Greetings! We are Jason and Dodi Bailey. We currently head up Middle School Encounter while we wait for God's leading on a permanent youth pastor. We have been part of the Bridgewater and Emery communities for over 20 years and have attended First Baptist Church for 17 years. We have three children in college and one in high school. We are passionate about guiding and leading this energetic group of tweens in the direction God would choose. We strive to address current issues faced by today's middle school students, but also enjoy simply having fun with each and every one in a safe environment!

​~Jason and Dodi Bailey

Hi! Sandy & Liz Weeldreyer here. We are both serving as youth sponsors at First Baptist. We have lived in Emery for about 26 years now. For Sandy our move to Emery was returning home to the church where he grew up. Liz is a Nebraska native but has happily made SD her home. We have 3 children, 1 in grad school, 1 in college and 1 in high school.    We love working with youth and have a strong desire to help guide teenagers to not just know about God but to truly seek God and let Him change them. What a blessing it is to be able to interact with this great group of teens. 

​~Sandy and Liz Weeldreyer

My name is Alex Decker. I am blessed to have grown up in the ministry of Emery FBC, and enjoy the blessing of joining my parents and numerous other relatives in worshipping at FBC presently. My wife Suzi and I moved back to this area in 2016 where we enjoy spending time with our three little girls and our dog. I am a math and science teacher in Canistota.

As interim youth pastor, it is my goal to present our young men and women with the truth claims of the Bible. It is a fervent desire of mine that they would understand and see who God is, who they are, and who Jesus is. I look forward to working with students to equip and encourage them in their faith.

​~Alex Decker

Alex Decker

Jason and Dodi Bailey

Sandy and Liz Weeldreyer

Hello! We are Adam and Ashley Zens and we have been married for almost 9 years. We lived in Sioux Falls for 5 years before moving to Emery(where Ashley was raised). After having our son, Hudson, in 2012, we always knew we wanted to raise him in a small town. We quickly became involved at First Baptist Church. Adam has been a Youth Sponsor for 3 years now, and Ashley for 1.5. We truly love getting to know all of the students and treat them like they are our own! We strive to guide them to live out a strong Christian life. We pray that we can show them what a truly amazing God we serve and how He can change their lives if they trust in Him. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your children’s lives!             

~Adam and Ashley Zens

Who We Are

(1 Corinthians 10:31, Matthew 28:19-20)


First Baptist Church, Emery, SD

We are John and Tracy Gilliland, AKA PJ and Mrs G. We moved to Emery in 2016 when John became pastor of FBC. Tracy teaches K-12 vocal music at Bridgewater Emery Schools. It is indeed our honor to be spending time with the teens at Wednesday night Encounter. Challenging? Yes. Rewarding? Most definitely! We are trying to encourage them and help them know that their hopes and dreams can become reality as they obey God and rely on His help in making right choices.

~John and Tracy Gilliland

John and Tracy Gilliland

Adam and Ashley Zens