults and other family members to weekly attend a Bible study. Bible studies are taught by students of Snyder's alma mater and on Sundays there are Sunday School classes and worship services available there.

Pastor Snyder said, "It's about establishing relationships."

He said he was involved in the jail ministry when he lived in the Philippines with his wife.

The conditions were deplorable by American standards, but the inmates were receptive to the messages shared by the pastors involved in the ministry.

"I was going to help them establish their own Bible studies, but there were inmates who had already done that themselves," Snyder said, sharing the jail ministry has reached even the least desirable places within the region surrounding Davao City.

Mrs. Snyder said, "It is a sacrifice for the pastors...the jails stink and the inmates live in conditions that are poor...some have died from TB."

Her husband said medical care is not easy to obtain in the jails in the Philippines and the cells sometimes contain up to 45 inmates at a time.

Because it is so difficult for Mrs. Snyder to manage the ministry programs in the Philippines, the couple is praying they can locate someone there who can take over for them.

"It's like passing the baton," said Pastor Snyder.

Mrs. Snyder said the work is exhausting, but the rewards are great.

Her husband said, "We could talk for hours about the many blessings...when I first went to the Philippines my vision was to equip the Christian people in the community to reach their own people."

He said that is how the college students got involved with the Bible studies ministry.

The couple is praying for someone who can take on the greater responsibility of directing Lighthouse Development Center so that Mrs. Snyder can stay home with her family next spring.

"It would be nice to hand it to someone within the community," she said.

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