Longboater’s daughter raises funds, awareness for trip to Africa

The daughter of Longboat Key residents has raised both community support and excitement about her planned mission trip to Zambia.

So far, an online yard sale and a separate fundraiser brought another $1,117 towards the goal of $20,000.

Waterford, South Carolina Plantation residents JJ and Jennie Iagulli are raising money to take a mission trip to Zambia in June, their first mission trip not affiliated with a church.

JJ Iagulli is a social studies teacher at Carolina Forest High School and Jennie Iagulli sells Premier Designs jewelry through her Facebook page, Jewelry Lady. Both of them have been to Zambia several times on church-sponsored trips as teacher missionaries, and have led groups from other churches.

This time, however, the couple is going independently of a church, taking their children, 14-year-old Macie and 10-year-old Preston, with them. They plan to be gone about six weeks and to accomplish a good bit while they’re there.

In past trips, the couple’s helped with manual labor projects that ranged from additions on orphanages to painting private residences. They’ve conducted Bible studies, preached in churches, and worked with pastors. They’ve worked with educators conducting training seminars, and they’ve brought supplies with them, sometimes up to 60 bags of needed materials.

“I’ve taught students who literally did not have a pencil,” JJ Iagulli said. “A pencil can change their day.”

The most important thing they’ve done, he said, “is to be available.

“The third world doesn’t live like we do, there’s a lot of survival living.”

On the upcoming trip, they’ll be doing a lot of the same things they’ve done before, and they’ll also be exposing their own children to another culture.

“A lot of times as Americans, we go [on mission trips] with a checklist, but culturally speaking, that doesn’t happen in other places,” JJ Iagulli said. “We’re going knowing that our plate will be full when we get there, but don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing until we’re there.

“This trip is all on our own,” he said. “Since we’ve been there so many times, we feel like we know what the needs are and feel comfortable going on our own.”

They do know they’ll be working again with an orphanage they’ve worked with for several years. They’ll help with construction projects and lead Bible studies, and their children will work with the children there.

“We want to take the children at an age when they’ll actually be helping alongside of us so we can see them loving on and serving the kids and showing their love to others,” Jennie Iagulli said. “I’m excited that they’re at an impressionable age, but also that they’ll be serving.

“When I was growing up, I always wanted to go to Africa. It was a deep passion of mine, and when I looked into where I could teach in Africa, Zambia came up, and that’s how it all came about.”

On Feb. 28, a fundraising dinner that will include a silent auction will be held at Seacoast Church in their hometown, but there are other ways to contribute in the meantime.

To make a tax-deductible donation, send a check to Prayer, Inc c/o Carol Miglioratti 611 Ranger Lane Longboat Key, Florida 34228, which is through Jennie Iagulli’s father, a pastor. Include a note with that check saying it’s for the Iagullis’ mission trip. Or, donations can be made through VENMO or Paypal Friends & Family. Call Jennie Iagulli at 843-902-1646 or email to iagulli@hotmail.com for more information. People can also donate items to Jennie’s online yard sale.

The money the couple is raising will pay for plane fare, accommodations, “everything we need to get there and back and what we need for the projects while we’re there including what’s needed in the schools,” Jennie Iagulli said.

“There’s a hospital there, and if there are malnourished patients, we donate to that. Maybe they’ve run out of splints. We donate to the fund that helps the hospital,” JJ Iagulli said.

Going on mission trips, JJ Iagulli said, is a way to be involved in the Great Commission given by Jesus.

“We should all do it, not just to fulfill that instruction, but as an example.

“When we go to missions as Americans, we think we’re impacting them, but God uses it to teach those of us who go that there’s a level of faith that you attain on mission trips.

“You can see God working in ways you don’t always see when everything is so comfortable.”

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