By Eric Heinz
Better Together Ministries (BTM) of San Clemente gave thanks this November in a different way.
The nonprofit organization took 54 San Clemente families to Fiji over Thanksgiving weekend to build two playgrounds with Kids Around the World, a nonprofit organization the City of San Clemente has used to refurbish old playground equipment that is later shipped to areas in need.
BTM is led by husband-and-wife team Jadon and Stephanie Lavik.
A child swings from playground equipment donated by Better Together Ministries and was refurbished by Kids Around the World. Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie Lavik
Better Together Ministries families of San Clemente pose for a photo in November in Fiji after bringing playground equipment and other needs to the area. Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie Lavik
The organization promotes its efforts through donations, a golf tournament, skateboard and surf camps as well as throughout The Shoreline Church congregation where Jadon is a worship pastor.
Stephanie said BTM places large containers out at their surf and skate camps so local residents can drop off donated school supplies and other items to be taken on the trips. The whole process of constructing playgrounds takes about three days to a week.
“These trips are meant to be fun; it’s not just all-day working,” Stephanie said. “People get to hang out in the community. It’s so rewarding and they learn so much.”
On April 1, BTM flew to Nicaragua to install water filters for villagers.
“We do a lot of community events in San Clemente to reach people and teach people what we’re doing,” Stephanie said. “We started doing this because we like to serve with our kids, and we wanted to teach them about places around the world and to love other people and put other people in front of themselves.”
“Our nonprofit gets people to come (on the trips), and we facilitate the whole thing,” Stephanie said.
Dr. Jan Johnson, a pediatrician with Sea View Pediatrics, has accompanied BTM on its trips to provide health screenings for children living in impoverished areas.
“The heart of our ministry is the belief that we are truly better together, and so partnerships with others is critical to accomplishing our mission,” according to the organization’s mission statement.
BTM is a Christian, faith-based nonprofit, but people do not have to join the congregation to help on the trips to places in need.
People who pay their own way on the trips can claim the expense as tax-deductible, as it’s in the effort of helping a charity.
For more information, visit www.bettertogetherministries.com.
Better Together Ministries Upcoming Events
Golf Tournament: May 25, Talega Golf Club
Surf Camp: June 8-10, San Clemente
Skate Camp: June 15-16, San Clemente
Marriage Conference: Spring 2019
Fiji Global Effort: Fall 2019