What can five men who have never been trained for the seminary accomplish in the Dominican Republic? Just ask some Destin residents.

Billy Gray, Caleb Plantholt, Jimmy Taylor, Sonny Stowers and Charlie Earles traveled to the Dominican Republic on Aug. 3 for a mission trip with Global Effect, founded by Scott Steelman of Inlet Beach.

The ministry serves impoverished communities around the world by equipping them to transform their socio-economic, physical and spiritual well-being.

Over a four day period, these men led 144 people to Christ, 60 homes were fitted for water filters, and one young lady received a full scholarship to college from the Billy Gray Ministries in the name and honor of Betty Mustachio.

Gray is currently a lay pastor at The Gathering in Sandestin that meets on Sunday mornings. He is also the founder of Billy Gray Ministries. Taylor is a retired airline pilot, Stowers and Earles are retired businessmen, and Plantholt is starting his first year of college in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Global Effect motto is “bringing hope, changing lives, transforming communities.” The ministry lives up to this motto by first meeting a physical need that all Dominicans have — the need of pure drinking water. Once the hope of clean water is ushered into their homes then team members share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. This method of evangelizing changes lives and transforms communities. Just as the water filter turns dirty water into clean water, Jesus Christ cleanses and purifies believers from sin.

The drinking water in the Dominican Republic is contaminated with bacteria. It is said that Dominicans spend up to 20 percent of their income acquiring safe drinking water. This mission had a unique approach of providing pure drinking water and introducing individuals to the Living Water.

Global Effect provided the team with a simple water filter made out of basic materials such as a 5 gallon bucket, filter, and a hose. The team went from house to house setting up water filters allowing the residents to turn dirty, bacteria-laden water into fresh drinking water. Then, after the set up and instruction, the team shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the household. The filter was a gift from the local church and can last up to 10 years — but the free gift of Christ will last all of eternity.